Recode Decode JawBone Health Hosain Rahman

  • In 2006 we launched the first Bluetooth Jawbone. That really took off. We went from 0 to $100 million run rate in the first year. We were trying to hold on for dear life. (4:52)

  • We invented the first wireless speakers for your phone. When we released the Jambox the market for wireless speakers was $0. The thought was you have all this rich media in your device how do you unlock it without docking it? And you should be able to take it with you everywhere. People loved it. (6:35) 

  • The 3rd category we created was the wrist wearables. The Jawbone Up sold like crazy. But we started getting reports from the field that they were breaking (8:01) 

  • The thing that is hard in a hardware business is you don’t have the profit margin to fund R&D and Marketing. That is what makes it really hard to get to an escape velocity. (16:18) 

  • At our peak we were doing $500-$600 in revenue. We shipped around 40 million devices. (22:25) 

  • People don’t talk enough about how Apple did the iPhone as a transition from iPod. One of the most masterful product transitions ever. We saw the other side of that with the Motorola Razor- they did 21 versions of that same phone  (26:32) 

  • I find the process of creating new things extremely rewarding. It is tough. There is no playbook. But if you are a creator it is what you live for.  (30:09)

  • What would you do differently? A lot of things: A hardware business model is really difficult. I would have moved to services a lot faster. I think we shouldn’t have overreached on valuation. (32:33) 

  • If you had a fresh start and the ability to launch into a new market what you build? Jawbone Health is that result. Investors in Dubai funded all this and bought all the old health-related assets from the old Jawbone company. (47:07) 

  • What is Jawbone health building: a personalized subscription service where we take all this health data about you + AI + human doctors. They analyze this data to catch diseases early (mostly lifestyle-related health issues / preventative health) (48:12) 

  • Going through this (public failure) makes you a million percent smarter, more humble and more thoughtful. It was not easy. We are better tooled now given all we had to go through. (59:04)

  • Full podcast here.