1 min read

48 signals

I recently read a post by Jason Fried of 37signals.com about ascribing depth to flatness and generating irrelevant data.

“… I can’t help but think it’s generating data that’s incompatible with the actual situation. Being asked to rate minutia with a 10-point scale, and ascribe depth of an experience to something that’s effectively flat and one dimensional, is overshooting the goal.”

Made me think of my Garmin watch.

I went on a short run in the mountains this morning and the watch recorded 48 signals (and there’s room for more!):

But it was jus a crappy run.

Do these things matter? Ground contact time balance, stride length, run cadence, vertical ratio… does anything other than time, distance and perhaps heart rate matter? Are we assigning depth to flatness?

I’ve used Garmin watches since 2017. The number of “signal” categories recorded has been gradually increasing over the years. Also, the more expensive the watch model, the more signals captured.

Understand that pro runners and prosumers will favor the existence of additional data points. The existing ones can easily breed new ones (stride length divided by ground contact?). And there’s competition from Suunto, Apple, Polar and others, so this data game can only go in one direction.

I’ve always hoped that someday I could study the meaning of all those signals and take some sort of action. If I didn’t do that, I’d be wasting all these precious data along with my investment in the latest smartwatch.

And now I know what the action is:

do {


} while (data ≠ time, distance, heart rate)