Your alarm goes off at 6:30 am. You turn it off and turn on the TV to catch your local weather and a story on a local animal shelter. While you eat breakfast, a text alert is sent to your phone explaining that the train is delayed by 10 minutes, so you check Google Maps for the story on traffic. It looks terrible, so you decide to wait for the train. On the train, you check Facebook for updates on friends as you wait for your stop.
If you feel connected to any part of the paragraph above, then you’ve already used data in a multitude of ways. But what, really, is data and how is it important to a race director?
First, let’s look at what data is and isn’t. Data is not just information. Information is everywhere. Just look at the web. You can spend hours looking at websites filled with information and somehow come away with an empty head. What makes data different (and valuable) is that it’s THE information you use to make decisions.
How do you tell the difference between useless information and data? Let’s go back to our example. Why choose 6:30 am to get up? Because your brain has collected enough data to calculate how long it takes you to get ready for work in the morning. You used that data and made a decision to get up at 6:30. The train delay alert provided data for your commute but it didn’t give you enough information to make a decision. So, you looked at more data to check out the traffic situation. And let’s not forget the weather. It helped you choose your clothes for the day.
Whether we ask for data, or it’s automatically sent to us, we all need it, on some level, to function. Whether it’s your brain collecting data every second or a mobile device that offers up data only when you need it, there’s only one conclusion that can be made. We all need data to make decisions. Most importantly, we need data to make the right decisions.
Okay, so we can all agree that data is valuable. Good for data. So remind me, how does that matter to race directors?
Well, it matters because you’re probably not using it to the fullest extent.
If you’re a race director and you’re not using as much data as possible, every day, to make decisions about your events, then you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Wherever it’s accessible, use all available data to make decisions about how best to make your endurance events successful, no matter what size they are. And continue to look for new sources. From group discussions and forums to hard numbers on revenue and demographics, each piece can help you see a part of the puzzle that is your event.
If you have ACTIVE Works Endurance, then you have access to over 200 reports, filled with data, that are specific to your events and participants. They’re waiting to be read, and virtually all of them provide up-to-the-minute data you can use right now to make better decisions. Make sure you’re checking as many as possible, as often as possible.
Data is valuable, but it’s up to you to use it.