By John Houghton on November 19, 2014
I spoke with Marcus Weller, CEO of Skully today at DEMO Fall 2014. I asked him what advice he would give to entrepreneurs who are thinking about getting involved in wearables. He had some great advice and that is to focus on your core use case and get that right before you move on. I thought that was spot on, because you may have read other posts of mine where Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says, “It’s easy to add; it’s hard to edit – it’s hard to focus.” Apple is successful because Apple has always focused. That’s what entrepreneurs these days need to do and not only that, there are many executives at important companies who need the same advice. An app isn’t a catch-all, but is made to solve a specific need that is usually task-specific.
Marcus says his helmet is “like a fighter pilot helmet for motorcyclists.” It has a heads up display that gives the rider full visibility around them. This is especially important for motorcyclists because they typically don’t see well in their blind spots.
Another thing that non-riders might not think about is it’s hard to get turn-by-turn directions on a motorcycle. If you think about it, a motorcyclist doesn’t have a hand that’s free to pull out a mobile device. Skully not only provides GPS navigation, but also readouts from the gauges on the motorcycle.
Watch the video interview below:
Marcus adds, “…the key thing for developing a wearable is to be very focused on a specific problem and to go deep on that problem rather than trying to be all things to all people.” This is true not only for wearables but for any startup or new product or service. With limited resources you have to focus, otherwise you won’t do anything well and you’ll run out of resources before you’re done.
I also liked what Marcus said about doing away with the UI (user interface), because really, you wouldn’t need to interact with the device so much if it were more situationally aware. To make a more situationally aware device is going to take AI (artificial intelligence). Apple bought Suri for its AI capabilities. It might be an unfair test to throw Suri against the general population, but after seeing it perform, I’m underwhelmed and it shows us how far we have to go with AI. It isn’t easy or cheap, but the person or company that cracks the code will do well.