Brad's Books and Organizations

Books

Books

Organizations

Organizations

Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

« swipe left for tags/categories

swipe right to go back »

Instrumenting My Marathon

Comments (32)

I’m running the Kroll’s Diner Bismarck Marathon on Saturday. This will be Marathon #18 in my quest to run one in every state. I’ll be there for a couple of days so I’m open to any restaurant recommendations y’all might have.

I’ve decided to try something different on this marathon. While I always wear a watch, I’ve never tried to instrument myself “real-time” for the race. Until recently, I’ve been using a Garmin 305, but it broke this summer when I was in Europe and I switched to RunKeeper on my iPhone.

I’ve really enjoyed RunKeeper and even started listening to music on some of my runs again since I had my iPhone with me. I signed up for RunKeeper Live and have been broadcasting my runs publicly to anyone who cared, which is primarily Amy.

The marathon starts at 7:30am Central Time on Saturday. I’ll be broadcasting my progress on this link – you should be able to pick it up after I start the race. Since I’ve always been running, I’m not 100% sure how the UI works on the “watching someone” end of things, but would love to hear feedback from anyone who takes a look. Oh – and cheer me on!

I’ll be wearing my Fitbit also (which I love – and am an investor in). It’s fascinating to me the step variance on the different marathons I’ve done – my stride length clearly varies with the shape I’m in and the shape (or hilliness) of the course. I’ll also check and see which is more accurate over 26.2 miles – the Fitbit or RunKeeper.

I might wear my new Nike+ SportWatch GPS, but so far the Nike+ website has been basically unusable due to performance issues so I don’t want to count on it.

Bismarck – see you tomorrow.

The Fitbit API

Comments (14)

I love Fitbit. The product is great, the team is great, and I’m psyched to be an investor. I’ve been a user for a while – my data is public – but I just recently started using the food tracker which is superb. The only thing that was missing for me was an API.

Fitbit released the Fitbit API quietly a month or so ago. I’ve encouraged them to make more noise as some great applications are coming out. I use two of them – Earndit and the Fitbit Low Battery Notifier by Joshua Stein. There are a bunch more coming but I thought I’d encourage any of you out there who care about human instrumentation to take a look and consider integrating with Fitbit.

And, if you want the best fitness and sleep tracking product in the universe, go take a look at the Fitbit.

Fitbit Director of Marketing Opportunity

Comments (4)

My friends at Fitbit are hiring a director of marketing. If you, or someone you know, wants a director of marketing job in a fast growing, well funded company in San Francisco, go take a look at the job spec and apply.

There is a ton of hiring going on in our portfolio right now at all levels. We have a bunch of companies that are growing head count 100%+ in 2011 – much of it driven by revenue growth (vs. just a new financing). It’s pretty exciting and I’ll try to figure out a more effective way to broadcast what is going on and what the opportunities are.

In the mean time, I’ve heard of a number of jobs that have come from the Boulder CEO Jobs list that David Cohen and I are maintaining. including several exec jobs like the new CFO at Envysion, This is a reverse jobs list for all the random inbound job seekers that reach out to us for stuff in the Boulder area. If you are a CEO of a Boulder based company and you are not on this list, just email me to be added to it.

My Quest For Measuring Everything

Comments (34)

I’ve written in the past about my obsession with measuring things.  While my manual measurements via Daytum include miles run, books read, flights taken, and cities slept in, I’ve become much more focused in the past year on what I’ve been calling “human instrumentation.” This resulted recently in Foundry Group leading a $9 million financing in a San Francisco company called Fitbit.

fitbit.jpg

If you want to see the type of data I’m tracking, take a look at my Fitbit profile.  For now, I’m focused on the data that Fitbit tracks automatically for me, primarily derived from the step and sleep data.  But from my profile page you can see a variety of other data which I can currently enter manually (I’ve entered a few examples) even though I use other sources to track them (for example, my weight using my Withings scale.)

I now have a house full of personal measurement devices and an iPhone full of apps to track various things.  A few are still active; many have long been relegated to the “closet of dead, useless, obsolete, or uninteresting technology.”  During this journey over the past year, I feel like I tried everything and finally found a company – in Fitbit – that has a team and product vision that lines up with my own.

A year ago when I first encountered the company, they were just launching their product.  I was an early user and liked it a lot, but hadn’t clearly formed my perspective on what the right combination of software and hardware was.  As I played around with more and more products, I started to realize that the Fitbit product vision as I understood it was right where I thought things were going.  The combination of hardware, software, and web data integration are the key, and the Fitbit founders (James Park and Eric Freidman) totally have this nailed.  That made it easy when we explored investing again to pull the trigger quickly.

One of the things my partners and I love about products like the Fitbit are the combination of hardware, software, and a web service that lets the product continually improve without having to upgrade the hardware.  Fitbit is a great example of this which I expect you’ll see over the next quarter if you buy one today.

I firmly believe that in 20 years we’ll simply swallow something that will fully instrument us.  Until then, we still have to clip a small plastic thing to our belt or keep it in our pocket.  But that’s ok since it now knows how to talk to my computer, which is connected to the web, which is getting smarter every millisecond.

Build something great with me