PaddleSignUp and AdventureSignUp

AdventureSignUpPaddleSignUpNEW

Along with the recently released BikeSignUp, TriSignUp and SkiSignUp, we now offer PaddleSignUp.com and AdventureSignUp.com branding for paddle sport and adventure customers who want their signup to be specific to their type of event. Like with BikeSignUp, all races are listed on each iteration of the site (BikeSignUp, RunSignUp, TriSignUp, AdventureSignUp, PaddleSignUp and SkiSignUp), and race directors can access all of their races from any dashboard. However, events that share the PaddleSignup.com or AdventureSignUp.com version of their URL will display the particular logo in the header image. For example, a Paddleboard race would direct participants to PaddleSignUp.com/TheBigPaddle.com.

The standard RunSignUp logo is replaced with the PaddleSignUp logo for each race using the root URL:

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Help Wanted – UI Developer

Update – This position has been filled.

Help WantedWe are looking for a full time UI developer in the Philadelphia area to join our team and help create our next generation platform for the endurance industry.

The ideal candidate will be someone who loves UI Design AND loves to Code and produce software that is used by millions of people who are running races and those people who help organize and time tens of thousands of events, in addition to helping running clubs and running stores. You will be working alongside some other very talented developers. We are not looking for someone who only does design or does not code.

The ideal candidate will be someone who can take full responsibility for the front end of RunSignUp. To do this, you will need to be able to produce good design, but also dig into the code and produce HTML, CSS, Less and Javascript. You will be working with a large system that needs a major overhaul of the UI. You will be working in a combination of a PHP web app with a MVC architecture based on Smarty Templates as well as React and new architectures like AWS Lambda for newer parts of the system.

There are several large projects that we will want you to take responsibility of:

  • Create several optional templates for customer Race Websites (right now we have one, and we want to offer customers several to choose from).
  • Target specific high use parts of the Race Director Dashboard to ease use. As we and our customers have grown, some of our original UI Design templates have been outgrown.
  • Help with design of the new RaceDay Scoring and Results platform we are building.
  • Help with design of the new Promotions Dashboard to help races manage all of their Promotional needs.
  • “Own” the look and feel evolution of our platform so other developers can use your style guides.

We are a very fast moving team, where we give broad responsibility to developers to get projects done by breaking them into small tasks with frequent releases. We also dedicate 20% of our time to making small incremental improvements that might only take an hour or two to complete that we receive from customers. Last year we made over 2,000 deployments – so we are strong supporters of Continuous Deployment.

We also highly value technology and understand it is the very core of what we offer our customers. We believe having a few of the very best developers is much better than having huge teams.

We are looking for someone who fits our culture.  Our guiding principles are to have equal parts of Work, Learn, Fun, and Team.  We believe that customers, employees and owners all share equally in the responsibility and success of the company.  This is covered in more detail in our About link below.  Please review our material to make sure this is the right type of place for you, such as:

Some of the key attributes we are looking for (we will look for the best mix):

  • Exceptional UI Design and Development skills
  • Ability to code and deliver your own projects in such a way they work with the entire system and other development projects (we do not have large teams working on each project – we break things into small projects)
  • Ability to listen to what customers need and provide solutions based on their needs
  • Running/endurance sports roots and enthusiasm for active lifestyle
  • High energy, hands-on, ability to complete full lifecycle development
  • Gets stuff done rather than just talk about stuff
  • Attention to detail and ability to complete tasks in a high volume environment
  • Thirst for learning
  • Team player who acts with personal integrity and treats others with respect

The very competitive salary is depending on experience and current compensation.  In addition, the company has a generous profit sharing plan that funds bonuses for all of our employees.  Health insurance is 100% company paid and includes a $2,000 HSA contribution by the company.  The company also has a Simple IRA and matches up to 3% of an employee’s salary as a matching contribution.

If you think you can help and want to join our dynamic, fun, growing company please send a resume to bob.bickel at runsignup.com.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Race Directors using RunSignUp

2017Instead of losing 10 pounds and gaining it back by April, how about making a New Year’s Resolution to improve your race using some ideas you may not have tried before in RunSignUp:

More Participants

  1. screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-15-36-pmReferral Rewards. Give your participants a reason to get their friends to come to your race – CA$H! On average, Referral Rewards generates about 7% of registrations for races that turn is on – and over 10-15% for races who promote it well and give decent rewards. The best idea we’ve heard of is to give a $25 refund to participants who get at least 5 of their friends to signup for your race. Watch the video on how to set this up.
  2. 1Social Sharing. Another way to get viral marketing working for your race is to make sure you have set up the Social Sharing features for your race. This makes sure that participants can easily and effectively share their pride in registering for your race with their friends.
  3. Repeat Participants. There is a saying in marketing that it is cheaper to keep a customer than find a new customer. The modern language is lowering your “Churn” and improving the “Lifetime Value of a Customer”. Come up with a way to reward repeat participants. Have a special opening for them. Send them a special coupon to register. Have a formal Loyalty program. Use our EMail Marketing to target previous participants easily. Use your creativity – we have a ton of tools to help!
  4. email-imageAutomated Emails. Set this up once and forget about it! There are two in particular – Price Increase Emails go out to previous participants automatically before any price increase. Incomplete Registration EMails also target people who come to your race website but do not complete registration.
  5. Better Race Website. The free RunSignUp Race Website gives you a ton of options for standing out. Take advantages of breaking your long Race Info page into Menu items. Upload your own custom Header and Logo. Take some time and review our HowTo Videos on setting up your Free Race Website, or watch this video for an overview:

donationsgraphicFundraising

  1. Let donors pay the processing fee. Some charities pay the low RunSignUp 4% processing fee themselves, but you should at least give donors the ability to pay that fee themselves. This makes sure donations are maximized and donors feel even more committed.
  2. screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-3-42-00-pmMake Fundraising Fun! Reward your fundraisers with cool badges. Or make it more tangible and give them free entries or refunds if they reach certain goals. Or use top fundraiser reporting tools to give them actual gifts. Make Fundraising Teams easy to join and promote.

Better Race Day

  1. screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-4-05-10-pmFree Photos! Yes, 2017 is the time to embrace photos and make them as much a part of your race as Results. Either hire a professional photographer or get a couple of volunteers to take a ton of pictures to load up to RunSignUp’s RaceDay Photo system. If your timer uploads results and bibs, our system will auto-tag photos so runners can find themselves and their friends. Earn money by allowing sponsors to have their logos on the photos.
  2. Leave Registration Open. If you are closing registration before the gun goes off for your race, you are losing participants. More and more people are registering closer and close to the race – with many happening on race day. Leaving registration open allows runners to signup on their mobile phones on the way tot he race. Or having our SignUp Kiosk with swipers can help reduce race day lines (along with our RaceDay Check-In App).
  3. RaceJoy GPS Tracking and Race Management. For races 10K and up, RaceJoy is the way to make your race as cool as the major marathons. Give friends and family a way to track participants in real-time on a map, send them cheers and make it easy to meet-up afterwards.

Hopefully some of these ideas will make your 2017 race the best ever!

URun Moves to Active

Active announced URun (formerly known as 1N3) is moving their Blacklight Run, Foam Glow 5K, Bubble Run, Terrain Racing,  Glow Wars and Blacklight Slide to their registration system. URun had more registrations on RunSignUp than any other customer in 2015 and 2016.

Active brought suit against 1N3 in March, 2015 after they had moved from Active to RunSignUp (See Case# 37-2015-00010377-CU-BC-CTL on https://roa.sdcourt.ca.gov/roa/).

RunSignUp has stood behind 1N3 for nearly 2 years paying in excess of $700,000 of legal fees on their behalf to defend them. Due to these legal costs,  1N3 had been an unprofitable customer. While we are disappointed they will no longer be a customer, we wish them well and hope they continue to grow and have success.

RunSignUp is still party to a second lawsuit Active brought against another ex-Active customer, TMT, that is still outstanding. We plan on focusing our efforts to fully defend ourselves and our customer in the coming year as we head toward a scheduled trial date of March, 2017. As stated in our 2016 Year in Review, RunSignUp is on a roll, growing by over 1.4 Million registrations excluding URun in 2016 – and of course we would never sue a customer or ex-customer.

2016 Year in Review

Another great year! Lots of happy customers. Lots of great technology released. Lots more registrations. Zero Downtime. As we complete our 7th trip around the sun, here are the yearly totals for paid registrations:

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The basics of our business are to collect registration fees from participants and pass that along to races. For the first year, we earned a perfect record on both:

  • 100% Uptime! Yes, we had ZERO downtime in 2016. Not even any planned downtime. Some participants may have seen momentary delays during deployments of database changes, but this was very minimal and typically less than 1 minute and did not cause them to restart a registration process.
  • 100% Payment on Time! Yes, every payment due – whether our customers selected Daily, Weekly or Monthly payment was delivered on time. As we covered earlier this year, this is important.

This, along with all of the advances chronicled below has meant that more and more customers recommend us to others, and we have advanced to a leadership position in the industry according to our Registration Market Survey.

Earning Our Money

So we have the basics covered. But we charge a processing fee (which includes all credit card fees and handling things like refunds and chargebacks automatically). One of our ambitions has been to build enough technology that RunSignUp is essentially free, and we think we did it this year.

The key feature we added was Refund Rewards. This was a clever extension of our referral tracking mechanism combined with our payment system capability to do a free refund in an automated way. So a race can set their own parameters – like “Get 5 friends to sign up and get your Registration Fee Refunded!”. The return is amazing for races:

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That is a Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) of 4,200%. Overall, races are seeing an impact of 7% of their registrations coming from referrals (vs. 1% before we enabled auto-refunds), with aggressive races getting 13-17%. That 6% impact overall exactly matches our processing fee for transactions over $50. So you can now say that RunSignUp is indeed free!

Technology First

As our good friend Sacha Labourey says, “Software is Eating the World“. Thomas Friedman has similar thoughts about the rate of change of technology. The challenge that most people and companies have in the Endurance space is that they can not afford the time or talent to develop great software. And that is where RunSignUp comes in.

We have a simple and pure business model – we make cloud and mobile software in an open, plug-and-play manner that races, clubs, running stores, timers, and fundraising for races, walks and rides can use to improve the entire lifecycle:

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Our technology platform offers a single database, or tight API connections with other tools, that provide a very integrated platform. This makes it simple to promote your race to participants, offer special incentives, raise money and deliver an awesome race day experience with photos, real-time result notifications and GPS tracking. And you can start with the tools that you need most and expand in whatever fashion you want with our integrated system.

We made major progress in advancing in all of these areas with over 2,300 deployments of RunSignUp (that means new versions). We use a process called Continuous Improvement where we release many small, incremental changes rather than huge changes. It is one of our core values and assets that assures our customers that we will keep getting better and do our best to take advantage of the rapid change rate of technology.

Here are some of the major projects we worked on:

PCI Level 1 Compliance and Certification

PCI Level 1 is the highest level the credit card industry has set for security and processing requirements. It required us to hire an audit firm to do on site reviews and validations of our processes and technology, and then do third party aggressive penetration and security testing. In addition to paying this vendor about $50,000 to certify us, we spent more of our own development time on this project than any other this year. To be honest, much of it was busy work with hundreds of pages of documents created, and many security procedures implemented more for the Mainframe era of computing rather than the Cloud era. On the other hand, we instituted formal mechanisms to do things like 100% of our code now being reviewed by others and regular monthly security updates to our infrastructure that are useful as we grow.

As part of the audit we also improved our overall infrastructure and have new systems that continuously monitor for security. We use OSSEC to watch our entire infrastructure, actively monitoring all aspects of Unix system activity with file integrity monitoring, log monitoring, rootcheck, and process monitoring.We also implemented a Nessus server to continuously scan for vulnerabilities.

redundancyInfrastructure

We also made major upgrades to our infrastructure. While there are always risks of unavailability and we can not promise 100% availability, some of the changes we made this year to improve availability helped us avoid downtime, and vastly improved our disaster backup and recovery options. We also improved average page load time from over 3 seconds to about 2.62 seconds, which is a major accomplishment given that an increasing number of users are coming from mobile phones which have slower connection times. Response time can cost our customers money, so it is important (A/B tests in Amazon revealed that each 100ms in the time it took to load a page reduced the sales of Amazon by 1%).

Yes, the above two items are kind of boring, but they are the types of things that our customers depend on us doing (and a good reason not to do it themselves!).

donationsgraphicFundraising 4.0

The latest release of our Fundraising Platform elevates it to a Tier 1 solution for RunSignUp and in the market. We now have a platform that is applicable to the largest fundraising organizations in the US who hold walks, runs and rides to raise significant funds for their charities. With customers like Susan G. Komen and Semper Fi Fund, we are seeing significant and rapid adoption in this area.

rdgo_photosRaceDay Photos

Our new Free Photo Platform really changes things for races in 2017. Making photos available for free with cool features like Google Vision auto-tagging and tight integration with Results (and soon Promotion) brings democratization to this technology. Any size race can now hire a photographer and have them simply upload the photos. It also offers a great opportunity for races to sell sponsorships with simple Watermarking on photos. Gone are the days of runners paying $50 for a glossy photo – start social sharing of photos for your race this coming year.

rdgo_signupRaceDay SignUp Kiosk App

We introduced a native RaceDay SignUp Kiosk Apple and Android app, with card swipe capability that is being widely adopted as part of timer’s toolsets they bring to races. It reduces time to register, ensures more accurate participant data than trying to read paper applications, and is being well received by participants.

RaceJoy Monitoring

The RaceJoy GPS Tracking application has been getting wide use (up to about 300,000 users this year) by participants and spectators. We recently unveiled RaceJoy Monitoring capability for Race Directors and Timers that allows them to track all runners, free in-app messaging, see off-course alerts, and even replay runner’s routes.picture5

phonesRaceJoy Integrated Chip & GPS Splits and Results

RaceJoy now offers both GPS and Chip splits and results. It automatically syncs all results uploaded to RaceDay Results – this includes scoring results like overall and age group place.

screen-shot-2016-04-04-at-3-29-36-pmRaceDay Check-In

We also released a new native app for doing RaceDay Check-In. It has cool features like barcode or QR code scanning, a “scan and go” fast check-in option, ability to see add-ons, giveaways, etc., and being able to sign waivers with your fingers.

The Race Director

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The Race Director continues major updates in the recently released RD 2017, even as we prepare to move toward creating the cloud based RD Go Scoring and Results system. These included the new chip system auto-import and publish capability, integrations with IPICO and Trident’s new UHF systems, Live Cross Country Results and flexible RunSignUp Report Templates.

2017 Plans

Yes, more of the same!  More customers, more technology.

We have evolved from a Registration System to a Race Management Platform that covers the full lifecycle of races. We will be making major improvements in all areas. Of particular interest are several large projects:

Sponsor Management

Many races earn as much revenue from Sponsors as they do from participants. We will be centralizing our various options to configure and set sponsor visibility into a free new management platform. In addition, we hope to bring you:

  • Set Sponsor Levels and Prices
  • Set Sponsor Visibility across the various visibility opportunities – Race Website, Emails, TXT Results, RaceJoy, and Photos.
  • Automate Sponsor payments with automated Invoicing and Renewals
  • Automated Sponsor Reports and Self-Service
  • New Sponsor Activation methods like sponsor coupons

rdgo_scoringRaceDay Go Scoring

This year we will begin to roll out the next generation of Cloud and Mobile based scoring which will work with the PC based Race Director and RunScore systems. We expect simple scoring capabilities this year and an evolution of functionality that will increase over time, like most of our software platform. RD Scoring is bundled in The Race Director pricing.

Timer Dashboard

As we roll out RaceDay Scoring, we will also be producing a new Timer Dashboard which will provide more central management of their races. We aspire to help with the alignment of resources like timing teams, people, and equipment with the scheduling of races. We also plan on offering mechanisms for new types of payment models and facilitation of contracts and payments between races and timers.

Promotion Dashboard

We will also be centralizing our Promotional capabilities this year. We have some very aggressive plans in this area with a goal of doing a “Google Analytics for Races”, which will help races understand in detail where their participants are coming from and their return on various different promotional activities. In addition, we will be bringing more automation to promotion like our automated emails and coupons this past year.

User Interface Updates

We also intend to do a number of fairly major User Interface updates this year. We want to offer some additional options for the Race Website template we currently offer. While this design has proven to be very effective in conversions, we understand some races may want other options. We also want to simplify a number of our Race Director Dashboard pages. As we have rapidly added features, there are too many options that can cause confusion for race directors who may only use RunSignUp for one small race per year.

And of course the regular 2,000+ small incremental improvements…

Business Update

We enter 2017 with very strong business momentum. Our financials are very sound, in spite of the $1 Million we have spent on legal fees this year to defend ourselves in the Active Lawsuits. Bob made an incremental investment to ensure we had sufficient capital to continue to serve our customers well and grow. Our employees all received record profit sharing bonuses this year to reward them for the unbelievable jobs they do in making our customers happy.

As the market continues to evolve with a lot of financial deals and acquisitions, we are emerging as a stable port in rough seas. Customers, Partners and Competitors know that we have a very stable business plan (and ZERO interest in selling) and laser focus on providing an open cloud and mobile platform for the endurance industry. This consistency is attracting an increasing number of partners and customers who need the best technology to meet their business needs, and want a vendor-neutral partner who can work across the industry (think Switzerland). And there is growing realization that even large organizations can not afford to develop a quality technology platform and are better focusing their resources on what they do particularly well.

Our team is excited for 2017 – we have customers and partners that support us, and we have a rock solid technology foundation that continues to make our customers successful for their entire race lifecycle, and we are having a blast!

Technology Change Rates

I attended a talk by Thomas Friedman last night. He showed a slide that relates very much to what we do here at RunSignUp:

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His point was more global – that technology is changing faster than human’s ability to keep up with the change. For example at one point in the US, 98% of the population was agrarian, and it is now 2%. That change took many, many years, allowing humans to make the adjustments. Now, there is not the luxury of time – to be successful you must harness technology and leverage its power.

He pointed out 2007 as a key year that was the initial start of this next wave. That was the year the iPhone came out and Amazon became really serious about the AWS Cloud (who could have imagined a website like RunSignUp that had a half a million page views from cell phones on Thanksgiving day 10 years ago?). This democratization of technology brought a huge shift that allows many, many downstream technology enhancements that simply were not possible before. Many people are having trouble with this pace of change.

As we pointed out a few weeks ago, RunSignUp is on the right side of technology. We are bringing out new technology that races can use for free or very inexpensively. Race Directors who are stuck in the past will get passed by with advances like GPS tracking with phones, Photos, marketing and promotional tools. And much like Amazon’s success with AWS, the key to our strategy is the democratization of technology for races – even little 5K’s can have the types of tools that used to be available only to races like New York or Boston.

As we continue to pour out technology, we want to make sure you can take advantage of it. This is the reason for our extensive How To’s, our Case Studies, Customer Videos, the RunSignUp Symposium, our Webinar Series, and of course our customer support and account management teams. But as Thomas pointed out, the new world driven by technology only works well for the humans who adapt to it and spend the time to learn about how to make the technology part of their lives, businesses – and races.

Thanksgiving Stats

14708133_10154658416429292_4113092689181833681_nWe are very thankful for all the people who made use of RunSignUp yesterday. We were also thankful our self-serve technology worked so well (and we didn’t have too many support calls!).

Here are the numbers for 2016 Thanksgiving Day (find the 2015 results here):

SignUp

  • 249 Races used us for Registration
  • 103 Races took online registration on Thanksgiving morning
  • 350,000 People Registered via RunSignUp (plus a lot more that were imported)
  • 4,500 People Registered yesterday
  • 6,000,000 Emails were sent in November – many for Turkey Trots

Check-In

  • 36 Races used our new Check-In App
  • 57,000 Runners checked in for those races

Results

  • 142 Races used us for Results
  • 136,000 Results uploaded to RaceDay Results
  • 56 Races using our Notification System
  • 74,000 Result Notifications sent via TXT and EMail
  • 566,000 Page Views on Thanksgiving Day – mostly looking at Results
  • 82% from mobile Phones or Tablets (lucky we have a mobile design!)
  • Hundreds of Thousands scored with The Race Director