FAVORITE AUTHOR OR BOOK: Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond. PEOPLE OFTEN DESCRIBE ME AS: Optimistic. SOMETHING I CANNOT DO WITHOUT: Exercise. A QUALITY ABOUT A PERSON THAT CATCHES MY ATTENTION: Humility.
Zigging when others are zagging
A VENTURE OF ONE'S OWN. Jared Cluff has over 20 years of experience disrupting industries, whether at meal kit pioneer Blue Apron, dating site Match.com or early fintech E*TRADE. But until his current role, he had never been in the founder’s seat. “I had a blast being in the marketing seat helping reinvent those industries for so many years. But I wanted to stretch in new ways, and I wanted to do it as a founder.”
Jared’s path to becoming a co-founder at the digital fitness startup Caliber was serendipitous. He had known Caliber co-founders Justin Fauci and Chris Muir through mutual friends in New York, but they had never discussed the business in detail. As Jared was leaving Blue Apron, he went to dinner with Justin and Chris to learn more about the company as they began exploring how to scale their early, bootstrapped business into a major player.
Personal training had been unchanged for decades, and it was ripe for disruption and innovation, Jared notes. The vision for Caliber was to reinvent personal training with a mobile-first experience, 24x7 access to the world’s best trainers, and data-driven programming to make working out not only more effective, but more accessible as well.
With fitness a personal passion and his interest piqued, Jared grabbed drinks with Justin, and a partnership was born. While he has helped many companies grow from their early stages, the experiences haven’t always been up and to the right. He helped both Fab.com and Blue Apron scale from the earliest of days to valuations above $1 billion, and then struggle with the consequences of such rapid growth. “It was thrilling to be part of businesses that became so successful so quickly. But I saw firsthand the criticality of building for the long-term, and staying maniacally focused on the customer throughout.”
THE IMPACT OF DIVERSITY. “What I’ve seen over the years is the competitive advantage that comes from having a diversity of perspectives around the table. The greater the diversity of a team, the better the ideas. The better the ideas - especially in marketing - the better your odds for success,” Jared says.
Jared grew up in rural Montana, and being in the backwoods for the first 18 years of his life contributed to his desire to be at the forefront of the innovation economy. After graduating from college at Stanford during the dot com boom, he got his dream job at the early Internet darling E*TRADE. “There were a number of gay people at the company, including senior leaders, and it was a very welcoming environment,” he says. “I had no fear of having to hide my identity, which was a real privilege in 1999. Today, I realize just how lucky I was to be in such an empowering environment so early in my career.”
Jared acknowledges the importance of staying nimble, remaining curious and continuously reinventing yourself. “You can never rest on your laurels. It’s really true that only the paranoid survive. When you think you’re in good shape, that you can lean back for a bit, that’s exactly when someone is about to come eat your lunch.” The antidote, he says, is to surround yourself with smart, creative, and diverse teams who are emboldened by personal passion, leave their egos at the door and are driven to win. “At Caliber, we’re reinventing fitness by breaking the mold on what everyone else is doing. We’re making fitness accessible to everyone, regardless of their age, gender, experience, or income. I couldn’t think of a more fulfilling way to spend my days and am privileged to work with such an incredible team to make our vision at Caliber a reality.”