Manufacturing the Pavlok: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, Shipping Timeline

Hey all — this is Maneesh Sethi, CEO of Pavlok writing today. This is an important update about our failures, so it is extremely important to me that I write it myself. I want to clear up some of the questions about Pavlok — including your biggest one, when will it arrive?

When we launched this project we had two major deadlines:

  1. start shipping Prototype units in January, 2015 (we’ve already shipped ~400, with another 200 going out this week)
  2. start shipping the final Production unit in April/May, 2015 (international in June)

We are going to miss the May deadline. We know that sucks, but we want to make sure we deliver the best product to you. Hardware is really hard, and rushed hardware isn’t worth its weight in BOM. Rest assured, we are going to ship you your product. And now we are closer to an accurate, final ship date.

When will Pavlok ship?

  • US orders will ship in July/August 2015
  • International orders will ship after those — ideally August (this depends on CE approval, possibly Sept).

The next section will explain in more detail what went right and what went wrong over the last few months.

What went wrong

  • Building a company is hard. Like really hard. Pavlok isn’t just a shocking wristband. It’s also finding the right employees, negotiating with investors, designing packaging, managing suppliers (reliable and unreliable), writing documentation, safety testing, liability insurance, and lawyers lawyers lawyers. Every step of building a device is 10x more work in supporting services and structure.
  • Our hardware progressed faster than our software. We already have hardware prototypes — over 400 on people’s wrists. Unfortunately, our software hasn’t been keeping pace. Our firmware (embedded code on the hardware device), smartphone app, and webapp are still in process. So many moving parts means that when one thing changes, everything else has to change as well.
  • Prototypes / 3d-printing != Manufacturing. When we launched our IndieGogo campaign, we we working exclusively with 3d-printed prototypes. If you print something that doesn’t work, no big deal — you just fix the file and print it again. Unfortunately, manufacturing doesn’t work the same way. With real supply chains, you have to produce a full mold — which takes thousands of dollars and weeks of work. If there is a problem, you have to throw that mold away and start all over again. This is probably the biggest reason as to why we missed our deadline: New revisions of the Pavlok unit are measured in weeks/months, not hours.
  • Building hardware is expensive — far more expensive than an IndieGogo campaign generates. Even Pebble had to raise money from VCs to fulfill the orders from their first $8M++ campaign. The most expensive part is people: our team is 11 full time employees working on electrical engineering, software, app development, design, mechanical engineering, sales, customer support, and more. If we had unlimited money (or raised a big round from VCs) we could have thrown money at the problem to speed up. Unfortunately, bootstrapping means we move slower.
  • International safety testing. If all we had to do was deliver a shock we could wire up batteries to a couple of transistors and contact points and BOOM it would shock you. But delivering a safe, adjustable and consistent shock is more difficult. We need to make sure we meet safety standards here in the US as well as comply with a different set of standards in the E.U and other countries (about 40% of our IGG backers are international). The good news is that Pavlok is totally safe, and we are well under the threshold for maximum amperage. However working through the regulations has been one of the biggest delays and is why international orders will ship a month later than US orders.

What went Right

  • The Product: When I started Pavlok, the idea was more novelty than anything. We were building a device that would shock me when I went on Facebook. Halfway through the IndieGogo campaign, however, we stumbled upon 21 Scientific Studies about the effectiveness of electric shock in helping break addictions and bad habits. By reproducing these peer-reviewed studies, we’ve helped dozens of people quit smoking, nail-biting, eating sugar, and more.

    stop eating sugar tasha
    Tasha used Pavlok to stop eating sugar
  • We shipped 400+ Prototype units. Pavlok is already shipping worldwide and early users are seeing massive results in changing their behaviour. Some users recorded videos on their experience so far. We are working with our users to get feedback that will improve the final production units. E.g., more comfortable wristbands, and Habit Buster Mode to trigger multiple shocks at a time.
  • We discovered multiple use cases for electric shock. While we are still doing research, we have found that Pavlok might be effective for training athletes as well as memory — not just habits. More on this in the future.
  • We were recognized as a finalist in the Google Wearables in Healthcare competition. With 400+ comments and 600+ points, we doubled the score of the second place team on the Wearables in Healthcare rankings. See our winning page here.
  • The Team is Growing. We have about >20 people working on Pavlok in various capacities, including 11 full time employees in our Boston office and 10-20 contractors that work here and worldwide. Want to work with Pavlok? Check out our hiring page
    Pavlok team members visiting Google HQ here in Boston


What’s Next

  • Our software, while not complete, is going to be awesome. Prototype users have a beta app that can remotely make the device shock, vibrate and beep. The new app includes courses on the science of behavioral change, guided modules for changing specific habits, settings to customize the shock, and integrations for connecting your Pavlok to other hardware and software. We are also building a separate alarm clock app so you can set your Pavlok to go off at a specific time. The iOS apps will be ready for the launch of the Production Units and Android and web apps will follow soon after.
  • API is almost ready. It works and we use it. We have a senior developer working out the last few bugs and adding a layer of security and then we will make this public. Here you can see some examples. Using Pavlok for productivity, and Using Pavlok for Inbox Zero.
  • We are running live Q&A webinars. You have questions about Pavlok and we have answers! Check out a recording of the most recent webinar. We’ll be holding the next one next week, on Friday. We send invites to the Pavlok mailing list—sign up here if you haven’t already.
  • We are holding a Hackathon. The event will take place here in Boston on May 16, 2015. Participants will have early access to the API to build their own integrations with the Pavlok device. Interested in participating? Join here.

That’s it. The truth is, most crowdfunding campaigns deliver late (84% says CNN) — usually by 6 months, a year, or more. And many crowdfunding campaigns never deliver at all. Ours is not like that.

You will get your Pavlok. In all honesty, if we had shipped on time, we would have been rushing to get you a sub-par product. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather ship you a product that functions flawlessly, rather than one that will break in a matter of weeks.

Below you can see the Pavlok modules. On the left is the prototype module, and the right is our first production-style module (not finalized or polished, but you see the style change).



That’s all for now.

Maneesh Sethi
CEO & Inventor of Pavlok

P.S: Have a question about Pavlok? Ask in the comments below and we will respond fast.

100 thoughts on “Manufacturing the Pavlok: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, Shipping Timeline

  1. Just want to say – I’d much rather have a rock solid product I don’t have to worry about, and get it late, than get a piece of junk on time.

  2. I ordered Pavlok many moons ago. Check my order, give me date I ordered & my cost. Pavlok is going to help this old guy quit smoking. Thanks

  3. I’m in college and moving over the summer. How can I update you guys on my new address to make sure the finished product gets to me?

      1. BS. It should be done by the time you release the delayed production units. No excuse not to. If you want it to happen, it will. No more bs from you people.

  4. Concerning the alarm clock app. Will it just be a simple alarm clock or is it possible to design the app like the many other Sleep Management Apps, with sleep cycle tracking and smooth wake up options ? And is the pavlok app palette also available for android at release ?

    PS: I would also much rather have a solid quality product a bit late, than not well thought through product on time. Take your time, make it good, lovely people at Pavlok.

    1. For now it will be a simple alarm clock w/ time set, snooze etc.

      No set deadline for the android app yet — but its first priority once the iOS is ready.

      And thanks :- )

  5. So it seems the unit is useless without being paired with a phone? If so then delivery of the device is meaningless – I’ll be waiting on the Android app. That is frustrating.

    1. Hey Kerry — actually Pavlok works best when you use the one-button shock on the device (because you are more aware of the habit, etc.) — the phone features are kind of a bonus.

      1. OK. Thank you for the reply. It seems hard to believe that a simple button that I control can achieve the habit-breaking results, but I know you guys have done your research – I’m looking forward to seeing if it can help me with diet and procrastination!

        1. I also wasn’t thrilled to hear that the app wasn’t ready once I received my Pavlok in the mail. I was mainly using this to wake up on time since all alarm clocks have left me in a deep sleep. However, I’m glad to report that by simply wearing it and shocking yourself by using the “self shock” mode without any need for a phone is very responsive and helpful. You won’t be at a total loss without the wake up app, though I’m anxiously awaiting it’s release so I can get up on time. Hope you enjoy it! And good luck!

      2. There are more coders than hamburger flippers in the world these days. There is no excuse for no android app when you ship in july / august.

  6. It doesn’t matter when it comes out. I am a recovering alcoholic, with depression. I see the benefits of Pavlok. Just do it right and i will buy. I’ll do anything. God bless and good luck.

  7. Thanks for the update. I know I am just very anxious to get this tool in my hands and to eliminate 2 little but terrible habits of mine—biting my nails, and not getting out of bed in the morning.

    Once these are addressed, I can move to creating habits to support my goals!

    Thanks for the update. Maybe you were a little too good in your pre production promotion.

  8. Kudos for being honest and straightforward. It means a lot. I’m as excited as ever and look forward to receiving the product in spite of the delay.

  9. Hi,
    I’ve moved since I did the preorder on Indiegogo. How do I update the shipping address for when y’all finally do ship it.


  10. Keep working hard guys!

    Thanks for keeping us posted and being open and honest about the situation. If a customer is still upset after explaining the situation as eloquently as you did, you probably don’t want them as a customer.

    Looking forward to an amazing finished product!


  11. Can I get more stickers and tattoos? I kinda like them…I put one of the tattoos on my leather iphone case, it looks great there

  12. Hi! It said in the article that all prototypes have been shipped, I was just wondering what happend to my order. I might order 10 of those final production units if the prototype is promising. I ordered mine through PayPal 19. March

  13. I told my husband I would fix my habits once I got the Pavlok so two more months of kdrama addiction and not exercising for me. Thanks.

  14. Maneesh, I have participated in 5 or 6 hardware crowd funded programs. None of them have shipped on time. Canary, SpaceMonkey, Scanadu, Airtame and Pebble were all late. Really late. Closer to a year than 6 months for all of them. But I eventually got my hardware and have been happy with all of them. It was worth the wait to get good product. If you are only going to be a couple months late with a hardware product, then you are kicking ass by comparison. Thanks for the note and hopefully this means the Android app will ship fairly soon after I get my Pavlok.

  15. So—no app for android. I emailed and asked and was told that there was an app. Oh well. Is the shock on the lowest setting? Seems pretty strong.

  16. Very well written update – i’m sure everyone understands the position!

    I read that new prototype orders ship immediately – does that count for international too? I ordered a prototype only a day ago, but am in Australia, so not sure where that leaves me in the timeline.

    The longer i wait, the longer my habit busting list gets i suppose…
    Diet cheats, resetting alarm clocks, distractions… so much awesome will come from this unit!


      1. AWESOME! I can’t wait.

        Will probably take a few weeks to get here, but i’ll be eagerly waiting every day 😀

        BTW – i heard about Pavlock from Bulletproof Radio – great interview (just took me a few weeks to order).

  17. Hello, July/ August will be simply wonderful for me to receive Pavlock. My understanding is that I can chose the color. How will that happpen? Thank you…..Suzanne

  18. I appreciate the update, but am very anxious about when I will receive it. I am learning patience!

  19. Received my prototype yesterday, first day of use. Too early to report success, but I am happy so far, and brimming with ideas, looking forward to API.

    My only complaint is: no https? Or is Pavlok just a hack by Dan Kaminsky to see how many iPhones he can own?

  20. When I bought my prototype I had a chance to buy the production unit for $99.
    I wish I would have. Will we get another chance to do this?

  21. Hi
    I am from Bangladesh, I was amazed since I’d seen Pavlok last Jan. I was waiting but it seems more time needed. I just wanted to know, I Pre-ordered but will it reach Bangladesh in Sep or in between.

  22. Hi again – one of those days, too many things to do and in a rush. I also payed thru pay pay on 4/8/15.

  23. I want to solve my following vices / problems

    – Sleep and wake up at the right time
    – Stop using the car and go back to using the bike
    – End my lazy to go to the gym
    – stop eating sugar
    – Stop delay in work, studies and household duties , rather than getting on sites that should not
    – Encourage me to cook
    – Facing difficulties related to social phobia
    – Save money

    I can solve them all?

    1. Hey Juliana — yes, Pavlok works on the fundamentals of habit change — so can help with all of these. Part of process is software/courses that get you laser focussed on the specific problem habits and desired outcomes. Once you master 1 habit, e.g., improving your sleep, you can start to target the rest.

  24. The lack of Android app at production shipping date is, er, shocking. With Android sales 5x those of iOS around the world, I can’t help but feel you’ve got your focus on the wrong priority. Here’s a real test for the product: put on your Pavlok, turn it up to max and see if it can help you break your Apple habit and switch your attention to the far bigger prize.

  25. you guys should consider some sort of back-off, administering multiple shocks in response to a habit relapse, and then administering fewer and fewer as the habit drops in frequency. the goal is to get the user to stop doing the habit right? this is the way such a device should work. associating the habit with pain is good. associating not doing the habit with not-pain is better.

  26. hi – I ordered two units (one as a gift) and had listed the shipping address under the assumption of a May delivery. Would it be possible to have one shipped to that address and the other shipped to another?

    1. The app is free! A link to download the beta app is provided with the device. The new version of the app will also be available soon.

  27. Hey team, congratulations on winning Shopify’s BAB competition!

    I’ve been following Pavlok for over a year now, and every time I see an email from you, I’ve thought, “this is it, I should order it now”. Unfortunately, I’m a fairly broke college student, and spending $250 on a device still in beta wasn’t an option for me.

    That being said, I’ve saved up for a while and I’m finally ready to make the leap. But since it seems like you guys are continuing to make upgrades on the official device, in your honest opinion (and I’m really trusting you on this, since you’ve been pretty straightforward with your entire development process thus far), is it better to wait for the second iteration, or will the first production model continue to benefit from the updates as you roll them out?

    Thanks in advance!

  28. Hello. I am interested in knowing how pavlok can know when you are smoking? maybe it shocks you when you were actually drinking. and how can it know when you are eating sugary food? maybe you are eating salty crackers? this is really confusing for me please reply. Thank you.

    1. Hi there! We found that it zapping you is less effective than when you zap yourself. We have an audio training program that trains you to associate the feeling of the zap with the act of smoking — 5 mins for 5 days. Then, throughout the day, you smoke cigarettes as your normally do, and simply press the button when you do it.

  29. I would like to make an Adroid app myself. Is the API-spec / documentation and / or sample code available somewhere?

  30. I’m in the U.S. and haven’t yet received my order. Any new updates on when I can expect to receive my palok? Anxious to get started on breaking some bad habits. 🙂

  31. I ordered my pavlok back in March. I live in South Korea. When is it going to be shipped and will I receive an email when it is? I have been waiting patiently for an update. Thanks.

  32. Hi there, it’s September 26th and I’m exited to get my pavlok. Sounds like I’m not the only one. An update would probably do a lot to quell the collective anxiety. Any news on when we can expect our units (in the U.S.)?

  33. US order placed in June and wondering when it will be shipped/received? I know the target was originally end of September. Getting close…

    Also what’s the story on Android app?



  34. Where’s my product? First it was June, then August, then “by the end of September” and still nothing. Stop the bullshit


  35. last week I received an email from you with a $30 discount on my order, for some reason I lost it, I want to order pavlok for my daughter on her birthday and I really need to use that code to buy it. If you can send it to my right now before im late for her birthday present, I will be really appreciate you so much.

  36. Hey Guys!
    Loved the webinar yesterday. As you can guess from emails, comments, and blog entries, the Pre-order Pack is chomping at the bit. Do you think it would be possible to get digital copies of the instruction manuals and what comes with the device now, while we are waiting for our devices to arrive? I’m order number 1243 if that helps. I would love to have all the info read and digested so I can jump right in with the device once I get it. That is one of my most consistent positive habits, being prepared, hehe.

  37. Do you email your customers when you ship each pavlock?
    (ordered mine in june/july and av still waiting for it to arrive)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *