Assigning Bib Numbers

As another part of our big Results project, we are enabling multiple ways to assign bib numbers.  This is not currently released, but we wanted to give our race directors and timers a preview.

There are four ways to assign bib and/or chip numbers:

  • Auto-assign.  We let you start at any number and go in ascending or descending order.  We let you write over existing numbers or just add to the ones that have already been assigned.  We also will sort the Participants by Last Name, First Name, Address, or by date of registration.
  • Manually Assign.  This let’s you make edits as well.
  • Import.  You will need to match the Runner ID number for this import.  You can also import new runners as a separate process if they are not already registered in RunSignUp.
  • API.  This is for other systems to be able to post bib numbers.  We hope to have The Race Director and RunScore support this feature for timers.

Here is a quick video on how it works today.  This will likely change a bit, but should be released in the next couple of weeks!  Let us know your input.

Bib Labels

One of the many little tasks race directors and timers have to worry about is printing labels for their bibs.  As part of our Results project we are working on, we will be coming out with ways to assign bibs, or upload bibs from Excel or from timing software like Race Director and RunScore.

We have released an early version of our Bib Labeling capability.  It gives race directors and timers the ability to easily print out on the pervasive Avery 5160 type labels, and gives a lot of flexibility on selecting what information to display and how on the labels.

Here is a quick video that shows how it works.  Let us know your feedback!

Free Services Strategy – Free Results Posting

A couple of years ago when we started RunSignUp, our basic strategy was to charge a processing fee when it cost us to process a transaction.  We uplift our cost for the charge to pay for our salaries and infrastructure and hopefully make a profit.  We figure this is a pretty decent way to associate value with cost for races – meaning larger races pay us more than smaller races.

We also came up with a strategy to not charge for our services that cost us relatively nothing to deliver on an incremental basis.  As an example, you can let volunteers sign up for free since there is no charge.  Or you can enter paper registrations for free.  It basically costs us some money for storage and processing, which is really, really cheap.

We are getting around to putting together some pretty cool services now that we have the basics of registration covered.  Right now we are putting a lot of effort into Race Results.  We will write more about this over the next month.  But so far we have Simple Results posting, and are testing Mobile Timing.  We will be having full results posting for races and timers over the next month with lots and lots of cool features that will be great for runners looking for fast results and mobile access, as well as making it easy for timers and race directors to give that to them!

While we are doing a lot of interesting and tough development work on this, we will be providing this for free to any race.  We now give races the ability to create a Race Info page on RunSignUp WITHOUT having to do registration.  If you do registration on Active.com, that is fine – we will even point to Active.com for you.  Once you have a race on our website, you will then be able to post results – for free.  No strings attached.

Of course we hope you like our services so much you start using us for registration, so we can continue to develop cool stuff and provide runners with an easier, better, less intrusive and lower cost way to register online!

Mobile-Cloud Timer App

Stephen Sigwart, Andrew Burke, Billy Connoly

We have been working hard on giving race directors and timers the ability to post results and give runners the ability to see their results.  We are starting to enter Beta with this, and have a number of features coming such as easy posting of Race Director and RunScore result file, nice looking results display, and an Open API to make it easy for others to integrate with our system.

Today we were having a little hack session and trying out a new Mobile App we have created for the iPhone to do simple timing of an event.  Think stopwatch, collecting bib numbers and posting them – except everything is done with an iPhone!  We will be testing this live next Tuesday at a race here in South Jersey.  If all goes well we will be releasing the application and code (in open source!) shortly afterwards.  Exciting stuff!

Stakeholders – Not Shareholders!

I read an article in the New York Times titled “Down With Shareholder Value“.   This has been something that I have thought a lot about the past 20 years.  It always struck me as strange that the reason for a company would be to serve shareholders.  To me it is an equal balance of Customers, Employees and shareholders.  If any of those are out of sync, then the company is lost – or at least not a place I want to hang around.

The problem with being a public company, or even a VC backed company, is that the financial people are smarter and more ruthless than customers or employees.  They have more “leverage” in lots of ways.

Why do I bring this up on my RunSignUp blog?  Well, because I think it is important to make this distinction to our stakeholders.  We have a simple structure since I am the only financial person and the leverage I seek is based around having some great people building great technology that makes the running community happy.  Of course I want a profitable company, but not one that is leveraged with debt or building up the “value” in other people’s eyes so they pay a bunch of money.


I hate (actually I don’t) to bring up Active.com, but after reading the article I went a looked up their stock.  They had a bad quarterly earnings report that caused their market capitalization to drop from $815M to $655M – a loss of $160M in a week.  When you read a summary report, you find they actually did not do all that badly on the financials.  Revenue was up 23%.  They lost some money, but only a few pennies per share more than expected.  Hopefully they are balancing the input of the financial markets with the interests of their employees and customers.

You can see Active’s focusing on their expanding universe of customers by this quote from the press release: “we achieved an important technology milestone by launching the first Hunting and Fishing permitting application”.

I suppose that is good for RunSignUp’s financial prospects since we are focusing on one running a running business for runners.  See – we are focused!