Meet The Disruptors: Mohammed “Rab” Shanableh Of OxeFit On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Keep your life balanced — Family and personal time often take a hit in the race to the finish. Extreme and diligent efforts should be made to stay balanced. Too often you don’t realize just how important this effort is to your mindset, your health and your success.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mohammed “Rab” Shanableh.

With a career spanning 25 years in technology, Rab has teamed with some of the most elite industry global leaders in the technical arena. He is presently the Managing Partner of Lydia Partners Venture Fund and the Co-founder and CEO of OxeFit, a robotics fitness tech company that focuses on robust strength training and human performance.

Prior to co-founding OxeFit, he co-founded Affirmed Networks and was responsible for the Worldwide Operations organization and Systems Engineering divisions at Sonus Networks.

Rab received his Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering at The University of Kansas.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Of course! Thanks for the opportunity. I’m the CEO of OxeFit, a first-of-its-kind strength training system that’s revolutionizing the world of connected fitness. Engineering and technology have always had a stronghold on me. I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering at The University of Kansas and I’ve also been drawn to problem-solving as I believe it’s not only one of the most valuable skill sets one can have — but also the tool that drives forward solutions in both business and personal endeavors.

Almost exclusively, my talents and efforts have been concentrated on the latest cutting-edge technology with a primary focus on software, mobile, and data architecture development and applications.

It started with Advising Sonus Networks during its pre IPO stage in the late 90s. Sonus Networks was the main tech driver behind voice over packet technologies. It was the first in the market to take traditional telephony traffic and packetize it over the internet and nowadays most people communicate over the internet. I managed the Sales and Operations of the company post the IPO stage. The original idea was very disruptive on both technology and cost fronts. It collapsed multiple legacy network elements into one elegant software and hardware solution that removed significant cost out of the service providers networks.

From there, I went on to co-found Affirmed Networks, an industry leader in virtualization and 5G, which was acquired by Microsoft Networks. Affirmed Networks was a huge success as it played a critical role in revolutionizing data center into cloud based architectures, and I’m proud to say a member of the prestigious Global Unicorn Club, an exclusive award recognizing outstanding private companies valued at over $1 billion. It truly changed the way operators build their packet core.

With a career spanning 25 years in technology and NASA research, and three successful company exits under my belt, I shifted my attention towards OxeFit to focus on designing a robust strength training platform that can be powered by AI-based algorithms. OxeFit was the outcome of meeting with my co-founder and CTO Dr. Peter Neuhaus who, at the time, was doing research in the robotics area. Fitness and wellness had always been an area of interest for me, and fitness technology was increasingly no longer seen as just for professional athletes, but also incredibly useful for anyone seeking a healthy lifestyle regardless of their fitness level.

I saw the white space to help an overlooked demographic of people discover and fall in love with fitness. Dr. Peter and I started discussing a fitness machine that should be simple and enjoyable to use — but offer all the options that can be found at a gym, and more — and thus OxeFit was born.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

First I wanted to revolutionize the way athletes train with science and technology, as this was an area that needed advancing, but would also provide key learnings for the consumer market. Not everyone was getting the proper education and tools to train or rehab safely. More so, elite trainers and pro-athletes were privy to information that other fitness fanatics weren’t.

My team and I were able to solve the difficult problem of developing a fitness machine for professional athletes — using state-of-the-art AI technology — that could ultimately be used in the comfort of a person’s home.

When we unveiled the XP1, OxeFit’s commercial fitness machine, many elite athletes benefited greatly from XP1’s advanced science and technology. With the help of XP1’s AI technology, celebrity athletes are using OxeFit to become the best versions of themselves and educate consumers on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and fitness routine. The ability for XP1 to track performance, deliver highly personalized analytics, and offer advanced coaching has never been done. I don’t want people to look at OxeFit as just a piece of gym equipment, I want people to use OxeFit as a lifestyle.

It was a satisfying milestone for us when we could make the XS1 available to anyone in their homes. Late last year, we launched OxeFit’s first consumer product, XS1, which allowed us to take all the cloud functions from XP1 and apply them to XS1 so consumers could use OxeFit’s latest innovation in the comfort of their home. The XS1 really offers something unique in the at-home market — it combines strength, cardio, balance, and immersive interactive fitness training all in a single apparatus. Programs include rowing, canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, SurfSwiming, SkiCross and digitally-controlled pilates.

It’s truly the only at-home fitness system that offers the same level of workouts you can get in professional training facilities — and leverages robotics and artificial intelligence. The reason I’ve been so keen on AI is so consumers are able to get personalized insights and coaching that lets them take control of their own personal journey to a healthier life. I wanted to push the boundaries of what’s possible when you have the right data and OxeFit does just this.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When reflecting on some of the funniest mistakes I’ve made, a majority of the time they were centered around the belief that I knew or had a seasoned understanding of all the facets of my field. Some may call that ego or overconfidence, but when you’re starting out, you’re excited about the possibilities to prove yourself. There were many lessons learned and lots of laughs, but I came to realize that it’s impossible to obtain all of the knowledge and understanding in your field early on. It’s important to always continually grow and learn, no matter how much of an expert you are.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

A key mentor in my life has been Hassan M. Ahmed Ph.D., CEO of Affirmed Networks, former CEO of Sonus Networks, and an OxeFit board member. Hassan is a well-respected and prolific leader who brings an extensive technology background accompanied by a proven track record of disrupting industries through successful ventures. He’s helped bring more innovative perspectives to the table in the technology and fitness space and has been an essential part of my journey to starting OxeFit. When I worked at Affirmed Networks and Sonus Networks, I looked up to him to provide guidance on how to disrupt markets. Something that stuck with me was Hassan’s belief to always question if something was impactful. He continues to guide me on my ventures by advising on OxeFit’s business strategy and expansion in order to further the company’s leadership, growth, and profitability.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Being a tech guy, disruption is not only positive, but it’s a requirement for success. In today’s technologically advanced society, being savvy is just not enough. You’ve got to focus on and be drawn to constant evolution and always be a hundred steps ahead. This not only satisfies that insatiable appetite for “what’s next” in the world today but also keeps you ahead of your competition.

Positive technology disruption is where innovation can significantly provide improvements in a segment of the market. In this case with OxeFit, AI-driven technology will positively disrupt and shake the fitness industry due to its ability to track a person’s performance and provide them with feedback, thus, allowing everyone to help make their workouts as efficient and safe as possible.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Keep a strong focus — don’t bury yourself in the details.

Keep your life balanced — Family and personal time often take a hit in the race to the finish. Extreme and diligent efforts should be made to stay balanced. Too often you don’t realize just how important this effort is to your mindset, your health and your success.

Surround yourself with people who challenge and motivate you — it’s important to be around like-minded individuals who will help you pursue your goals. This is equally important in both your professional and personal life.

Don’t be hesitant when it comes time to commit and don’t be cautious about dreaming. Overall, innovation, determination, teamwork and focus are key to a technology startup’s success.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Fitness is typically used by a subset of the population to build body mass and lose weight. We see using OxeFit as more of an overall lifestyle change where with time, it will become part of every household or gym. People will want to use OxeFit to train, compete, and feel strong, of course, but we see equal value in that it can make you feel mentally strong, as well. Whether someone has five minutes to work out or an hour, OxeFit allows users’ workouts to be completely customized to their own unique fitness goals.

OxeFit also just announced a new round of funding, with celebrity athletes, such as Dustin Johnson and Jalen Ramsey, as investors. We’re excited by the support of the pro athlete community and adding Dustin and Jalen to our team of investors further validates the need — and excitement — for smarter, more diverse, at-home fitness systems. Last year was about OxeFit launching in a B2B setting and this year we’re thrilled to show off the excellence of OxeFit to consumers.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Don’t specifically have a book or podcast that has had a deep impact on my thinking, but I’ve respected talks and have always had the utmost respect for Jack Welch and Steve Jobs. As a businessman, I’ve always respected how they wanted to push boundaries and not stick to the status quo. Jack Welch taught me to always discover the best in people around me. Steve Jobs, being the leader he was and being in awe of the way he changed the culture of technology, impacted my leadership style by allowing me to distinguish leaders from followers.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

A friend of mine once shared a story regarding a lesson his father taught him. “Before making a friend, think about it a thousand times, but once you make him your friend, never think about it again.” This has stuck with me as sage advice for not only personal friendships but also important business decisions. This lesson speaks directly to careful consideration and commitment — two important qualities for success. I practice these in every strategic business relationship I approach and it has continued to serve me well.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would definitely like to inspire a movement that focuses on education. Every day there are examples that represent the need for the increased development of more evolved, non-traditional educational opportunities. This is present at all levels.

The world is technologically advancing at an alarming speed and we must ensure that education and learning are available at the same pace. We as a society have an obligation to educate future generations and I would love to be involved in efforts that are focused on supporting our youth to develop advanced skill sets that deliver a more marketable, qualified, and self-sufficient population.

How can our readers follow you online?

To see how OxeFit will continue to shake up the fitness industry, I encourage readers to follow our latest developments on our website, Instagram and LinkedIn, all linked below.

OxeFit’s website:

OxeFit’s Instagram handle: @oxefitinc.

OxeFit LinkedIn url:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Meet The Disruptors: Mohammed “Rab” Shanableh Of OxeFit On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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