The feedback loop on the Fuelband is brilliant. Even something as simple as providing a constantly moving indication of how much it’s charged when it’s charging, something even the iPhone doesn’t do – it just shows you it’s charging, full stop.
As for the band itself, the *actual* feedback that provides is amazing. It’s something that for me changes the game altogether. I haven’t had a FitBit before and Nike+, brilliant as the idea is, never quite did it for me because though I do try to keep fit (not very successfully), I’m not a runner – and Nike+ is really a product for runners. But the Fuelband juxtaposed with My Fitness Pal is a combination that has made me an avid recruit of the tribe of the Quantified Self. It’s the small things, like motivating me to walk when I can take the tube or bus so that I hit my daily goal, and keeping the exercise+diet combination in check. (On a related note, read Mark’s suggestions for MFP if you’re a user, Dan’s post on his experience with tracking his health stats to beat diabetes and Matt Webb’s thoughts on a product that could take the Quantified Self to the next level.)
The Quantified Self is something that’s being discussed more and more these days, probably second to the Connected Home in my opinion. There are services being built that are in a good place to work together: Quadrigram just launched to the public today, for example, and that can take all this data and make it more easily understandable.
I’m reminded of what Steve Jobs said: “a lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” It’s where Nike Fuelband stepped in at the right time, though they’re not quite there yet: it doesn’t have a GPS to track distance run (or walked or danced) in kilometres or miles, your route, or provide stats like the Garmin GPS watch, for example, and most importantly it doesn’t tell you what to do to achieve the results you need. I like its simplicity though – it’s practically idiot-proof, and arguably creating something that advises more along the likes of what RunKeeper does, rather than just indicates, will be a little complicated.
For now, I’m just going to see if the magic works over time.