A few reflections on Smashrun’s 3rd birthday

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As far back as I can remember birthdays have always been as much for me about celebration as they’ve been about introspection. It’s important, I think, to occasionally pick your eyes up off the road beneath your feet and look off into the distance to be sure you’re going the right way, but also to look back behind to see if you’re happy with where you’ve been. Seeing as this past week marks Smashrun’s 3rd birthday since it’s launch, and since the vantage afforded from here is as good as any I am likely to find. I decided to write blog a post.

Smashrun is Jacklyn, Steve, and myself. We aren’t funded. We don’t have sponsorships from big fitness companies (or small ones for that matter). And for the last 3 years we’ve paid our expenses out of pocket – with the notable exception of our 6 month participation in Start-Up Chile. Thanks people of Chile!

Considering that Nike, Garmin, RunKeeper, MapMyRun, etc have literally millions of dollars in funding and large engineering/UX/design teams I think we’ve done pretty well. The thing is, when you’re working on something that you’re really passionate about, devoting yourself to it completely isn’t something that’s difficult to do. And I think that’s really the magic that has allowed us to accomplish all that we have with so little.

But what I think has really been astonishing is how much you guys have chipped in to help. When I put together the first mockups of the site, we decided to include a little line on the bottom that read:

“Questions, problems, ideas or just want to help? hi@smashrun.com”

Since then we’ve had people offer their help coding, drafting design mockups, sending detailed bug reports, beta testing new features, even offering to print smashrun decals for us. So, in a way, as much as we’ve invested in our users, they’ve also invested in us. And that to me feels a lot like family, which is a pretty wonderful thing to feel.

So, here we are, now and where are we going? Garmin support is big on the list. It’s in beta right now. We’ve been working like crazy to resolve all of the issues our beta testers have found. And it’s almost ready.

We’ve also made the decision to allow pretty much unlimited running histories. We’re hoping that one doesn’t come back to bite us. Between all the new Garmin data and the extended histories, our database is now growing at nearly a gigabyte a day. Our current servers are holding up, but at this rate, they won’t be for long.

Clearly, for Smashrun to grow and thrive, it’s going to need to be self-sufficient. So with that in mind, we’ve also been working on some “pro” features. These are things that we’ve always wanted to build, but that we knew would put a big load on our servers if we did. By making these features part of a subscription, we hope to cover our server costs, but more importantly we want to be able to fund the development of all of the cool stuff you’ve been suggesting to us. (Shout-out to those who completed their surveys. We’re listening and taking notes.)

So happy birthday Smashrun! Thank you to everyone who’s been with us from the beginning. And thanks to everyone who’s joined along the way. Hopefully next year our family will be a lot bigger, and we’ll have built a lot of those features you’ve requested and that we’ve always wanted ourselves.

  1. zoe

    we can tell what hard work and long hours go in to making each detail of SR as friendly, useful, and interesting as possible. Keep up the good work. Cant wait for pro to launch! Happy Birthday smashrun!

  2. Chase P

    Such a huge fan of your site, the metrics are a motivator to keep going when running seems like a drag. I’ll be first in line when the pro version comes out. I’d also offer any coding help, as that is what I do for work, but I think you guys got it on lock right now. :)

    • Chris

      Thanks. That’s awesome and it’s really nice to hear. We’ve invested so many hours into the backend at this point to make sure that we can deliver these really robust analytics, but none of that is really visible from the interface yet. I can’t wait to start exposing some of that functionality.

  3. MAD

    Count on me to go pro…..Would gladly chip in to keep smashrun going

  4. Terry

    Because of Smashrun.com, I run more and I’m in much better health. Yes, count me in as a Pro subscriber. I’m happy to pay back what you’ve given me for free this past year and a half. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

  5. Elle

    For what it’s worth, I just want to tell you guys that the “big guys” come and go on my mobile devices, favorites lists, etc. but not once have I ever deleted/gave up on/been disappointed in my Smashrun (I delete Nike at LEAST once a quarter!) You guys are responsive, sweet, dedicated, and I always feel like I’m a special user when I’ve got a problem or question. You’ve got my support for life! Bring on the PRO!

  6. Elouise

    Absolutely love your website. It’s rather well designed and well created. Thank you for writing.