I own both the Jawbone UP and the Nike Fuel Band. Being a geeky guy that likes data, I was quite interested in tracking sleep and exercise. When the Jawbone UP came out, I immediately got one. However, there are other options out there so I decided to write a review on the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone UP, and Sleep Cycle alarm clock App.

Jawbone UP

The Jawbone UP tracks sleep, movement, meals. I think the Jawbone does an awesome job packaging and marketing their products. In fact, I think they do a better job than Nike when it comes to marketing and packaging. The thing that I really like about the Jawbone UP is that it tracks how much and how well I sleep. After using the Jawbone UP, I became aware of how I felt after 5.5 hours versus 6.5 hours versus 8 hours of sleep. Then after seven days the device became defective and stopped charging. I took a chance on buying the device because I knew Jawbone had a no questions asked refund policy. Jawbone’s product idea was really good, however, I think they took a chance and launch the product before they done adequate QA testing. I pretty much feel like Jawbone blew it as being first to market with a defective product has jeopardized the trust with the consumer.

Tracking Sleep

With a dead Jawbone UP, I was able to find an alterative app for tracking sleep called Sleep Cycle alarm clock, created by Maciek Drejak. The Sleep Cycle App has over 1 million downloads and does an even better job tracking sleep than the Jawbone UP. It also only costs $0.99 and has almost 10,000 ratings. This app acts as an alarm clock that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase – a natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed. Sleep Cycle monitors your movement during sleep using the extremely sensitive accelerometer in your iPhone. The nice thing about this, is you don’t have to wear a bracelet when you sleep.

Nike Fuel Band

The Nike Fuel Band is similar to the Jawbone UP but it does not track sleep and costs more money. It tracks steps, calories, and time. It also tracks something called Nike Fuel, a metric that Nike put together on its own that matches a person’s movement through the wristband’s accelerometer against data collected on how rapidly oxygen is consumed. The band is thicker and more sturdy than the Jawbone UP.

Nike+ Twitter Response: How are calories calculated by the Nike FuelBand? Updated: 2/27/2012

The surface of the band also has a cool digital display that gives you immediate stats about how many steps you’ve taken, calories burned, and shows you the time of day.

Nike FuelBand Is Better Than The Jawbone UP

Let’s compare two working products and let’s pretend that Jawbone UP solves it’s defective battery issue. Here’s why the Nike Fuel Band Is Better:

  • Nike FuelBand charges wirelessly. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy and syncs to the iPhone App. Jawbone UP has to plug into the headphone jack to sync.
  • Nike FuelBand provides you stats on the display for immediate feedback. Jawbone UP doesn’t until you sync it.
  • Nike FuelBand doesn’t have parts that fall off and get lost. Jawbone UP has two pieces that could fall off and get lost. It also could fall off and get snagged on things.
  • Nike FuelBand tells time. I didn’t think this would be that good until I realized there is one less thing that I have to wear. Nice to lose the wrist watch. It definitely something you can wear while playing contact sports like soccer or football and not worry about it scratching someone.
  • Nike FuelBand is more suitable for me than the Fitbit. I was never a candidate for Fitbit because it’s something that I could easily lose. I’d gladly pay $50 more for a product that I won’t misplace or lose. Yes, the Fitbit tracks sleep too, but, again there’s a $0.99 app called Sleep Cycle that takes care of that for me.


Keep It Simple and Do It Really Good

Some companies compete by having more features and being cheaper. Nike is showing that you can charge more money for a high quality product. As an entrepreneur I like this model better than competing on price and could write a long blog post on why it’s better to charge more for a product than be at the bottom of the barrel. Nike, while not first to the mobile health band race definitely is capitalizing on Jawbone’s misstep. It’s too bad for Jawbone because Jawbone’s marketing team really did a great job with their marketing effort.

Updated: March 6, 2012

How to Soft Reset Your Nike FuelBand

While up skiing, my FuelBand would not sync to my iPhone. I tried to make my iPhone forget about the FuelBand and then try to re-pair it via Bluetooth. That didn’t work in fact, I could not get my iPhone to even see the FuelBand as a Bluetooth device. I called customer support and they walked me through how to reset or reboot the Nike FuelBand. You hold down the button on the FuelBand until it says “reset”, click the button one more time, and it will reset or reboot the FuelBand. You will NOT lose any data that is on the FuelBand. It’s kind of like rebooting a computer or turning on and off any electronic gadget.

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I was having a conversation tonight at the NWEN / Founder Institute Ideation Bootcamp with David Bluhm, CEO of Z2Live and he made a comment “Your Best Work Does Not Always Correlate To Your Best Outcome”. This really stuck out to me of all the things that we talked about. It’s one of those things that has me thinking and reflecting on my own set of experiences and outcomes.

David shared a couple examples with me and some of the best outcomes come down to timing even while it may not have been directly related to best work or effort. He also shared about how one thing that he worked on was one of his best efforts but he was too early to market and it didn’t net out in best outcome but he certainly felt good about putting forth his best effort.

Strong Leadership

In the short conversation that we had, I admire him that he does share about things that have been most challenging and what he thinks will be most challenging for him in the upcoming 2012 year. David has seen a lot of success with his current company Z2Live but he remains modest, humble, and level headed about all the good things and the challenging things that he’s faced. He’s keeping his cool when things are not going the right way and from what I can tell he helps keep everyone in his company from swaying too far off course too. That I believe comes from experience as an entrepreneur who’s been through tough situations as well as the really great times as well. There’s a few saying out there “you have experience the bad to appreciate the good” or “you have taste bitter to appreciate sweet”, “feel pain to appreciate pleasure”.

Reflecting On My Own Experiences

With all this reflecting on my own experiences, I am have to completely agree with David, that it doesn’t always correlate to my best outcome. I do know that every single time I do put out my best effort — I do feel success.

Setting Up For The Best Outcome

One thing that I try hard to do is always think about what is the best outcome, what is the most desirable results. From there I think about how can I achieve those results. The funny thing is that it doesn’t always take my best effort or work to achieve those results… however, I am very happy when the outcome is what I expected.

I’d love to hear from others what they think about this, does your best work correlate to your best outcome?

Tonight Dave Parker (Founder Institute Seattle) put on an Ideation Bootcamp one of the exercises that we worked on was to be able to articulate your idea:

Here’s what we worked on:

Step 1: Articulate:

I am developing __(a defined offering)__ to help __(a target audience)__
__(solve a problem)___ __(with secret sauce)__.

Step 2: Evaluate:

  • Simple idea?
  • Identifiable customer?
  • Large enough market?
  • Original?
  • One revenue stream?
  • Easily explainable?
  • Legitimate secret sauce?


It’s a good exercise to get things down into something simple for anyone to understand.


I was reading an article titled “The Other 99% of Entrepreneurs“. The article states: Over 99% of entrepreneurs who seek funding get rejected. Yet, the entire world is focused on the 1% that is “fundable.”

So much focus and energy is put into companies that get funded. It’s sexy to have tons of money from VC’s, to be able to hire people at a crazy pace, to spend tons of money on marketing, to get a million customers. I guess it’s flashy and that’s what the media likes to write about. Maybe because the media needs to come up with a new story every day. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of needing to raise millions of dollars to be able to grow at bazillion percent.

When I look at the people that I admire the most, it’s the man or woman that managed to build a company from the ground up without needing to raise a dime but ends up building a million plus revenue per year company. Why? Because they did it by providing value to a customer and they won a new customer day after day. Raising money for your business idea is hard. Gaining a new customer day after day because you provide a great product or service is harder. It’s sustainable and steady. It’s not here today, gone tomorrow.

“Imagine if the American economy had many more such steady private companies that are far removed from the movements of the speculative markets, how much more robust things would be? It really is time that the media starts celebrating more of these kinds of heroes: the other 99%.”

As an new entrepreneur, perhaps its better to show that you’re able to grow your idea with real paying customers and then after you’ve proven that go after raising capital in order to scale the business out. What do you think?

A lot of people go into business to be their own boss. That’s one of the biggest reasons why people run their own company. Before we talk about hiring employees let’s think back to working for “the man”.

Working for a dumb boss


Have you ever worked for someone and thought:

  • Wow, how did this idiot get to this level?
  • I swear I know more than this person.
  • This boss has no vision for where the team or company is going.
  • My boss has no leadership or management skills.
  • My manager isn’t really passionate about the company, it’s hard for me to want to give them my all.


Turn the tables

Now you’re the boss. You’re “the man”. You are running your own business and it’s now to the point where you have to hire your first employee. It’s a pretty difficult decision. How do you decide whom to hire? What happens if business stalls? How do you decide whom to hire? Will the person I hire care as much about the business as I do?

Tonight I was at the Hackers and Founders Seattle Meetup. Kory Gill, co-founder of Newline Software, was the guest speaker. He made a comment about how “you’re not really a boss until you’ve hired your first employee. Someone that you don’t know. Not a friend or family member”. You’re bringing in a person and en-trusting them with something extremely important to you — it could be all of your life savings, it’s your livelihood, your company is what you’re building to ensure that you can take care of your family, your children.

It’s not about you

You might think that it’s scary to hire this person because of the reasons above. However, believe it or not, it’s also scary for the employee too. Sure, they might not have the same amount of skin in the game. But, perhaps they are not the entrepreneur that you are. They might not have the same DNA as you to risk everything to pursue the dream. However, they are taking a chance to work for you. There are other companies out there to work for.  Alyssa Magnotti, wrote a blog post about “servant leadership“. It was a really great blog post that I think nails it. If you want to want hire people that are going to care about your company as much as you do, then you need to stop thinking about yourself and care more about them. If you want to hire people that are passionate about your company then you need to provide leadership and set the example for them. If you think it’s scary to hire key employees, then, you might first need to look at your leadership abilities and skills.

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Today, I saw a video clip of Heather Dorniden running in the Big 10 600m track championship. At one point she’s leading the race but she trips and falls with a little less than one lap to go. Now in last place and quarter lap behind she some how finds another gear and kills it.

Total Belief, Total Commitment

Two weeks ago I was listening to Warren Rustand talk about leadership. Warren went on to discuss how leadership is a march down a long road, not always in a straight line, but always directed toward some distant landmark. Finally, leadership involves total belief and commitment.

Later that evening I was talking with fellow entrepreneurs, Lisa Hufford, CEO of Simplicity Consulting and John Chen, CEO of Geoteaming about the presentation. The discussion that we had centered around the video clips that were shown. All of them were sports related and all of them were focused on men. In today’s business world we’re seeing more and more women in CEO positions and major leadership roles. Regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, it’s going to take total belief and total commitment. Exhibiting any thing less than that and you’re not going to be a very good leader. You can tell employees that it’s their job to do something but that’s not leadership, that’s called just being a manager. A true leader is going to inspire people so that they also believe and commit.

As a leader, you could be cruising along in first place, but, inevitably something comes out of left left and knocks you down. It could be something like:


  • Things not going as planned.
  • Not raising as much money to start your company.
  • Personal challenges.
  • Having a key employee quit.

No matter what it is — what are you going to do in those situations? After seeing the video of Heather Dorniden, I’d suggest digging deeper and like Dorniden says in her own words “That last 50 meters, I hit a gear that I never knew I had”.

For more on Heather Dorniden, here’s a great write up about the race.

The PSBJ put out an article titled “Interactive media industry on the rise in Seattle area“. I read the article and began to think, uh, what or how is interactive media defined? The article really doesn’t state who’s all included in this group other than “regional games companies”.

Revenues are up and jobs are increasing

The article did state that a study estimated revenues from regional games companies at $9.7 billion in 2010, up from $4.1 billion in 2006, for compounded annual growth of 25 percent. It also showed that local jobs in the industry have grown between 4 percent and 4.5 percent over the past five years, with a total of between 16,500 and 17,500 interactive media employees in the Seattle area now.

The term “interactive media” has popped up a few other times recently in Redmond and that was when the City of Redmond was named as an IPZ:

Interactive Media and Digital Arts Innovation Partnership Zone

I was reading an article on the Redmond Reporter and it stated that “The City of Redmond was recently named “Interactive Media and Digital Arts Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ)” by the Washington State Department of Commerce.” Wow, that’s a mouthful. I’m glad that they came up with an acronym of IPZ.

When I started to read about what an IPZ is it got me excited because it covers things that I care about such as incubating start-up companies and pulling technologies through technology transfer. The ChooseWashington.com website outlines that the IPZs are actively working with University researchers, developing prototypes with their private sector partners, providing internship opportunities for university students, incubating start-up companies, developing critical training programs, and pulling technologies through technology transfer. All these efforts bring together industry and the community to develop new paths to innovation.

“Redmond is home to some of the most creative companies and individuals in the world,” said City of Redmond economic development manager Erika Vandenbrande. “The IPZ will help foster this excellence and create a center of innovation around interactive media and digital arts. The IPZ will help attract new businesses and create new opportunities that support the businesses and institutions already here.”

What I hope to see spring forth from the Redmond IPZ

I gotta state that I don’t think of “interactive media” as being just about regional games companies. To me, it’s about a cross discipline of digital advertising, mobile and web content, and apps development companies. I also see an explosion of new companies coming out over the next few years as everything is going mobile. For the first time ever, smartphones have outsold PC’s. While the The City of Redmond’s application to be designated as an IPZ was strengthened by partnerships with Microsoft Corp., Redmond Economic Development Alliance, University of Washington-Bothell and Digipen Institute of Technology, provide a solid cornerstone, but, I can envision the biggest impact coming from hundreds of smaller companies being formed that will be be both disruptive with new technologies as well as doing things through price innovation.

In what ways do you think the IPZ will help foster this kind of innovation around interactive media? What are some of the things that you expect to see from this new designation? What are you going to do about it?

Facebook has five core values (see below). The one that I like is “move fast and break things”. While this isn’t for everyone, it keeps you innovating and keeps you from becoming stagnant. There’s so many sayings that are similar to this:


  • If you don’t fall down you’re not learning.
  • Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
  • If you’re doing your best, you won’t have any time to worry about failure.
  • You don’t drown by falling in water, you only drown if you stay there.
  • Ask forgiveness, not permission.
  • I’d rather you go too far than do too little.


Working hard to not fail? Or working hard to succeed?

In your company do you move fast and break things? I was having a conversation today with Ben Liu, founder of Vinasource and he made a comment about corporate America how lots of people working hard to not fail… where startup people are working hard to succeed. Not to bash corporate America because there are lots of good things, but, I don’t miss the CYA (cover your ass) mentality of some people.

Facebook’s Core Values

Focus on Impact
If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems. It sounds simple, but we think most companies do this poorly and waste a lot of time. We expect everyone at Facebook to be good at finding the biggest problems to work on.

Move Fast
Moving fast enables us to build more things and learn faster. However, as most companies grow, they slow down too much because they’re more afraid of making mistakes than they are of losing opportunities by moving too slowly. We have a saying: “Move fast and break things.” The idea is that if you never break anything, you’re probably not moving fast enough.

Be Bold
Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.

Be Open
We believe that a more open world is a better world because people with more information can make better decisions and have a greater impact. That goes for running our company as well. We work hard to make sure everyone at Facebook has access to as much information as possible about every part of the company so they can make the best decisions and have the greatest impact.

Build Social Value
Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.

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For the last three days I’ve been with 120 entrepreneurs from the Entrepreneur Organization Seattle group at our annual retreat. We went to Victoria to grow closer as an organization as well as stretch ourselves both professionally and personally. One activity that we did was go to Wild Play, and go on their Monkido ropes course.

What’s Monkido

A monkido ropes course is a mix of obstacles such as tightropes, missing plank bridges, swinging logs, ziplines, and tree ladders ranging from 6 feet up to 60 feet above the ground! The course quires a ton of climbing, balancing, reaching, swinging, and jumping.  After the initial training session on what to do, it’s completely left up to you up to your own faculties to keep yourself safe. I thought this was interesting because it’s not like at an amusement park where there are people securing you onto each ride, it’s completely left up to you to ensure your own safety.

Physically and Mentally Stretching Yourself

I really liked the way the course was set up. They start you on the easy “bunny slopes” and progressively it gets more and more challenging until you’ve gone passed the intermediate all the way to the “black diamond” runs. While on the beginner courses we’re laughing, having a good time, joking with each other, and testing each other with dares. We gained all of our confidence on these relatively easy courses.

Photos Credit: Adam Philipp

Give Everything You’ve Got

By the time you get to the black diamond course, there’s no more joking and daring each other, its gone from fun to survival. Nearly every single course now requires you to have a mind-over-body focus. The distance between trees is now much longer, you’re now 60 feet up off the ground, and the puzzles are much more challenging. There’s also no way out. No way to turn around.

Safety Third

One of my friends, Chris Rugh, founder of Custom Toll Free had a saying which was “Safety Third”. I thought that was pretty funny as we were on a tightrope 40 feet above the ground. I think the first two rules are something like fun and function. For the most part, no one got injured so I think we did a pretty good job!

My Take Away

In life and business you have to push yourself, you need to know how hard you can stretch and push. You don’t know where the edge is if you don’t reach to find it. You need to know where the point is where your feet feel like lead and you just can’t move your feet anymore. It helps give you confidence to know you can do things that you didn’t think you could possibly do and to take on things that you’ve never done before. I can’t wait to take my thinkspace team on and have them try this out!