What does Lose It! do exactly?
The Lose It! mobile weight loss program for web, iPhone and Android has allowed users to collectively lose more than 34 million pounds, with the average user dropping more than 12 pounds. This app helps users not only track what they eat – but it adds a social component of peer support to ensure motivation and efficiency of tracking. Lose It! takes your standard weight loss app and brings it to the next level, to make it a fun and friendly way to lose weight as a group. It proves that when people form small support groups for weight loss, they are more apt to stick with a diet program and see successful results. Lose It! helps them to do just that- from anywhere on a computer, iPhone or Android.
What were major challenges you faced?
Lose It! started out as a five person start-up, where allocating resources and incurring overhead to manage day-to-day application infrastructure needs severely lacked priority. The company was looking to distinguish itself in a crowded software application market by offering a high quality, life-changing app.
The operations strategy was always to leverage third parties for infrastructure and maintenance, while the business strategy was to provide an excellent customer experience that differentiates Lose It! from other weight loss apps on the market. The goal was not to invest in complex infrastructure – but to have it simply exist.
A great challenge Lose It! faced was preparing for unknown demand. There was no way of predicting the success of the app, as well as how many servers would be needed to meet demand and how it would handle high spikes in traffic. Thus, infrastructure planning was hampered by the seasonal peaks of weight loss apps (think New Year’s Resolutions, preparing for the summer, back to school times). The company struggled with both overestimating demand – and underestimating demand – as well.
Lose It! resorted to a cloud deployment that would enable rapid scaling based on fluctuations in demand. FitNow developers had made the decision to develop the front and back end of the application in Java. The development team wanted a cloud solution that would utilize the maximum capacity of Java. This would enable Lose It! to focus on delivering great apps, without dealing with infrastructure and deployment issues. We (as in Lose It!? Maybe say “The company” since rest of post is in third person) considered plenty of solutions for a PaaS deployment, but found that many lacked the automation, transparency and flexibility we wanted – until they found CloudBees.
How did CloudBees help you overcome those challenges and find success?
FitNow deployed Lose It! to the cloud using RUN@cloud, allowing the servers for the application to replicate database servers, with the cache servers running on RUN@cloud. The CloudBees infrastructure for Lose It! handled thousands of writes per minute – with tens of thousands of reads per minute! Lose It! began to see volumes as high as 25,000 transactions per minute – with CloudBees handling everything 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
CloudBees enables the Lose It! development team to share a test version of the website by instantly spinning up a new server in the cloud, helping them to easily see where changes need to be made. CloudBees has taken care of deployment and development details that few organizations have the time or experience to delve into.
CloudBees helped Lose It! overcome challenges in 3 major ways. Lose It! can now deploy in minutes, not weeks, turning a previous two-week process into a quick five minute operation. Secondly, Lose It! now has reliable, high-volume transactions with no administration overhead. This alone saves them $100,000 per year – all with an IT budget of zero. Lastly, CloudBees enabled increased focus on core differentiators, enabling the Lose It! team to create a compelling, motivational and innovative user experience helping people lose weight, and ultimately change their lives for the better.
Outside of building a successful and trustworthy weight loss app, collectively, what is either your or the Lose It! team’s favorite exercise to maintain a healthy weight?
A lot of us like to run but what’s cool is we’re each making the sport our own; some of us our training for our first 5K, others have set their sights on a repeat 10K, and one of our engineers is gearing up for an Ironman!
What’s your favorite indulgence that you just can’t resist, even saving a few calories at the end of the week for it?
We have a weakness for donuts! Our company t-shirts even have a pic of a donut on them with the tagline “Diet food”; the idea being you can eat the foods you love…in moderation!