5K Results Reimagined

Haddon Township 5K Turkey Trot 2009 Race Results
Haddon Township 5K Turkey Trot 2009 Race Results

This graph shows and is sorted by the relative times for each runner on the left, their relative age on the right, and their gender by color. It seems to show that on average, men ran the race faster than women.

This graph below is the same data, but sorted by the participants’ age.

Race results sorted by age
Race results sorted by age

Image 2 shows the distribution of racers with a sharp increase about 1/4 of the way up. ? ?I think the 1 year old is a typo. ?haha. ?It also shows a big cluster of 12-14 year old girls. ?I couldn’t figure out a way to show what town they were from, but that would be interesting to analyze, too. Big thanks to Sparklines for Excel for the AddIn that helped me make these images.

Update: ?I fixed the problems I had with the previous images. ?These should reflect the actual data.

Why You Should Try Twitter

Twitter isn’t for everyone. A lot has been written about it’s slowing growth, but part of that is because the stats don’t include 3rd party apps. Still, I think Twitter has limited appeal depending on what you want to get out of your time online. For most people, facebook does everything they’d want a social networking site to do. I love Twitter, and if you’re looking for the following you might love it to.

Have you tried Twitter?

Twitter is great for:

  • Interacting with people you don’t already know
  • Finding people who share common interests and ideas
  • Meeting people who live near you
  • Meeting people who live where you’re traveling to
  • Crowdsourcing questions that are difficult to answer with google
  • Participating in online discussions that don’t destroy part of your soul (I’m glad we found something better than message boards).
  • Interacting directly with brands, celebrities, and people you look up to
  • Finding links to interesting stories
  • Hearing about news the instant it happens

Twitter does all these well and most are either impossible or difficult on facebook. Facebook is great for checking out pics of your friends and family, for remembering their birthdays, and for reconnecting with old friends after losing their email address. Twitter is better at expanding that network of friends.

Opt In, Relevancy, and Marketing on Trust

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about marketing for two reasons. 1. I’m trying to figure out the best way to grow our business. 2. I just joined the board of directors of our industry trade organization, whose primary focus is putting on a yearly trade show.

Do traditional marketing campaigns (ads, trade shows, mailings, etc.) have a place in the future? If not, how long will they stay relevant? It’s one thing to be right that big trade shows are on the way out, but if you are 30 years too early on that prediction you wasted a lot of time. I think it’s something that has to be reevaluated on a yearly basis to see where the trends are heading. There is, however, some new concepts I’ve noticed in the last ten years that are driving these trends.

Where do you put trust in buying decisions?

1. The User Controls Their Input Stream: Does anyone get excited about receiving an email anymore? 99% of the postal mail I get goes directly into the trash or filed. But post a comment on my website and I will stop the world to read it. Mention me on twitter and I will follow you back forever. I can hide facebook statuses from oversharers and track threads I want to stay current on. I am a TiVo fanatic. Watching live TV is a painful experience. I will only use web browsers with ad blocking software. Notice a trend here? We love communication technology that allows us to filter, tailor, and focus our incoming data and everything else seems archaic. This concept will go places you never thought possible. Wouldn’t it be cool to only see the 3 or 4 items you want to see on a restaurant menu?

2. Our Standard for Relevancy is Getting Higher: Google built the biggest new tech company in the 21st century on search relevancy. It’s taken a while but we’re finally getting that level of relevancy away from the computer. My Garmin GPS will tell me every restaurant within 25 miles, but it can’t tell me which ones are good. Now that my phone can, it immediately makes my Garmin less useful. I have settled countless bar arguments with a quick search on some athlete’s age, actor’s role, or the number of Wawas in New Jersey. Right now we still appreciate these things and have an idea of where the limits are. Soon, we will so take it for granted that we will demand the answer to any question, at all times, about all subjects. Even complex ones like, “Where’s the 3nd cheapest sushi restaurant within 3 miles that has been rated highly by 3 friends or at least 30 people in my extended network.”

3. We Trust Ourselves, Our Friends, and the Crowd. No One Else.: The concept of brand loyalty is overrated. What we’re really saying is that we trust ourselves enough that if we liked a product in the past, our tastes and needs haven’t changed enough to make the experience any different. Try buying a car without “knowing a guy.” ?We constantly ask our friends about their phones, their cameras, and their TVs. Why? Because they have an incentive to make you happy (they are your friend) and no incentive to make you unhappy (they don’t gain anything if you are unhappy). Unless I had to, why would I ever want to make a decision based on a paid advertisement or endorsement? People have understood this on an intellectual level forever, but I think we’ve become so jaded with advertising that it is 2nd nature for us to be skeptical of all ads. The only problem was, if you or none of your friends ever used a particular product, how would you know which one to buy? In the past it was advertising, but now we have the crowd. Amazon, Yelp, and ebay all run on the idea that people will give away their opinions for free and that it will be too hard and expensive for businesses to buy the hundreds or thousands of people it would take to influence the crowd.

So how do ads and trade shows fit into these ideas?

Ads only work if a user allows them into his input stream. They should be highly targeted and relevant to what he wants. Even still, he won’t trust them if he knows they are ads. I think the only real way advertising will continue long term is by fostering your crowd of enthusiastic fans.

A person has to decide to visit a trade show, but once there they have to look at everything. ?It can be overwhelming, especially if the relevancy of what they’re looking for is a small percentage of what is being shown. The trust factor is very high because they can see and touch things for themselves and discuss them with friends. They can also judge “crowd” response by looking at other people who seem to be interested.

Later I’ll try to throw together some more ideas on how ads and trade shows can be tweaked to benefit from these concepts.

Twitter Tip: Use Favorites as Bookmarks

The most neglected feature of Twitter has to be favorites. It’s not used for much and none of the clients do anything interesting with them. Unlike Facebook’s “like,” categorizing a tweet as a “favorite” seems like a big commitment and the new Retweet features seem to support the concept better anyway. So what do you do with favorites? I use them as bookmarks. Most of my tweet reading is done on my phone and there are a lot of interesting links posted that I don’t have time to read. I favorite them, allowing me to look them up at a later date. It’s a simple idea that instantly improved the value I was getting from Twitter.

Check out my twitter favorites.

Famous Missions Review

A mad bomber has planted a device in the building and you have to put together a team of experts to find the bomb and dismantle it. Do you call the bomb squad? A SWAT team? No, you call Gene Simmons, Mr T, and Albert Einstein.

Famous Missions
Famous Missions

Famous Missions by Jason Tagmire is a new card game where you must put together ridiculous celebrity trios to complete movie-plot style missions like stopping alien invasions, robbing banks, etc. The included celebrities range from Bill Gates to Genghis Kahn to Paris Hilton. The cartoonish artwork is fantastic makes you want to play it.

Game mechanics are as follows. ?The judge player draws a Mission Card from the deck and the other two players pick their three best People Cards out of seven for that mission. ?The judge chooses the best team out of the two and the loser can then argue his case for why his team should have won. ?If the judge has been swayed and changes their mind, the other player can then argue why his team is superior and the judge gets one more chance to change her mind. ?Whoever the judge finalizes on wins the round and the game progresses to a new mission. ? ?It’s very similar to Apples to Apples, another great game.

Here’s a video the creator, Jason Tagmire, put together to show how it goes.

Overall I love the concept and the artwork, but I feel like the game mechanics need some more work. I know there is a great game buried inside of Famous Missions waiting to get out, but in the current form it’s hard to keep playing. I think you get desensitized to the overall joke and you need a way to keep it interesting. I’ve come up with a few and they definitely enhanced gameplay in my sessions (I’ve played it three times now).

Rule Variations:
1. The standard rules have one player always acting as the judge. We took turns, because no one wanted to play the judge every time.
2. The judge hid his eyes when players were choosing their teams so he didn’t know who chose them. This helps reduce bias.
3. Instead of flipping over three from one team and then three from another, we alternated back and forth flipping over one from each team at a time. This encouraged comparisons between those two celebrities and made it more dramatic.

Ready to save the world
Ready to save the world

One of the hardest things about new games is getting people to try them. As soon as I show people the cards to Famous Missions they say, “We have to play this!” It’s an awesome game that just needs a little help and I love showing it to people. If you want a copy, buy it online here.

Hello 2010

So for future record I’d like to post some personal goals for 2010. I was never into resolutions before, but that was because I had the time to do all the things I wanted to do. Now I have so much going on it is difficult to make time for higher altitude goals, and by higher altitude I just mean more than what I have to get done that day.

1. Read 12 books. I’m a notoriously slow reader, but I have some decent books queued up (The Long Tail, Wisdom of Crowds, Visual Display of Quantitative Information, The Confusion, Under the Dome, Ghost War, and more.)
2. Run a 5K in 23:00 minutes or less. My running has definitely slacked off now that it’s cold, but I’d like to really get my 5K time down about 2 minutes lower than it is now.
3. Write 5 songs. I shelved my music for months after having Sasha and haven’t played anywhere other than the Garvey Gong Show since Owen was born. I should use this downtime to actually write some new material.
4. Finish my house. Sounds impossible, right? There’s always something to be done, but I have a list of things of which, when completed, I’d consider the house finished. It’s part of a larger goal which is to reimplement most of my GTD practices.
5. Brew 6 batches of beer. Had a blast at this year’s BeerCamp and I have to improve my brewing skills if I want a chance at winning next time.