Social media that gets users offline can also make them more loyal

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Strava is a fitness tracking app with a digital community of over 42 million athletes. CEO James Quarles, who previously held positions at Instagram and Facebook, estimates that for every minute users spend looking at Strava, they spend 50 minutes “out sweating or doing an activity together.”

Quarles points to Strava’s own data to show that people run and ride more often and for longer in groups than they do alone. He sees the same effect in the digital sphere; sharing workouts on the app often makes users more physically committed, which, in turn, makes them return to the app. 

Quartz culture editor Oliver Staley sat down with Quarles to learn how he plans to make Strava the “next great sports brand of the 21st century,” citing 700 million untapped target consumers worldwide. They also discuss the company’s partnership with urban planners in 130 cities, how Quarles structures his day, and what he reads.