Attribute #1. Delivers on a singular value proposition in a world-class way (purpose): Grade – A+
When I was gifted the fitbit, my understanding was that I was getting a product that counted my steps. Fitbit has and continues to nail that use case. I don’t like wearing stuff on my wrist. So, after 6 months of wearing it, I began carrying it in my pocket. I think smaller Fitbit products would suit my use case. But, as long as this continues to work, I don’t expect to buy another Fitbit.
This leads to me to a question – what is the single value proposition of a Fitbit? If it is to track more than steps, it has, then, failed. For instance, when I began using Fitbit, I considered logging other kinds of exercise and my diet. But, that fizzled out quickly as it just felt like too much effort for limited return.
Attribute #2. Simple, intuitive, and anticipates needs (design): Grade – C, then B in the last 6 months
Ghe physical product is excellent and works pretty well. It’s been working just fine for 2 years (is that too long for their own sake?) Sure, it gets thrown off if you are on a bumpy car ride, but I’d expect that.
The mobile app, however, was awful for far too long. It regularly lost sync with the Fitbit and needed to be re-installed. It had too many things going on all at once. The most recent version has cleaned up parts of that and focused it around steps and active minutes. That’s great. Simpler is generally better.
However, there are still underlying issues. For instance, the challenges section of the app is meant to be an engagement booster. However, the last time I used it, it needed to be renewed every week. What a drag! The challenges should be ongoing. And, this, to me, is a good indicator of the problems Fitbit has with engagement in my eyes. My “friends” tab reveals 1 active friend and 11 inactive friends. Most folks I know used it enthusiastically for a couple of months and then stopped. So, there’s something not right. Then again, it could just be a small sample.
Attribute #3. Exceeds expectations (customer love): Grade – A
My Fitbit strap broke. I emailed them from Singapore. They mailed 2 straps to Singapore for free. What more can I say?
Attribute #4. Emotionally resonates (feel): Grade – A
I think the product definitely resonates. I feel positive just thinking about my Fitbit in my pocket. It makes me feel like I’m working hard to stay healthy.
Attribute #5. Changes the user’s life for the better (impact): Grade – A+
I take the stairs at every opportunity. I take the scenic route to the bathroom when I can. And, I try to take as many walks and walking meetings as possible. It definitely has had a positive impact on my life.
Overall Rating – A-
The product has clearly worked for me. But, if I were a product manager at Fitbit, I would consider the following questions –
– Super users. What characterizes Fitbit super users? Are my super users just disciplined folk who’ve gotten hooked to a cool product? Have I succeeded in converting someone who isn’t disciplined / hates exercise into a regular user?
– Use cases. How many users use Fitbit primarily for the “counting steps” use case? My guess is that the number is not small. And, if it is not small, what can Fitbit do to make sure they build moats around these users? The Apple Watch (if I had one) would easily take over this use case
– Active users. What is the active user : buyer ratio? Have there ever been stories of inactive users (cue: my friends and family) who became active again? How can this churn be reduced?
– Non-watch users. Is there a large enough segment of people who don’t want to wear something on their wrists? Can Fitbit experiment with product design that is only intended for a pocket? I think the zip does that but could we be more creative? For example, can create a Fitbit like device that works similar to the nametags / badges that most office employees have? (this is both a product and business development idea as employers are working hard to promote ideas around wellness)
I am glad about Fitbit’s IPO. As you can tell from my many questions, a part of me does worry for the future of the company. Looking forward to seeing how it evolves.