In 2013, Shanti, Will, and I attended SXSW Interactive to learn and connect with the community. During a session on health, we were inspired by hearing the statement “sitting is the new smoking”. After the conference ended and we had more time to digest what we had heard, the true magnitude and potential began to sink in. What if we can engage individuals, to get them up and moving, through a fun community wide goal, during one month, to collectively achieve a million miles of activity?

We immediately began validating the market through conversations with individuals in the health, fitness, HR and employee wellness communities. This research made it clear to us that there was an appetite for this type of program.

…the timing could not have been better when Douglas reached out to us with an interest in serving on our board.

Our goal was to produce an event in April that would encourage the community to become more active and live a healthy lifestyle. The resources to establish the necessary technology were beyond the means of our nonprofit, even with “non-profit pricing” from long term tech friends.
Time was running out; it was Thanksgiving and we hadn’t secured resources or a plan to get them. Things were not looking good. Needless to say, the timing could not have been better when Douglas reached out to us with an interest in serving on our board.

After an initial meeting with me and Will, Douglas asked if he could meet some of the other board members. Several of our board members and I met Douglas for lunch the day after Thanksgiving and walked through our programs and structure in more detail. We couldn’t have been more pleased to hear Douglas say, “I like what you guys are working to accomplish; I’d like to help you out”.

2014 Million Mile Month launch
2014 Million Mile Month launch

Douglas promptly got to work and delivered us a Christmas miracle. After a thorough audit, he simplified and organized our concepts, recruited technical talent who practically volunteered their time and helped oversee development of the product. Due to these efforts and my delight, we launched Million Mile Month on April 1st, 2014.

With Douglas’ guidance, we expanded HealthCode from one annual event to 4 quarterly events, amassing over 4.7 million miles of activity with estimated healthcare cost savings approaching $1 million. HealthCode programs now host over 36,000 participants, representing all 50 states, 30+ countries, and 150+ organizations. None of this would have happened without Douglas.

Douglas brings a unique perspective to building technology that I had never previously witnessed. He possesses an invaluable practical sense of technology along with an eye for business economics and financial realities. Douglas increased user satisfaction and improved engagement by first identifying and then addressing the key components for success.

I am continually amazed by Douglas’ ability to see the art of the possible, to cut through the crap to ensure we target cost effective, consumer engaging solutions that align with business objectives. From recruiting and coordinating the tech team to leading our product strategy, Douglas has been invaluable. I only wish I had known Douglas 10 years earlier.