Pebble On The Rocks?

Smartwatch maker Pebble seems to be in some trouble. According to sources close to the company, the company is having trouble maintaining its growth and has turned to a Silicon Valley bank for a $5 million loan and $5 million line of credit. Valley VCs have been turning down the company’s requests for new capital.

This is what happens when a small company takes on a behemoth such as Apple.

Tim Cook Commencement Speech at GWU

My own journey in life was just beginning. I hadn't even applied to college yet at that point. For you graduates, the process of discovering yourself, of inventing yourself, of reinventing yourself is about to begin in earnest. It's about finding your values and committing to live by them. You have to find your North Star. And that means choices. Some are easy. Some are hard. And some will make you question everything. 

Twenty years after my visit to Washington, I met someone who made me question everything. Who upended all my assumptions in the very best way. That was Steve Jobs.

☆ The Apple Watch

'What time is it Mr. Wolf?' we'd yell in the school yard some 15 years ago.

'Dinner time,' one kid would respond as he chased us across the yard.

If you asked me that same question now, I'd respond slyly with a quick flick of my Apple Watch: 'it's 6:12 pm, 19 degrees outside, my stock portfolio is performing terribly and I haven't been as active as I should be today. Also, it's dinner time.'

Every once in a while a piece of technology comes along that makes you reminisce of another time. A product so revolutionary, you wonder what your younger self would've thought if he'd had the chance to use it back then.

Mind blowing, probably. That is what kids say nowadays, right?

And yet, I sit here with a marvel of technology strapped to my wrist and struggle to define how amazing it truly is.

***

My Apple Watch arrived last Wednesday.

My wife's arrived on launch day, but she lovingly resisted opening it until mine arrived. 

I ordered the stainless steel 42mm Apple Watch with the black sport band and my wife ordered the 38mm Sport Edition with the white sport band.

Despite being available to the public at the local Apple Store a couple weeks prior, I chose to wait it out and experience it for the first time when mine arrived.

Initial impressions: the packaging is heavy, it's smaller than I expected, and the build quality is insane.

On the first try, the sport band isn't the easiest to strap on. I helped my wife put her Apple Watch on and she did the same for me.

A quick scan of the Apple Watch with my iPhone and they were automatically paired. 

'Sync all iPhone apps over to your Apple Watch?'

Sure, why not?

Mistake. A surprisingly high amount of the ~450 apps on my iPhone had Watch counterparts. I spent almost 30 minutes deleting most of them.

Note: I don't think Apple intended on users having that many apps on their Apple Watch. It lagged considerably until I deleted a large portion of them.

Within the first hour of using the Apple Watch, one thing was very apparent. This is the most ambitious product Apple has ever created. Everything else aside, it functionally blows every other wearable out of the water. 

Once I stopped tapping and scrolling with the perfectly-weighted digital crown, the screen quickly went black (a little too quickly for me). It's obvious we aren't supposed to be staring at the Apple Watch for long periods of time.

Even with the display turned off, the Apple Watch looks beautiful in a way unlike any other watch I've seen. It's low-key and striking at the same time. My stainless steel model shines and reflects light like a mirror. It's beautiful.

My wives Sport Edition is less flashy, although equally as noticeable. If anything, it looks more Apple-esque with the aluminum finish akin to so many other Apple products. Notice how I didn't say it looked 'cheap.'

***

At work, it takes a while for people to notice. 

I try to avoid bringing any attention to the fact I'm wearing an $800 watch, but a few hours into my day people start to notice and ask the normal questions:

"Is that the Apple Watch?"

"Do you like it?"

"Should I buy one?"

It's a hard question to answer: "should I buy an Apple Watch?"

Let me get one thing out of the way - you don't need one.

There's no debate the Apple Watch is technological wonder any geek will appreciate, but it's hard to put a finger on whether a typical person should or should not buy one.

It won't help you connect with your surroundings and avoid being distracted by the digital world. 

It will however make it much easier for you to separate the important from the noise. I find myself much less distracted by the unimportant (random emails and social media), but much more distracted by the important (text messages, phone calls and digital touch).

I think that's a good thing.

***

Leading up to the Apple Watch release, I didn't avoid talking about it with my family. This is probably why they hounded me as soon as I showed up to a family dinner wearing one.

Whereas my work colleagues knew a lot of the Apple Watch, my family knew almost nothing.

"In a nutshell, it's an iPhone on your wrist," I told them.

"What happens when someone calls you, surely you can't answer on that thing?"

"Actually yes, you can," I told them.

They looked surprised, "what else can it do?"

I proceeded to show them how it could take your heartbeat and send it to others.

A few minutes later my Mom hinted that she'd love one for Mother's Day. I told her they weren't shipping until June.

***

I think all too often we try to find a place for things in our lives, at least, I know I'm guilty of this.

For the past year, I have tried to find a reason to carry around a physical notebook. I've invested money in buying various notebooks, expensive pens and still never use them. 

I've spent a lot of time trying to give things purpose, but sometimes it needs to happen on it's own.

I bought the Apple Watch solely for the cool-factor, ignoring any inhibition to force it into my everyday life. I simply let it find its way into my life, and now I can't see myself living without it. 

***

A few days later and I still can't believe the technology that resides on my wrist.

Mind blown.

 

The Chopping Block - Week of April 25th