Goals for the CWA Summit

12 04 2007

About a month ago I sat down and thought through what I wanted to accomplish by going to Boulder (this, of course, happened after I freaked out). My top 5 are below — they haven’t changed much in the last month, and I’m posting them here mainly for reference.

1. Understand the Climbing Industry
Despite my chiseled physique and spiderman-like climbing ability, I really know very little about the climbing industry. The knowledge that I do have comes from my friend Mark, who manages the climbing wall at the University of Kentucky.

But I don’t just need the scoop on the climbing industry in general; what I really need is some beta on climbing wall management: what it is, who’s involved, what the challenges are, and potential applications of technology. So my goal is to get a clear picture of the needs in the industry, especially as it relates to climbing wall managers.

2. Make contacts
This one’s a no-brainer. There will be around 100 people at this conference, and one of the stated conference objectives is to build community. If I’m able to meet a few people who are passionate about climbing and willing to guide me in refining the software, I’ll consider this one a success. Maybe I’ll even meet a few people who are interested in testing the software at their facilities.

3. Get feedback on my software
Although my software doesn’t yet have a name, it is complete enough for another facility to pick up and use (well, I would need to make a few small changes…). This is because the software was custom crafted for the needs of the University of Kentucky. The program logic, data structures, and icons were all chosen to fit that particular climbing gym and university environment.

I know the application needs to be much more flexible than it currently is if anyone is going to pay money for it. What I don’t know is what parts of the application need to be flexible. Do people need to be able to take payments? Does everyone use ID card readers? How do people certify climbers?

4. Look at the Boulder Rock Club, and pick their brain
This is one of the things I’m looking forward to. The BRC was one of the first climbing gyms in the country and boasts a massive 10,000 square foot facility. I don’t know what sort of software they use to manage their operations, or what they like/dislike about it, but I’m sure they have some opinions. Hopefully I’ll be able to talk with one of the managers there to find out what’s on their wishlist for a climbing wall specific management solution.

5. Find out what’s already out there
I’ve only talked briefly with a few climbing wall managers, so I’m in the dark about what the popular membership management solutions might be. I know from my own research that there are quite a few tools out there for fitness centers, but I have yet to find something for climbing gyms specifically. My guess is that climbing gym managers cobble together their own solution using a couple of the available software tools.

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2 responses

12 09 2007
Boulder Recap « 3 Dogs Software Company

[…] Before arriving in Boulder for the Climbing Wall Association Summit I came up with a few objectives. While I wasn’t able to accomplish all of them, I think I made progress on the most important […]

26 06 2008
Boulder Recap « Another Startup

[…] 12 09 2007 Before arriving in Boulder for the Climbing Wall Association Summit I came up with a few objectives. While I wasn’t able to accomplish all of them, I think I made progress on the most important […]

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