Equinox publishes content 400% faster with Airtable
Lindsey Puccio moved to New York to start her career in media when she was 20-years-old, “I wanted to make it in the best city in the world,” she said.
decrease in publishing time
increase in unique weekly classes
more on-demand content
She thinks of herself as equal parts creative and process oriented, which is why she wanted to work at Equinox Media. “It was a startup. It had only been around a couple of months, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to build workflows and the content arm of a startup,” she said.
This role and the innovation she brought to it changed the trajectory of her career.
She was brought on as a contracted post producer in the fall of 2019, tasked with bringing Equinox+, an app that would serve as a hub for digital fitness classes, to life. When Lindsey joined, she quickly realized she had her work cut out for her. “It was chaotic. We had to launch a product in six months but we literally didn’t have any content,” she said. To top it all off, her boss asked everyone to organize all the content for the new Equinox+ app in Airtable, which she’d never heard of and did not want to learn.
The goal for the app was to showcase digital classes from Equinox, SoulCycle, Precision Run, Pure Yoga and more. They planned to debut the app with a big launch moment at the SXSW conference in 2020. “I worked 31 days straight. My shortest day was eight hours on a Saturday,” Lindsey said. But days before the conference was set to begin, an emerging global pandemic shut everything down.
Rather than seeing Covid as a setback, Lindsey saw an opportunity. “We're not shooting anything. This is the best moment to have everybody slow down, reorganize and reintegrate into a system that will actually work,” she said.
Despite being sent to work from home the content for the app still launched on schedule. It had 50 unique classes for five of Equinox’s brands, but there were still a lot of mistakes they needed to work through prior to releasing content which was challenging given they no longer had the convenience of being together in person. A lot of the classes and content were being manually input and managed in spreadsheets and docs, which led to a lot of human error. “On the screen the in-app visuals didn’t align directly with the voice over. So the instructor would say one thing but the athlete taking the class would be seeing another,” Lindsey said.
She realized part of the problem was that people weren’t buying into Airtable, and that it could be leveraged even more significantly with remote work. They didn't understand how to work in this new tool in a way that felt safe, people were afraid of breaking the system, so she created a separate Airtable base for each of the eight different Equinox partner brands. She gave people personalized views so they were only looking at information that pertained to them. For example an instructor will only see fields that pertain to creating a class plan, like exercise movements and music. “I started teaching people that this is your space, only focus on this, and once they got into it they could see how their piece integrates into the entire system,” she said.
Lindsey established what she calls ‘core values’ of the ecosystem. Meaning there was only one point of entry for any piece of information. That data could then flow endlessly to other locations for collaboration creating a golden dataset. This created a single source of truth and a defined ideal workflow for the content supply chain while still allowing flexibility based on unique processes and timeline of work completion.
Once Equinox had more widespread adoption of Airtable, “we had a breakthrough,” she said. They went from publishing 50 classes in six months to publishing 50 new classes a week all thanks to the single source of truth they created in Airtable. “We showed that we could scale in a short amount of time because of how clean everything was,” Lindsey said. Even with production increasing, they were able to track resources and time for budgeting and forecasting purposes.
Lindsey worked with Equinox Media engineers to create custom APIs that pull content from their Airtable base into Contentful, the digital content management platform that powers Equinox+ app. By pairing this platform with Airtable they pull information directly from a base and can bulk publish fitness classes 400% faster without having to worry about manual mistakes.
"Airtable removed the human error."
Lindsey also partnered closely with Airtable’s Customer Success team, trying out new beta features like Base sync which connected her team's bases while still allowing them to have that private workflow. “There was this symbiotic relationship. As we grew Airtable grew with us,” Lindsey said.
Because of this great migration Equinox+ went from a U.S. tool to a global app, from publishing for only two brands to eight, from 149 unique classes to 4,500 unique classes. “The amount of people who have come up to me and said. ‘This department would not work the way that it does without you,’ makes me really proud. It's validating,” she said. Lindsey has been promoted three times since she started in 2019.
"I’ve grown so much at this company because of Airtable. I definitely wouldn't have the same growth if it weren't for this ecosystem."
But what's most rewarding for her is to see her team succeed. “The best way to test whether you actually understand something is to teach somebody else. The entire team has been so successful, and it is definitely because they have been able to learn Airtable and expand their product knowledge,” she said.
To learn more about Equinox Media's workflow, read the customer blog here.