Carl Daikeler '86, Creator and Chief Executive of Beachbody.com
You might expect that the guy behind the “beach-body approach” to in-home fitness — with brands including P90X and Shakeology — would be a total health and fitness nut. But Carl Daikeler was his own first customer.
“I can’t stand working out, and I don’t like eating well, so I have to find tricks and gimmicks to get myself to do it,” he says. “I might not sell a million of them, but I know I’m going to sell one, because I need this product.”
It’s turned out to be a smart business-building approach for Daikeler, who majored in corporate organizational media (similar to IC’s current major in communication management and design) before beginning a lengthy marketing career in infomercials.
The health and fitness angle was accidental. Daikeler wanted to capitalize on infomercials’ long-form advertising to sell directly to consumers rather than involve retailers as middlemen. It was the success of his first product, an abdominals workout video, that provided him with his a-ha moment. In 1998, Beachbody was born.
“It was a very low barrier to entry to create the product and own the product and fulfill the product versus other options,” Daikeler says. “I got to build this company from scratch, and we really didn’t have to seek outside financing once we got that going. It let me have total control and be as aggressive about crazy ideas as I wanted to be.”
The company now pulls in more than $700 million a year. “It took me by surprise; people started to expect me to be this professional CEO,” Daikeler says. “I’m not a great manager, not a financial or operational wizard.”
To compensate, he hired expert employees in areas where he isn’t well versed. “Rather than try to solve my weaknesses, I’m allowing other people to be strong where I’m weak,” he says. “That allows me to go deeper into what I do well.”
Read more about top-shelf entrepreneurs that have roots at IC:
Christopher Burch '76, founder and chief executive of Burch Creative Capital
Jillian Gibbs '88, founder and chief executive of Advertising Production Resources
Mark French '97, president of Mission Basketball, inventor of Court Grip