Ironman Drama

I enjoyed the H.E. double-toothpicks out of this post by DC Rainmaker. It was clever enough that I actually invested some emotional energy in triathlon. Totally unexpected. Now to backtrack a little bit, most of the reasons why I found it interesting pivot around the software integration side of the conflict.

When I’m not sporting the Lycra, I’m an independent software developer. So it’s easy to stand in at least two pairs of the shoes in this kerfuffle, but I think Strava has the most defensible position. They have an obligation to protect our data, and a clearly documented way to use the API that provides it. That Sport Heroes probably started out small with a single key, it spiraled up from there, and no one caught on until now, is understandable (who hasn’t engaged in some creative scope creep?). But, they shouldn’t have been doing what they are doing, for as long as they’ve been doing it, and poor design has bitten them. Hard. That’s not really Strava’s fault, or problem.

While I haven’t seen their code base, it also strikes me as odd that it would take four weeks to implement a simple lookup table in their integration; especially if it’s as segmented as they claim. There has to be some logic already in the integration that forks based on metadata, and the API key would just be another bit of metadata to use in the flow. That said, it is possible that they hard coded the key in the application every time it was needed (I’ve seen stranger things), so maybe that four weeks is realistic…

The challenge is, Ironman doesn’t have the expertise in-house to construct something like this. So they turned to a small French company based in Paris called Sport Heroes. That company has years of experience creating virtual events just like this. They’ve done it for mostly French customers, but big recognizable names like Air France and UNICEF, among many others. Their platform has some 1.2 million users on it across the various company customers they support. This can include corporate wellness programs and virtual races. And within that, they support more than just Garmin/Suunto/Polar/Strava workout uploads, but also uploads from other platforms like Under Armor and TomTom.

DC Rainmaker

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