I’ve been an investor in, customer of, and informal advisor to PingPod since Day 1. The more I learned about the company, the more obvious it became to me that PingPod is that rarest of startup species: a 1 of 1 business with the potential to address significant modern societal issues, and change human behavior for the better.
I’m joining PingPod as Chief Strategy Officer because of its people (Max’s, David’s and Ernesto’s unique combination of skills and experiences means they HAD to be the ones to make autonomous experiences a reality), because of its product (my children and I are enthusiastic regulars at our local Pod), and because of its culture (stay tuned for a future blog on Trust as a superpower). But most of all, I joined PingPod because of its mission.
The Screen Time Problem
We all love our phones – but maybe a little too much. We find ourselves looking down during dinner with our family, or in the middle of a conversation with a friend. Ironically, the supercomputer in our pocket that connects us to the world is also the very thing that breaks our connection with those we hold most dear. Being connected 24/7 can lead to increased isolation.
What is the answer to the screen time problem? Is it getting rid of your phone? A social media fast? Strict limits on screen time for your children with penalties for non-compliance? Or is there a more positive way to channel the superpowers of your phone to solve the screen time problem?
Use Your Phone to Put Down Your Phone
We want you to use your phone to put down your phone. With just two taps in the PingPod app you can gain entry to your neighborhood meeting place for recreation, fitness, and community. Your screen can unlock an IRL space full of fun and friends.
For fun. For fitness. For everyone.
In each Pod you will find the following message that embodies the PingPod mission and ethos:
A Pod is a place for fun activities involving one or more people. We serve people of all ages, but look particularly to kids for inspiration – their carefree spirits, their playfulness, and their ability to experience pure joy.
A Pod is a place for doing – for real life activities that engage your mind and body, and improve mental and physical health. Instead of losing yourself in your phone, we want you to lose yourself in an experience. Instead of being a passive spectator, we want you to be an active participant in life.
A Pod is a place for all who crave fun, activity, and community. It’s a place to come together and combat the modern feeling of isolation rampant in our cities. It’s a repurposing of retail space in dense urban areas – from the delivery of goods, to the delivery of convenient, community-based experiences.
Reshaping the Future
Amazon started The Everything Store with books, and changed the way we shop. PingPod’s name tells you our origin story: we’ve brought Ping Pong out of the suburban basement, and into visible urban spaces. You need to be fabulously wealthy to have a Ping Pong table in an NYC apartment. But what if that cool room with a table, paddles, and a replay button to capture your best rallies was across the street and available on demand? This vision is a vibrant reality in 7 neighborhoods today (with multiple new locations coming soon), and will be in every urban neighborhood in the future.
As cool as the vision of a vast network of autonomous Ping Pong studios is, our mission is so much bigger than that. It’s about using technology to solve huge problems and reshape behavior in philosophically positive ways. It’s about using technology for fun, for fitness, for everyone. I couldn’t be more excited to be part of it.
See you at the Pod!