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Billion Dollar Yoga

Yoga studios are of-the-community businesses.

Mindbody went for $1.9 billion

Most software companies focus on users. The more enlightened talk about customers. Mindbody went much further.

Yoga is a massive, global industry. But yoga studios are of-the-community businesses.

Yoga is a standardized activity, so each successful studio develops a culture — music, general vibe, instructors, facilities — that attracts and keeps committed members. This is good business because, for the most part, practicing yogis stick with their home studios.

I’ve used Mindbody a few times. It is lousy software, but that’s not the point.

Mindbody is not a software community. It is a community company. It uses technology to channel the community’s — or communities’ — energy into practice. It is straightforward and powerful.

The yoga community is distinct in many ways, but other communities — organized around specific activities, interests, locations, or self-identification — need similar tools that enable membership.

Pickup basketball, art history, or faith can be billion dollar businesses too.

But only if they remember that, in life and business, community comes first.