Moving Digital Health

For the seventh episode of Moving Digital Health, the new podcast from MindSea, CEO Reuben Hall talks with Scarlet Batchelor. Scarlet is a brand strategist and consultant in the wellness industry. Her experiences as an athlete, a leader, and a founder combine to form a unique and enlightening perspective on connected fitness and digital healthcare.

Scarlet first brought her marketing expertise to the fitness world when she signed on as a Product Manager at New Balance in 2009, but her background in athletics and wellness extends much further back. She shares how her experience as an athlete and a member of a team drove her to seek out similar camaraderie in her professional life. Her desire for challenge and her appreciation for community in fitness motivated her to launch her own app-based fitness platform, Coeo Fitness, in 2017.

Following her experience in the startup world, Scarlet realized that she especially enjoys working as part of a team. Though she doesn’t necessarily believe in “balance” as a priority, she does have a few important requirements for her career, two of which are that it supports her passions and that it keeps her stimulated. It was actually through her passion for rowing that she came to her role as the Vice President of Brand Experience at Hydrow—she first connected with the company as a beta tester.

Scarlet relates how she reached out to contacts at Hydrow and how her willingness to make connections and to be “a happy troll” on social platforms ultimately earned her the VP role. She acknowledges that during her previous professional stint in the corporate world, imposter syndrome may well have prevented her from networking as she did in this case. Fortunately, though, her experience as an entrepreneur had helped her embrace a growth mindset and combat the unrealistic expectations and insecurities that hold so many women back in business, and she was prepared to make the most of connections.

Scarlet shares further takeaways from her time as an entrepreneur as well. She and Reuben discuss leadership, the joys inherent in assembling an excellent team, and the importance of understanding one’s own expertise. Scarlet illustrates the value of learning from others’ experiences and how a lack of exposure to people coping with similar challenges can make for a lonely and uncertain path. Recognizing this, Scarlett has recently launched a new podcast, Brand New Women, which creates space for women in marketing and business to share their stories. She gives us a preview of upcoming interviews.

Scarlett’s insight on connected fitness and wellness is informed by her background as an executive, a founder, and an athlete. We thank her for joining us to share her expertise and wisdom, and we hope you’ll enjoy her episode of Moving Digital Health.

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Read Transcript:

Reuben (00:00.04)
Welcome to the MindSea podcast series Moving Digital Health. Today we’re exploring the world of Connected Fitness with our guest Scarlet Batchelor, a brand strategist and consultant for the wellness industry. Hey, Scarlet, how’s it going?

Scarlet Batchelor (00:00.21)
Hey, Reuben. It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Reuben (00:00.24)
Yeah, Thanks so much for joining us. I’m really excited for the conversation today. If you could introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:00.34)
Yeah. So my background is very much based in sports and fitness and wellness. I grew up as an athlete and honestly, it was the community and camaraderie that I grew up with. Ultimately, I was a rower that I had sought in my adult life and I have been lucky enough that I’ve also not only been able to be an individual athlete, but also to be able to create these communities and platforms within my professional life as well.

So I spent a long time at New Balance on the women’s business, the wellness business and the kids business. And then five or six years ago, I decided to take the leap to the startup world. I would say that I was an entrepreneur previously, but have always craved that kind of steep learning curve of and kinetic atmosphere of startups.

So I launched first on my own, launching COEO, which was an app based fitness platform to better connect fitness instructors and their students, which is how I know you all. But then moved on realized Man, I love being part of a team and I had been beta testing a platform that later would be called Hydrow. So I moved to Hydrow as their VP of brand experience and then moved from there to be the CMO at a boxing based fitness company Liteboxer.

These days, as you said, I am a consultant in the wellness industry. I’m working on one very cool stealth launch and I love the early months and the early years, really crafting brand identities and bringing together the teams and the tech stacks and the momentum that can really launch a platform into orbit.

Reuben (00:02.23)
That’s excellent. I wonder, want to dig into about your history and how your personal fitness journey has really influenced your career path. And also I understand like, what’s your balance these days in terms of fitness and in your career?

Scarlet Batchelor (00:02.45)
Yeah, that’s a good question. I don’t know that I believe in balance. I believe in keeping a whole lot of balls in the air and doing a lot of really wonderful things and ensuring that a career can support kind of my passions and my family and also keep me stimulated at any given time. So I guess specific to my own fitness journey and how that has played into things, my husband and I both do what we call fast in straight line sports.

We both met as rowers. I’ve run a few marathons and these days I ride gravel bikes and race cyclocross. So cycling has really gone into my main kind of competitive endeavor. I’m also a yogi, so I teach yoga once a week to an amazing community. We moved online two years ago. We’re moving back to hybrid in a few weeks, but that really does.

I mean, I think that’s led my career, this idea of identity. I love emotional brand storytelling and I like to allow my work to make a net positive impact on the communities it touches. So I think there is very much kind of a call and response between my experience as an athlete and I am often trying something new.

So how do you gain the skills? How do you find people who both inspire you and support you? And how do you just find those moments of elation? So I certainly find that these days in gravel, I actually met my best friend Mike in gravel cycling on the Strava leaderboard. So I think that’s a really interesting one, that the physical connection we kind of started, we were trading places on a leaderboard and then eventually I think she wrote a comment in my workout saying, I think we’re close to each other.

This might sound a little weird. You want to meet up with our friends and we grab dinner and we go for rides together and we’re trying to find a fun gravel race to do together this spring and summer. So certainly in my personal athletics have played off of my professional career. But I think underneath all of it is always craving adventure and finding community.

I think there is a risk of all of us feeling kind of alone. And I love that wellness and athletics can kind of really bring together bonds that are hard to find otherwise, especially in adult life.

Reuben (00:05.18)
I love that with a digital platform facilitated the in-person connection, you know, through fitness that turned into a friendship. And it is clear you are really an integrator integrating your career with your passion. I have been really hooked on Apple Fitness Plus as one of the ways I’ve been finding my exercise and activity throughout the day. But I’m definitely not going to meet any friends on that where it’s very much just a one way street in terms of the following in the program.

But it has been a life saver in terms of just keeping healthy while at home during the pandemic and it’s really for myself, has really helped me kind of find that balance by just making sure I have a way that’s on demand breaking fitness into the busy day. So let’s talk a little bit more about the connected fitness space and, you know, some of the work you’ve done in the past or you mentioned Hydrow.

I’d love to hear more about that story. And when you joined the company and what that was like.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:06.40)
Yeah, it was this incredible experience and it is just such a cool brand that is rooted. If you talk to CEO Bruce Smith, he’ll talk about it very much is rooted in finding this flow and that there is nothing else like placing an oar in the water with your crew around you and I certainly experience that as a beta testers.

So as I mentioned, my husband and I are both rowers. We had a concept two kind of the traditional rowing machine at our house, and I’d heard kind of through a group of friends that they had an app that could connect to your concept two, and you could start to test their technology. And so this does have to do with kind of this integration and these connections.

So I started using it and rowing is just this crazy workout that engages 86% of your muscles. So one thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned so far is I’m also a mom. We have three kids these days. They’re 12 and we have ten year old twins. And my husband and I both work full time and are very passionate about our careers.

And I got back into the rowing via the Hydrow beta test because it’s just so efficient and you can spend 20 minutes on there and you kind of work every major muscle group. You get kind of that high as they talk about it. So I started using it and I thought to myself, Huh, this is pretty great.

And at the same time I’d seen through my work at COEO that there really was a transition from brick and mortar to virtual platforms. Peloton was really starting to click. My friend Christie Marshall Eckman was one of the first, I want to say, 200 Peloton members. And I remember when I heard about it from her, I was like, huh what? What is that? 

But by the time I was beta testing Hydrow. You really could see and this is where technology has come along. You have those leaderboards, you have that camaraderie, you have a connection that as I go back to my high school days of rowing, that’s what I always craved. So I started using it and I would share feedback and there was somebody in customer support on the other line at the time, I thought her name was Andrea. 

I later met her. It’s Andrea Toro, and she would write back and we would start to talk about kind of what’s there and the really I mean, the Hydrow team is incredible because they really want feedback. So I started really falling in love with the brand and also with the potential of the platform.

So because I do weird things sometimes I kind of reach through my network and I said, Who’s over there? And one of my husband’s teammates, Adam Kraft, was over there. And I, of course, came to him and I said, Hey, can we have a conversation? I mean, said, Hey, I’m in Asia, but sure, we can have a Skype conversation.

He was over there for manufacturing, so we connected and from there I connected to the CEO and then later the CMO. And I guess it’s kind of like my friend from the Strava leaderboard. Every once in a while, you know, you just reach out and you see where things might go. I tell my husband I’m a happy troll on social media, and sometimes I’ll just be like, Hey, you’re awesome, even if I don’t know someone.

So that was kind of my integration and then kind of how the hydro community served me personally. I certainly can talk about kind of my role there as well, but I wanted to pause for a moment.

Reuben (00:09.58)
Well, I just love the story. It’s another way of connecting by starting off as a user and then, you know, just reaching out and making those connections and then actually, you know, joining the company, which is something that you’re passionate about. So yeah, so I’d love to hear more about where things progressed from there.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:10.21)
Yeah. Well I think those connections and just the random reach outs is probably nothing I ever would have done in my corporate career. I always thought, I suppose, that some version of imposter syndrome where everyone around you knew more and is more connected. And mind you, I did not come to business because it was a family endeavor. My family still to this day is like, You’re wonderful, but we still don’t really get what you do.

But it was just I in the startup world, rather than just assuming everyone else knows something. I think Curiosity has really kind of led a lot of my moves, whether it’s reaching out to someone on the leaderboard or making friends with Andrea Toro in customer support at Hydrow. But my role at Hydrow really was something pretty similar. I brand and really thought a lot about community.

So working with the Hydrow athletes who are those, you know, amazing athletes on screen who lead you through a workout and being able to represent them in our marketing materials, onboarding emails. When someone comes on, what are they want to know? What are they talking about in this Facebook group that we created? And one of my favorite projects was working with the content team and the product team and the marketing team on training programs.

So your first two weeks, what made it look like? Your first four weeks what made it look like? And where do you need messages from those athletes to cheer you on and what incentives do you need to keep coming back? And in the digital world, it’s so often different than those high fives you get on the track, right?

And so what is the digital equivalent of that and how can you provide the community with these little bites to keep them engaged and keep them rewarded, even when this is a new discipline or they’re in a place where they’re really trying to change their physical health? I’m playing with those incentives was really meaningful. And I actually have a little story about that if I can share.

Reuben (00:12.25)
Yeah, definitely. Go on.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:12.27)
Yeah. So one really interesting part of Hydrow is a friend of mine from high school, Kate Freitas, joined the Hydrow community. Maybe six months after we launched. And what was really cool, she and I need a little connection because she knew we knew each other from high school. She knew this is Scarlet and her random connections, but she knew I was at the company.

But what was really incredible is Kate really emerged as a leader in the hydro community, whether it was within the challenge is whether it was within the Facebook community. I mean, she was like this in high school to cheering people on, ensuring that they feel supported, inviting others to join her in a challenge or an endeavor. And actually after I left Hydrow and moved on to Liteboxer, I actually saw Kate highlighted in a Hydrow email.

They were highlighting community members and it was just so gratifying and so cool to see this platform of which I was a small part as we were building it and really being able to support others and even support someone and motivate someone who I knew in a different phase of life who really then became a leader in that community.

So I do think there’s this funny balance and all of this connected fitness that ultimately it’s about 1 to 1 relationships. But these tech platforms allow us to gain scale and connect with others who you can’t meet up with up the street. And that’s actually an interesting part of online yoga in one app and teaching the last two years.

Is, as I’ve been teaching online, our community has expanded and no longer is everyone three blocks away or five blocks away from this little space where we practice. So now you have this challenge of going hybrid next month and saying, okay, Rochelle, you’re five miles away. We’re going to keep you engaged. Kelly You’re four miles in the other direction and someone else is, you know, on the West Coast.

How can we take this community that was real, went virtual and now it’s going hybrid. But ultimately it is. How do you make those 1 to 1 connections and drive that affiliation? And that’s where technology is pretty incredible. And it enables so much of that.

Reuben (00:14.47)
Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s very similar to the office or workspace dilemma. People are so comfortable and used to working remote now, but they also love the in-person connection of getting in the office and it’s not like a one or the other situation anymore, really. People like and thrive in both. So how do you cater to that and deliver a great kind of in-person experience, whether it’s for employees or for members of a community?

And it’s a really interesting problem, especially for you with your yoga class. It started off as very, you know, geographically specific. You know, you’ve grown to include more people. But going forward, it’s the same. It’s really both going together, not not one or the other anymore. And it’s just an interesting new phase of, you know, collaboration, whether it’s as an employee or or working together and enjoying fitness together.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:16.05)
Agreed. Agreed. And you’re right, there’s such a parallel to it. And it’s interesting, South by Southwest was the other week I wasn’t down there. My husband was down for a dot edu. But it is amazing. You really could see and feel the energy of people making individual connections again. So I totally agree. How do you create those touch points, those moments, but also allow for the flexibility and frankly, the efficiency of being apart sometimes as well?

Reuben (00:16.40)
You mentioned before that our connection is from your startup days when you started your own platform, COEO. So this was an app that connected people with, you know, in-person trainers, an in-person physical classes. And we worked together to help, you know, blueprint out that app and what it looked like. I’m wondering  what were the most valuable things you learned about starting your own company and trying to build that community?

Scarlet Batchelor (00:17.23)
Yeah, well, it was humbling and thrilling. All at once. I think the most important thing that I learned was a growth mindset. And it’s funny, my kids were learning it in elementary school while at the same time I was learning it as an entrepreneur. But as the Elmo video on Sesame Street says, I think it’s the power of yet.

So I don’t know that yet. I can’t do that yet. And maybe we’ll talk later. I launched the podcast myself this morning, and that’s been quite the journey. Hmm I don’t know how to process those audio files yet, but the mindset was just so powerful because it allowed me to be curious and dig into anything and kind of develop some grit along the way that I can’t expect myself to know X, Y, or Z out of the gate.

How in the world would I know it? So I think number one was that growth mindset and the power of yet. And number two, which is very much why I engaged with MindSea and why it was so great to work with you and your team, which is you don’t actually have to know everything. Maybe you want to know enough to be dangerous.

And certainly as a leader myself, I think one thing that makes me. Allows me to drive value is the ability to ask questions and make connections. But building a team has been and knowing what resources to bring on was really powerful. And I think that’s something I learned with COEO and it’s something that I learned through working with the MindSea team.

But as I transitioned on to Hydrow and and Liteboxer, and certainly in my current endeavors as well, I think it’s so interesting. You don’t need everyone to be full time. There’s such a power to contractors or agencies and we did that a lot at Liteboxer or I almost think about it as building a building and that you have kind of these pieces of scaffolding and eventually, you know, maybe you might bring on a full time team, maybe you have an agency, maybe long term.

It’s something where you have to stay so current that you actually want someone who’s always focused on a particular subject matter. But I think bringing in the right team and recognizing that the look of that might be a little bit different. And certainly in recent years and in COVID and all that, the kind of rise of freelancers has been huge.

And now here I am on the other side of it. So that was really powerful is where do you find the resources where you don’t yourself have the knowledge? And then I think the third piece really was understanding my own expertise, because when you strip everything else away, I had been doing that for over eight years. And sometimes when you’re in an environment for so long, I don’t know, maybe in some ways like you can lose your identity or it’s like it’s just because it’s a similar fabric day to day.

It’s a similar business dynamic. It’s actually hard to see yourself in isolation. So I think through that process, maybe it’s the counterpoint of the power of yet I also realized my true expertise and could better articulate to myself and to others the value that I bring to the table. And these days, as I’m working with client roster, that’s really big.

And what I’ve come to realize is I’m an expert in storytelling, kind of this balance between emotional and rational. I can pick up those pieces, put them all together and then translate it to hopefully something beautiful and positive, but also commercial. I still like the business side of it. I still love the thrill of selling. It probably goes to I love the thrill of racing.

Yeah. So yeah, recognizing my own superpower. So growth mindset, the power of a team, whether it’s contract agency or full time partners, and then finally recognizing my own superpower and expertise within it by stripping everything away and seeing where you lands.

Reuben (00:21.42)
Well, definitely enjoying your storytelling today. So many great stories, and I really agree with you on that. The teambuilding aspect it is one of the joys of my job of the CEO of MindSea, is there is a whole lot I don’t know about app development, but we have a great leadership team. Director of Technology that was really been able to take the lead on that and take that off my plate.

We have a director of product management now. There’s really growing the product expertise within the organization and to see people, you know, as leaders in their own right of teams within our larger team is just so rewarding. You know, sometimes I just get to sit back and watch them do their thing and just be odd because I know that I could never do what they’re doing.

And it’s a great joy to see those different talents and different expertise come together as a group with the whole company.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:22.57)
Totally agree that that is kind of the best part of it, right? You bring the best people together and then you get out of the way.

Reuben (00:23.04)
Yeah, yeah, I tried to, but I also I understand what you meant about, you know, being part of a larger company and then, you know, going out on your own, like, that’s a big leap of faith and where you’re existing within this framework before and have all these, you know, guidelines and processes in place. You know, when you’re doing your own startup, you have to figure out a lot of that on your own and it can be a little bit scary.

So, you know, we try as much as possible to, you know, to use our experience, you know, working with multiple start ups to build, you know, sometimes their their first app or their first software product, you know, to take away that, you know, some of those unknowns and show them a clear path of, okay, we’re going to, you know, work through the user journeys and really understand the problem solving and, you know, dig into those personas.

And it can be it can be really fun, you know, being, you know, the the mentors or the guidance almost of, you know, people that are really, you know, entrepreneurial and experts in their field, you know, whether it’s fitness or wellness or health care, but sometimes really don’t know anything about software development. And, you know, coming together with them as a team and building something special can be really rewarding to see the outputs of that as well.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:24.37)
Absolutely. Yeah. That’s when it gets really fun.

Reuben (00:24.41)
Cool. So looking back on all the different projects that we’ve done, is there one that stands out as being the most meaningful or most impactful and, you know, close to your heart.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:24.58)
All the projects? That’s a tough one.

Well you know, one of the first kind of full P and Ls I led. So profit and loss kind of full businesses I led was during my New Balance time. And I led the Global Kids Footwear team. And I don’t know if I got the job because I had the most little kids at home or what it was right after my twins were born.

So certainly it was at a time of kind of high stress and high activity, but it was so exciting because I really got to exercise something that I do all the time now and got to realize it was kind of my signature and what I love most, which is kind of listening leadership. So it’s a global team. You have a whole lot of markets, you have one great brand, in New Balance, both kind of lifestyle, classic shoes, as well as kind of performance running shoes.

And we would make mini new versions of that as well as some kind of kid, more kidified, only toyattic shoes as well. And what I loved was coming in to that role and starting with listening. And it was pretty cool because I got to go to the markets as well. But you go to China and it’s like, okay, everyone wears Velcro or as they call it, hook and loop shoes because you got to take your shoes off every time you go inside and you’re going to wear that type of closure until you’re like adult sized, which you would never do here in the U.S. And then going to Japan and understanding the rich history of classics and really what that means fashion wise,

and then understanding the US market as well, whether it’s kind of something more like style and trendy or utilitarian and functional, because so many of us are going to goals and getting our kids shoes. And I loved that assignment because it allowed me to really listen to the team, ensure every market was enfranchised, and then working back with the global hub and saying, okay, China needs us, Japan needs that, the UK needs this.

And then here in the US this is where we need to go. How do we balance this portfolio and optimize our resources within it? And hey, we also have to listen to where the adult team is investing advertising dollars because that’s going to help us as well. And so I guess it goes back to kind of making those connections, leading with listening, but also leading with positivity.

I guess the experience that drives my work the most is I’m related to work, it’s related to athletics kind of. My husband went to graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle, and when he finished, I was starting my MBA program here in Boston. And so we had to move from Seattle, Boston, and we actually done the same two years before.

We’d driven from Boston to Seattle for him to start his program. And we thought, Well, let’s not drive back, let’s ride our bikes back. So rather than driving back, we wrote our rights and we somehow enlisted four other people, other friends, to either quit their jobs or they were going in or out of grad school. And so six of us left Seattle on the summer solstice a long time ago and knew that we had to get to Boston seven weeks later and the route was about 4000 miles and we had a car.

So every day one of us would drive because our dog was in the car and we just had to get there. And in the early weeks we did less mileage because no matter how hard you train, you can’t train to be on your bike 12 or 14 hours a day. And we camped every night. We had a little kitchen quote unquote, in a plastic being in the car, and we just would go and go when we called ourselves Team Delusional because summer Solstice Day where everyone was partying and Ballard and dancing in Seattle, we dipped our wheels in the ocean and set off and we knew we had to get to Boston.

And there were tough moments and there were beautiful moments. And there were days when we had mostly a tailwind. Thank goodness for the jet stream we had a couple of times headwind days, but we made it and our tires were dipped in the Boston Harbor seven weeks later. But I think that idea of setting a goal and just going for it and figuring it out really informs a lot of what I’ve done, whether it was leading the global kids team at New Balance to really drive some incredible growth or joining these startups or even driving my own startup as well, saying, all right, that’s a goal.

It’s probably not a straight line to get there. But after that has I want somewhere like let’s just go and let’s see what adventures come about.

Reuben  (00:29.50)
Yeah, I think there is real power and goal setting. But also, like you said, being humble to, to be open to different paths of getting there. And sometimes we’re working with entrepreneurs that, you know, they have a vision, never real clear vision of the product. They want to build. But as you say, if you’re not leading with listening and really listening to the customer and with their problems are and what they’re looking for, you really run the risk of building something that’s not the right fit for the customer as you’re after.

So that approach of leading with listening and, you know, just being open to wherever the path takes, you certainly seen that work time and time again. That flexibility over rigidity, even when there’s a firm goal, is so important in business.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:30.55)
Totally, totally. And knowing when to embrace conviction and when to roll with the flexibility, I think that’s the unknown factor it reminds me of sometimes I’ll put something together. There’s a client I’m working with right now and put together kind of the copy for the home page, and I said, I know it’s 80% right, but I don’t know what 80% right.

And I think so often figuring out what 20% needs adjustment, especially in early stage brands. And as you engage with entrepreneurs, I think that is what’s so hard. And as a solo entrepreneur or a founding entrepreneur, and I know often this is probably clients that you’re working with, that point of view can get really dizzy. When do you know when to listen?

When do you know when to hold your ground? And frankly, there’s probably never an answer to that. And there are infinity paths forward. But I found that really hard as an entrepreneur, really knowing. And ultimately I think that’s why I really like working with teens, because I learn more and I think better when I have someone to kind of bounce ideas off of and try things on for size.

Reuben (00:32.11)
I love to switch gears and talk about your new podcast that you’re launching this week and yeah, get the story behind that.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:32.22)
I love it. Thanks for asking. Yeah. So just today I launched Brand New Women, which is a podcast focused on women in business and in marketing. And you know, for so much of my career, I have been the only, if not one of the only women in the room. And I’m really excited in terms of the stories that are out there.

But often as a female business leader, sometimes I feel lonely and I just crave more stories. Now. Okay, fine. I’m a storyteller, so I guess I also thrive in hearing these stories. But you know, you hear the story of Sara Blakely and Spanx and that’s incredible. And there are other just touching female business leaders out there. But my hypothesis is, if we could hear more stories and more moments that were unclear right here, another entrepreneur and talk about do I stand my ground or do I flex hearing about wins and hearing about failures, That is something for me that really motivates me.

So then when I find myself in a sticky situation, I can think back to this story or this podcast. And so my hypothesis is, don’t we all want to hear more stories and not just women business leaders ourselves, but allies out there that want to think about how can we support greater gender as well as other dimensions of diversity in the workplace, especially as we’re cultivating future leaders.

So I’ve pulled together a great roster of female leaders out there. Many of them come from unique places. So for example, episode one that features Hannah Cole, who is the founder and leader of Sunlight Tax, which is a tax platform that is focused on creatives, freelancers and very much seeks to support a diverse audience, very focused in the trans community, and really empowering artists and creatives to own their financial health and financial success.

And Hannah herself is a painter by training, but then started trying to do her account, her accounting and her taxes, said, My goodness, I don’t know how to do this. And then I had a moment when she had her first kid and thought, Ooh, I have to find other sources of income and all of this world together into sunlight tax, which has just grown by leaps and bounds.

So in stories like Hannah’s story, I’ll be talking to Yng-Ru Chen, who just recently launched a breathtaking art gallery and has been placing a lot of great work into top museums. She has become kind of this ultimate curator through Pretty Shadows, so really bringing in more stories that can motivate and inspire so many of us out there.

Reuben (00:35.30)
Yeah, and that’s one of the joys of working on this podcast as well, is hearing the stories about digital health and all the different innovation and all the different leaders and personalities that are pushing this industry forward and in so many different ways. So we’re really excited to hear your podcast there and we’ll definitely be tuning in to hear some of those stories. 

You mentioned about the and learning the lessons from other women leaders. I’m wondering how your membership in the Chief organization has been part of that and how that’s helped you as a woman in tech as well?

Scarlet Batchelor (00:36.22)
Yeah, I mean, I think this all comes back full circle, right? When I introduced myself, I talked about fitness platforms that provide community and camaraderie. And as an athlete, which has been one of my top three maybe identifiers of myself as an individual, certainly being a woman and business is something that defines me as well. And going back to kind of that loneliness that can come about when you don’t have people like you to your left or to your right.

I think Chief has been a really cool and rapidly growing organization that seeks to do just that. And for example, Michelle Obama spoke to our leadership a few weeks ago, and she really does identify a cohort of women who have achieved a level of success, done some really cool things. So I’m on this call and of course it’s me and a couple thousand other people.

But it was just so striking to me as Michelle Obama told all of us, including me, But I told my husband later, as Michelle Obama told me, I already made it. But it is true that it is so empowering sometimes to have essentially what she does is all of those stories that I will tell within Brand New Women.

Those are living, breathing humans that are so impressive to your left and to your right within this network and community. So for me that that has been really meaningful. I’ve loved being a part of it. And frankly it has certainly inspired me to create more webs of kind of inspiration and motivation. And then I think Chief has been a real innovator in doing that over the last few years.

Reuben (00:38.05)
Yeah, that’s awesome and so inspiring. So I have two daughters, age seven and ten, and there’s just so many great resources out there now that celebrates women leaders and Michelle Obama definitely being, you know, one of the most inspiring all time. I know my daughters and I reach for her books sometimes together. And she has another book that’s five minute stories for Rebel Girls that again, like talks about all these different women leaders.

And it’s just great that there are so many role models and so many inspiring stories out there for young women to to see the themselves as leaders as well and know that that’s a possibility for them.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:39.02)
Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think it is one interest. It’s great to recognize that there are more examples out there and there is something that Hannah and I talked about a bit in her episode on Brand New Women that I think is important to bring up, which is you can be both an outsider and someone of privilege at the same time.

So on one hand, you know, in Brand New Women, I want to elevate more women’s voices and totally we’ve got good night stories for Rebel Girls as well. So wanting to kind of enfranchise female identifiers to see those stories. But at the same time, I also recognize that as a white woman, I come from immense privilege as well.

So I think it’s important to realize or to recognize. And for myself, I always try to walk that duality that as a white person, I come with a lot of privilege at the same time as a female in business and I also at times I’m part of a minority as well, and there’s a history there. So it is interesting and I try to ensure that I kind of walk both of those sides, kind of recognize the privilege of what it means to be white in this society, but at the same time recognize that we do need more stories, so more stories not just of myself as a white female leader, but ensuring that there is

kind of diversity within that. And I would actually argue good night stories for Rebel Girls does that really, really well. But within my work, I want I always want to recognize kind of the privilege, but as well as kind of that unique place of being a woman in business.

Reuben (00:40.36)

Yeah, it really is so multifaceted and there’s so many different things to consider. I have been, you know, also just trying to learn more about, you know, diversity, equity and inclusion and how to, you know, make that part of their organization at MindSea. We were talking with a consultant the other day and they were speaking about how a lot of companies say, hey, we have great culture.

You know, everyone’s really nice here. They get along and like, you know, this is not a problem here. So we don’t really have to, you know, get into it too much. But it’s so important to realize that, you know, we whether it’s a business or an individual like we exist within our society and the context of that and all the, you know, the history that brought us to where we are today and, you know, as a so a society, there has been a lot of discrimination.

And, you know, you just can’t think of yourself in isolation as, you know, this little group. That’s all, you know, Kumbaya and working so well together. It’s you know, you are part of the larger picture. And that larger picture, you know, influences people’s people’s behavior and their feeling of belonging. And so it’s just, I’m really enjoying that education of just being more literate and striving to understand more and really looking forward to making strides, to really, you know, recognizing that context and making diversity, equity, inclusion a real part of the DNA and also not just within our organization and then be an advocate for that, for our other partners or, you know, organizations we work with as well.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:42.45)
That’s great. That’s awesome. So much great staff to do. Great work to do. Yeah, it’s an exciting time. It’s wild, but it’s also exciting.

Reuben (00:42.57)
Yeah, I was hoping to kind of get back to the connected fitness space. I’m interested to hear your take on what the future of the space holds. I know there’s just been so much innovation and so much change and, you know, influenced by the pandemic and now kind of hopefully fingers crossed, knock on wood, really coming out of that into a new reality.

Yeah. What do you see that’s emerging and exciting out there?

Scarlet Batchelor (00:43.30)
Yeah, it’s funny. I’m kind of of two minds on all of this. First off, I know that part time stock has been so hammered lately, but I don’t want to forget about the fact that so many of these brands, whether it’s Peloton or Hydrow or LightBox, are so beloved and are driving just magical experiences and getting people healthier every day.

I feel like in business news it is so fun to have a story and see all of these arcs and these movements. But I think it is important to not forget about the fact that people are getting healthier and humans feel seen. Right. And it’s an unprecedented time that technology can support that. So first and foremost, I think the work that has happened in Connected Fitness today is really exciting.

And then within that, the two kind of sides of the coin is I think there is more exciting kind of innovation on the horizon in kind of measurement of health. Certainly Whoop has made some great strides, Oura ring you kind of a different approach to similar metrics. That’s really exciting. I can’t wait until Supersapiens launches. There’s another business called Level, so it’s a continuous glucose monitors.

So kind of taking the technology that leads for diabetics when it comes to kind of nutrition and metabolism and translating that over to athletes or everyday humans. I am on the waitlist, but I really want to try that and I’m so curious. And so that’s one side of things, right? The kind of measurable self. And I think that will continue to develop.

And here I am saying, Oh, I can’t wait for this one to launch. I want it. But I think there’s a counterpoint to that. And I recently took the course by Dr. Laurie Santos on the science of wellbeing. It’s actually offered through Coursera, so you two can do it for free. But I think what’s so interesting, there is a lot of the research reveals that where we find the greatest happiness is through experiences, and our mind tricks us into this concept of mis wanting, thinking, I need that next car, maybe I need that next result, But maybe the most magical moments are, you know, I can think of flying down the hill in Vermont on my gravel bike with the winds kind of hitting me and kind of staying stable and and working with returns like those experiences, 

those moments. That’s probably what we all crave. But the darn marketers out there like me, start to identify those moments with objects, right? So I think the two sides of the coin with wellness and kind of digital health is that all moves forward is on one hand, how can these tools help us to listen and measure and I guess feel rewarded, but at the same time, somedays, maybe we should just burn them all and go out for a walk with our best friend or, you know, bike down that hill and it doesn’t matter if I’m getting that QOM or not on the Strava leaderboard. 

So I do think it’s going to be a balance and a dance. And I really do hope that all of us can focus on those experiences and thinking of these stats and this technology unlocking better health rather than the technology being at the very top of our priority list. Right. Going back to if you didn’t recorded on Strava, did that workout happen at all? Yeah It happened.

Reuben (00:47.10)
Yeah I had similar guilt when not wearing my Apple Watch for a for a workout. It’s like if I didn’t close my exercise ring did that workout mean anything? And be like, No, it’s still good. Like I still got my exercises, but you feel like you’re missing out because you don’t have that, you know, that validation or that little check mark that you wanted to accomplish that day.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:47.41)
Yeah, I’m currently on a quiet march. My Apple Watch died, so I’m unorganized. And even the date and the moon phase aren’t right so all this thing does right now is tell time but I kind of challenge myself to do it for the month and and see what I feel like.

Reuben (00:47.58)
Yeah sometimes you do just have to disconnect and really try and, you know, be in the moment and optimize for those in person, those visceral experiences of, you know, just being out there in the fresh air and not looking at a screen. 

I think that’s a great place to wrap it up. Really enjoyed the stories and the conversation today. Was there anything else that you wanted to chat about or questions for me while we’re here?

Scarlet Batchelor (00:48.41)
I think this has been great. It’s been great to hear a little bit more about kind of where you’re focused on MindSea and how your teams are evolving. And it was really fun to be able to share a little bit of kind of that new platform with Brand New Women. So I would just love to ask that. Everyone give it a listen.

Let me know what you think. And I love getting engaged with MindSea again. And it is just magic in terms of as entrepreneurs, what we can do to build these teams, not thinking, defining it by internal or external, but instead building this magical web of talent and setting a vision. It’s just really cool to see what you all do in this digital health and wellness space. It’s just such a rich moment and you guys are just such innovators within it, so it’s great to chat.

Reuben (00:49.33)
Cool, thank you very much and hopefully looking forward to coming down to Boston again for a visit and maybe we’ll go for a run or a mountain biker or something like that to get out there. And those experiences for everyone listening. Yes, please check out the Brand New Women, the Scarlet’s upcoming podcast. And if you like, this episode of Moving to Digital Health and MindSea please subscribe to the newsletter and you’ll be notified about future episodes. Thank you very much.

Scarlet Batchelor (00:50.08)
Thanks Reuben.

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