Entertainment

How I decided to leave Peloton

Brad Olson spent six years growing Peloton. He joined startup Sollis Health to “do it all over again.”

Brad Olson

New Sollis Health CEO Brad Olson told Protocol about his career change.

Photo: Courtesy of Sollis Health

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Brad Olson is the new CEO of Sollis Health, a concierge health care startup that gives members 24/7 access to doctors, emergency rooms, and urgent care with no wait times. He joined the company in September after a six-year stint at Peloton, where he held various roles, including senior VP of member experience, chief membership officer, and chief business officer.

At Peloton, he played a major role in the growth of the company’s subscription business. Now he’ll take on growing Sollis Health, which relies on subscriptions for its business model, as a first-time CEO.

Olson’s story, as told to Protocol, has been edited for clarity and brevity.

The way I think about it is less that I walked away from Peloton, but more that I ran toward the opportunity I saw in Sollis Health. I loved my time at Peloton. The six or so years that I was there were formative in my career, fast-paced and exciting. We grew the size of Peloton membership by 100 times while I was there. And after six years, Peloton had become a pretty mature business, although it's still growing and changing in different ways. Frankly, I got the itch to join an earlier-stage company and do it all over again.

I got a call from a recruiter on behalf of the Sollis board back in April. When she explained the company to me, I sort of fell in love with the concept right away, so much so that my husband and I joined Sollis as members long before I got a job offer. The idea just felt like such a great match for what we wanted in our lives. I live with multiple sclerosis, and I have since 2016. As a result, I spent more time than most in doctors offices. I've seen the best and the worst that the U.S. health care system has to offer, and urgent and emergency care can be terrifying, especially for folks that have underlying conditions.

While I'm a first-time CEO, the last two roles that I held at Peloton prepared me uniquely for this opportunity. Before I was chief business officer, I was chief membership officer. And in that role I ran P&L for Peloton’s subscription business, which at the time was an $800 million business that relied on recurring revenues from members. Serving as the general manager of that business prepared me to take on a CEO role. When I took on the chief business officer role, that brought new responsibilities like business development, B2B sales, program management, cost management, and general management: skills that I think made me a better leader.

There's been so much growth in concierge medicine, and Sollis to date is the only player in the market that is addressing urgent care and emergency care. So in a similar way, the co-founders here at Sollis created a new category — just like the founders at Peloton. With that I think comes an immense opportunity to set the standard of care and member experience and to grow something really special.

The biggest lesson I learned in my time at Peloton is to put members first. What I've learned over the past 10 years … is if you make your members your North Star, and put them at the center of every decision, you can't go too wrong. If you create an amazing, unparalleled member experience or customer experience, that's going to drive acquisition, it's going to drive word of mouth, and it's going to drive retention, particularly in a membership or subscription business. It's this sort of virtuous cycle: If it’s good for the members, it's good for the business, it's good for the employees, because it presents growth and opportunity.

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