Our digital activities create a personal data exhaust that traces a unique map of the world.

Here’s my personal trace of NYC based on GPS logs of all my Uber trips and estimates of the routes for all my Citibike rides using Mapbox’s cycling directions.

Our traces should be used to improve our shared map.

A few details:

Only a few SaaS businesses for SMBs have managed to achieve significant scale. In the scheduling space, one of the breakouts is MindBody.

MindBody has raised $108M in venture funding since 2001 and now claims to have 40k businesses across 100 countries. Below we can see the customer base growth over time 1.

Customer Growth

Between March 19th, 2012, when they first put their customer count on their website, and March 14th 2014 (36 months later) MindBody gained 24k customers. That’s on average 666 new customers per month 2.

Data Source

Given that MindBody is private, there is limited information with which to understand their market traction. However, poking around their site I found that they have a map of all their customers. Behind the map is an XML feed of customers with some meta data 3. Below I parse the information to help us better understand their market penetration.

The feed has 23,404 businesses in 78 countries and 5,391 cities.

Distribution by Country

Unsurprisingly, most of their customer base is in the U.S. (19,126) and Canada (1,756). Interestingly they have more customers in Australia (976) than the UK (527). Germany and New Zealand are the 5th and 6th largest markets respectively.

Distribution by City

NYC is their largest city, with 458 locations. Chicago is 2nd (327), then San Diego (234), London (227) and Toronto (225). It is fascinating that two of the top 5 largest cities are outside of the U.S. London is also almost half of their UK market share.

Yoga and Pilates Market Share

MindBody has done a great job penetrating the Yoga and Pilates market. They have 4,539 Yoga and 2,236 Pilates locations 4 which represent 19.4% and 9.6% of their customer base respectively.

In the U.S., MindBody has 3,342 Yoga and 1,708 Pilates locations. That is 5,050 total locations and 26.40% of their U.S. locations. Assuming this sample is representative of their entire customer base and that they have 40k active locations 5, then they actually have ~10,500 Yoga and Pilates locations.

But, what market share is this?

  1. Factual has 7,197 Yoga and Pilates locations in the U.S. in their database 6. This would imply that MindBody has 146% market share.

  2. CityGridMedia also has a locations database. Querying across 7 the 50 largest U.S. cities returns 6,217 Yoga and 1,977 Pilates locations (8,194 total).

  3. Yelp has their own locations database. Querying by search term and city 8 for the 50 largest U.S. cities we get 17,084 results for Yoga Class, and 7,329 results for Pilates Class (24,413 total). Scanning through results though it is clear that at least some subset of these are just wellness or even retail locations that have yoga in the description or maybe even a review.

  4. Ibis World estimates there are 28,671 Yoga and Pilates studios in the U.S. 9

Whichever way you size the market, MindBody has an impressive penetration.

Fitness Market Share

MindBody also has 6,714 Fitness locations (their marketing implies these are gyms). This is 35.10% of their U.S. customer base, and again assuming 40k active locations, they have 14k locations. Ibis World 10 estimates there are 29,894 gym, health and fitness clubs in the US and the sports club association 11 reported 30,500 locations in 2012.

MindBody therefore has touched almost half the market of Fitness locations.

CrossFit and Bikram Market Share

What about specific fitness crazes e.g., CrossFit and Bikram Yoga?

MindBody has 1,386 locations with ‘crossfit’ in the name. 1,147 of those are in the U.S. and there are ~6,826 CrossFits in the U.S 5, and ~8,500 CrossFit gyms around the world 12.

MindBody has 286 studios with the name ‘bikram’ in the data set and Bikram Yoga lists 333 studios in the U.S. 13.

Saturation?

If we assume the sample of 23k studios is representative of MindBody’s industry penetration, and even if all 40k studios aren’t active today but were at some point, MindBody has achieved substantial market penetration, and may even be approaching saturation within key verticals.


  1. Data is collected from Internet Archive and available here)

  2. We will have to wait until they file their S-1 to know exactly how many of these are actually paying vs. have at one point paid or even just signed up.

  3. The ruby script to scrape MindBody is here and the R script to analyze it is here

  4. Each location in the feed only has 1 category, so these are mutually exclusive

  5. As mentioned before, 40k active locations is likely a stretch because some will have churned 2

  6. Factual database

  7. Script to collect POI data from CityGridMedia

  8. Script to collect POI data from Yelp

  9. Ibis World Yoga and Pilates

  10. Ibis World Fitness

  11. Sports Club Association Report

  12. Map of CrossFit Gyms

  13. The list of locations is here and I parsed it with Kimono to get a count

An email replacement may finally have arrived: Slack.

We started using Slack for internal communication in April 2014. I pulled the past 11 months of my computer activity from RescueTime to see how my use of email vs. Slack has changed.

Normalizing time spent on communication is hard. External communication changes seasonally, as fewer people want to talk to investors in August or December, and over the past year my absolute volume of email has grown.

However, it is clear that Slack’s share of my total time spent on work related communication has significantly increased as we have shifted more and more internal communication from email to Slack. In May, 4.6% of my time was in Slack, and in January it was 13.5%.

I think Slack is a better tool for internal communication. Aside from centralizing communication and digital assets to optimize collaboration, below are the three main reasons I think many teams would benefit from separating internal and external communication:

  1. Cognitive Separation: Internal and external communication often have a materially different cognitive workload per email. Internal communication should have quick turn arounds, and flow freely. External communication should be polished and thorough. Teams shouldn’t handle quick 1-line responses to their team in the same email session as paragraph responses to 3rd parties.

  2. Prioritization: If a team is distributed and busy yet trying to move quickly, it should still be easy for everyone to stay in-sync and have quick discussion cycles. When communication happens in email, it gets lost among external communication that can require much more thought to respond. There should be a separate place to make sure no team member is a block to any other person’s work. Related to prioritization, a team should be able to reach a colleague at any moment, but external demands may not be as immediate and could wait until the next morning etc.

  3. Streaming vs. Threading: It is quicker to scan through a feed then scan through emails. A chat stream enables quick scrolling through a discussion. Email threading requires processing each message and has a lot of meta text that clutters the UI. This makes catching up much faster.