Thursday, February 10, 2011

An Open Letter to Phil Knight

Mr. Knight,
I apologize for the formality, but as we have never met, I thought starting this letter with "Hey Phil" might be a tad inappropriate. I could be considered your average, everyday runner. I am breaking no records, nor am I winning any races, but I enjoy getting out a few times a week for a good 5-6 mile run. I have been a devout Nike consumer for most of my life, and have always had good faith in your products. recently, My grandmother bought me a Nike+ sportband for Christmas. I must tell you that overall I love the sportband idea. It is a tremendously user-friendly means of tracking ones running, and the website's functions are at least entertaining and at best useful to fitness training. However, in recent months I have notice several shortcoming in the product and wanted to discuss with you some updates for the next version.

1. The display on the wristband needs to be backlit.

I run in the deep black of the early morning and I find it extremely frustrating that I cannot always see the display. The best time for me to see my progress is when I run under a street light, and in my small community streetlights are rarely present. I run long stretches in which I have no possible way to see how far I have gone/how long I have been running/how fast I am running /how many calories I have burned. I am a man who needs gratification for my efforts, and having a visible display would be helpful.

2. The display on the wristband should be turned 90 degrees.

When I do have the good fortune of running under a streetlight, I find that I have to contort my arm into an uncomfortable position to be able to see the display clearly. If you simply turned the display 90 degrees (like a watch might look), the face would be in a position to more clearly see the readout.

3. The whole product needs to be weatherproofed.
I have run the same exact run the last 3 times I have been out, and each time I have gotten a different distance readout when I am finished. I believe the discrepancy is due to the extreme temperatures that I am running in. Last Thursday, it was 15 degrees outside, and the sportband said I ran 5.24 miles, which I think is fairly accurate. This past Tuesday, I ran the exact same route, but it was 1 degree outside, and the sportsband said that I only ran 4.98 miles. Finally today, I again ran the same route, it was -5 outside, and the sportband said i only ran 4.90 miles. As you can see the drop in temperature and distance are in direct proportion. Therefore I can only assume the sportband does not like the cold. Well guess what? Neither do I, but I am out there running, so this cold-blooded thing is coming with me (it's strapped to my shoe).

I know that these modifications will certainly send you back to the drawing board, but I just know that you can do it. You made your first running shoe with a waffle iron for God's sake; I know you can take care of these small items. I sincerely hope you will consider these modifications when you come out with Nike+ sportband 2.0 (you can call it the Fulton version, if you'd like). If you require a test subject for the new version, I would be more than happy to volunteer. If you want to send along any other free schwag, I will do my best to oblige.

Yours Truly,



  1. you're starting to sound like Fatty! Do you wear the watch with the digital display on the inside of your wrist? It's easier to read that way. Good luck with 2.0

  2. I must admit that Fatty was an inspiration for this particular post, but if I can be half as funny as that guy I will be proud. I have tried moving the dsplay to the inside (like old people wear their watches) but that only helps if the streetlight is over the opposite shoulder. If not, I have to turn my arm in an even more uncomfortable position.