The inner story behind Pebble’s demise

Although all details of the agreement are not made public (and Migicovsky is not free to share them), from the notices in Pebble and Fitbit On the blog, the deal emerged as an asset sale related to Pebble’s software, firmware, and patents, but not hardware or actual inventory. Pebble remains responsible for its own debts. Some Pebblers, like Migicovsky employees, will join Fitbit; they are mostly engineers – definitely a dilemma. Migicovsky confirmed that those who did not receive would be laid off.

Of course, Pebble watches will continue to function and, initially, Fitbit will support Pebble watches, even though the warranty is no longer in effect. Those who have created third-party apps and add-ons can still sell to the shrinking Pebble community. Those who order Pebble products on Kickstarter will get a refund.

Fitbit had its own problems at the end of the year— Last month it cut its estimate for holiday sales and its stock level all-time lowest – but adding Pebble engineers’ expertise and patents to some of Pebble’s more innovative features will probably improve Fitbit products in the future. Ironically, when I spoke to Migicovsky last April, he cited Fitbit as a company that soon understood that fitness would be the dominant function of wearables in these early days and are developing on that. “They have a sketch of how they transition from health and wellness to a more versatile smartwatch,” he told me. “We have the opposite situation right now when we started out as this versatile smartwatch and needed[ed] to realize that health is one of the number one things people do with Pebble. “Of course, he didn’t know then that Fitbit would try to complete the transition with the rest of his company.

A press statement from James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit, syncs with this theory: “With basic wearables getting smarter and smartwatches adding capabilities In terms of health and fitness, we see opportunities to build our strengths and extend our leadership in the wearable category. ”(I tried to talk to Park but couldn’t connect with him before my deadline.)

Migicovsky itself won’t come to Fitbit. He will not confirm or deny reports following our conversation that he will be working for Y Combinator. No matter what he did, he wouldn’t leave Pebble like a rich man. “That’s not the kind of deal,” he said. “This deal is primarily about customers, employees, and suppliers.”

Any regrets?

“I wouldn’t change that much,” he said. “The plan didn’t work out perfectly, but things rarely happen. We gave it a shot. We made a great product, we shipped it, we started a marketplace … and we couldn’t go to the next step. “

And what about Silicon Valley’s emblem called failure? Migicovsky doesn’t believe he owns it. “I don’t have to follow the mantra of quick failure,” he said of his nine-year journey. For Migicovsky, however, the big driver for selling is conservation – the opportunity to continue nurturing the community he has built. “It’s not a big community, [but] I think it’s a significant amount: two million people in the world, ”he recalls.

As I can see, Eric Migicovsky did quite a bit in his twenties. Despite its abrupt end, Pebble is an innovative and scalable company that offers value for its users and an appreciation community for developers. It’s a breath of fresh air in a space where big companies compete with harsh determination and sometimes mistakes. Just 30, Migicovsky has plenty of time for future glory. And a lot of watches are left to keep that time.

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