Depending on the length of your email address, password and a few other variables, it typically takes between 150 and 200 keyboard clicks to register for Bloomsday online.
Multiply that by 41,000-plus online entrants, and you get … well, a lot of clicks.
So it’s appropriate that the company handling all that data is called Click Management.
Danny Jones co-founded the business 15 years ago. He and a partner have worked closely with Bloomsday officials and volunteers since 2002.
Jones will participate in this year’s run – his 22nd consecutive Bloomsday – then help upload the results to the association’s website, which he also manages.
Monday morning he’ll be back at his day job, directing remote services for Spokane Teachers Credit Union.
During a recent interview, Jones discussed his behind-the-scene role in Bloomsday, and whether people should worry about sharing credit-card information online.
S-R: Where did you grow up?
Jones: In Southern California.
S-R: What were you interested in?
Jones: Anything technology related. Before the Internet even existed, I was involved with computers – the Apple II, IIe, IIc, Commodore 64. Later, I helped my high school library get connected with the predecessor of the Internet as we know it today.
S-R: Were you an entrepreneurial kid?
Jones: I was. I had lemonade stands, and sold Blow Pop suckers out of my high school locker. Entrepreneurship was always easy for me, because I loved thinking of new ways to do things.
S-R: What was your first real job?
Jones: Working the cash register and drive-thru at Carl’s Jr. in high school.
S-R: What brought you to Spokane?
Jones: I came up to visit Gonzaga during my junior year of high school and fell in love with the Northwest.
S-R: What was your major?
Jones: I double-majored in finance and economics. Later, I went back and got my MBA.
S-R: When did you join STCU?
Jones: I started working there 20 years ago, while still at Gonzaga. I spent the first 15 years in IT, managing software development. Now I oversee the credit card and debit card portfolio, the contact center and our fraud prevention department.
S-R: What inspired the Click Management business?
Jones: My first partner and I started hosting a website for a store owned by one of my STCU co-workers. She wanted more visibility, and back in 1999 it was still relatively new for companies to have an Internet presence.
S-R: When did you connect with Bloomsday?
Jones: Two years later. They were having issues handling the volume of online registrations. We took over the Corporate Cup registration in 2002 on a trial basis, and a few years later they gave us responsibility for the entire online race registration. The fact that we’re local helped cement the relationship, because if they have a problem, we can be down there pretty quickly.
S-R: How has the company evolved?
Jones: My first partner eventually wanted to spend more time with his family, so my current partner – Nathan Edminster – bought him out.
S-R: Has Click Management remained a part-time commitment?
Jones: Yes. Conceivably it could provide full-time employment for one of us if we were to take on another big race in the fall.
S-R: How much time do you currently devote to it?
Jones: Bloomsday registration usually starts around the first of the year, and we help with preparations as well as registration. So from the fall through May, I spend anywhere from 15 to 25 hours a week on it.
S-R: Once the software program is in place, what takes your time?
Jones: We do a lot besides the registration component and website. We orchestrate all of their email campaigns and get data to other Bloomsday providers. We hire someone to help us with customer support during March and April, which are the peak months for registration.
S-R: Have there been any major glitches?
Jones: Not really. Having backgrounds in financial services, we’re very cognizant of credit-card processing, especially in light of recent breaches. We never store entrants’ credit card numbers.
S-R: How do you keep up with changing technology?
Jones: Financial services tend to be very innovative – the industry was among the first to shift everything to the Internet. So there’s a nice complement between Click Management and my day job. And Nathan is a full-time Web application developer who works on huge accounts, from AT&T to NASCAR.
S-R: What do you like most about your side job?
Jones: That it gives us the opportunity to help pull off a premier community event.
S-R: What do you like least?
Jones: It can be overwhelming at times to have so much going on. But I thrive on working closely with the volunteers who make Bloomsday happen.
S-R: When people find out you handle Bloomsday results, do they ask if you can tweak their time?
Jones: We’ve had people try to bribe us, but only jokingly. And we’d never do that.
S-R: The Click Management website says you stress simplicity, security and efficiency. How concerned should people be about website security and buying things online?
Jones: There’s a lot of technology in place to help protect people from unauthorized purchases, so there isn’t too much to worry about. But you still need to take some basic precautions when sharing personal information online. No. 1 is to make sure the recipient is a company you trust.
S-R: Do you have to read magazines like Wired to stay abreast of changes?
Jones: It’s more about monitoring Web bloggers who are on top of security. A lot of things in print are too dated.
S-R: Many website service providers sell consumer information to third parties as a way of generating revenue. Is Bloomsday entrants’ information ever passed along?
Jones: That happened before we took over registration, and a lot of participants were upset. We never do that, nor do we try to sell anything to entrants. Bloomsday does offer some great gear you can order when registering, and there’s a spot for donating to the Northeast Community Center, which is Bloomsday’s charity this year.
S-R: After Bloomsday wraps up, how do you relax?
Jones: My favorite summer getaway is backpacking through Glacier National Park. One of the nice things about our business is that we can operate it from almost anywhere. Typically, though, Nathan and I try not to be out of town at the same time, so one of us is always available.