Peloton Interactive, the maker of the world’s best-known exercise bike, has seen its stock price nearly triple in 2020, up 196% year to date (at time of writing). Its most recent quarter had a 113% increase over the past year thanks largely to its digital subscriptions tripling in number. Demand has surged in 2020 with gyms and other fitness outlets becoming either unavailable or viewed by people as unsafe to use due to Covid-19. Two years ago CEO John Foley said of his company: “We’re ‘weirdly profitable’ for a growing, young company.” Just one year ago he was trying to convince highly-skeptical investors that his $2,245-and-up stationary bike was America’s next hot tech stock. This was viewed by all at that time as a tough sell.
It is clear in 2018 and 2019 that the profit numbers this company has achieved in 2020 were not what was predictable by the employees, the CEO, or the market. At any particular moment in time, there are many possible futures that are possible for an organization. For example, there could be the “blow-up/disaster future,” a low probability but possible e.g. Enron or Worldcom. There could be “the predictable future,” the one which, if we were to bet on it, we could be very sure that would happen. This one looks much like what we have had before. There could also be a “win-the-lottery” future, one that is highly unlikely but due to some twist of fortune caused us to be in an enviable position. It is this latter one that has happened for Peloton with their CEO now having become a billionaire. And there are many more possible futures.
What if you could have a say in inventing and then causing a future to happen that is outside of what is predictable? What if you didn’t have to hope, pray, and wait for some unlikely twist of personal fortune in order to break out of the norm and the predictable? It IS possible to do this at any point in time and this act is independent of the current circumstances. Without the ability to do this, organizations are relegated to 1. hoping that somehow the future works out in their favor 2. hoping that nothing terribly adverse happens that will work against them or 3. continuing to work hard to try to do a little better than what has happened in the past in a predictable range of ups, downs, and plateaus.
What future are you out to cause in 2021?