Ten years of disruption

by Jul 19, 2017

Ten years ago this month, Bryan and I drove to Zion, sat on a cliff next to a roaring campfire, and reinvented what corporate wellness was at the time. It was all so blatantly obvious to us: what was missing was engagement, and we figured the best way to get better engagement was to make it fun and social. It’s not fun to get your blood drawn or take a health assessment, so no one was doing it (unless maybe a generous incentive was offered, which isn’t sustainable). We had to funnify things and generate social contagion – we had to create programs people love and WANT to take part in.

But it seemed we were doomed to fail. We brought our big ideas to the consultants in the industry, and their mantra as they laughed us out the door was, “Where are the biometrics? Where’s the health assessment? Where’s your coaching? This ‘fun and social’ stuff is cute, but it’ll never fly.”

We were laughed out of our fair share of funding meetings, too. We pitched our ideas to investors, most of whom chanted the same mantra as the consultants. One group of angels agreed to provide a small investment, but then came the horrific economic collapse of 2008, and overnight our offer was pulled. Having both given up great careers for a passion with no income, we were running out of money fast, with literally four months of savings left at one point before we’d be completely broke.

“Every Monday I cried”

Yup – every single one. The thought of continuing down the Sisyphean path we were on was too much to handle – but by Tuesday I remembered why we were doing what we were doing, the passion reignited, and I found myself re-energized and recharged. Finally, we found a few courageous clients who shared our vision, and we were off and running. Our portal was so basic then – just one page and a user “experience” that was simplistic and utilitarian – but people loved it, and for its time it was edgy and innovative.


From shaky to sha-blammo!

In the beginning, people called us “scrappy” and “disruptive.” And we were. After all, we were making up the rules as we went – no one in the industry had focused on engagement, and there were no guidelines for how it should be done. We were completely outside-the-box – partly because there was no “box” to begin with, and partly because that’s just who we are.

We made mistakes. A lot of them. But we never lost sight of our vision to create the stickiest, most-engaging programs on the planet. Over the years, we realized we DID need to add back the “traditional” elements we eschewed in the beginning – biometrics, health assessments, coaching, and educational content – and today we offer all of those things alongside our gamified, social-engagement platform. The key, we’ve found, is to use these as tools WITHIN the overall package – not using them AS the overall package. And we’ve managed to “funnify” even those more-clinical components, with a completely different approach to coaching that’s proving to be tremendously effective.

We’re still disruptive – heck, we have strong convictions and we stick to them, we aim to out-innovate ourselves on the daily, and we’re always pushing the wellbeing industry outside of its comfort zone. Some call that disruptive, and we accept it. But scrappy? Nope. Today we go head-to-head (and often win) against the “big boys” in the industry. We’ve learned a lot in ten years, and we bring best practices and consultative service to every client partner we support. We’ve never wavered from our commitment to provide white-glove service, regardless of how big the client is or how much of a household name their brand may be. We’re still following our vision of creating programs people love, and we have teams of amazing Boomers who share our passion and make our programs and services the best in the industry.

“Some things never change and never will”

When Bryan and I sat on that cliff in Zion, we filled a notebook with ideas – some of them wacky and ridiculous, and others pretty darned good. We pulled that tattered black notebook out recently and were stunned to find that while ten years have passed and a lot of things have changed, our vision has not. Not even a little bit. “What’s the most effective way to truly drive habit improvement?” we wrote. Then in huge, bold letters, we filled an entire page with, “Create programs people love and want to take part in – together.” Some things never change and never will.

With that, Bryan and I send an ebullient “Happy 10-year Boomiversary” to our family of Boomers on staff, our partner clients, and our members! ALL of you have helped fuel our passion and have created something amazing.

Thankfully, I don’t cry on Mondays anymore. I guess you could say we’ve grown up.
– Danna



Take the Sonic Boom 10-Year Boomiversary Quiz!

  1. The name Sonic Boom comes from…
    1. The sound Bryan makes when he sneezes
    2. A “real” sonic boom they heard on the drive home from Zion
    3. Danna’s favorite character from the Street Fighter video game
    4. The initials “BS” backwards
  2. Bryan and Danna worked out of a spare bedroom until…
    1. Bryan got kicked out to go work in the kitchen
    2. Guests came and they couldn’t work there anymore
    3. They finally got office space in 2009
    4. Danna fell asleep completing an RFP on the guest bed
  3. Sonic Boom’s mascot is…
    1. A mangled goldfish named Jeff, may he rest in peace
    2. Sierra the office dog
    3. A Boomerang someone brought from New Zealand
    4. Boomer – a retired super hero who let himself go and wants to get back into shape (kinda like Mr. Incredible).
  4. True or False:  Clients have to use Sonic Boom’s mascot when promoting the program…
    1. True.  His face is slathered on every page of the website, every poster, every email, and every other corner we can find.
    2. False.  If clients like him, his head pops in here and there.  If clients don’t like him, he goes back into permanent retirement.
  5. True or False:  We want to hear from you!
    1. True.  Give us a call (or leave us a comment) to share your thoughts.
    2. True.  Trick question, much?  Hit us up!

1: B, 2: C, 3: D, 4: B, 5: True!