April Fools Fell for Hub, a Fake Startup Whose Smart-Home Device Doesn’t Do Anything

Gotcha! A former Microsoft intern got his Yale classmates to apply for jobs at Hub, a fake startup with well-produced marketing video for a smart-home device.


Last summer, Yale student and former Microsoft intern John Chirikjian came across Samsung's SmartThings Hub.

“For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what it is, or does,” says Chirikjian.

That's when he thought of the perfect April Fools' Day joke to satirize both the smart-home market and Silicon Valley startup marketing. Meet Hub, the ultimate IoT smart device.

Chirikjian started filming the video in January with students from Yale's on-campus comedy scene. He also started an Indiegogo campaign for the device. But he never actually said what exactly it is that Hub does.

The Indiegogo campaign reads:

Meet Hub — the only device you need to help take back your life and focus on what truly matters.

Stripped of extraneous features, Hub serves as an IOT powerhouse that you can pair to your home network. With its robust ESP8266 brain and beautiful metallic exterior, Hub is set to change the way you interact with your connected devices and content. 

We've come to Indiegogo to validate our product with you, the consumer, and to raise vital funding. We need $10,000+ to become a legitimate entity, open an online store and get this on shelves.

However, despite the fact the marketing video and crowdfunding campaign never say what Hub does, the fancy production and big tech words fooled some people. The Indiegogo campaign has raised $354 as of April 5.

Chirikjian also started getting emailed resumes, texts and calls from his classmates looking for a job with Hub. Some people thought the device was a router, others thought it was an Amazon Echo-style personal assistant.

“We were just astounded,” says Chirikjian. “We don't even know what we're selling anymore.” 

Meanwhile, Amazon and Google planned April Fools' Day jokes of their own.

Check out Petlexa —

And Google Gnome —

About the Author

Chelsea Cafiero:

Chelsea Cafiero is Senior Web Editor of CE Pro. She also manages the corresponding websites of sister publications Commercial Integrator, Security Sales & Integration, Campus Safety and Electronic House. Chelsea has previously covered politics, local news and consumer electronics. She joined the CE Pro family in 2012.


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