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Thread: If You're New To Road Races and Still Using a Clipboard Check This Out

  1. #1
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    Default If You're New To Road Races and Still Using a Clipboard Check This Out

    As a beginner in the whole road race thing, I started out with the excel spreadsheet and just printed out a list of runners so course officials knew who was who on the course. I thought there just had to be a beter way so I went to the Apple Store looking for a solution to a simple problem: I wanted an application that would let me make a simple database of the people running in a series of races my A/V company was sponsoring so I could quickly and easily identify them by bib number and get all of their details. We were using clipboards with a bunch of paper - but it quickly became evident that all of the pertinent race information, plus background information like home town age, running companies,etc in addition to really important information like emergency contacts, allergies, etc. quickly got unwieldy, just like this sentence. While paper was somewhat cheap, when you considered how much it cost to print it out for everyone and the sheer cumbersomeness of it and environmental impact, we looked for something better.

    To my surprise, out of the hundreds of thousands of apps on the app store, nothing fit the bill. So then we tried some general database applications. They were really bad, and a lot of them used the odd iOS keyboard that has numbers from left to right instead of in a calculator configuration. Not to mention they were really expensive apps!

    So what did we decide to do? Build our own app! We've been using it for a year, and it's incredible, easy to use, and really, really fast.

    Anyway, I encourage you to check it out. We're quite proud of it because it's a simple app that provides a simple function. It does one thing, and does it extremely well. We're touting it as the clipboard database for the price of a clipboard. In fact, it cost less than the clipboards that we bought at Staples.

    Note it's for the iPad only. I found the iPhone a little too small to have a good user experience for the app's intended purpose.

  2. #2

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    Hi,

    Good line about unwieldy sentences!

    The idea sounds interesting.

    To help me, or another potential customer, understand the app better:

    --the link you posted doesn't really tell what the app does. The only description of it is a quote, which says, "it really helped us keep track of runners on the course so we could easily identify them by number without having to shuffle through a bunch of paper."

    --you say the app does one thing and does it extremely well, it's incredible, easy to use and really fast.

    --It sounds like the app is similar to an announcer mat, which shows runner info as an athlete crosses over a timing mat.

    From what I can tell about the app:

    --It has a great price but I'm not sure what it does that would benefit a race timer.

    If it's designed for assisting manually timed races, that's cool, but I think the market is/has already moved to a chip timing business model.

    I'm interested in your app but I'd like to know more about it.

    Hopefully, you'll see what I've written as contructive comments from potential user/customer.

    Thanks!

    Mark

  3. #3

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    I now see that there is a link on your link that explains the product better and has a User Guide. If possible, if you can highlight that the link provides more information about the app on the iTunes page, that will make it easier for a potential customer to understand what the app does.

    I'd also make clearer what the app does. The User Manual section states, "Welcome to Racebib, the clipboard database for the price of a clipboard!"

    I don't know what a clipboard database is.

    Thanks!

    Mark

  4. #4
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    May 2011
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    Thanks for the feedback and your interest in RaceBib, Mark!

    Your comments are very helpful.

    Racebib is not a timing app. It's a database. At 99 cents it's cheaper than a clipboard, but it holds essential data for hundreds of runners in a very easy to access application. I wrote it for road race managers and race officials to have on hand essential data on any given runner by looking up their bib number. So for instance if someone is injured on the course, you can look up their bib number and instantly have access to their name, age, and contact information. For children's races you can put in the contact info for parents. Race announcers can use it to comment on runners at any given time, and not just when they cross a timing mat. Nor do you need to have access to the timing system. Essentially, it's a digital equivalent of a clipboard.

    Apple doesn't allow external links in their descriptions other than for support. I'm guessing you clicked on the support link that takes you to the user guide. As you can see from the guide, you can download data either from the cloud or by syncing with iTunes. So you can import races anywhere you have a wifi signal or cellular connection, or simply plug your iPad into your laptop.

    It really is a simply and helpful app. At $0.99 you can't go wrong! But if Fast Finishes is in a slump or you can't spare the buck out of your latte fund, private message me your e-mail address and I'll "gift" you the app. Perhaps it will fill a void in your road race management business.

    Eventually, I'd love to let the app integrate with timing systems such as Ipico or Chronotrack or the smaller systems like Jaguar, but at this time it would add unnecessary cost and complexity. Right now, it does one thing, and does it well. It's well worth the dollar.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by csandy View Post
    But if Fast Finishes is in a slump or you can't spare the buck out of your latte fund, private message me your e-mail address and I'll "gift" you the app. Perhaps it will fill a void in your road race management business.
    That's kind of a jerky thing to say to someone offering you assistance. As for the utility of the thing - if you really want to make it useful, it will work on an iphone or android. Those are devices that people might have with them all over the course. With an ipad - you can icloud a csv and be done with it anyway.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycruns View Post
    That's kind of a jerky thing to say to someone offering you assistance. As for the utility of the thing - if you really want to make it useful, it will work on an iphone or android. Those are devices that people might have with them all over the course. With an ipad - you can icloud a csv and be done with it anyway.
    I'm not being sarcastic. iTunes let's you "gift" an app, but you need to know the e-mail address of the person you want to send the app to. I'm truly offering to send it to him as thanks for his helpful feedback. No jerkiness intended.

    I'll port to the android tablets depending on response, but putting it on a small screen takes away from the clipboard-like utility. You really can't search quickly and have limited room for information on the screen. Maybe I'm wrong on that. What do you think about the tiny screen?

  7. #7

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    I understand that but the way you put it was not cool imho. Mark doesn't need me to fight for him though I'm sure.

    Anyway, it doesn't seem very useful to me and I mean no offense. It has a very limited feature that I can replicate conveniently using excel or numbers or whatever spreadsheet or simple database program you like if the platform allowed. In addition if it is a public app - can you put emergency contact and other private information in there without making it available to all who download? I'm not much of a developer I'm afraid so I'll need you to tell me that.

    A lot of what I see on this forum really comes at things from a different direction than I have chosen.

    In less than a year I've built a pretty nice little timing business and we have invested in nothing but the best and are about to spend what I'm sure will amount to several thousand dollars on an app we don't really need but that I have fallen in love with. We're doing this because I believe in delivering the best possible product to the runners and to race directors. The gentleman who owns SportStats made a very interesting presentation at The Mylaps Conference that stated this was neccesary to survive in the competitive marketplace that timing is becoming. I believe that it is absolutely correct and without question it is neccesary in the New York market.

    I applaud your innovation but encourage you to think bigger. Create an app that people like me will pay several hundred dollars for or several thousand. Reinventing the clipboard won't get it done in the long run imho.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycruns View Post
    Mark doesn't need me to fight for him though I'm sure.
    I'm sure he dosen't! He is a very successful timer, has been doing it for some time, and I'm sure would recognize the humor in not being able to afford a dollar.

    It has a very limited feature that I can replicate conveniently using excel or numbers or whatever spreadsheet or simple database program you like if the platform allowed.
    I'd encourage you to check it out. I've tried the spreadsheet. It's unwieldy. $0.99 is our solution to something that works right. Try Filemaker or Numbers on the iPad to do the same thing and you'll quickly realize the utility.

    In addition if it is a public app - can you put emergency contact and other private information in there without making it available to all who download? I'm not much of a developer I'm afraid so I'll need you to tell me that.
    Glad to explain! The app is public, just like you'd go out and buy any Office application for your PC, but the DATA is not. You'd only share the data with those people you trust - like your road race staff. You can also load multiple races into the application and load up any one of them at will. Or you can load multiple version of the same race with slightly different data into the application.

    Your data is your data and it's fully controllable by the Race Director. People only see the information you give them.

    In less than a year I've built a pretty nice little timing business and we have invested in nothing but the best and are about to spend what I'm sure will amount to several thousand dollars on an app we don't really need but that I have fallen in love with.
    We are Apple iOS developers and would gladly build you a custom app that costs many thousands of dollars that you will not only fall in love with, but you'd actually need and find useful.

    My guess is that you're looking for something that spectators will use. I'd encourage you to search the app store for the several applications geared to that purpose. Most of them are free. That's not my app's niche because it's already filled. You might save yourself some money by getting something that's already on the shelf.

    I applaud your innovation but encourage you to think bigger. Create an app that people like me will pay several hundred dollars for or several thousand.
    Thank you! I'll look into the demand for high-end custom apps and could probably save you a lot of money. We should probably talk. Let me know!

  9. #9

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    I guess it comes down to methodology - you built something of limited use that I can't see being very useful in the real world. Again, if you could use it on a phone - then it could be of real use - everyone working or volunteering at a race has a phone, many if not most have a smartphone. Plenty of apps can display the amount of text you need to display on a phone. The device isn't the limitation there, its the developer.

    Anyway, best of luck.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycruns View Post
    The device isn't the limitation there, its the developer.
    Thanks for your friendly comments. Have a great day!

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