Pebble Creator on How He Closed $10 Million on Kickstarter: Build for Mom
How do you build a tech product that sells out before it even really exists?
Build it with your mom in mind.
That’s according to Eric Migicovsky, the 25-year-old creator of the Pebble watch that shot to time-telling fame in no time and has smashed records on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding Web site through which people make pledges to projects in the works.
The watch just surpassed $10 million in pledges from nearly 66,500 backers, with eight days to go before the campaign was set to close. The Pebble, which is expected to ship this fall, is now “sold out.”
So what’s the big deal about the Pebble watch? AllThingsD’s Ina Fried covers this quite well here, but in short: It’s a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled wristwatch that integrates with iPhone and Android smartphones to show app updates and other data on its E-Ink (so, sun-friendly) screen.
The idea of a “smart” watch, with some computing functions or the ability to pair with a smartphone, is hardly a new thing. Here’s my recent review of Sony’s latest SmartWatch, to give you an idea of how some of these watches work.
But Migicovsky, who sat down with me a few weeks ago to talk about the project, thinks he’s hit on something different. Prior to the Pebble, he created three watches, including a BlackBerry-friendly watch called inPulse; none of them took off the way this one has.
“When you make something that your friends say is amazing, and not just because they’re being nice, that’s when you know you’ve hit on something,” Migicovsky said.
He added, “I definitely have my mom and dad in mind when I build something.” Migicovsky said his mom isn’t particularly tech-savvy, but even she has taken to his Pebble project, to the point where she’s helping him with media outreach. She even threw a party to celebrate the success of the gadget.
And speaking of friends, Migicovsky hasn’t gone far in his search for the handful of new employees he’s hired over the past few weeks.
“I’m basically hiring all my friends,” he said.