The Software Agents - Episode 4: Keeping Runners Running

Written by: Christina Noren

2 min read

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The Software Agents is a new podcast series sponsored by CloudBees. Each week, we bring you a leader reinventing a different field through software for the new world that is now being born. Listen to this week's podcast here.

Our guest this week on The Software Agents is Bob Bickel, CEO of RunSignup, a SaaS platform for managing registrations and payments and building community for running race events. Last year, RunSignup managed over 21,000 races around the world. They processed hundreds of millions of dollars in payments, largely for nonprofit organizations the races are organized to benefit.

Bob is an extremely experienced startup founder and technology executive (he happens to be on CloudBees’ board.) In early March, when the first shelter-in-place orders hit, he knew that races on RunSignup would be canceled. He gathered his team with immediate orders to 1) handle refunds in a way that preserved the goodwill of each race’s community while protecting RunSignup from ruinous chargebacks, 2) enhance functionality to support “virtual races,” which he explains to us, and 3) create “challenges,” a successful new kind of running event. 

Virtual events and challenges have kept revenue coming in and the team paid. More importantly, they keep the race communities that have formed around RunSignup connected while traditional running events are on hold.

RunSignup is still running, if you will, because it was founded on DevOps and cloud culture, process and tooling–agile and continuous. Bob’s small, highly efficient team–15 engineers, two product managers–was able to react literally overnight, making changes to handle refunds that shipped within two days. 

In this episode, Bob gives us miles of detail on the mechanics of how RunSignup delivers software that has kept the company and its community resilient, despite the sweeping overnight changes to their world.

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