• Leila Ainge

Strava: They value your data, do you?

20th May 2020

Strava has announced a subscription model for segments, bold positioning that they value your data, and their own and it's no longer going to be for free.

If you don't run or cycle, then segments by Strava allow athletes (Strava's term not mine!) to compare times against portions of road or trail. I'm a runner and I have the Strava app on my phone, it's been free until now, unless you wanted extra analysis through 'summit'.

The data decision that divided a community

The announcement by Strava founders Mark and Michael yesterday has created moral outrage on social media networks. Outrage that a company should charge its 'athlete' members for a service, outrage from members that part of the community feels entitled to a free service and cue many, many memes showing cyclists on ridiculously expensive bikes refusing to pay a monthly subscription for a data analytics service.

I think the position is clear, I value data, and so should you. It is your choice to share that data with another organisation, and if they provide the resources to analyse that data and that of other members to provide powerful data insights, it is up to you to put a price on the value of that service, you have the choice to share and subscribe.

Take action

  1. Be data savvy, check your settings regularly

  2. You don't have to share all data. Good apps will have a privacy and data setting allowing you to opt in and out of sharing different types of data, location data is the obvious one along with related health data.

  3. Get ahead, review the value of your 3rd party apps. Strava's position will have significant implications for 3rd party apps, if you want more detail about API code changes then I recommend visiting DC Rainmaker.

A case study in appetite for the value of data insights and human relationships

Strava's announcement is a reminder that we are increasingly building our businesses on data driven insights. Data is directly captured through customer or citizen activity, and as users we are used to seeing privacy statements, cookie collection & GDPR notices. Understanding and digesting them is another matter.

There is also an important question of the psychological contract between the user and the organisation when it comes to data. The Psychological Contract is associated as the relationship between an employer and its employers, as we start to place value as well as privacy around data, the theory of a psychological contract in the way we connect with organisations and businesses through data and how those relationships are created and maintained is fundamental to our appetite for sharing.

Responsible Data Sharing

Great timing then that yesterday I attended a Data Strategy session hosted by the Port of Tyne as part of their 2050 Innovation Hub Series they are bringing organisations together across the spectrum of maritime, logistics, technology and academia. The discussion around open source engagement opportunities and applications, and in particular the work undertaken by Connected Places- Catapult is relavant for all industries, and highlights that organisations of all sizes need approaches for the way they use, share and analyse data. The project has created a Toolkit to help people share non-personal city data across the public sector, significant when you consider that public sector service transformation is creating huge amounts of data through new technologies. The hub is hosting a number of free events - the next one is Smart North Sea on 26th May 2020. Register Here.

Key takeaway

Strava is asking us to be generous with our data, and pay for a service, and this is a choice. We can use the app for free and limit the data we share- (you have to share something!), we can use the app for free and share everything, we can pay for the app and benefit from others generosity and Strava's analytical software, or we can run free.

The real takeaway here is that we all have a data appetitie

  • what value do you place on your data?

  • how generous are you feeling?

  • who are you sharing personal and organisational data with?

  • where will data make a difference and what questions will at answer?

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