The opportunities for races to engage with the connected athlete
As the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference approaches, we want to introduce attendees and the industry at-large to our incredible speakers and panelists.
In our latest Speaker Series interview, we catch up with Dan Nagler, the CEO and founder of Motigo, an innovative mobile app that delivers personalized audio content to runners and athletes during their activities. Nagler's experience in the running industry, with a heavy focus on technology and inspiring runners is exactly why he's co-leading our Race Camp on Technology: Platforms and Integration.
Running USA: What's your current role in the industry? What does your day-to-day work look like?
Dan Nagler (DN): I’m responsible for leading the growth of Motigo, and building our brand and company into a leader in the space. We are transforming endurance related activities into personalized, empowering and entertaining experiences. We like to say that everyone needs some Emotional Fuel – you know, something that takes your mind off the miles, and powers you through. That’s what we create and deliver, and I have to ensure all that we do aligns with that vision.
As a start up with a small team, my day to day is…well, all over the place! Some days feel like a sprint, dealing with development and marketing and customers, basically all at the same time. But the reality is that it’s a marathon, so lots of my time has been spent laying the foundation for something special long term.
RUSA: How did you first get into the running industry?
DN: I was never a runner - until 2008. That’s when my mom came down with Leukemia and I decided to raise money via Team in Training. My first event was the Nike Women’s SF Marathon, and I’ve been a runner ever since. It was my second marathon, in 2014, where I had the inspiration for Motigo, and that’s what ultimately landed me “in the industry”.
RUSA: You'll be moderating the Technology: 'Platforms and Integration' Race Camp. What's one trend you're seeing in technology right now, good or bad?
DN: I think the trend we’re most excited about, and the one the industry needs to be very mindful of (in a good way), is that we as people are essentially connected 24/7 and that today’s runner looks much different – they are now the “connected athlete”. This means they have their phone and/or their wearable devices , and if we look at them during their training runs or at race day, its no secret they’ve got their earbuds in and are listening to their music/podcasts/audio books and probably getting audio feedback from their fitness tracking apps.
Running has not always been this way, and yes, it’s not for everyone – some folks love the sounds of their run. But the data shows the vast majority now behave this way, and it’s safe to say that the millennials over-index in connectedness.
RUSA: Where do you believe the biggest opportunity in technology lies in 2017 for those in the running industry?
DN: I think the real opportunity is simply shifting the collective mindset to embrace technology. It’s time to accept that it’s here, that it helps our customers and our businesses. So the onus is on the folks in our industry to jump in and implement the various technologies they think are right for them/their events, and not delay. Most events have one shot, and so they are doing themselves a disservice by waiting till 2018, or 2019. And for those with multiple events, jump in to test, learn, and iterate.
RUSA: At Motigo, you talk with race directors all the time. What's one area race directors should really start educating themselves on when it comes to technology?
DN: From my perspective, I think it’s critical to really understand the customer mindset. How are they using technology and how can I as an event director, use that to unlock new opportunities for my event, and my community (my participants, spectators, sponsors, etc). We need to be focused on what the customer wants, and how technology can help us meet those needs. It’s about delighting the customer, exceeding their expectations, and making their experiences memorable. Technology is a great enabler.
RUSA: What's your favorite part about attending the Running USA Industry Conference?
DN: There are two things I really enjoy. First, it’s the chance to learn from others in the space always excites me. The sharing of information and insights is critical to all of our success. Second, it’s the networking aspects – not only spending time with the people we’ve come to know over these last couple of years (all under one roof!), but meeting new people, learning about what they deal with at their organizations, and then getting to know them better over time.
To learn more about the 2017 Running USA Industry Conference and see Janet Raugust speak, please visit: http://www.runningusa.org/running-usa-annual-conference