How Shine went from idea to the shelves of the Apple stores in 9 months – with Misfit Wearables founder Sonny Vu

Episode #483

Be beautiful or invisible. That is the secret to this, the opening salvo in the wearables industry, according to Sonny Vu. Sonny is the founder of Misfit Wearables, makers of the sophisticated and elegant Shine activity tracker.

It seems as though we are hearing about new entrants in the wearables world almost every single day: Google has their glasses, Apple will have their watch, the Pebble had the most successful Kickstarter campaign in their short history, and so on and so on. This industry will only get more crowded with more companies vying for our wrists, ankles, neck, shoe, heart, face, etc. You get it. This is what makes Sonny’s statement about beauty or visibility so fundamental to how companies roll out their products. Real estate is a premium and consumers will become loyal to a platform – not to all of them. Think of how the Android vs iOS world has played out. Vehemently loyal sides and switching does not happen very often, if at all.

What makes Sonny and his Shine unique? Craftsmanship. His team have upped the ante on the look, feel, utility – the beauty – of the pool of devices you can choose from. They have also reduced the friction of using the device. Put it on and go. No need to recharge every night, just replace the lithium battery every 3-4 months. It is also water resistant enough and small enough to never have to remove it – even while sleeping.

The thought and consideration that went into the development of this hardware is only the start of this story. The amazing thing is that the product was an interim step – something designed, built and manufactured in less than 9 months – while they wait for the market to be ready for their “real” product (something he would only call “MARS”). Throughout this episode you’ll understand the process a veteran hardware team goes through to bring a mobile product to market – including their Indiegogo experience (crowdfunding over $800K), the areas of focus while building the product and the relentless pursuit of a long-lasting, easy to use, set and forget option in a market dominated by plastic and complexity.

Watch this and you’ll understand what it takes to get an innovative wearable product to market.


Key takeaways from this episode. Click on the link and the video will take you to that clip

1. What is Misfit Wearables? 2:05
2. How did you decide to build Shine? 2:45
3. Why use Indiegogo after raising venture capital? 4:30
4. How did the company raise the money without a real product? 5:15
5. Could you have shipped Shine with JUST the money raised from Indiegogo? 7:00
6. Do crowdsourcing sites do good or do bad for manufactured goods? 9:15
7. Why get into this crowded market of wearables? 11:40
8. How did you get the Shine on the shelf in the Apple store? 14:20
9. Why did Shine over subscribe the Indiegogo campaign? 18:45
10. What was the design focus for the Shine? 22:00
11. What did you focus on to build the Shine? 23:45
12. Now that you own the wrist, what is next for the Shine? 26:45
13. How did you design the Shine in such a short time? 29:30
14. Where does the wearable industry go? 31:50
15. What 3 things did you focus on to build the product 36:22
16. Why no notifications? 40:20
17. What I would love to have on the Shine 44:25
18. What industry hasn’t been touched yet by data collection and measurement? 46:40
19. Are we building a mesh network of data? 47:30
20. What are the trends you are seeing for this industry and what do those mean for Misfit? 49:50
21. How hard is it to do the coloured Shines? 56:00

Raw Transcript

Rob: Hello everybody. Welcome to I’m your host and founder Rob Woodbridge. We are diving into the wearable industry. I tell you I love it. This is an emerging field. Obviously you guys know that and today we’re talking about the manufacturers with this, the Shine. This is called Misfit Wearables and we’re going to be talking with Sonny Vu who’s the CEO of this company.
Now before I bring him in I’ve got to let you know that their first month they did 40,000 sales, 40,000 of these shipped. Now Sonny’s told me that it’s 40,000 plus literally every month. Now these are on the shelves of Apple. They’ve just struck a deal with BestBuy. They are based in San Francisco. They manufacture in Korea. They do all their R&D in Vietnam and where are you Sonny? You’re in L.A, right now?

Sonny: I’m in L.A. right now.

Rob: It just seems like, but you are, where do you base out of? You’re not based out of San Francisco at all are you?

Sonny: I’m from New Hampshire. I still own a New Hampshire residence. That’s why I live there but we moved Misfit over to the West Coast because that’s where the action is.

Rob: It’s kind of crazy not to be on the West Coast. Everybody that I talk to is either on a path, is there or on a path towards the West Coast. It’s like, Chicago’s a good city. New York’s a good city and they say, ‘No. It doesn’t matter. There’s nothing better than San Francisco when it comes to technology and emerging technology and funding so you’ve got to follow that, don’t you?

Sonny: It’s a great ecosystem out here.

Rob: This is, like I’ve got to tell you. I’m wearing one of these things. I love these things. It was the one that caught my eye. I looked at Fitbit. I was like, “I’m longing for Fitbit but this one somehow landed up right here, right?” I bought it on the shelves at the Apple store so I want to talk about that. I want to talk about why get into this space. Why you guys are different, all of this stuff around this great product including the design but I really want to start by first giving you a little bit of time. I know you don’t like infomercials but you’ve got to tell people about what Misfit is and what the Shine is and I promise we won’t talk about you ever again.

Sonny: Great. Thanks so much. Thank you for this opportunity. Misfit, we are about making great wearable computing products and so for the first three products that we’re developing primarily in the sensor space for wellness and fitness applications. Our very first product, actually product number one was supposed to be a different product and that’s something that we’ll be releasing next year. We’ve been calling it the Mars Project. That’s not what we’re going to call it when we launch it. It is, it may seem like alien technology, who knows but we’re really excited about it.
Shine was something that we were just opportunistic about. We just saw how this market was taking off. How people were excited about the space, fitness tracking. Great so we threw our hat into the ring and our approach was a little different so we wanted to make sure that people were interested in what we were doing so we did the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, our favorite platform. They are so, they were so good to us and they really were a key part to making us successful with our campaign.
We launched Shine on it. We just had, really just a rendering and a model and we wanted to see if people wanted to buy it before we made it and so we had a prototype and it worked out pretty well. We hit our goals really quickly; $100,000 is what we set out to raise. It wasn’t so much just because of the money because we’re actually venture backed. We raised money initially six months prior to the campaign but we wanted to see if people actually wanted it and understand, “Why is it that people want these products?”
Anyway, as we hit our campaign goals, $100,000 within nine and a half hours. It was the fastest Indiegogo campaign in the history at the time and we were blown away because we didn’t hire any PR firms. We didn’t, I mean we were tiny. We’re a starving startup, right? We thought, “This is interesting. I think we should probably make it. It seems like the world is saying they want it so let’s do it.”

Rob: Think we should probably make it, how much did you end up raising from [inaudible 00:04:09]

Sonny: We got $850,000.

Rob: Over 30 days? Is that what that was?

Sonny: It was over, I think it was eight weeks total.

Rob: Eight weeks total.

Sonny: It was just a full campaign where, yes, so it was a lot of fun. We really had fun doing it and we learned a lot and yeah.

Rob: Did you use Indiegogo, like because you’re funded, right?

Sonny: Yes.

Rob: Did you use Indiegogo as kind of like a, was it really about validating the idea?

Sonny: It really was. It really was because we had raised $7.6 million like just six months before that so it wasn’t just about the cash. We really wanted to see, I mean we’ve been in, I mean I’m sure there are a lot of, sort of people out there who’ve been in situations where they thought, “Oh, let’s make this. I’m sure people will buy it.”

Rob: I’ve been a part of a couple of those.

Sonny: It’s like, well it doesn’t quite turn out the way we think. Let’s avoid that. Let’s go ahead and sell it. Let’s put it out there first to see what people think, and then let’s figure out whether we want to make it or not.

Rob: So, how did you raise that much money without, it sounds like, really having an idea of a product? Were you putting a product down beforehand?

Sonny: Yeah. We actually were working on Mars, and we were talking about the Mars Project. That’s what got people excited. In a way, and it’s weird, we’ve kind of pivoted away from Mars. We branched, because we decided, well, let’s hang onto Mars for a second. I don’t know if we’ll ever do it. But Shine, let’s see if people are interested in that, because that trend seems really real. So, it’s kind of weird because we raised money, and then like six months later we branched from that objective. But our investors seemed really cool about it and very supportive. We were like, “If you’re cool with it, then we want to do it, so let’s do it.”

Rob: Those are the best investors ever.

Sonny: Oh, they’re amazing. You know? The folks at [COSLA] and the folks at Founder’s Fund, they’ve been incredible to us.

Rob: So, how long did it take you guys to decide on this and go from an idea to a product?

Sonny: So, napkin sketch was September. Prototypes, and it was more mock-ups, in November. Basically a two-month campaign which we ended in the middle of January, and by then we were like, “Okay. We are definitely doing this. We are definitely, definitely doing this.” So, we camp out and work. We were trying to launch in the end of March, which was pretty ambitious.

Rob: Come on.

Sonny: Yeah, I know. It’s pretty fast, right? Well, we were working on it before. We were working on it probably, well, since November. Right? Then, we were late. So, we tried to ship in June, and then we ended up shipping in July. So, we ended up being about three months late, but it was fine. So, from start to finish about nine months.

Rob: Let me ask you this. A lot of people do the crowdfunding model, and they do what you do. Right? Maybe they don’t have the funding, which is the big thing behind it, but they’ll say, we’re going to raise $100,000. Then, they actually achieve their goal, and it’s not investment. It’s pre-sales. Right? So, you ultimately have to ship the product. I’ve talked to a bunch of guys that say, we raised 100,000, and we went over. We raised like 220,000. Had we not raised $220,000, we would have gone bankrupt because we couldn’t afford to actually ship the product that we promised for raising $100,000. So, when you went through this process, even with $800,000, was that enough to build this, manufacture this, and ship it?

Sonny: No.

Rob: No, it wasn’t.

Sonny: No. Even that was not enough. The thing is, we’ve done hardware for a long time. We’ve been doing it for the last 12 years. We’ve shipped 15 hardware products.

Rob: So, you knew. You know what you’re doing.

Sonny: Yeah. Well, I think we had a good idea. Although, we’ve never made a metal product. I mean, this is made of solid metal. It’s carved out of a piece of aircraft-grade aluminum. If it was plastic injection-molded, like pretty much every other consumer electronic device out there, then that would be a different matter. But this is a CNC. You know? It’s carved. There’s no mold involved here. We’re not pouring liquid metal into a mold, then pressing it and having a bunch of people put circuit boards in it. If it was that way, then life would have been way easier, but it’s not. So, we struggled. Yeah, it was tough.

Rob: You did. So, without that money behind you it would have been tough, wouldn’t it? It would have been tough.

Sonny: Yeah, it would have been tough. Without the [venture] financing it would have been tough. So, when I see these campaigns out there, they raise like $200,000 and they’ve got some widget with an accelerometer and some app, I just have no idea how people … Well, with the plastics it would be easier to make. You know? You’ve got the whole [inaudible 00:08:49] system in China to kind of contract manufacture this stuff for you. But still, my heart goes out to those campaigns, because I know how hard it is. It’s probably eating ramen all day long. But hey, hats off to the fact that people are doing this. I love it.

Rob: Maybe I want to ask you a question about this. I don’t quite know how to, because I know some great successful companies that have emerged from Kickstarter and from Indiegogo. I’ve also seen some colossal failures and products that have never shipped, or are two years late. But do you think that there’s a naivete that comes in when it comes to actual physical goods?
Do you think that these services … I know you love Indiegogo, and it’s great to kind of get a pulse of what a consumer might want, but do you think these services in the end do good for a product, or do they do bad for a product? You guys built this beautifully. Right? It’s rugged, but it’s beautiful, and it has endurance, and I don’t have to charge the damned thing. You’ve put a lot of thought into this. But do you think that some companies get to crunch, and then it’s like, “Oh, just ship anything. I don’t care if it’s crappy.”

Sonny: Yeah. So, the one thing I’d say is that many of the teams you see on these sites are first time entrepreneurs, first time hardware guys and gals. One of the things we’re seeing also is that when people get into it they realize, making something and making something that can be made are different skills. Sure, anybody can be one of something, or even ten of something. But let’s make 50,000 of them. Now, let’s see how it is.
That is a different challenge. That is not the kind of challenge you learn how to deal with at school. You go to MIT or wherever you get your fancy degrees from. They don’t teach you design for manufacturing. They don’t teach you massive scale. How do you scale up A C and C process? That’s hard. I think that’s what people struggle with. That’s why you see these delays.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any campaign ship out on time. That’s okay. That’s crowdfunding, what do you expect? I think people are buying into stories. People love great stories. I want that hope to remain. I don’t want people to lose confidence in these things. Indiegogo is doing an awesome job at generating this kind of innovation. The number of wearable products coming through that site, it’s amazing.

Rob: It takes this kind of marketplace of ideas to create more ideas and inspire more people. You must have seen this. This landscape is around you. You do have wearables out there already in the marketplace. Nike’s Fuel Band, Up was out there, Fit Bit was all over the place at that point. What was it about this that you thought, we could do this better? Was it that, or was it that you were going to approach it from a different angle?

Sonny: I think one thing was that we saw everything was made of plastic. Why don’t we not do that? Let’s make something that you’d really want to wear. It reminds me of my last company. We were going to make company t-shirts. All the startups have company t-shirts. Especially medical device companies, they have the lamest t-shirts. They have polos. Who wears polos, right?
Embroidered polos that you give to salespeople, and you have your convention in Dallas and everybody gets their $70 polo that they wear, and then it becomes the car rag after the national sales team meeting. Far be it for us to do that.
So we made these. We said to our design team, let’s make something that you’d wear even if you didn’t work at this company. Because it’s so cool, it’s such a funny shirt or whatever. So really cool graphic t-shirts. The analogy we’ve taken to Misfit is, let’s make something so cool, interesting to wear that you’d wear it even if it wasn’t working. That was our internal design criteria. Let’s make something you’d wear even if the batteries were dead.
Shine hasn’t gotten there. We’re getting closer. You’d be surprised though, 20 percent of people we’ve surveyed, especially women, said they’d actually wear it, even if . . . They were actually asked if they would wear this. Don’t tell them what it is.

Rob: Just, here, look at this, would you wear this?

Sonny: Would you wear this? About 10 percent of people said yes, and then when you tap on, the lights turn on. They’re like, “Cool, do the lights mean anything?” “No, they don’t mean anything.” “It’s cool, illuminated jewelry, I’d totally wear it. I have this great dress it’d go great with. Does it do anything else?” “No, that’s it.” Then we leave the interview. That’s it. They don’t actually know what it is. Then later they found out, “Oh my God, I saw this. It was in the Apple Store.” That’s what we tried to do. We’re not quite there with Shine yet. It’s only 20 percent. That’s what we dream of doing. Wouldn’t it be cool if you, you know . . .

Rob: Build something that somebody would wear, even if they didn’t know it was functional.

Sonny: Most of the thing we wear aren’t functional. T-shirt . . .

Rob: This takes it to a different level. You guys ended up in Apple Store. You’re on the shelf. So how does a small company like you guys, first product out of the door like this, nine months of development, and in that process you land on Apple. I don’t know what this is, is this the Mecca of retail, to be on that shelf? How did you get there?

Sonny: Apple is selective, but they’re excited about great products that are innovative and really push the edge. And that have a great user experience and great design. Great design, great user experience, really push the edge, innovative. Available in volume. They don’t just want to buy five of them, you know? With those combinations, I wouldn’t say anyone can get in, but it’s definitely an option for some folks. It’s not the only option. There are lots of other really great retailers. We partnered recently with BestBuy, and they’re amazing too.

Rob: What you’ve got to understand is that a lot of nine month old products, or companies that decided nine months ago, literally a year ago around this time when we’re recording this, don’t end up on the shelf of Apple, and don’t have the manufacturing clout that you guys have, and the ability to push these things out. And they don’t have the packaging and the design chops and the ability to create this out of metal. Then also to negotiate with BestBuy. It’s a beautiful product, but somebody at Apple and somebody at BestBuy has to see it, right? And that is hard.

Sonny: Right. There is a process for doing it. There are people who can help represent you, and can pitch you to the relevant buyers and whatnot. We did have some advantage, in the sense that we had sold products to Apple in the past. We made the world’s first hardware medical device that works with the iPhone. The glucose meter, which, for the longest time, was sold in Apple Stores. I’m not sure if they still are. They may still be. But that was kind of a breakthrough product. I think we had a bit of a bye there. That helped.
I don’t think it’s this mysterious machine or anything. In many ways, they’re like many other retailers. They’re probably a bit more selective. Like I said, with an intense dedication to user experience and design and production. I think many of these products have a great chance.

Rob: Is it harder to get featured in an Apple Store than the App Store?

Sonny: They don’t really feature you in the Apple Store. They just put you on the shelves, and then that’s it. There’s a certain section where you go. Being features in the App Store, we’ve never been. We just released our app a couple months ago. It’s pretty basic right now. We’re improving it every 2-3 weeks, we push out another update. I have no idea about the App Store.

Rob: It’s funny. Because one of the hardest things, building a physical good, manufacturing a physical good, the packaging is beautiful as well, the way that it’s laid out. In fact, just inserting the battery is a great experience. You get to see the innards of the device, and putting it on the band. It’s such a great experience. All of that, within that period of time, just made this entire package that was incredible. Not only that, the coolness of putting it on your device and having it sync on the device.
You’ve created something here that’s rugged, it’s beautiful, it has endurance, no charging required, and it’s just active. Even the app has improved quite substantially over the months since you’ve released it. I’m fascinated by this. Because, to go from where you guys were nine months ago, a year ago. To getting on the shelves at BestBuy and Apple. That’s a win. And I know you guys don’t like talking about that.
A lot of companies are out there trying to figure out, how the hell did he do it? So if you have any questions, you can just reach out to Sonny, he’ll fill you all in.

Sonny: Sure, absolutely.

Rob: This is a very interesting space. Going back to your Indiegogo campaign. Any idea how come it over-subscribed that quickly and you raised $100,000 in the first 8 hours? Any reason?

Sonny: At the core of any campaign that’s going to have any kind of traction is a great story. I really think we were fortunate, providence, luck, however you want to call it. We stumbled onto something that hit a nerve. That was, many of the products out there . . . This wearable space, it’s kind of a misnomer. It’s not very wearable. Many of them are plastic and rubber, as you’ve mentioned. They’re bulky and they make you look like a cyborg.
It’s not what some people want. And that some people, that segment, is big enough to capture . . . I don’t think they’ve been reached out to. Women, for example. They’re not going to wear some of these devices. It’s like, their Gucci watch or this plastic thing. You know what? Gucci watch. If you’re going to win over the hearts of those people, you can’t go in with a rubber band or something.
So we just wanted to do something and kind of redesign this product, much in the same way we redesigned the glucose meter, which then was the world’s first hardware medical device in the Apple store. And it worked, it worked. The story around elegance, if you Google “elegant tracker” you’ll see us pop up quite a bit.

Rob: Nice.

Sonny: And part of it is because that is what quite a few people want.

The funny thing is there is the general perception that the product doesn’t do much. It’s like, oh, it’s just really elegant. That’s not true. We do actually the same thing that everyone else does. We track steps, calories, distance and …

Rob: Sleep and swimming and running.

Sonny: Yeah. We actually track more things. Not many of these devices do because unlike other wrist activity trackers if you go cycling we, too, do not do well with cycling on the wrist because your wrists don’t move. It makes sense. But with this I can take it off and I can put it in my pants or clip it to the bottom of my legs and it’ll measure steps because my legs are actually moving. It’s kind of hard to track something if you’re not actually moving.

Rob: Exactly. It’s interesting. I love the idea that you are known for something, and elegance is something to be known for.
I never wore a calculator watch, and I didn’t know many women who wore calculator watches. I’m not going to wear this Samsung screen on my wrist. It’s true. They’re too bulky. They stick out too much. They’re too awkward. The battery dies, and they don’t charge. These are all the excuses that I hear.
My friends who wear Fitbits or whatever they might be for Sony, it loses the charge and they just forget about it. I think this has been around since the day that I got it, and I haven’t taken it off, right? It’s just waterproof enough for me. So if you thought this through, it can’t be an inconvenience for the wearer.

Sonny: Any barrier to wearing it that you can take away is a win, and that’s one of the things we tried to focus on was making it as wearable as possible first. Believe it or not, this sounds crazy. We designed the shell first and we tried to find the places that could actually make this thing. We came back and said, “Okay, let’s put circuit boards and wireless communication. We almost could not fit a sensor in it.

Rob: Wow.

Sonny: So people were wondering, “What the heck were you going to make?” Well, we thought maybe we’ll just [inaudible 22:36] and lights would turn it on and the lights would kind of remind you to work out more. That’s it. Illuminated jewelry. We were almost going to do that. We said, “We looked at ourselves in the mirror. We can’t possibly ship. That is not a minimum viable product, Sony. Let’s put a sensor in it. Okay. We’re a sensor company in a sense, so let’s do it.”
That’s the approach we took because if we cannot make it this small and no charging then let’s do something else. Let’s do a t- shirt. We love t-shirts, by the way. Or we love key chains. Maybe we should do a key chain instead. You carry that with you a lot, but that was actually one of our original ideas, a key chain. That actually turned out to be really hard.

Rob: How do you decide because there is something to be said about a MVP? If this is your MVP I’m blown away, right? Based on this we see MVPs as the same thing. It’s the best damned product you can push out. It’s the best damned product. It’s the best experience.
Now that this is on my wrist, and there’s a battle for the wrists going on, I’ve only got two. If you listen to Robert [Scoville] and you only have two, and a neck and a head and somewhere else that you can… a shirt. I love the idea of sensors woven into the shirt, but how do you decide what goes into here? The feedback that you’ve been receiving from the users of this … How do you decide what features to go with and in what order for this thing?
Once it’s on my wrist, what else is in here that’s going to allow you to expand the offering and maybe make some more money off of it?

Sonny: Yeah. So I think the main thing is enabling people to upgrade the product from a clasp to the sport band or to the leather band or upgrading it to the necklace, depending on what you want because not everybody wants to wear it in the same way or in the same context or to the same occasions.

Rob: Yep.

Sonny: Wearable occasions, people haven’t really talked about too much, but there are certain things that you cannot wear to a formal or a business setting and certainly not in certain high dressed cultures. If you go to Tokyo or Seoul or New York, if you show up with a plastic thing around your wrist, that is, to some cultures it’s almost insulting. It’s like, what are you doing man, we’re having…it’s like showing up without a tie or something. And so wearable occasions is something that’s pretty important. And also just making it thin so that you could sleep with it. This is something that you could sleep with.

Rob: Yes, it is. Without a doubt.

Sonny: And not feel like you’re rubbing up against the sheets or whatever. And that’s the thing we focused on, was wearability. And the second thing we focused on was battery life. Let’s get to the four to six month battery life window. And it’s hard. Because what that entails is actually throwing out features.

Rob: Yes.

Sonny: And not doing certain things. We could easily do automatic activity detection where it would just automatically detect whether you’re swimming or running or whatever. But it takes up a lot of power. If we actually put that feature in it would go down to one month of battery life. Not acceptable. And then people say, well just let people recharge it. Also not acceptable.

Rob: Yeah. No, you don’t want to do that.

Sonny: So let’s not do that. Let’s keep it really simple. Let’s just measure your steps, calories, distance. And then we’ll let people tag different activities if they really want to get more precise credit for their activities, no problem. But let’s keep it really simple, let’s do one thing really, really well and that is be worn all the time so that you’ll get the most continuous data.

Rob: There’s got to be…and I applaud that, as I said, I put it on when I bought it. I haven’t taken it off.

Sonny: Awesome, that’s good.

Rob: Not for one moment have I taken it off since then and I think that that’s exactly what you want to happen is this. But now that it’s here. What is the potential for you? Because you own this real estate. Which is huge, if you ask me. This is yours. What do you do with it now?

Sonny: Well, I think enabling people to connect to each other to help each other achieve goals. So, a little peak into that’s coming up next but we’ve got a really cool feature where you’re going to be able to use Shine, you’re going to be able Shine together with friends. So you and I can start competing and having some fun and encouraging each other.
You look like you’re in pretty good shape so I don’t know if I want to compete with you but I’m trying to get to 800 points every day. But the idea is, we want people to achieve their goals every day. And that’s it. At the end of the day you don’t really care about how many steps you took or whatever, you just want to know did I hit my goal or not?

Rob: Right, right.

Sonny: Was I active enough or not? And the other thing is just being able to tell the time. I don’t know if you saw the latest update but now you can have your clock turn on first.

Rob: Yes.

Sonny: So I use it as a watch now. It’s 4:50, okay cool. So being able to…not that we’re trying to compete against smart watches or anything like that. You’re not getting text message notifications or something like that. It’s doable, you can do it, it’s not hard to do. But you’d be down to two months of battery life if you did that and this is not acceptable. Four months minimum.

Rob: And so you work within those paradigms. It’s got to fit into this size, it’s got to be four to six months’ worth of battery, okay what can we do? Is that the way you approach this?

Sonny: That’s pretty much it. That’s pretty much it. And then Mars it’s going to be…we’re trying to stretch the battery life even further. And the thing is, there are tricks you can do to get longer battery like, like having a button. That’s one of the things that burns a lot of battery for us is, we don’t have a button on here. If we had made the dang thing out of plastic or if we had a button. Like, press it and then you’ll transmit your data. I mean, that’s easy. You can go to a year, year and a half battery life with that. But we want it to be seamless. So we actually use the same sensor to measure your motion, to measure the double tap.

Rob: Really?

Sonny: Yeah, that’s how we did it. So pretty much every component we have, it has two purposes. The accelerometer is used for a user interface and for tracking your motion. The clasp is used to clip stuff on and also a magnet also helps grab your battery out of the battery door when you…

Rob: Have to replace it.

Sonny: …replace the battery, yeah. And so we had a lot of fun trying to come up with that kind of thing.

Rob: So, back to the whole process, the ideation on the product…I don’t think we have enough time in the episode to really dive into this because I’m so fascinated by this because this seems like it’s a product that has been baked for years. The intricacies that you’ve just described, the way that you’ve doubled up on the features, the functions of this and the way that you’ve built this seems like there’s 100 years of thought that went into this product that you pushed out in nine months. How did you do that?

Sonny: Well, we did iterate very quickly. So that’s the one thing. And we kept the teams really small. There’s only 12 of us in San Francisco. Okay, so-

Rob: Yeah. And that’s the hub, that’s the idea center.

Sonny: That’s where a lot of this happens, but the other part of it is we were able to leverage a great team in Vietnam which is where I’m from and so we’ve got now 35 people there. Eight of them are full-time PhD- they have PhDs and they’re full-time with us. And the idea is, like, let’s leverage the teams there to do the science, the algorithms, machine learning, the app, the backend, all of that so a lot of that brainy stuff happens there too.
And so but having the two teams- keeping the teams relatively small and being able to leverage different teams for different specialized skill sets helps a lot.

Rob: It just seems like you guys have done an incredible amount and the iteration that- those must have been amazing meetings to sit through or brainstorming sessions, to be able to sit though and say, “Can we do this?” And then you send it off and you say, “Yeah, you can and it’ll work!” That sounds amazing to me.

Sonny: Yeah. Yeah. It was a lot of fun. No we had a lot of fun doing this and, you know, working start up hours so, you know. Tough, but you know what I mean by that.

Rob: Yes.

Sonny: But I mean the key is also just finding the right people who really love doing this stuff, you know. I mean that’s I think when it becomes a labor of love it no longer feels like work, you know?

Rob: Yeah. No, and I totally agree. I’m doing something as [of] a non- profit which is You seem to be, you’re on the shelves of Apple. You understand what it means to love your product and you wear it and I always love that. I’ve worked with a lot of companies and I say like, “Okay, so do you use your product?” They’re like, “No way! Why would I ever use that?” I’m like, “Okay, I don’t think I can work with you. If you can’t use your own product.”

Sonny: Yeah. No, no. You’ve got to make stuff that you’d use. That’s hard otherwise.

Rob: So, now, like a little bit of future gazing here because where does this industry go because there is this kind of, nobody knows and I don’t expect you to know but you seem to have hit quite a bit with this one product, right? You mean, you contained your vision. You said, “Listen, it’s got to fit. It’s got to be this big, this thin, last for 46 months battery power. Let’s see what we can do.” And then you’re slowly executing on the application side and I expect that to ratchet up and I love this idea of wearable occasions, right? That’s a unique thing that I’ve never heard before.
But there’s got to be something that comes [up]. Like I’ve talked with manufacturers of shirts, I’ve talked with guys who are putting strips into bed that really gauge your sleep patterns and your habits, and I’ve talked with people who are doing, as I said, the Nymi which is a wristband that gauges your EKG.

Sonny: Yeah. That’s an awesome product. Yeah.

Rob: So a lot of these companies are trying a whole bunch of new things. We must be right in that primordial soup area around this when this industry’s defining, but how do you see it?

Sonny: I feel like we’re in maybe not the first inning- maybe not the first half, but the probably the second half of the first inning of this wearable space and it’s not necessarily just a nine inning game either. And so it’s- and people often tell me, “Man, wearable isn’t that a really crowded space now?” And I’m like, “Are you kidding me? This feels like 1991 of the World Wide Web.”

Rob: Yeah.

Sonny: You know? And we are early, man. And I say, “There are only about 30 competitors,” okay? And what that really means is there- a lot of people are trying to find their way around like you were saying in this primordial soup. And it’ll collapse into a small set of players.
I mean, right now there’s like four, probably like three or four relevant folks out there of the big guys. Many of them you’ve mentioned. Great companies making great products. But they’re very version 1.0. We’re all very 1.0 kind of, you know? And so we’re all reaching towards the 2.0 future where things are more seamless, they’re more beautiful. I really think I’ve been saying that you either need to be beautiful or invisible if you’re going to be wearable. And it’s really true-

Rob: That’s good.

Sonny: -and I think we’re reaching towards that, you know? Well, I mean Shine which we took the beautiful route. Mars is more on the invisible route.

Rob: I’m so intrigued, man. You keep dropping Mars in.

Sonny: Yeah, people are not likely going to see me wear Mars too much unless I guess if you looked hard. And then we’ve got a product beyond that that we have working prototypes for already. But the idea is to make – the promise that we want to keep is one is incredibly wearable, meaning again the benchmark something you’d wear even if it didn’t work.
The second thing was just long battery lives, you know? Never having to charge. And that is a hard constraint to meet. And sometimes I do wonder, like, “Maybe we should relax and let people wirelessly charge,” or something like that. But even wirelessly charging in some ways is worse because what if you forget your wirelessly charging pad?
At least if you could charge with a micro-USB port then you’d probably have one of those cords laying around somewhere, you know. But the third thing is just having data that is really actionable, where you can actually do something about it. Like with Shine for me, I’m at, let’s see here, about seven dots. Okay. And it is about five o’clock. Okay. I am behind. I need to get my . . .

Rob: You need to start walking, man.

Sonny: Yeah. I need to do something to get my last few dots [inaudible 35:15]

Rob: Enjoy it. I’m at 119 percent.

Sonny: You are, you are, whoa, that is, you’re doing well.

Rob: Yeah.

Sonny: You’re doing well.

Rob: That is . . .That is, this is the thing that, I mean, do I get motivated by this? Sure, absolutely. And, do I find myself walking further? Absolutely. Creating additions and it is a powerful motivator. But I always think there’s got to be something else that is in this that . . .

Sonny: I think, I think the key is, is connecting to other people. I think if you can connect to other people where you are trying to achieve a similar goal together, it’s going to be so much more fun, and so much easier. And honestly, we’re just constrained by manpower right now.

Rob: Resources.

Sonny: Yeah, and so, it’s coming. It’s coming. And before Thanksgiving, we’re going to get something really cool. So, we’ve got to make it fun. I think that’s the other thing. Let’s make it fun. [inaudible 36:08]

Rob: Does the software now, that you turn your focus on, because this is, or is it everything?

Sonny: It’s all software. I mean, we’re still doing firmware improvements.

Rob: Yeah. Yeah.

Sonny: And so the things that we focus on with Mars as we thought about it, we said, okay, let’s focus on delivering, on making the things that are going to be really hard to change later. So we focus on three things. One was industrial design and build quality. Two was a very robust firmware upgrade architecture so that you could literally, over the air upgrade. When we can push out a firmware upgrade over the . . .

Rob: It’s wicked.

Sonny: . . . over the Internet, and boom, now you have sleep capability.

Rob: Yeah.

Sonny: And we’re about to open . . .

Rob: Not just sleep, but deep sleep capabilities, right?

Sonny: Deep sleep [inaudible 36:51]

Rob: The determination is deep sleep. Right.

Sonny: Yeah. So, originally we [had] sleep. And we did sleep, and light sleep. And then we’ve got another iteration of sleep that everyone is going to absolutely love soon. We’ll do it all over the air, so, over the air firmware upgrade architecture. The third one is just a really robust cloud infrastructure where the data is secure, and eventually will be easily openable, portable and deletable.

Rob: Right.

Sonny: Okay. And, that’s what we want to do. And those are not really sexy features. I guess industrial design is important. But those aren’t things that, they are like, they are not features. It’s infrastructure. Because we figured, because if you do firmware upgrades wrong, you could easily upgrade your firmware into a state that is no longer upgradeable, and you are screwed. It is a dead product.

Rob: Yeah.

Sonny: We’re talking replacement, here. If you don’t have data that’s secure and kind of, redundant, and all that’s [inshareable] and what not, then the data just kind of sits idle and doesn’t do anything for you. And if you, and certainly industrial design is not something you can upgrade over the air.

Rob: No.

Sonny: Okay? And so, we figure, let’s focus on that and then let’s get the user experience up as soon as we can. Let’s experiment a lot. Let’s ask community. Let’s see what people like to do, and let’s build it, because it’s an app at the end of day. If something doesn’t work, you upgrade it after a couple of weeks and then it will be better.

Rob: It’s improvement. Well, the hardware of this, the manufacturing of this, is interesting because I immediately saw all these other devices that had a screen, or had an LCD display, or an LED display. And, what I like about this is that, I don’t have to worry about what’s happening right now.
At Fitbit, when they did the Flex, and they announced the Flex, and they pushed it out, and it was late, and finally people got it on their doorstep, like a month ago. And they just announced this brand new one with a little screen on top of it, and everybody who bought the Flex a month ago, is now pissed. Because they are like, you’ve got to give us a warning that you are coming out with a new product in a month when we buy this.
So, you know what, I think it’s very interesting that this is, you are going through this rapid iteration with early adopters. And the beautiful thing of this, is that you know what, I’ve got this, and any feature that you add is on the software, and it’s pushed directly to the device and I don’t have to worry about feeling like I’m a laggard now, because I’m not wearing the latest device.

Sonny: Well, one thing we’ll do, is have different kinds of upgrades, physical upgrades that you can wear [like a band] . . .

Rob: Sure. Like BestBuy, they’ve got colored ones, right?

Sonny: Yeah. We’ve got the color ones, but you can also upgrade to a leather band now. People have been dying for this leather. We’re late on the leather band, too. Leather is hard to make. I’m sorry. [inaudible 39:31]

Rob: I just love it.

Sonny: But hey, we’re a month late, whatever. But we’ll be sending that out to our supporters soon, and then it will be available at BestBuy. But working with [inaudible 39:46] materials, someone needs to shoot me the next time we try to do that.

Rob: Let’s go with plastic.

Sonny: I’m cool with plastic, man. I don’t, but you know what’s funny is, we actually thought about stuff like fur. I’m like, man, no one makes anything out of fur, you know, [inaudible 39:59] And no endangered animals, but we said, “Okay, maybe it will be okay in New York but San Francisco that would be just…” We’ll call it, it will be faux fur. Okay?

Rob: Would be faux fur.

Sonny: Yeah, yeah.

Rob: Fur. I don’t know. Whatever you do in fur, man, sign me up. I’m into that…

Sonny: No furry attempts soon.

Rob: I’m back to the functionality of this device. Right? What about notifications? Simple notifications, right? People think that they have to be visual. Like Google Glass is like overkill. It’s like the ugliest thing on your face, it’s intrusive, people get worried about privacy, and it’s ugly.

Sonny: We thought about putting a vibration motor into this thing but again, it’s just-

Rob: Battery?

Sonny: It just drained, the battery and space and we just couldn’t do it. And we decided to axe it. That was one of the hardest things for us to axe. We were like well, if we just made it a little bit thinner we could put this in and this in. We’re like, “No, no, no, no.” To be honest, we were scared. It takes like a little nuttiest to throw everything out.

Rob: Those conversations must have been tough.

Sonny: Yeah, it was tough because it was like of course we want a vibe motor. We’re using the pebble. We love the pebble. I love the pebble watch. It’s cool. It’s a different kind of look from what I’m used to but it’s that vibration motor that wakes me up in the morning and that sends me a high priority text message and allows me to kind of do this in a meeting without me looking like the jerk who’s like constantly-

Rob: Playing with his phone?

Sonny: Playing with his phone. I love those things. I think Eric’s done an amazing job. We’ll leave the vibe motor to those guys but if you just want something thin and elegant and you’re okay without those notifications. Let me tell you, that is part of the future. You have to think about where the wearable space came from. It was from flight suits and safety gear and police helmets and like, whatever. Or the jet fighter helmets and stuff or for the overhead displays. It’s from very niche industries.
We’ve always been seeing in the last 6 to 8 years the consumerization of this stuff. That consumerization has direct prime, in my opinion, has primarily been driven not by miniaturization of circuits, maybe a little bit. But I think it’s mainly because of this. Maybe it’s been driven by mobile Internet. Mobile Internet has really made this space flourish. We’re very grateful to the iPhone for enabling that. This wearable space has been kind of built on those things.

Rob: There’s also this emergence of this quantified self. Right? Which is not new but again, these devices have enabled this because of the persuasive nature, right? You’re always carrying these devices…

Sonny: Right. It’s definitely made it easier to modify yourself.

Rob: Or not.

Sonny: Or not. But most people are not QSers, most people. Like, I always talk about Oklahoma City because that’s where I’m from so I can say it. People in Oklahoma City, I don’t think there’s a lot of people doing self-tracking there. Honestly, I think at the end of the day a lot of folks just want to look good. They want to be complimented that, “Wow, did you just lose some weight? You look great.”
You don’t want to be advertising that you’re losing weight. Like, “Hey, everybody. Check out my… hey, I’m losing weight.” It’s like, okay. Great. No one wants to do that. I think honestly they just want to look good. I mean everybody does. Why not help them look good by having something that looks good on them as opposed to something that doesn’t? Where you’re trying to achieve this other goal. I don’t know, it’s kind of contradictory to the goal you’re trying to get to.

Rob: That’s funny. That’s right. I mean people who quit smoking with the patch. Right? That sticks right on their arm. It’s like a blatant obvious sign that you’re doing-

Sonny: I’m trying to quit smoking! Okay, cool man. I’ll cheer you on.

Rob: Exactly.

Sonny: But wouldn’t it be cool, but a lot of people hide it in there because they’re kind of ashamed of it, unfortunately. That’s okay. It’s understandable. But when they do quit, they’re like, “Yeah, man.” I went cold turkey. You went warm turkey. Rob: You went kind of skin infused nicotine kind of turkey, right?

Sonny: Yeah.

Rob: Well, I used this application where if there’s one thing that I wish this thing did, I use this application called Sleep Cycle, right? Does it work? I don’t know. I’ve been using it for 356 nights. Right? I’ve been using this quite some time. And what it has done for me whether it’s psychological or actual, I do not know. But I am now a very early morning riser where a year ago I was not. Right?

Sonny: That’s unbelievable. Wow.

Rob: Without a shadow of a doubt, this has helped me get up before the crack of dawn. We’re talking 4:30 in the morning. Right? My whole day has shifted as a result of this application. I hate putting my phone under my bed, right. It has to go, it basically sits on my bed underneath my sheet. I want something like this that does it for me, that wakes me up at the right time. Doesn’t wake up my wife, but wakes me up. I’d love that application, there’s got to be something, some kind of marriage.

Sonny: There’s some great products out there like the Lark. A silent alarm, which is a cool one. If it could do more that would be even better because you only wear it as a silent alarm.

Rob: I don’t like that. I don’t like the one off devices that I have to wear it for a specific thing. No, I just want to, as you said, put it on and forget it.

Sonny: And there are other products that have vibe motors like the Jawbone, that’s a really cool product but it doesn’t have a display so there are tradeoffs. It’s really a matter of taste in many of these cases.

Rob: Yeah and it’s just the beginning and that’s what I think, is that…

Sonny: Yeah, second half of the first inning.

Rob: Sometimes I ask for too much and I think that’s really are with this.

Sonny: But you were talking about the strips on the bed, and I was talking to [Lasse] with his trip. It’s unbelievable. Beddit looks so cool, man. It’s like rocket up to be one of my favorite products. Not that I have one, but.

Rob: No, I’ve asked for one as well. Like come on, come on. I swear, I’m committed to doing this. But I start to…if you look at this blanket of things that are happening…no pun intended about the bed…but you look at what’s going on in this industry it’s like, there are applications being built right now for analytics and quantified cars. Right, so the health of your car. There’s the health of your body. There’s the health of your phone. There’s the health of your kitchen, the food that you eat, how many cups of coffee you take, all that kind of stuff. Is there an industry that hasn’t been touched by this concept of wearable or extension of wearable?

Sonny: Boy, I don’t know. It seems like, as they say, if you can measure something there’s probably someone in the world measuring it. It’s obviously something [Gary Wolf] had said at the quantified stuff conference. Boy, I don’t know. Is there something that we haven’t really measured? I think…yeah.

Rob: I think about this all the time is that we’re creating the world’s greatest…you have how many? Like 150,000 people that have bought this product? Roughly? Like maybe upwards around there, somewhere? Between 100 and a million, 100,000 and a million people? You’re creating a mesh network of Shine wearers. Do you ever think, we can predict…not only the motion and the current of the human population because you’re doing that, right? You can know, I suppose.
I use the Moves app. And when you come in with all this data you know exactly where I’ve been and where everybody else who uses that app has been and it’s unique enough so that…I mean I love it because it reminds me where I’m going…but you’re creating this mesh network of humans. And then all of a sudden you start to think, what can you do with that data?
I’m not talking about traffic patterns and all that stuff that seems so simple. I’m talking about like, I don’t know…tremors. You detect tremors and you get into preventative earthquakes and all that kind of…maybe this is so far out. But, is it really? When you start to put all of these nodes on this network and then pull data from it?

Sonny: I think we’re going to be able to learn all sorts of things that’s been unprecedented. Because of wearable sensing. People, because of sensors and mobile Internet we’re able to get an unprecedented amount of data. There’s two ways to do it. One, is to put it into the environment and C2 sensors into your seats, into the car seats…

Rob: Into the cement.

Sonny: Into your house…yeah that kind of thing. And there are limitations to that because you can’t take your seat with you. Or you do it on the body. And there are limitations there which is about wear ability. Some stuff you just don’t want to wear. It’s kind of like drugs. Pretty useless if you don’t take them.

And the funny thing is, the unfortunate thing is, that’s the top issue around drugs. Is, one they’re so dang expensive to make and to get cleared through regulatory all that, regulatory [inaudible 49:12]. But then, after all that work and it’s covered by insurance, people don’t take them. That’s the top problem. And same thing with sensors. I think a lot of people with all of this fancy algorithms worked and design and whatnot, they just don’t wear them. And so they key is, [inaudible 49:27] practice to get people to wear stuff first.

Rob: It is.

Sonny: And then, even if it’s something really simple and then, let’s go from there.

Rob: So, I love the concept. I could talk to you all day about this Sonny because I’m so intrigued by what you guys are doing at Misfit behind the scenes. This Mars product and then the one after that but I’ll contain it to this. When you look a little bit out and you see this industry emerging, how do you, I mean are you just going to be a hardware company? Is that your thing, hardware and accessories? Or do you look at how you can turn location into money? Do you get into that space? Do you think about that at this point, or you worry about the hardware now?

Sonny: Sensing is one of the first things you can do. Feedback is another big thing that wearables has a lot of promise for. As you were saying, motors and whatnot, that’s just the beginning. The other part is wearable identity, Nymi, you were talking about. Amazing stuff. Passwords associated with that.
Wearable controls, like what [inaudible 50:37] does. There’s a lot of things you can do with wearable stuff, not just sense things. In fact, sensing is the most straightforward thing to do right now, so everybody is doing it.
Where else is this going to go? One, is this trend towards invisibility. Or this bifurcation of beautiful versus invisible. I think we’ll see more and more of that. At some point, people are going to get sick of wearing all their stuff around.
The other trend I think we’re going to see is that there’s going to be a whole arena of services that you can provide through a wearable context that you couldn’t really do before. Are we going to just be a hardware company? We love hardware, we’re going to keep making hardware. We’re going to [inaudible 51:24].

But you don’t really need large teams to do that. You make one thing, then it’s like, let’s make it work really well. Let’s have this app, and that app, this application, this service with it. That’s where most of the work gets done. So most of the people in our company are software engineers actually. They’re making software. They’re trying to make a really meaningful app experience. They’re trying to make useful services. Maybe someday people will actually pay for it.

Rob: That’s where I think this could go. I think, “With this, could it just monitor my heart rate?” And then, “Could it monitor my heart rate, and could I pay for that service, or could my health coverage pay for that service?” It’s a constant flow of that. I don’t know.

Sonny: Heart rate would be really cool, but heart rate is tough to do continuously for a long time. You have to have these bright lights shining onto your arm. It’d be tough. So to get 3, 4, 5 days battery life, pretty easy. To go beyond that, to get like 6 months of continuous heart rate monitoring, really, really hard.

Rob: I love the challenges that you put [inaudible 52:34]. I love the constraints.

Sonny: Yeah, I know. We want to do stuff like that if we can.

Rob: Back in the early days of RIM, of the BlackBerry. I’m Canadian, and it’s a Canadian high tech bastion. It was Canada’s largest technology company. It may still be. I did a lot of work with them early, early, early on in their existence. They maintain this, and it’s still to this day one of the greatest things about the BlackBerry. Aside from the data compression and lower cost of ownership for the device.
I don’t use one, and I haven’t used one in years. I didn’t like the devices. In fact, they were terrible devices to use. But they were the best of its kind, until something else came along. One of the things they did exceptionally well was that they said, listen, our primary focus is going to be on battery use. This thing has to last for a week. It cannot last one day. It cannot last two days. It has to last a week. It has to last 30 days.
The BlackBerry was notorious. They said no color screens, no sound, no phone, no nothing until we figure out how to make sure the battery is not impacted by this. And that, if you ask anybody to this day, is that they say, “I get 8 hours out of my iPhone. I used to get days out of my BlackBerry.”
The tradeoff is, what do you use it for? I’m getting much more use out of this than I ever did out of a BlackBerry. It’s that balance, isn’t it? They’re still known, aside from the security side and data compression, as a BlackBerry, you don’t have to charge it every night. That’s why I love this.
I’m not comparing you guys to BlackBerry, but I love this because I don’t have to think about it. And that’s the way they made me feel back in the day as well. So congratulations on that.

Sonny: Thank you so much.

Rob: Have I asked you everything that I should ask you? Is there anything you need to get off your chest? Like what Mars is, maybe?

Sonny: We’re still trying to get it to work. The way we roll is, we got to make sure stuff works before we talk about it. Because the worst thing is you announce something and it actually doesn’t work. It’s funny, we’ve actually shifted our future product concepts two or three times. The original thing we pitched to people for Mars is actually completely different from what we’re doing now. But we’ve kept the Mars name because it sounds kind of cool.

Rob: I love it. And you’ve got patient investors. You got a great product and market that’s generating revenue from it. You had $800,000 that was not raised but contributed from Indiegogo and the product was shipped. You’re getting into the wearable accessories.
I have been since the very first moment I saw the product fascinated and I’m still fascinated with it. You’ve got a life time user here sitting on my wrist. I can’t wait to see what you guys do going forward. Whatever it is if it’s a consumer product even if it’s a medical product I’m buying it. You know you’ve created a fan in the way that you’ve built these products. So thanks Sonny I really appreciate it man. You’re building this product. It’s awesome!

Sonny: Awesome. Thanks so much Rob. It’s a real honor to be invited. Thank you.

Rob: So where should we send people? Just to that’s the best place?

Sonny: Yeah. Yeah. or you just go to and then you can get all the stuff there too.

Rob: Yeah. So the colors, the new ones at BestBuy are what color?

Sonny: Yeah. So we have champagne and topaz and I swear we came up with champagne before we heard [inaudible 56:03] but whatever it’s fine. You know like yes.

Rob: Was it a challenge to do that the coloring of that?

Sonny: It was actually. Surprisingly for every color we actually have to have a different mechanical specification because when we do the anodization for different colors it actually burns off different amounts of metal so you actually adjust for it. When we did the black one, the black one was really hard actually because you have to anodize it the longest to get the black. You anodize it all the way.
But anyways, champagne and topaz were products that we really enjoyed making because we figured instead of doing blah, let’s have lots of color, let’s just do one at a time and get them right, so that’s been our approach.
Topaz seems to be a hit like everybody has been asking us to buy one and I’m like just go to BestBuy. We shipped a whole bunch of them to them you know so it’s coming but we wanted to make something elegant and beautiful that would appeal to both men and women.

Rob: Okay. I love it. So go to BestBuy. Go to Apple Store. Can they order at

Sonny: Yeah. Yep.

Rob: Got it. So that’s what you got to do. Great blog. Software is a work in progress but I’ve loved the updates. The first time I put it on. The first night I slept. It told me like I had burned 800 calories before I even set foot now it’s adjusted itself and I love the way that you say this and you know what calories are tough and they are very difficult to accommodate for but you’ve kind of created this number which is your goal number not a calorie number and I appreciate that you’ve obfuscated this calorie stuff.

Sonny: Yeah. Well the thing about calories is what we did was we included a basal metabolic rate so it turns out that around 70 to 80 percent of all of the calories you burn is to keep your body temperature at 98.6 and then the activities actually the calories on top of that so what we probably should have done was just differentiated between the two but you know so we’ll probably do that in a later update.

Rob: I love it. Well you’ve got it on the wrist. You might as well then and now it’s a software challenge.

Sonny: Yeah. Absolutely.

Rob: All right so guys go to Go into BestBuy and pick up a product. Go into the Apple Store. You can’t miss it. It’s in that one location that I go to every time to look and see what’s new in the wearable space. But you’ve got an endorsement from me because look I’ve had it since pretty much the day that I could get it up here in Canada.
So go and take a look at it and the website is elegant. It’s beautiful and so is the product. And it kind of gives you that kind of style that you want to be associated with this product.
I can’t tell you how many people have stopped like in the middle of a meeting. They’re like whoa, whoa, whoa, Rob, Rob, way more important here, what is that on your wrist? What is that? And I say well yeah it’s the Shine. Can we get back to…no, no, no. Tap it, show it to me, show it to me, right? So you’ve created that.

Sonny: I’m so delighted.

Rob: Oh, it’s worked man. It has worked. So thank you for doing this Sonny. I really appreciate your time.

Sonny: All right. Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Rob: We’ve been speaking with Sonny Vu who is the CEO of a company called Misfitwearables. They are the maker of the Shine and they are also the maker of Mars and another product that will come or may not come out, may change but go to Pick up the product at BestBuy, pick it up at the Apple store and then let me know what you think and then as soon as I’ve got this connectivity piece done, I will connect you and challenge you to some fitness and some physical activity. But until then, Sonny thank you for doing this. I really appreciate your time man.

Sonny: Cool. Thanks a lot.

Rob: Everybody out there, thank you for watching. We’ll see you next time on

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About Sonny Vu
Sonny Vu Misfit Wearables Founder of Misfit Wearables, makers of highly wearable computing products, including the award-winning Shine, an elegant activity monitor. Founder of AgaMatrix, makers of the world’s first iPhone-connected hardware medical device (Red Dot & GOOD Design Awards). Built AgaMatrix from a two-person start-up to shipping 15+ FDA-cleared medical device products, 1B+ biosensors, 3M+ glucose meters for diabetics. Worked at Microsoft Research on machine learning / linguistic technologies. Studied math (BS) at UIUC and linguistics (PhD) under Noam Chomsky at MIT. Knows a number of interesting languages and is a patron of good product design. Believes an era of wearable computing is coming soon where UX design will be geared towards glance-able displays as well as non-visual modalities. Contact/follow on Twitter: @SonnyVu

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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