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Interview with Serge Didenko from BLOCKS Wearables

BLOCKS Wearables

BLOCKS is the world’s first modular smartwatch.
The core module – the watchface – is a fully functioning smartwatch on its own and has all the features of a standard smartwatch, such as phone notifications, activity tracking and voice control. The additional modules make BLOCKS unique. Using the space around the wrist, users can build a smartwatch that suits their lifestyle by combining modules.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
I am Serge Didenko, founder of the company together with my friend Alireza Tahmaseb.

You are going to have to go through a lot of “NO”s and reinvent yourself 10times. It is not an easy task.

What does a typical day in your life look like?
Working on Hardware, Software, Industrial Design as well as Marketing with our full time team of 15 engineers, designers and developers.

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Tell us something that most people don’t know about you
I have a PhD in Computer Science, focussing on fetal and neonatal brain development.
How did you come up with the idea for your product and what made you “go for it”
Alireza and I wanted to build a wearable device but couldn’t agree on which feature would fit into a perfect wearable. I wanted health & fitness sensors, and my cofounder needed Business and gesture control sensors. We simply couldn’t agree. After 3 weeks of arguing we realized that modularity would allow each one of us to make a perfect device.

What made you decide to go with crowdfunding (or venture capital)?
We have a community of 100,000 people supporting Blocks. Kickstarter seemed like a perfect place to find their support for us to take the product to manufacturing.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made with your product (financial, emotional, educational) that led to the product we’re experiencing today?
Make a video to tell the world about our concept in Feb 2014.
We were afraid of losing IP, and that someone would copy us. But it was the best move we could ever do – the world spotted us and we received more offers for partnerships that we could imagine.

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Where do you see your company or your company’s focus in 1-2 years?
Building an open platform for wearables – working with companies to develop a myriad of modules available to our customers. Blocks would have the largest offering of features of any wearable device.
If you could time travel back to day one of your start­up and have 15min with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell yourself?
Move faster. Speed is everything.

After 3 weeks of arguing we realized that modularity would allow each one of us to make a perfect device.

Who has been the biggest influence on your life and work and why?
My cofounder (for my startup work). Most tenacious person i know. In my life – of course only those that are close to me (family and close friends).
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs on how to facilitate a successful financing campaign?
You are going to have to go through a lot of “NO”s and reinvent yourself 10times. It is not an easy task. Just remember that 2-3 years down the line the hard work would pay off, with a bit of luck.
What do you see as the biggest advancement in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
The choice of sensors available in this market is very small, but only for now. Wearable technology would grow to offer features and transform entire industries with a variety of sensors. All this would be accessible via a BLOCKS modular platform.
What do you see as the biggest risk in your technology sector over the next 5-10 years?
Slow adoption due to early gimmicking of smartphones turned to smartwatches by large consumer electronics companies. Consumer (and large electronics companies) need to be educated that smartwatches and smartphones are not the same and should not be. Unfortunately that is not the trend right now.

Thank you for your time Serge!

Wrapping it up

If you’d like to support Serge Didenko and BLOCKS, check out chooseblocks.com, the Kickstarter campaign –  and follow them on:
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