Eric Friedman is an American businessman and entrepreneur, best known for being one of the founders of Fitbit. Launched in 2007, Fitbit pioneered the personal activity data craze by producing wearable fitness monitors that can track and share user data. Along with his business partner, Friedman was inspired by the way Nintendo combined sensors and software in the Wii gaming console and recognized a gap in the fitness devices market. The duo raised $400,000 from family and friends to kick start their venture.
Currently, Friedman serves as Fitbit's Chief Technology Officer and as a member of the board of directors. He is an experienced technologist who loves to create and scale innovative consumer applications. Previously, Friedman served as an engineer manager at CNET Networks, was a co-founder of Wind-Up Labs, a founding engineer of Epesi Technologies, and a technical member of the Real-Time Collaboration Group at Microsoft Corporation. In 2021, Google completed its acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 billion.
A key part of Friedman's success in the technology sector stems from his days as a student at Yale University. Naturally, his time as a computer science major at Yale played a significant role in the development of Fitbit. Also influential, although perhaps less so, were his lunches in communal dining spaces. One of his favorite things about Yale, he said, was meeting up with students from other fields — literature, architecture, and chemistry, for instance — and seeing where the conversation took them.
"I did a lot of linguistics and history, not just computer science," Friedman said. "One of the things that made Fitbit was that we took multiple and disparate fields and made them greater than the sum of their parts."
Friedman has two degrees from Yale, both in computer science. In 1999 he received his Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a Master of Science degree in 2000.
As an alumnus who has put his stamp on the world, it is no surprise that Friedman remains such a valuable member of the Yale community. In 2016, Friedman was asked to be the keynote speaker at the Yale Technology Summit, a celebration and showcase of innovative and emerging technologies used in teaching, research, and entrepreneurial activities at Yale University and beyond. During the talk, Friedman spoke at length about his experience of building a successful start-up company. Entertaining the audience with humorous anecdotes, he addressed topics ranging from the future of wearable technology to his dynamic role as CTO. In addition, Friedman underscored the importance of his university experience, adding that Yale helped him learn invaluable lessons, both in and out of the classroom, that led to his highly successful career.