Tell me about Zumba:
It’s a movement. The business is the thing that allows the wheels to turn. If we didn’t have a business, we wouldn’t have a way to be funded. But I think the movement is important. Zumba is a movement. The people who have decided that they don’t want spent one hour a day in sacrifice, but that they want to spent an hour a day having fun and then at the same time do something that’s good for them. Zumba is about changing your life. Zumba is about being happy just because you are living the moment. Zumba is about feeling the music. If you do not know how to feel the music- you do not know how to feel life.
During your presentation you mention Zumba has become a platform for music artists. Could you address this further?
We are like a radio station. Over 14 million people take the Zumba classes. We could take an artist from Colombia and have them be heard all over the world in one week. That’s 14 million people dancing to the song. Not only listening to the song but dancing to the song. It’s a very powerful platform. We work with Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Wyclef Jean, and Claudia Leitte. Claudia Leitte is the biggest artist in Brazil. She wants to crossover and she is crossing over through Zumba. The world is going to love her. She is probably the best artist I’ve seen in Brazil.
You’ve also mention you were part of a start up incubator early on in your career. Do you see yourself playing an active role as an investor for start-ups in the present?
I have a big responsibility with Zumba!
What’s ahead for Zumba?
There’s a lot of music. We are not sure- what our role is going to be. There’s a big push for Zumba for kids. We are also working with Michelle’s Obama Childhood Obesity prevention program. There’s a big trend in Zumba lifestyle and apparel.
Will you say technology is growing in Latin America?
Yes. It’s all mobile. Finally everybody is going to have a computer. Their computer is going to be their phone. When you think about reaching Latin America you need to think about smart phones. Once you have smart phones that are inexpensive, than these people who have been suppressed because they don’t have access, will now have access! You’ll see some very smart people who have been oppressed all their life, suddenly will be getting an opportunity because they have access to information.
What will you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?
To have created something that makes people feel better.
The Festival of Media LatAm Exclusive: Alberto Perlman, Zumba Co-founder