Just Did It: Smashrun makes running ‘simply beautiful’ for Nike+ users

Smashrun is designed to frame each run“, stated Co-founder Chris Lukic. Finishing that run today meant that you’ve run 280 miles this year. It’s more than 50 miles further than you’d run last year at this time. And it was the 3rd fastest 4-mile run you’ve ever done. You’re running twice as many miles a week as your friend, Joe, and, when it comes to sheer discipline — showing up day in and day out – you’re at the top of your game.”

After 5 long years, Santiago, Chile based startup Smashrun, has sprinted forward and introduced a streamlined, yet edgy solution to address the shortcomings and frustration that millions of runners have experienced, who until now have relied primarily on the problematic and buggy Nike+ website to provide their running analytics.

While success can’t be measured in relative terms, it sure helps to know you are moving in the right direction and making progress. In 2006, Nike proved this point with the launch of their Nike+ sensor (for runners) and companion website.

The Nike+ is a small electronic device that when inserted into your running shoe can measure every time your foot touches the ground. Upon completion of your run, this data can then be synced (presumably effortlessly) with your iPod and synced with your computer to put your run into ‘perspective’.

Within 3 years nearly 1.5 million people were registered on the Nike+ website.

Nike+ Video – How it Works

YouTube Preview Image

 5 Years Later….

The Nike+ website was the same as it ever was….a heavy flash based website with a cumbersome and clumsy interface and as the community and their needs began to grow and evolve, apparently the website did not.

Frustrated Nike+ users began to complain as they came to rely on their data and now were regularly dealing with issues logging in, buggy software and browser compatibility issues. The complaints went unaddressed and the issue escalated to the point that in September 2011, Jayme Martin, VP and GM of Nike Running, issued a formal apology to Nike+ customers with assurance that they would fix the problems.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the footwear giant followed a few key points of their ‘11 Nike Maxims’ (core values):

#4. “Simplify and go.” Nike products have short life-cycles in terms both of technology and fashion. The company believes that making quick yet skilful decisions is key to its success. This aspect of Nike’s vision, together with the seventh maxim, is particularly powerful in articulating the company’s hugely successful use of emergent strategy.

And if case you’re wondering, here is the other Nike Maxim:

#7. “Evolve immediately.” Nike sees itself as being in perpetual motion-viewing change as a key source of innovation. This attitude can easily be observed in the wide range of products that Nike offers its consumers. It is another example of the company’s use of emergent strategy to good effect.

You could do better if you knew better…

Meanwhile back in New York, in a little brownstone, not sure if it was in Gotham City or another land far, far, away, there lived 3 hacker and gaming superheroes, Jacklyn Giron, Chris Lukic and Steve Craig. Originally started as a personal project, as their community began to grow, their personal growth  synergized with their vision’s growth and Smashrun was officially born.

These former recreational runners turned competitive, are currently based in Santiago, Chile where they are incubating Smashrun as part of the government sponsored Start-Up Chile program.

Profiling and tracking their own experiences as a frame of reference and put things in real context, Smashrun, designed a free analytical web-based dashboard for runners. Smashrun looked at the weak points and challenges of the Nike+ site and decided to trick it out.

The result, rich visual ‘shareable’ dashboards  that provides the in depth analytics of Google, a sleekly designed interface similar to Geckoboard, the social experience of Facebook and the gamification of Foursquare. All the while, making it uber simple for Nike+ users to seamlessly integrate the program with their current device.

The Foursquare of Fitness

Smashrun was designed to show what it means when a runner pushes their limits and provides motivation to get back into it when they slack and combines both a gaming and social aspect to reinforce this shift in mindset.

Fascinated with addictive power of video games and how users could spend endless hours playing games with what he saw as ‘tedious tasks’ i.e. watering a plant, Smashrun co-founder Chris Lucik, was continually amazed at how long people would stay engaged when there were some kind of reward system in place. This inspired him to integrate gamification into Smashrun. And Lucik states that this insight informs every design decision that went into Smashrun. Users can earn badges and share their stats with friends, but the rewards are real. The more you gain, the more you lose, so to speak.

Meet Smashrun

[checklist]

  • An attractive and easily shareable dashboard (here’s Chris’: http://smashrun.com/chris.lukic)
  • Badges that serve as milestones for running achievements
  • Daily ranks – for discipline, speed, and distance
  • Social sharing mechanisms and follower relationships
  • Smashrun is currently integrated with Nike+ and supports manual run entries.

[/checklist]

Best of all, it’s FREE!

Connect with Smashrun

New Users Registration / Twitter / Facebook

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    Interface looks like it’s ‘inspired by’ Feltron’s Annual Report…. 

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