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? firstname.lastname@example.org”
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.