Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 14
IDEAS / Thought Leader
Outside the Lines
Name: Robin Thurston
Title: Chairman and CEO
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Downlow: Robin Thurston's rise has been meteoric. Raised in Denver,
he became enamored with Outside magazine when his dad gave him
an early issue with a feature on Arches National Park. As a competitive cyclist in the 1980s and '90s, he raced around the planet, but
after a serious crash, he transitioned into a career in finance before
launching the MapMyFitness apps, which he sold to Under Armour.
From there, he became CEO of Pocket Outdoor Media, which included the titles VeloNews, Triathlete, Women's Running, and Bicycle
Retailer. In June 2020, Pocket acquired Yoga Journal, Ski, Climbing,
Backpacker, SNEWS, and other titles from Active Interest Media.
In October 2020, it bought Rock and Ice, Ascent, Trail Runner, and
Gym Climber. The coup de grâce came this February when it acquired
Outside, Outside TV, and associated holdings, and rebranded the
entire company and over 35 media properties under the umbrella of
the Outside brand, claiming 70 million unique users in its sprawling,
diverse outdoor-enthusiast network.
We used to have this funny saying in the app world: " How do you
make a small fortune building apps? Start with a large fortune. "
My only goal of owning any data is to build a better consumer experience around the active lifestyle. I don't want to be
in a position where I might have to sell data. I want to go public
because I want the ability to think about data from the perspective of building a better product for consumers, not having to do
something that they regret down the road when it comes to how
that data is used.
I am impatient by nature. I'm never really content. But that's actually a benefit.
There are going to be a lot of opportunities thanks to our size.
Scale will allow us to do more, but we have to prove that our mission is to bring as many people as possible into these categories.
It's not just a media company. We want to be able to tell you
where to go hike or how to find a trail for mountain biking. We
want to get you registered for an event
Every city I ever moved to-Kansas City, Boston, New York,
Palo Alto, Austin-my groups were cycling groups. Cycling
has been the stitching so to speak. It's where I've met everyone. It's
where my network has been from an investment perspective. It's
frankly led to pretty much everything that's ever happened to me.
There's a saying: " Trust is earned in drops and lost in buckets. "
The truth is, we have to earn the market's trust-we have to build a
great product and deliver.
Active Pass is our way of connecting the dots of the entire outdoor ecosystem. Everything an outdoor enthusiast needs now
lives in one place.
I grew up in the city in Denver. My parents didn't have any money
really. I was so lucky to find cycling. I think these types of opportunities can really change lives.
A lot of media has forgotten about maintaining an unbiased
perspective. You have to make sure you go get both angles on
There are some people on YouTube making millions of dollars a year. Those are the stories that you hear about. But the rest?
There's a long, long tail of people not making a lot of money.
At the core level, I just want people to be active. If there's something I want people to remember me by, it's that I helped the world
get active. O.R.
14 OUTDOOR RETAILER
/ April 2021
As the owner of the new Outside, Robin
Thurston has become the most influential
decision-maker in the outdoor-content
landscape-but, at heart, he's still just a cyclist
who wants to get more people active.
By Doug Schnitzspahn
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - April 2021
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - Cover1
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - Cover2
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 3
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 4
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 5
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 6
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 7
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 8
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 9
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 10
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 11
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 12
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 13
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 14
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 15
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 16
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 17
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 18
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 19
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 20
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 21
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 22
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 23
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 24
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 25
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 26
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 27
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 28
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 29
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 30
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 31
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 32
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 33
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 34
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 35
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 36
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - Cover3
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - Cover4