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How A Game He Liked Inspired Him To Start A $2.1 Million Company. The Success Story Of Fitbit Co-Founder James Park

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How many times have you vowed to work out but instead caved into the temptation to binge on junk food on your favorite couch? Many of us have struggled with living a healthy lifestyle. Fitbit comes in handy in this situation. It promotes regular health monitoring as we strive to live a healthy lifestyle.

 

Fitbit devices track steps, distance, heart rate, and sleep, and have GPS and other useful features. Fitbit, founded in 2007, is a pioneer in the now-popular wearable technology industry, and its co-founder James Park has lived and breathed Fitbit since its inception.

 

He was ranked #29 in the list of America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 in 2015, according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $660 million. James Park’s meteoric success is no accident; he has worked hard to achieve it. Even though it was his mother’s dream, he dropped out of Harvard to start his own company.

 

To make a living, Jame’s parents ran small businesses like clothing stores, wig shops, and ice cream parlors after moving to the United States from Korea. The value of making a living in all circumstances was something Jame’s parents instilled in him.

 

His company is now so successful that Google purchased it in 2019 for $2.1 billion. Here is the full story of how James Park went from making $1 on a $50 sale at his parents’ business to having his startup worth $1 billion.

 

JAMES PARK: INTRODUCTION

 

James Park is a South Korean-American entrepreneur who was born in 1976 or 1977. Fitbit was co-founded by him, and he has been the company’s CEO and president since September 2007.

 

He was listed on Fortune magazine’s annual list of the 40 Under 40 most influential young people in business in 2015. With an estimated net worth of $660 million, he was ranked as the 29th America’s Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 on the magazine’s list for 2015.

 

JAMES PARK IS A HARVARD DROPOUT

 

After graduating from Cleveland, Ohio’s University School for Boys, James Park was offered a spot at Harvard to study computer science. Impressive so far. However, Park made the same decision as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs did before him and gave up his studies to launch his own business.

 

He left Harvard in his junior year to concentrate on growing his own business. However, he negates the idea that it leads to success. According to James, there are many successful high school graduates out there, and people should stay in school.

Fitbit

FITBIT WAS NOT JAMES PARK’S FIRST STARTUP

 

Although Park has not yet completed his degree in computer science, his professional history in the construction industry is impressive. Fitbit isn’t his first foray into the tech world. He has an interesting history of startups.

 

JAMES PARK FIRST STARTUP: EPESI

 

James Park considered starting an e-commerce-related business for his first venture, but since there was already a lot of e-commerce happening, he decided to focus on making it much more frictionless and seamless.

 

As a result, he developed the concept of an electronic wallet that would carry out purchases for you. They named it Kapoof at first but then changed it to Epesi.

 

James also met Eric Friedman at Epsei, where he was one of the company’s first employees. Epsei was initially successful, but it could not hold up the Dot Com Bust (2001) and was forced to shut down.

 

After Epsei, both James and Eric went to work as engineers for a company called Dun & Bradstreet.

 

JAMES PARK FIRST STARTUP: WINDUP LABS / HEYPIX

 

James had plenty of time for brainstorming while working as an engineer for Dun & Bradstreet. He and Eric kept trying new things and exchanging ever-new ideas during this period. Soon after, they decided to start another company.

 

Their next venture was an early concept for a photo editing and sharing platform. The company was called Heypix, and the product was called Shoe Box because many people kept their photos in shoe boxes.

 

They ultimately relied heavily on one of James’ friends from middle school, a Boston-based mutual fund manager, and their own savings to raise money. Every day, the team would work on startup coding for about 12 hours.

 

The product started as a freemium. However, the breakthrough came when they decided to issue a press release for their startup. At the time, a press release cost $300, which was a lot of money given that its chances of success and failure were roughly equal.

 

However, it’s safe to say that the press release was the most crucial choice ever made by that business. They soon got an email from the significant digital publishing giant CNET. The company was offered $4 million by CENT, and James, who was already $40,000 in debt, was astonished by the offer.

Fitbit

THE FITBIT’S INSPIRATION: NINTENDO WII

 

CENT gave James the opportunity he desperately needed. He specialized in team management there. He also discovered how technology scales to billions of users. However, when Nintendo announced the Nintendo Wii in 2006, James had a lightbulb moment.

 

Nintendo had developed this incredibly inventive control system that used accelerometers and motion sensors as game inputs. The concept wholly floored James and the idea that sensors could be used in t way seemed magical to him.

 

It was a way to get people moving, especially for Wii Fit, and it encouraged group movement. James finally decided to call Eric because he couldn’t let the idea go, and the two of them got stuck talking about the concept for hours on end. They knew right away that the concept had potential.

 

Pedometers, a similar technology, were available at the time. One disadvantage was that they were not something that people would want to use or wear. They resembled medical equipment and were quite large and ugly.

 

James and Eric wanted to create a concept that could be used anywhere and at any time.

 

FITBIT: THE BEGINNINGS

 

After much thought and effort, the team produced a prototype that consisted solely of a small circuit board housed inside of a wooden box and didn’t even remotely resemble a Fitbit.

 

They created a design product out of plastic and metal (which was unusable but was meant to resemble the final product). That prototype and design assisted them in raising $400,000 and, eventually, more.

 

But the concept was sound, and when Fitbit spoke at the TechCrunch 50 conference on September 9, 2008, Park and Friedman hoped to get 50 pre-orders, though Eric suspected it would be closer to five.

 

Getting orders was the simple part, but neither James nor Eric had any experience in manufacturing. They came dangerously close to death several times. They persisted, though, and each time managed to succeed somehow.

 

Fitbit introduced its tracker at the end of 2009, shipping about 5,000 units and taking orders for an additional 20,000 units. Because Fitbit sold its product products directly to consumers, those 5,000 units were sold with relatively high-profit margins.

 

James and Eric knew that to move large quantities, they’d need big partners. They obtained additional funding from venture capitalist Brad Field, collaborated with Best Buy to open four, forty, and eventually 650 Best Buy locations, and today Fitbits are offered in tens of thousands of retail locations around the world.

 

Fitbit

CENTFITBIT’S COMMERCIAL SUCCESS

 

Fitbit’s continued success can be attributed in part to its investment in new products. The first tracker was quite good, but Fitbit improved it in 2011 by including an altimeter, a digital clock, and a stopwatch. The Ultra was that.

 

The Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip, which were released the following year, were the first Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth Smart-enabled wireless fitness trackers to track steps, distance, floors climbed, calories burned, and sleep patterns.

 

The Fitbit Zip, which was designed with less functionality, tracked steps, distance, and calories. Both devices were compatible with iOS and Android phones, as well as the Fitbit website.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

 

Startup CEOs can all too frequently become mired in the details of running a company that they lose sight of the vision that initially drew them to the position. That is not the case with James.

 

Although it has been 13 long, arduous years since he and Eric Friedman first came up with the concept for Fitbit, he is still clinging to the duo’s original vision for the business. Despite having dropped out of his studies James is a very successful businessman.

 

With a staggering net worth that Celebrity Net Worth pegs at around $660 million, Fitbit’s success has elevated him to the status of one of the richest men in the health sector.

 

It’s difficult to launch a startup and continue to keep a business afloat in a competitive market that is constantly changing. However, when you spend the better part of 15 years creating a product from scratch, you need to have confidence in your actions.

 

There will always be moments of uncertainty. How can you prevent those moments from turning into something more lasting? The secret, according to James, is to keep his passion alive. In a previous interview, he claimed that not doubting after 11 years is somewhat crazy. There are always difficult times. However, one’s ability to maintain their passion is what matters the most.

 

Finally, remember we are creating the first project that unites man and AI. To empower man, we are also designing an advanced watch that can preserve your health. If you want to know more, check out the news

 

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