I have sold my Nike Fuelband. After about 30 days I just didn’t care anymore about my fuels, about my streak, about setting up new records. Why? I have a vague idea.
The idea of the Fuelband had me hooked immediately. I’m an excessive user of the Nike+ running app. I hardly go for a run without it. I love checking my personal stats, the numbers, compare myself to other runners.
Similarly, I have been using the band everyday and it actually made me move a bit more. I have been using the stairs more often. I went out for a run if I hadn’t already met my daily goal.
The problem: after a while this effect just wears off. And when the fatal moment occurs, the first time you forget to wear it, you start to forget about the device.
Three reasons why I ditched my Fuelband:
It’s lonely. There’s no interaction among the community. Nobody is using the Fuelband in Germany. One reason might be that it’s just not available yet. Another reason: there are still people amazed by the mere existance of apps like Nike+ Running or runtastic. Additionally the app for the iPhone didn’t really encourage me to interact with the community (that, to be fair, doesn’t exist yet). It’s only statistics and numbers. What if the Fuelbands could actually interact and communicate with each other? I’d be back in the game immediately.
It’s boring. Competition and gamification – those principles worked brilliantly in my adoption to the Nike+ Running app. Collecting mile for mile, getting cheers while you’re out there sweating, receiving cudos from top athletes after you finished your run. It’s simple, yet it works every single time. It made the running experience somewhat real. Getting a virtual reward, seeing an animated figure dancing under a ring of fire/water/ice celebrating me just is not doing the same to me.
It’s impractical. The Fuelband is a sporty device. Try to wear it with a shirt to work. Or with a suit. If it doesn’t fit, you have to take it off, meaning you can’t collect fuels, meaning you have to adjust your daily goal one day in advance, meaning you have to think about your schedule very carefully, meaning: it’s too much of a hassle.
I forgot to wear my Fuelband, what immediately ended my 30-day streak. After this, the band has been sitting on my desk for about a week before I finally cleaned it, packed it, and shipped it off to a new life at someone else’s wrist. And now I’m waiting for the next iteration of Nike’s take on gamifying the world of sports.