If I went to the dentist as a kid I’d get a sticker.
It would say “I’ve been a brave boy,” or “I gave plaque the heave-ho!” It was a nice touch. Given the choice I’d have avoided the dentist entirely, but as it was compulsory, the sticker was the sweetener (so to speak). I felt like I’d been a brave boy. Like I’d taken on plaque and won.
I assumed only the bravest, those with only the highest standards of tooth maintenance, got the sticker. Its’s possible that all kids got one regardless of bravery and/or plaque levels, but I chose not to dwell on that.
It was nice little pat on the back.
Fast forward thirty-odd years and, on 1st January 2019, I went for a bike ride. Nothing special – twenty-five miles, winter pace – as I would on any crisp, sunny bank holiday.
Post–ride my on-board Garmin sent the data to my phone, as it does, where it was picked up by Garmin connect, ready for transfer across to Strava (jeez…it sounds so unnecessary when you write it down like that!). In among all the tech wizardry Garmin connect sent me a message.
I’d earnt, apparently, a “strong start” badge. New year, y’see, so I’ve started well. Aren’t I clever? #newyearnewme
“Oh, there’s been some mistake,” I thought to myself. The Garmin corporation are under the misapprehension that I’m a ten-year-old boy when actually, hilariously, I’m a forty-two year old man.
Because why else would they give me a little dentists sticker for being a brave boy?
Do they think I’m more likely to commit to Garmin connect as my ride-logging tech of choice because of a compulsion to collect the next badge? It’s going to take more than patronising platitudes to get me to play their little game.
Maybe an “I ♥ Tom Dumoulin” badge because they think they’ve tracked me into a farmers field, mid-ride, to do a poo?
Or an “EPO club” badge because my ride stats are showing an unexplained, implausible leap in performance?
Call me old-fashioned, but my motivation and self-worth tends to come from within; it’s got bugger-all to do with Garmin. And when it doesn’t come from within I get it from slightly more primal sources; I can still be motivated by pizza, donuts, or the thought of a roaring fire on an ice-cold day, for example.
If Garmin introduce the: “well done lad…you’ve done well today and the artisan donuts are in the post” badge, then I’m in. That’s the badge for me. It would take effort on their part and therefore convince me that they really meant it.
But if I’m just a brave boy, I think I’ll opt out.