Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Dieting App MyFitnessPal Aims for Global Growth

MyFitnessPal just raised $18 million. What’s the first plan of business? Go international.


MyFitnessPal in Danish and Russian

Along with a design refresh, the maker of the popular health-tracking dieting service has now localized its iOS and Android apps and message boards in six languages: Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Russian and Italian.

Fewer than 10 percent of MyFitnessPal’s 40 million registered users hail from outside its core countries: the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Canada. And that makes sense; all four are English speaking.

The app’s value comes, in large part, from its database of 3 million food items, many of which are added by its own users. Dieters search MyFitnessPal’s database in order to record their daily caloric intakes. Extending that function to six new countries was hardly an easy matter.

As MyFitnessPal’s international operations head Jakob Nordenhof Jønck described the challenge, it wasn’t always straightforward to translate food terms, and different countries use different units of measure and different food labeling systems.

“You can’t really build the food database artificially,” Jønck said. “We want to have organic growth internationally, just as we did in the U.S.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work