Monday, May 2, 2022

Success and Failure at Pebble

Eric Migicovsky (via Hacker News):

I started Pebble with some friends from the University of Waterloo in 2008. We were the first company to work on smartwatches. Pebble defined what a smartwatch was meant to do — vibrate and display incoming calls and messages, control music without taking out your phone, track your exercise and sleep, and be customizable by downloading fun watchfaces.

You might remember us from 2012 we launched Pebble on Kickstarter and raised over $10m from 68,000 people around the world. This was our first breakthrough (a classic 5 year overnight success!) Over the next few years, we sold 2 million watches and did over $230m in sales.

We succeeded at inventing the smartwatch and an entirely new product category. The product itself is amazing, people still use it to this day. […] But in the end, we failed to create a sustainable, profitable business. We sold parts of our business to Fitbit at the end of 2016.


We weren’t the only one with positioning problems. Look back at the original Apple Watch marketing. ‘Most precise timepiece ever.’ Ultra luxury $17,000 gold models. LVMH partnerships. Thousands of apps on your wrist. $350+ price point. It took Apple 2 years to reposition as a sports/fitness device. This turned out to be the largest market for wearables in 2016/2017.


1 Comment RSS · Twitter

The Pebble Steel is still my favorite watch, display works in sunlight, only have to charge it every other week, still has all the functionality I want (notifications and time). Never bothered buying an AppleWatch, primarily over the charging issue. I understand why the AppleWatch has that display, as it needs to be fancy for marketing, but it is the wrong choice for the actual usage.

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