Hisao Kushi '88 Recalls Important UMass Lessons at Innovators Alumni Network Kickoff Event
Monday, October 29, 2018
Monday, October 29, 2018
On October 24, New York City-area alumni experienced an exclusive networking and learning opportunity at the Peloton Interactive Penthouse in NYC, hosted by the Innovators Alumni Network and Hisao Kushi '88 (English), co-founder and general counsel for Peloton. Kushi gave a special presentation, during which he shared insights on how Peloton is revolutionizing the fitness industry by merging high design with modern technology.
Kushi began his presentaton recalling his time at UMass Amherst, where he majored in English. After briefly reminiscing over fried egg sandwiches at the Newman Center, being coxswain of the crew team, attending concerts and thought-provoking classes, and spending time in nearby Northampton, Kushi focused on a lesson that stuck with him (even though the name of the professor who taught it escapes him): "80% of you will work in a field that does not exist today." Kushi interpreted this to mean, "don't waste your time learning how to do stuff. Learn how to think and how to get stuff done." Kushi said learning this lesson was the most important thing he got out of his time at UMass, second only to meeting his wife, Karen Beaudoin Kushi '88.
With a degree in English, which equipped him with key critical thinking and writing skills, Kushi went on to attend law school at Boston College. Over the next 20 years, he nurtured a career in intellectual property law and licensing at a number of interactive and internet technology companies. In 2011, his skills were tapped by a friend, John Foley (now Peloton's co-founder and CEO) who envisioned bringing a boutique fitness experience into people's homes. The model was risky and innovative. It would require not only developing software and selling subscriptions, but also building hardware—in this case, arguably the best stationary bikes on the market.
Peloton quickly became popular among users and developed something of a cult following. The press took note, too. In 2015, Men's Health called Peloton's bike "the best cardio machine on the planet," the New York Times said the company's bike was an "ingenious development." The company is now valued at over $4 billion, and they've recently announced the development of a custom treadmill.
Following Kushi's presentation and a question and answer session, forward-thinking alumni had the opportunity to network and discuss how they bring new ideas and energy to many different industries across the country and around the globe.
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Hisao Kushi is a co-founder and general counsel of Peloton Interactive, Inc. Founded in 2012, Peloton is revolutionizing the fitness industry by merging high-design with modern technology to provide access to live and on-demand fitness group classes led by elite NYC instructors. Prior to Peloton, Hisao spent over 20 years in senior management and as general counsel for a number interactive and internet technology companies within Liberty Media and IAC/InterActiveCorp, including as COO and president for Evite, president for Gifts.com, and general counsel for, among other companies, Pronto, Citysearch and Buyseasons. He earned his bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst in 1988 and law degree from Boston College Law School in 1992.