Q&A: GoWild Co-Founder Brad Luttrell

Garmin and GoWild, an outdoors activity tracking and social media platform, in January announced the launch of GoWild’s Connect IQ™ app. The new integration paired technology from both sides to help outdoors people tell their story in a more data-backed way.

To learn more about the integration (where it’s been; where it’s going), here’s a Q&A with GoWild co-founder and CEO Brad Luttrell.

Garmin: In your words, what is the GoWild app?

Brad Luttrell: GoWild is an activity-based platform for outdoor enthusiasts. GoWild empowers conversations [and] education and ultimately helps you tell your story through activity and achievement tracking.

G: What would you say to those not yet using the app — those who might think it’s just for hunters?

BL: Oh, it’s so much more than hunting.

Actually, fishing is our most popular activity, with 89 percent of our audience being into some type of fishing. GoWild has nearly 60 different activities you can “follow” and learn more about, including climbing, biking, cooking, fitness, farming, running, snow sports, visiting state and national parks, and so much more. We track 40-plus activities that go far beyond hunting.

G: How much has changed with the app since its inception in 2017?

BL: We launched as a social media platform with minimal activity functionality. Over time, and through our relationship with Garmin, we have really focused on you (a GoWild user) telling your social story via activity and helping you get better with your activity data. For example, when we launched, you would primarily learn about archery [through] the content you saw posted or questions you had answered — but now with our Garmin archery app, you can look at your heart rate and other data to learn about your performance.

The platform overall has become much more data-oriented. 

G: How has your relationship with Garmin affected your growth?

BL: In 2019, we’ve launched two apps with Garmin, one that’s for hunting, archery and hiking (GoWild Hunt), and another for fishing (GoWild Fish). We’ve certainly seen an uptick in members since launching the Garmin apps, but the greatest value for GoWild has been the recognition and respect that Garmin’s name brings to a conversation. When people find out that we’ve worked directly with Garmin, it puts us in a new class of quality out of the gate. 

G: Can you share some more about the heart-rate tracking ability* from Garmin you’ve integrated into the GoWild Connect IQ app — the “dynamic biometric sensory timeline”?

BL: The heart-rate tracking* is incredible on the fēnix line. We wanted to find a way to tap into that data and share it with the outdoors enthusiasts — and provide insight. By overlaying the heart rate with relevant data such as your arrows shot, elevation hiked, or even the air temperature, we instantly give heart rate more context. And with the dynamic biometric sensory timeline (patent pending) — the ability to scroll and feel your heart rate and any given moment — you can actually re-live the workout, hunting or fishing trip or archery session in a way you just couldn’t do before. 

G: Can you explain the scoring system? Some see it as gamifying the act of being outdoors, but that’s not really what it’s about, right?

GoWild users with a compatible Garmin device can, through the GoWild Connect IQ app, Log and import outdoors activities and then re-live every detail.

BL: We can’t really say it doesn’t gamify the outdoors, because there is literally a score that’s used for ranking. But for GoWild, it goes beyond finding a “winner” or someone who is the best. The score is the culmination of all of your activity in the platform, so every time you track a hike, workout, hunt or fishing trip, we’re adding points to your profile. The same goes for your Achievements Log, which captures your fish or animal’s data and photos so you can save that memory to your profile. All of this goes into assessing how skilled of a sportsman you are, which other users can use in assessing if they want to listen to your advice or follow you.

This is your “street cred,” essentially. 

G: Now, with two years behind you, what does the GoWild app look like two years from now?

BL: We set out to build this product because we realized Silicon Valley was not catering to people like us: outdoors people. Social tech has innovated in cycling, fitness and running, but our audience, while huge and economically viable, doesn’t get some of the cool tech we’ve seen across the sports landscape.

Today, we’ve built a product that helps share and track your story. Over the next two years, we’ll continue building functionality that helps your story evolve, helps you learn and helps you do what you love, better. While I can’t say exactly what that means just yet, I can say it will continue to innovate for the modern outdoor enthusiast.

* See Garmin.com/ataccuracy.