Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Is the Fitbit IPO too late to the party or is it the next Tesla?

Fitbit is going public on Thursday. As a tech IPO, it has one of the best balance sheets Wall Street has seen in years, because it's actually profitable. I know that sounds funny to those of you out there that don't invest, but there are a lot of companies that have gone public that don't make money (here's looking at you twitter...) And it should also worry you just a wee bit.

I've been seeing the Fitbit wristbands everywhere except maybe on my own wrist. I guess I'm just not in the mood to get very "fit." But I am interested in these kinds of things, and I wonder what the shelf life for Fitbit actually is. I mean, technology lives and dies seemingly within a year (anyone remember the Zune?). Apple has the Apple Watch now which does everything that the Fitbit does. And well, it's Apple, which is a juggernaut in anything it dips its fingers into.

I wonder if Fitbit will end up being like Motorolla. Motorolla was the pre-eminent manufacturer of cell phones in the late 90's. I remember the flip-style phone called the Motorolla Razor, which everyone just had to have because it was so thin. Then Apple put out its iPhone and destroyed Nokia, Motorolla, and Blackberry like they were nothing.

Maybe Fitbit will survive among those who just hate Apple and/or who don't want to spend all the money to procure an Apple Watch. In that case, my prediction for the stock will be for it to go public, quickly double before trade even opens up, and then the founders of the company (once the moratorium on selling stock passes) will be able to sell all their stock dumping it out onto the market to make themselves billionaires. And then Fitbit will slowly decline as people realize all the smart money pumped and dumped and then fled a sinking ship.

As a side note I wish I could come up with an idea, go public with it, and then get all my money out of it by dumping it on unsuspecting investors before it goes bust. Sure, I'd be a sleazeball capitalist, but I really wouldn't care driving around in my 30 sports cars.

But I could always be wrong. Anyone else own a Fitbit and care to educate me differently on how awesome it is and how it will be around for the next ten years? Only time will tell if the Fitbit IPO is the next Tesla, right?


  1. It has a chance. The Apple Watch requires the user to carry is phone with him in order for it to work. Which is dumb - if you have to carry your phone with you, use the phone!

  2. No idea. I still have a digital watch.

  3. Being the first to market is a big advantage but not always the key. Nike actually led this area for a while but didn't innovate and let Fitbit pass them. One of Fitbit's hidden strengths is their installed base of users who use Fitbit Dashboard software. This allows people to share their daily activities with friends which pushes them to get off the couch. Facebook isn't trendy but everyone has it because everyone else has it. The question is whether FItbit continues to innovate.

    Dozens of new competitors have entered the industry in the last year but the recently released Fitbit Charge and Fitbit HR are still considered the best devices by most sources. Its superior software is icing on the cake.

    Another question is the size of the potential market but I think Fitbit has perfectly timed their IPO. They are set up to be the next Iphone or the next Blackberry. People love to take risks on future tech which is why I think the stock price is going to be overvalued for at least six months. The real winners will be the insiders who get to buy early.

    For what it is worth, I've been looking at fitness trackers since Apple announced their watch. I still haven't pulled the trigger but like the idea of a tracker combined with a watch. My biggest issue is the need to recharge it once a week and the fact they all seem to use proprietary chargers. Apple's watch seems too big and too expensive to use as a tracker.

  4. The Fitbit was really popular where I work for awhile especially with those who walk around a lot. Hard to say if it will last. I'm in a job where I don't walk a lot on the job, so I don't think I would do very well with it. Walking isn't the only exercise. I go on the treadmill and it keeps track of enough info already. I swim a good deal in the summer. None of that would count on a Fitbit.

  5. I think it will go the way of the hula hoop. But I did buy one for Mrs. C. for Christmas when she asked for one and she was really stoked during our vacation when she reached 14,000 steps in one day. Of course I was beside her all the way.

  6. This is one of those things that I've heard of but have no idea what it is or what it does. I don't know if that's good for its future (maybe they'll convert me) or not.

  7. All I know about Fitbit is that I like their commercials. But if they're going public I might try to buy some stock, mostly because I trust your judgment.

    I came across an interesting factoid: the Apple Watch has trouble working on skin that has been tattooed. For me, that was a heads-up that the watch is way too tuned in to a body to make me feel comfortable with it.