The Biggest Success Story On Kickstarter Just Dropped Dead 

Image: Pebble

One year you are a major success story in the tech business, twelve months later no one wants to know your name. Unfortunately,  I have seen my fair share of tech businesses come and go. 

Innovative companies have a very difficult time sustaining themselves. If your company is that trendy, you have to constantly come up with new ideas in order to stay ahead of the competition and/or keep customers interested. 

Such is the case with Pebble Technology Corporation, manufacturers of smart watches. The company just announced it is shutting down and selling its intellectual property to Fitbit. This is shocking, considering Pebble was the darling of the crowdfunding industry. 

The company attracted $20,338,986 in Kickstarter funds with 78,471 backers. All Pebble really wanted to raise was $500,000. Pebble became a celebrity company in just a few short weeks. Every other company which needed to raise money since then wanted to model itself after Pebble. 

Pebble’s popularity ran out when other manufacturers, with big brand names,  entered the smart watch market. One such company is Apple. To make matters worse,  the smart watch market didn’t take off as everyone expected. 

The demise of Pebble was first reported in the Los Angeles Times. Read it here.

A Surprise Ending 

If you were in the market for a watch in 1880, would you know where to get one? You would go to a store, right?

Well, of course you could do that, but if you wanted one that was cheaper and a bit better than most of the store watches, you went to the train station!

Sound a bit funny?  

Well, for about 500 towns across the northern United States , that’s where the best watches were found. 

Why were the best watches found at the train station?

The railroad company wasn’t selling the watches, not at all.

The telegraph operator was.

Most of the time the telegraph operator was located in the railroad station because the telegraph lines followed the railroad tracks from town to town.

It was usually the shortest distance and the right-of-ways had already been secured for the rail line.

Most of the station agents were also skilled telegraph operators and that was the primary way that they communicated with the railroad.

They would know when trains left the previous station and when they were due at their next station.

And it was the telegraph operator who had the watches.

As a matter of fact, they sold more of them than almost all the stores combined for a period of about 9 years.

This was all arranged by “Richard,” who was a telegraph operator himself. 
He was on duty in the North Redwood, Minnesota train station one day when a load of watches arrived from the East. 

It was a huge crate of pocket watches. No one ever came to claim them.

So Richard sent a telegram to the manufacturer and asked them what they wanted to do with the watches. 

The manufacturer didn’t want to pay the freight back, so they wired Richard to see if he could sell them. 

So Richard did.

He sent a wire to every agent in the system asking them if they wanted a cheap, but good, pocket watch. 

He sold the entire case in less than two days and at a handsome profit.

That started it all.

He ordered more watches from the watch company and encouraged the telegraph operators to set up a display case in the station offering high quality watches for a cheap price to all the travelers.

It worked!

It didn’t take long for the word to spread and, before long, people other than travelers came to the train station to buy watches.

Richard became so busy that he had to hire a professional watch maker to help him with the orders.

That was Alvah.

And the rest is history as they say.
The business took off and soon expanded to many other lines of dry goods.

Richard and Alvah left the train station and moved their company to Chicago — and it’s still there.

YES, IT’S A LITTLE KNOWN FACT that for a while in the 1880’s, the biggest watch retailer in the country was at the train station.
It all started with a telegraph operator: 

Richard Sears and his partner Alvah Roebuck!

Bet You Didn’t Know That.
 

Now that’s History!

 
Sent to me by my friend Richard Ekstract 

 

Rosa And Carlos de la Cruz

Today we visited the home of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz on Key Biscayne. They are two of the top art collectors in the U.S. Their home is one big art gallery. They also own a separate art museum to house their collections. You can read all about them here


Fashion Parade At Red Dot and Spectrum 

Art Basel of Miami, one of the largest art exhibitions in the world, brings out art lovers who enjoy dressing up to show off their creativity. We visited two satellite exhibitions tonight, Red Dot and Spectrum, to check out the art and the fashion. This is what we found.

The Future Of Jewelry 

My daughter Whitney, and her boyfriend Fredrick,  presented me with a birthday present that was a perfect DigiDame gift. I’m now the proud owner of a Marchesa Amphora necklace that was made on a 3D printer. 

You can read all about it below. I am thrilled that I am one of the first women to own a piece of precious metal that was manufactured on a 3D printer. I find it very exciting that they thought enough of me to make sure I was at the forefront of something that I believe in so much. 

Thank you Whitney, and thank you Fredrick. 

Get ready world. This is the future of jewelry making. 

Seniors Should Learn To Have A Good Time With Snapchat 

Snapchat is an app that allows you to get extremely creative with short-lived or self-deleting photos and videos. If you watch my creations below, you will understand why you may not want these on files forever. My cousin Hanna and I had a ball making these.

It’s about time that seniors have more fun with digital applications. Try it, you’ll love it. 

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Instagram Introduces Disappearing Photos And Videos

  1. I’m officially old. I don’t get it. I am just reporting the news. Instagram, the social media platform where we post pictures and captions, is now adding a new feature. You can send disappearing photos and videos to groups and friends in Instagram Direct! 

Why anyone would want to do this is beyond my imagination, but apparently the under 40 crowd loves this type of feature. Other social media platforms, like Snapchat and Periscope,  already have it. I guess young folks want to capture themselves doing stuff that they don’t want the world to see. They want it to disappear in a short period of time.

Tech Crunch, a tech site, has an in depth story that explains it all. You can click here to read all about it.

Kevin Weil of Instagram told Tech Crunch,  “Instagram should be all of your moments, not just your highlights. Since the new Live and Direct content self-destructs, Instagram hopes users will be less concerned about how they look or if they’re doing something cool.

“Instagram Live videos disappear as soon as the stream stops, which could get people broadcasting more frequently rather than saving the capability just for big flashy events or citizen journalism. Meanwhile, viewers will feel greater urgency to watch immediately because they know it’s their only chance.”

Have fun! 

Airbnb Enters Travel Biz 

Airbnb wants to combine their home rental business with a travel agency. If you think about it, it’s a natural. I’m not sure how many DigiDame readers have ever used Airbnb, but now you may have a reason to.

Called Airbnb Trips, the company wants to offer local experiences that travelers don’t readily have access to.  Learn how to surf, ski, bake a cake. Airbnb feels this new service is perfect for people who are lonely when traveling, and want to get out and do new things.

Airbnb is starting with 12 cities. For starters, the travel service will be featured in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Paris. Airbnb wants to offer experiences in 50 cities as soon as possible. 

From the minute I heard about this new Airbnb service, I had one thought. The company will now be known as a destination to find cool stuff. This is going to be very interesting.