Pigeon Inspiration: The Story of How Pigeon Came to Be
Wondering how and why Pigeon was started? Get to know the CEO and Founder, Jon Marson, and learn more about the inspiration behind the business.
By JON MARSON
The idea for Pigeon came to me while at a kid’s birthday party at a local play place. The space was huge, with big slides and giant climbing structures. Everyone was having a great time, but it was eventually time to round up the troops and leave. With us were daughter Sarah (6,) and my sons Andrew (4), and Aiden (2). While getting ready to go, we had Aiden with us and found Sarah, but we couldn’t find Andrew.
After one lap through the building, I wasn’t worried. We were in a big place with lots of areas for kids to run, slide, and hide. After the second lap, I began getting nervous. By lap three, I was recruiting help. I started giving descriptions and thinking about exits and bathrooms. If someone grabbed my cute little kid and walked out the door with him kicking and screaming, would anyone stop him? Probably not; most people would just assume the kid was being hauled off by one of his parents during a meltdown.
My stomach was in knots and I couldn’t shake the feeling.
Our story has a happy ending: we found him, eventually. He had climbed up to a place that was too hard to get down from and was stuck. He had been yelling for help but nobody could hear him over the general noise of kids playing.
The experience left me wondering if there was anything out there that could have helped me find him more easily, or to know if he had somehow left the building. I did some research and wasn’t impressed with my choices:
- Cell phones:
Giving my four-year-old a cell phone seemed risky; he would likely lose it, drop it, or break it. Plus, that would mean another monthly contract for me to pay and another screen for my kid.
- GPS watches:
To start, these things are huge, and look pretty silly on tiny wrists. Plus, they’re expensive and also require a monthly contract. However, the biggest issue is that they just don’t work indoors; GPS needs an unobstructed view of the sky to talk to the satellites.
This option was a bit closer to a good solution. Tile is a small Bluetooth transmitter that you can stick on anything and locate it later. Sounds nearly perfect! However, Tile is not designed for kids so they’re not likely to keep it on. That’s a big problem. But, the biggest problem is that the location is not reliable. The way Tile works (and others like Tile) is based on a series of “ifs”: If your Tile tracker gets close to someone with a cell phone, and if that person has Tile installed, and if that person’s system is accurate and can hear your Tile, then it will relay information to the Tile cloud. But then? You are still relying on the unintentional kindness of strangers to get you a rough where and when for approximate location.
If you’re like me and hoping to reliably locate your child if they go missing, you probably understand why cell phones, GPS watches, and Tile all don’t quite address that need.
Was there something I could buy to solve my problem? Nope. And that is how Pigeon came into existence.
Kids don’t want to be lost. Business owners don’t want you to lose your kids. And, of course, you want to keep your kids safe. If we get these three to work together, we can do something new that makes sense for everybody.
Business owners shoulder the cost of the location technology that you can use to locate your kids as a service to you.
You buy a cool fitness band for your kids that they love and you install our app that allows you to locate them in real time while at a business in the Pigeon network.
That simple idea formed the foundation for Pigeon.