The heart of tech is coming to the heart of the Mediterranean. Join TNW in València this March 🇪🇸

This article was published on May 14, 2016

Fooling myself with technology… and I like it

Fooling myself with technology… and I like it
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

When I was a kid I forgot everything – my keys, my homework, my bicycle, my toys. Everything. And it drove my parents crazy.

Over the years I heard every trick in the book to remembering things, including the one about tying a knot in your handkerchief and the knot will remind you of the thing you shouldn’t forget. That’s not very useful advice for a kid, who doesn’t own a handkerchief, but I got the point. They were trying to teach me something about mindfulness. Probably.

CiMyfxFWkAAjbCUOver the past few months I’ve been using Tiles. You stick one of these things to your keys, your bicycle, or in your bag. Then, when you can’t find your stuff, you open the Tile app on your phone, and simply press a button. The Tile you’re looking for starts beeping – if it’s in range – and you’ll be able to find it.

At least that’s the theory because I haven’t lost a single thing since I bought my Tiles so I haven’t really been able to test it.

I also own an Apple Watch that keeps track of how much I move, stand, and work out. And I own the Vessyl Pryme, the product of a Kickstarter pre-order campaign to produce something a lot cooler. The Pryme tracks how much water I drink during the day.

Yeah, I carry a thing with me, fill it with water five times a day, and it tracks every sip I take.

All of these gadgets regularly invite criticism and ridicule.

A friend saw the Vessyl and laughingly said ‘Ah, you’re one of the people who fell for that?’ When people see the Tile I often get a similar reaction. People are used to the Apple Watch now, but the first few weeks of owning one I had to defend my decision to buy and wear one almost every day.

The question is: Do these things work? Are they worth the investment? And should you get one, too?

Well, for me the answer is yes, they work. But I also wonder why they work.

If I carried a white brick with me that said ‘Remember to drink water’ I’ld probably drink a lot more, and I wouldn’t have to worry about charging it every night.

I could also just wear a bracelet that said ‘Don’t forget to work out and get your ass off the couch’ and I’ld probably work out more and get my ass off the couch.

I could also add something to my keychain that said ‘Don’t forget me’ and then I wouldn’t need Tiles anymore, which run out of batteries in about a year.

I’d get almost the same results, without all the hassle. But, I happen to enjoy technology, and like all these gadgets. So the Apple Watch is my bracelet, and the Tiles do offer some extra benefit.

And the Vessyl Pryme? Well, that little gadget simply reminds me not to back Kickstarter campaigns anymore.

UPDATED: The people behind the Vessyl contacted me with a correction. Check:

“Neither Vessyl nor Pryme Vessyl were part of a Kickstarter campaign. Mark One, the company behind these products, is venture-backed and hosted an independent pre-order campaign on its own website. Also, the original Vessyl is still in development – you can check out the latest update on timing here.”