The End of the Fitbit Challenge

Tara Calihman - March 14, 2014

You might remember our Fitbit challenge. We tried as a company, over the course of six weeks, to walk 7 million steps. The goal was a bit of a stretch (as we knew going in) and now that the challenge is over, we can report back on what we learned.

Call this our FitBit Postmortem.

To begin, let’s get this out of way. The easiest way to sum up our challenge is with these two words: COMPLETE FAILURE. Our total number of steps after six weeks was 3,842,523. So we only missed the goal by a little more than 3 million steps. (If this had been an assignment, we would have received a failing grade.)

But instead of just reporting on our data, we thought it might be interesting to see if we could figure out why we failed so horribly. Listed below are the top 5 reasons (excuses?) for failing the Fitbit challenge:

  1. Polar Vortex. We hate the blame the weather but it is much more dangerous to be walking around in subzero temps. We mentioned there was wind, snow AND subzero temps, right?

  1. Bad latches and fallen soldiers. The Fitbit wristband proves notoriously hard to clasp. That being the case, Fitbits falling off happened more frequently than we would have liked. One Fitbit was left in Massachusetts and did not get returned to it’s proper owner until halfway through the challenge. We lost an employee on the first day of the challenge (he’s still alive - just an emergency move) and then one of our top steppers lost his Fitbit in Portland. While we may not have reached our step goal, our Fitbits have been making the rounds across the nation.

  2. Forgetfulness. Some of us may not have worn our Fitbits. Ever.

  3. Wrist issues. In case you didn’t hear the news, apparently a small percentage of Fitbit users develop a rash from the metal in the wristband. Nothing serious, of course, but a few people in the office were victims, also taking them out of the challenge.

  4. Drinking problems. I mean, walking problems. A few of us literally had to be drug around in order for any of their steps to count. Not naming names. Anne.


But what it really boils down to is the fact that we work desk jobs. All the best intentions and fancy pedometers in the world do little to change that fact. The challenge did bring a healthy level of competition to those in the office who like that sort of thing and also provided a lot of insight into our sedentary ways. If nothing else, having the Fitbit wristband on was a reminder to get stepping and made us all a bit more mindful of how much (or how little) we move.

It was a good experiment but perhaps we’ll just stick with doing what we do best together as a company: building a kickass product and drinking beer.