Why I’m Supporting Dailymile

The first social fitness site I used back in 2008 when I started running was Dailymile. Six years and 8,609km later, it’s still the place where most of my running community can be found.

dailymile_pattern_logo-1I was a Dailymile user almost from the start and helped spread it through my running group back in 2008. In those days it was a pretty simple service.

After a run, you entered your distance, and the time it took you to run it, plus a note about how the run went. Dailymile figured out the pace for you. Then you chose one of the faces that represented how you felt – from happy to injured and everything in between.

That was it.

There was no Garmin upload, no maps or route maker, no fancy graphs of your cadence or vertical oscillation.

Because of that simplicity, the community aspect was front and centre. Beyond adding your workout, comments and encouragement were key to the experience of using Dailymile.

How dailymile looked when I signed up as a beta tester in 2008

How dailymile looked when I signed up as a beta tester in 2008

Over the years other services came along. I used MotionBased when I got my first Garmin GPS watch. It was nice for digging into your performance and seeing where you ran well, and where you didn’t. But there was no community at all.

Garmin eventually bought MotionBased and it became Garmin Connect and the lack of community continued. In the meantime, Dailymile added the ability to upload Garmin workout files, along with adding a mapping feature that let you plan out your routes, or measure your distance without one of those fancy and expensive watches.

The Smartphone Era

Fast-forward a bit more and the advent of GPS on the smartphone changed things again. Apps and services like Runmeter, MapMyRun and Strava came along that tapped the power of the smartphone to provide the same run tracking capabilities that used to require a specialty GPS watch.

I dabbled with all of those services, and settled on Strava as my favourite. It was updated frequently, looked good, and had some nice analysis of the Garmin files I was uploaded.

But my community isn’t there. For that reason, for the last two years, I’ve triple posted all my workouts to Garmin Connect, Strava and Dailymile.

Support the Indie Web!

My trip to Portland last month for XOXO Fest was a real eye-opener for me into the world of the indie developer and maker communities.

These days I get my coffee at Louie’s. I use ThinkUp to analyize my social streams. I use WordPress for my blog.

Garmin is a huge company with huge resources and is in the business of selling you more gear while locking you into their proprietary platform. Strava is a VC-funded company that built a great product but seems a bit too willing to sell your data out the back door for profit.

All the while, Dailymile has continued on, bootstrapped by Kelly Korevec and Ben Weiner – just a couple of friends who had an idea for a social fitness site and turned it into reality.

In the same way I choose local and indie for my morning latte, I’m choosing to use Dailymile to track my runs.

Complaints…I’ve Had a Few

I’ve been critical of the lack of updates on Dailymile for the last year or so. But a good email conversation with Kelly yesterday reminded me of similar emails back and forth in 2008 when I first joined a little service that had a lot of promise. Kelly and I had a few email conversations back then about different things I wanted to see in the service. Many times, those things appeared not long later.

Dailymile as it looks today

Dailymile as it looks today

It’s easy to sit back and complain about the lack of updates. But one thing I’ve learned in my 18 months as Product Manager at Hover is that you can’t do everything you want to do all at once. It takes time.

I’m frustrated daily by the pace of change of my own product. I know that Kelly and Ben feel the same way and after talking to Kelly, I know that they are committed to making Dailymile better for me and all the other runners that use it every day.

I’ll continue to use Garmin Connect as the way I upload my data from my watch and as a backup for that data. Strava will continue to get that same data automatically for the same reasons.

But Dailymile will be my fitness social network of choice again going forward.

  • p.s. As of today, I’ve renewed my Pro membership to put my money where my mouth is. If you use and love Dailymile, consider going pro as a signal that you want Dailymile to continue. It’s $50/year – not a lot in the grand scheme of things.
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    2 Responses

    1. Jess Thornton says:

      So, I’m interested in the details of your conversation with Kelly, I just cancelled my Pro membership (after two years of being pro). I want to support Daily Mile, but I haven’t seen updates in a whiiiiiile. And the fact that garmin update is wonky – and now doesn’t work at all. I guess I feel like the developers have abandoned it.

      • James Koole says:

        Hey Jess –

        I can relate to that exact experience. The reason I went back to Dailymile and went pro again was to support Kelly and Ben and to help make it better. The lack of updates all left me feeling like they had abandoned it after a couple of years.

        There were a couple of specific things that changed my mind.

        The first is that they are working on an iOS app that I’ve been using for a few months now and it’s really, really nice. I don’t know when they plan to release it exactly, but it’s super close to being done and works really well.

        The Garmin stuff also frustrated me, but in talking to Kelly and another developer I know, the blame for that shifts to Garmin itself. They are very much interested in having Garmin users go to Connect, not other sites. They make it really tough for developers to offer GPX/FIT uploads in a good way (unless like Strava did, you pay big bucks).

        My workaround is to use Garmin’s site to upload, then I download the GPX file from there and upload again to Dailymile. A bit annoying, but not the end of the world.

        As I said in the post, the community on Dailymile keeps me there as well. It’s not the best site out there right now, but it does have the best community. And I’m confident enough in Kelly and Ben to give them more time (and some of my money) to get a promised big update out the door.

        Thanks for the comment!

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