Michael Antaran and I have a lot in common. We were both born and raised in Michigan. We both left jobs in the corporate world to create our own start-ups. We’re both building software on a consistent basis, and we’re building Alexa Skills and Google Actions (voice-based apps on top of Alexa and Google Assistant) and integrating everything into one overall experience.
Watch the entire video or listen to the podcast while you’re working, running, walking the dog, whatever and you’ll hear all of that, but the key points are here…
Michael is the CEO of CARROT Wellness, a mobile app that rewards you for walking. Period. That’s it. Super simple. But how he got to where he is today isn’t as simple. But it is really freaking cool.
Michael is a software engineer who worked for Chrysler. A dream job since he fell in love with cars growing up in Motor City.
But when his first child was born, he was up in the middle of the night tending to the baby, and couldn’t fall back asleep, so he started coding mobile apps (remember, the iPhone had JUST come out).
A gamer, he coded games, and turned these 80 hour work weeks into a successful mobile app gaming company that was so successful he left his full time job to pursue it.
Four years later, he pivoted. Not for business reasons, but for personal reasons. And there was nothing wrong in his family health wise, thank God. But, there was something wrong, in his wife’s opinion, with the negative impact she thought his company was having on the youth of America.
“I was helping kids get fat,” says Antaran. Having a moral issue with this, he decided to take a year, and change the way all of his mobile games let users buy more lives and power-ups. Instead of charging money for them, he made users walk to earn them.
Yep, he tapped into the pedometer on smartphones, and rewarded gamers for walking. “You have to do the work. You can’t fake it or enter your own information,” he adds.
This story quickly got the attention of major health systems in Michigan back in 2015, and CARROT was born.
CARROT is now mainly a B2B app that companies can use to promote health and wellness among their employees, but there are consumer facing versions, and Alexa Skills integrated as well.
CARROT is a full experience. “It’s all about engagement,” says Antaran. “Without engagement, you can’t improve.”
Why did CARROT’s four person team of software engineers add Alexa Skills into the experience?
“The data,” said Antaran. “Start-ups can’t live without it.”
Which brings me to maybe the most important thing Michael and I have in common – making data driven decisions. I highly encourage you to listen to this entire episode.
Thanks and have a great day!