Ep 98: A Conversation with Zwift’s Chief Product Officer - the man with the plan

July 1, 2021

Welcome to this Zwiftcast Special Episode, an extended interview with the company’s first Chief Product Officer.

YuChiang Cheng, known to all as YC, was appointed in January and the move was hailed as “critically important” by Zwift’s CEO, Eric Min.

YC was put in charge of what seemed like almost everything . . . .from game design and art, engineering, research and development through content programming and live operations, plus a bit more.

It was clear that YC, whose background includes the development of the 28 million-player World Tour Golf game, was going to be hugely influential in Zwift’s continued growth and development.

So what does he have planned? Was the rapid deployment of the much-requested Return To Home feature soon after YC joined a mere co-incidence or a sign of things to come? Is Zwift working on a brand new platform architecture? Will new features roll out faster? So many questions.

Simon sits down with YC to see if the Zwift community can get some answers to these and lots of other questions.

We hope you enjoy listening.


00.00-02.10: Intro, including rules of engagement

02.30: What was your last decision in your last meeting?

02.50:Give us your 60 second career resume? (SPOILER: It’s longer than 60 secs) 

04.45: How did the opportunity at Zwift come about?

06.46: Do you ride a bike?

08.00: Have you identified areas where Zwift needs to change the way it works?

10.00: The Press release on your arrival stressed “accessibility” and “innovation”. What did that mean?

13.58: In seeking to widen accessibility there’s a feeling that the hard core cyclist will lose out to the casual fitness crowd. You are prioritising growth over development. How do you respond to that?

17.20: The last couple of updates have included “crowd pleaser” features. Is that your doing?

19.50: Is the company developing a Zwift 2.0? A new games engine? 

21.50: So is Jon Mayfield, in his new role, working on a new game engine? 

22.15: The golf game you were involved in featured performance improvements in exchange for payment. Will this ever be the case on Zwift?

23.10: Zwift Running has not been a conspicuous success. Is Zwift’s future multi-sport?

24.00: Why is hardware development so critical?

25.55:  Zwift is neither agile nor nimble. Do you feel the need to address this?

29.10: Has recruitment of talented development people improved? Why not offshore development?

32.20: Tell me about your working relationship with Jon Mayfield?

34.30: We see a number of big projects announced - then grind to a halt. Why?

37.50: Pace Partners, as an example, were a huge hit. But development of them has been glaciallly slow. Why?

40.15. Racing: At pro level, it serves Zwift marketing well. At community level, tools, features and functions are slow to roll out.Fair point?

43.30: Why are some Zwifters on very high end machines seeing low frame rates on Makuri? Is this directional, or a glitch?

48.00 Will Zwift ever lock down certain features to its own hardware?

51.00: Zwift hardware. When are we going to see something?

51.20: What has surprised you, both upside and downside, since you joined Zwift?

52.35: Golfers or cyclists. Which is the most demanding community? 

53.00: Does Zwift have a proper dialogue with its community?

55.10: Thanks and goodbye. 




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