Particle CEO AMA Today 2PM PST

Hey folks! Looking forward to the AMA this afternoon. As Colleen mentioned, we’ll start here in text and I’ll respond to the questions that have been posted so far and others that show up, and then we’ll hop on Zoom for a casual happy hour. See you all then!


Getting started now! Will start posting responses to questions starting from the top of the list.


Hi Zach,

As someone who started his company with a family member in mind, have you continued to think about how Particle IoT can be used for those with disabilities or support projects around helping the life’s of those with disabilities?

Second, Apples or Oranges? Do be very thoughtful on this response, it could be catastrophic.

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Yes to both!

This year we have big plans both on new hardware products and new software capabilities that we’re adding to the platform. We will be making some of those product announcements within the next month, but more will come at Spectra, which we’ll be hosting this year in April. In addition, we’re going to be hopefully starting a more regular cadence of delivering new software capabilities over the course of the year.

I can’t go into too many details about what we’re working on, but stay tuned for a first announcement in the next few weeks as well as an announcement for Spectra (which will again be held as primarily a free virtual event that anyone can attend).


I have some less serious but serious questions…

Do you feel Particle will continue to succeed being Open Source and if yes, do you think those who say Open Source will cause people to steal from you and build their own company, do you think that excuse can even be valid anymore as you see how Particle and other OS companies are doing?

Have you thought about trying to build a Device that could succeed in Space? Find a niche with the Cubestat community or those who place cameras on balloons to launch in space or just maybe even usable on the ISS or Deep space (obviously without Cellular).

What’s something you haven’t seen a Particle device be apart of (project wise) that you wish you did?

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(Chip I’m going to come back to your first question in a bit)

We are working on expanding the list of cellular partners we support in the U.S. and internationally. The elephant in the room is Verizon, which many of our customers have requested that we add to EtherSIM. Unfortunately it can be challenging to communicate concrete plans here because bringing on a new carrier isn’t just about technical implementation, it also includes commercial negotiations which have very uncertain timeframes. So our best answer is still a hand-wavey one – we’re working on it, we do want to add support for Verizon, but we don’t have a specific or concrete timeframe yet.


Structurally we do not have any plans to change the model of charging for devices and Data Ops together, although now that we’ve been live with this pricing model for a little while we are going to look at how people are consuming these in real life and will always consider improvements to the packages that we offer.

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I’m a big fan of LoRa for point-to-point radios, and while I don’t think it’s proven itself as a globally deployed network (although I do think Helium is super interesting), I do think it’s a great fit for when people need to DIY their own point-to-point network. This is something that a number of Particle’s customers do today.

In terms of building our own LoRa product - we don’t have any specific plans (in other words it’s not on our roadmap in active development) but it’s a regular topic of conversation, so I can’t promise that it won’t end up on our roadmap in the future :slight_smile:

coming back to this first question - we’re continuing to provide bug fixes for LTS and recently released incremental improvements to it, and will be releasing a new update to it soon that is currently in release candidate. That said I think the underlying question here is at what point do the capabilities we have added to 3.x get baked into a new LTS release (4.x)? We don’t have a specific timeframe on that but it’s something our engineering team is thinking about now.

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Appreciate the feedback and sorry for what sounds like it was a slow response to your support tickets; I’ll let @Colleen provide a response on this one

Really looking forward!

In general there are a couple of different ways to tackle the problem of making it easier to build a BLE device that connects through a Gen 3 device back to the cloud:

  • Better BLE tooling
  • Off-the-shelf BLE sensor type things
  • A Xenon-like dev kit

Both bullets 1 and 2 are on the table for us; we would like to make it easier to build BLE accessories and we are looking into potentially doing off-the-shelf sensors now that we’re also building ‘wrapped in plastic’ products like Tracker One. The third bullet though isn’t something though I would expect us to do, in large part because there are already a ton of great development kits and modules out in the world based on the nRF-series processors that we used in the Xenon and that we use in the Argon and Boron, and we don’t have anything new to contribute to the world there.

Hey Jeff- thanks for this feedback. We are working to make the ticket process better. We do recommend reaching out on the forums with most questions. I am on here constantly and strive to reply within one working day. You can also PM me with questions or concerns.

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We’re big fans of Edge Impulse and I have been talking to them about porting their software to Particle. We’re looking for a reference customer that we can use to drive that porting exercise but haven’t lined one up yet, but hopefully once we find one we’ll see Edge Impulse support on Particle.

Photographic evidence that it is in fact me doing this


hehe, I was just thinking about the proof!

Back before we were Particle, we originally started building out a lighting product that was inspired by my attempt to build a lighting notifications app for my dad, who’s deaf. Time machine here:

I think there are a bunch of great accessibility opportunities using IoT; for instance we’ve got customers using Particle on walkers and on wheelchair vans, and one using Particle to track usage of prosthetic limbs. I find that our customers do a better job of identifying those opportunities than we do because the companies who use Particle to build those kinds of solutions are the ones who know exactly what problem they’re trying to solve.

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No clue what you’re going on about. Perfectly legit proof was provided yesterday. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Hello Zach:

With the advent of increased 5G availability coming into this year, is there anything to look forward for 2022 that you believe Particle can seize an opportunity on?

Thank You

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Open source is complicated and businesses that have open source or partially open source products are even more complicated. I think the question any business that has open source components has to ask is: why open source? Why does that provide some benefit to customers and/or to the business? Unfortunately I think most of the time when open source stuff goes south it’s because the company hasn’t really answered this question.

For Particle, providing some of our software and hardware under an open source license makes it easier for our customers to build their own products with Particle. Open source software and hardware gives our customers two things:

  • Software modules that ‘just work’ but can also be audited so you can understand how they work and they’re not just a black box - this is about making things easier but also building trust
  • Reference software and hardware that allows a customer to get started faster

Those reasons give us something of a north star for where and when we think about open sourcing something.