I come from the Internet Technology business with a lot of focus on open source and the newer Cloud models. This has been a driving force in how we have thought about designing and delivering RunSignUp.
I just re-read an article by a friend of mine on The Open Web. It is a bit geeky for the race director and timer community, but some of the basics are what RunSignUp is built on. In particular:
We’ll shift our focus away from systems of record and toward systems of engagement.
Our business partners will drive us to design web platforms, not just websites.
We’ll give smart mobile devices and apps high priority in our designs — usually with a mobile-first policy.
Obviously the big dog in the online running registration is Active.com. They come from a different era where they drive traffic to their site to make money on registration fees as well as advertising and selling subscriber names.
RunSignUp is designed from the bottom up to live on other websites with our widget technology. As seen above, the Dexter Ann Arbor Half Marathon allows registration right on their website with RunSignUp. We think this is where the running community is – out in thousands of different local races and running clubs. With timers who work in collaboration with their race directors.
We will keep focusing our efforts on this new world of flexibility and freedom. And check how RunSignUp looks from your smartphone to signup for a race – it is pretty cool… (That’s HTML5 we use and technology like Terawurfl to determine if you have an iPhone, Android or iPad). Yep it is a new world and we are here to helpt he running community take advantage of this new wave of technology!
RunSignUp continues to grow very quickly by developing easy to use cloud services for the running community. Learn more about us here.
The ideal candidate will have a strong software development background in the technologies listed above – particularly web and database development. We will consider recent and upcoming college graduates with a bachelors or masters in computer science or related degree. Runners are certainly a big plus!
The ideal candidate will be located in the Philadelphia are and be able to work at least some days at our office at IndyHall. We do distributed development, so that is not a hard requirement.
The company is a well funded startup. We grew 5X from 2010 to 2011 and expect nearly similar growth this coming year. Send inquiries to bob.bickel at runsignup.com.
There was an article in the NYTimes today “No More Innovation for the Fun of It”. The point of the article was that many of the big companies like Apple and Google have turned into businesses that really only care about money. And in that pursuit they do things like capture information and figure out ways to use it to gain more money.
What this means is that you pay $3.25 to sign up for a $25 race. They then start sending you emails. Most of those emails contain ads from races and others – they are making money from your email. They try to direct runners to their website to sell more ads. And of course they have gone far beyond running in terms of their focus and business model.
Winter Updates – all of these features are currently available:
Age-Base Pricing – You can set pricing for multiple age ranges. RunSignUp automatically calculates the prices so when Mom signs herself and her family up everyone is assigned the right price automatically. It is accessed via the “Customize” tab and the “Registration” sub-tab in your Race Dashboard.
Family/Group Pricing – We make this simple to set up. Pick a price for ranges of the number of people, for example $50 for a family of 4, $60 for a family of 5-6. It is accessed via the “Customize” tab and the “Registration” sub-tab.
Multiple Charities – You can now allow runners to choose which charity they want to donate to. Set this in the “Donations” tab and “Charities” sub-tab.
Fundraising – We have made some major improvements to enable individuals and teams to do fundraising. This includes giving runners a chance to create their own personal fundraising page or even team page with a personal message, as well as setting a personal goal, displaying their own “thermometer” and scrolling list of donors. All of these donations roll up to the overall program(s) for your race.
Customized Widget – You can embed race registration right into your own website with our easy-to-use widget functionality. With this new feature, you can set the “CSS” so you can change the background, font, colors and buttons to blend right into your own website. As an example, the Dexter-AnnArbor race is using it on their website. In our Summer releases we will be making this very easy to configure, but right now it is for more advanced users (or we can help you thru the initial configuration – just email us). You can see the video on how to install a widget.
More Team Features – Supporting teams for your race can be complicated. We have made two rounds of changes over the past couple of months. The first set was to enable more complex team setups where people in different events could be on the same team, and where people could sign up for different fundraising teams. We just pushed out a new set of features that improves the sign up process for runners creating or joining a team. We also included major performance optimizations due to problems large team events were having.
Partner Upgrades – One of the major features of RunSignUp is the ability for race directors and timers to work together on races. A growing number of timers/race management companies are working with RunSignUp because they can manage many races and provide direct and secure access to race directors. One of the small, but important features is to provide a simpler login and tracking mechanism for partners when they login to RunSignUp. There used to be a two step process, and that has been simplified and is done when you login.
Login Persistance – You may have noticed that you don’t need to login to RunSignUp if you stay on the same computer and leave your browser window/tab open. We used to log people off after a period of inactivity, but have now taken the same approach as Facebook and Twitter and leave you logged in as long as we can detect the same browser and connection.
RunSignUp Sites Beta – We built RunSignUp Sites to provide the running community an “in-between” solution to giving a race, running club or timing service a web presence. With Sites, you get a full website that you can edit and change and add as many pages as you want. But we have limited the power that you would get from a full website building tool to make it easier for people to use.
The simple way to use this is to go into your race and click on the “Social Tab” and “RSU Sites” Sub-tab. Click on “Create Site” and select a URL and in 3 seconds you will have a site built.
You can see an example site here that has not been altered other than the top logo, and instructions site here. Take tiem to look at the Videos and the FAQ.
We provide this as a free web service to the running community. We do not provide support, but will try to answer questions posted in the Forum so the community can grow and hopefully help each other as the use of Sites grows. We do NOT require you to use our main service – RunSignUp.com – for your registration needs (although that is how we make money to develop and host Sites and other offerings). So you can use Active.com or some other service for registration if you want and hopefully give our service a try someday. This is for the Running Community ONLY. We will reserve the right to remove sites and content that is offensive, or is not involved with running.
For people who find Sites too difficult to understand, we suggest that you stick with RunSignUp.com – this will give you a free web page and we will do all the formatting automatically for you. For those people who find Sites too limiting, we suggest that you use the full WordPress capability (www.wordpress.com) that Sites is based upon.
Note this is a Beta release, so expect changes, and we are anxious to hear ideas for improvement.
Performance and Scalability – This is probably the most important thing we have done to prepare for the future. We have moved our platform into the Cloud, providing us with far faster servers, and the unique ability to scale. We have also implemented some major performance features like caching of certain pages. This means that it takes us only 15 milliseconds to display a race information page rather than the nearly half a second it used to take. This means faster response times and the ability to handle many more users per second. In addition we are using the Amazon content delivery network for your images and pdf registration forms – making sure the content is close to the runners who register for your race.
Testing Framework – You won’t see this, but we have done a number of things to improve our testing capability. This is important as we grow our development team and we do new releases on nearly a weekly basis. One of the very cool services we have started using is an opensource project called Selenium which allows us to automatically run through a set of tests and make sure the results are what is expected.