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Innovator: Eric Piazza

February 1, 2013

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Eric Piazza - Running Club App

Eric Piazza created the Running Club App to motivate the lonely runner. The app connects solo runners in different locations so they can track each other's progress and, at least virtually, exercise together. A software developer by trade, Piazza has watched the shift toward mobile technology with interest. "Five years ago we had the laptop on the couch," he says. "Now we have the iPad. The next wave of technology is app development and mobile development."

While developing ideas for his own app, Piazza noticed other running programs that let users share their stats after the fact, but nothing that offered "that in-race motivating factor." The Running Club App uses dot-style visualization to pinpoint each participant's location and allows them to communicate while running. The app also stores stats, so when users miss a run, they can use Running Club to recreate the other runners' progress retroactively, or they can run against their own best times.

Piazza, who moved to Sarasota from Baton Rouge, still works as a software contractor to pay the bills. Since launching in April 2012, his free app has gained 750 registered users; a high school basketball team in Baton Rouge uses it so teammates can run together from home, and Piazza is helping corporations in New York and Chicago use the app to start running clubs for employees. Running Club has received positive attention from Family Beautiful magazine, Mashable.com and LifeInsurance.org.uk.

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METRIC

991,000

As of November 2012, Florida needed to create 991,000 jobs in order to return to pre-recession employment levels while absorbing those people who enter the labor force each month. Only California had a higher number.

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