At the Glazed conference a few months ago, we were all told that the lifespan of the use of wearable devices was much, much shorter than say the lifespan of use of our smartphones. I think speaker after speaker mentioned something like 90 days to 9 months, then our wearables sit in a box, unused. (Personally, I’ve worn my Fitbit Flex everyday since I bought it, gave and take a few days for charging, swimming etc). Of course, I think they were talking more fitness wearables, I think maybe the sex wearables might have more staying power.
What is the issue here? Simple, if you ask me. People are discarding their fitness wearables because they are not getting the results they wanted. Notable authors, such as Tim Ferris (The 4 Hour Body) and others have noted that simply tracking things like your weight and steps and calories with regularity will help you take off the weight.
My wife and I have been doing it from the beginning but it hasn’t made any difference. I’ll bet that most of those discarders are feeling the same way – this isn’t working.
If you ask me, the wearable itself is not the problem, its the ecosystem around it – just isn’t doing enough to motivate behavior change. That area is ripe for invention – and if you want negative reinforcement, then my startup The Ultivator, fits that bill, and is a bit less shocking.
Of course, that’s not stopping startups from changing that game.
This seems interesting – and rife for all sorts of issues – imagine driving along and Pavlok shocks you, causing an accident. Might be a good idea as a last resort, but my sense is that people would just get used to the shock.
Maneesh Sethi, noted ‘hack’ author, is looking to change that with Pavlok, a wearable designed to improve user habits through shock therapy. Using negative reinforcement to alter behaviour patterns, Pavlok appears quite versitile in its ability to mess with your psychology. Hit the snooze button too many times? Zap. Ignoring your daily fitness goal? Zap.