More than three-quarters of U.S. adults say being in shape and looking good are “very important” to them, yet less than a third exercise regularly. Aron Woolman is the CEO of Soflete, a local tech company with an organic following that reaches all across the world. He saw an opportunity to leverage technology to make exercise more attainable for everyone. In growing his company he’s learned how a company culture affects everyone and just how powerful their reach is.
How do you leverage technology to inspire an active lifestyle to your audience?
Technology helps inspire active lifestyles in so many ways. One of the most powerful of these ways is through enabling us to deliver a physical training and nutrition planning experience that is tailored to each individual user. But we also leverage technology to tell compelling and inspiring brand stories, which frame the customer as the hero, and inspire them to take action.
You have quite a cult following, what makes people so excited about Soflete?
Simply put, our authenticity is what drives our brand loyalty. Our mantra is “Die Living.” This ideology is at the same time universal and uniquely personal. We all experience life more vividly by pushing our boundaries and chasing growth and adventure, even though our goals and the paths we take towards them may be vastly different. In addition, SOFLETE doesn’t try to be everything to everyone, and we never to pretend to be anything that we are not. Finally, our brand message is clear and every person who works for SOFLETE believes in it and lives it.
What’s the craziest thing someone has done to exemplify your brand?
The craziest thing is definitely not appropriate to retell here, but if you ask me in person and the timing is right maybe you’ll hear it. That being said, more than 300 customers have sent us pictures of some version of our logo tattooed on their body. We’re honored to know that people are as passionate about what we’re doing as we are ourselves.
What are the most important aspects to your company culture and how do you maintain that among your staff?
Trust is the foundation of our company culture. We tend to play fast and loose, and this only works when we all trust that everyone on the team is putting in honest and hard work to move towards the goal. Our culture emphasizes personal freedom, but also the understanding that as more freedom is given, more responsibility is taken as well. This has created a culture of self-driven individuals who take pride and ownership in their work. But it has also created a self policing environment, wherein anyone who violates the trust we give each other is questioned by the team before management ever gets involved.
What’s the best way to deal with someone who is negative about entrepreneurship?
When I was working on an equity derivatives trading desk, I attended a cocktail party that was mostly medical students and young doctors. After striking up a conversation about work, a surgery resident commented that he could never handle the stress of a trading desk, due to having to possibly experience large monetary losses. As he was saying this, I kept thinking about how the stress of losing trades seemed like nothing compared to having another human’s life quite literally in your hands.
We all deal with different stresses differently. If someone is negative about entrepreneurship, they should choose one of the many other life paths that will better suit them.
What would you compare starting a company to?
Starting a company is like meeting a significant other, falling in love, and getting married. In the beginning you will experience higher highs and lower lows than you’ve likely ever experienced before. Sometimes these will happen in the same day! Your new company will consume your thoughts at all times, both day and night. You will grow together and learn things that you didn’t even know you didn’t know. There will be relatively easy periods, periods of great satisfaction, and also times of great challenge, worry, and stress. Like marriage, you will need to be committed to your commitment. And like some marriages, some companies will fail.
If you are launching a company or know someone who is, The Council for Entrepreneurial Development can help. Get in touch with us to learn more about our support and the ecosystem here in the Triangle that is rich with resources for entrepreneurs that are pursuing their dreams.