Good morning, All,
Wiley Cerilli is a Venture Partner at First Round, and was founder of Single Platform, which was acquired two years after its founding by Constant Contact for $100M (What It Feels Like To Wake Up At 32 With Everything You’ve Ever Wanted). SinglePlatform was initially funded by First Round, and quickly went on to be named one of the Top 10 and 25 “Companies to Watch” by Business Insider, The Next Web and Website Magazine. Wiley has been named as a “Top 25 CEO” in New York, and “Top 10 People to Watch” by Crain’s. He also dropped in and out of school five times, and met his wife on Match.com. More about him below.
Contrary to popular misconception, the big news of the week was not the Apple Watch. It was that this was the second major marker to signify a shift in the tech landscape – and everyone seems to have missed it.
A while back, Google released a beta product that they called Google Glass to testers whom they called Explorers so that they could charge them $1500 to be among the privileged few testers. Smart move, from a traditional tech marketing perspective, but just one problem/glitch: it wasn’t long before some wag spotted an Explorer in the wild, and the term ‘Glasshole’ entered the lexicon. The big problem with Google Glass: there’s no ‘cool’ factor. Anyone who wears one looks like a Glasshole. End of story.
There is a disconnect between wearables/the tech world and the fashion world and that has to change for wearables to truly step into their own, but that’s not the disconnect that we’re addressing today. For all the talk about Millenials and digital natives, and despite the huge marketing focus and general obsession with that group, the industry at large and certainly the tech press is missing the forest through the trees:
In the early days of tech, it used to be that when a new technology was released, everyone knew it would be buggy and more or less little more than a prototype, but there were those early adopters who just had to have the latest and greatest. But remember: it was still the fairly early days, when the industry – and gadgets – were still pretty much being invented, or made up as we went along. There was a prestige to having the latest and greatest and buggy though it was, it was a shift forward and you knew there would be mass adoption, once the bugs were gone and the price a bit more consumer-friendly. Some technologies never did live up to the promise, and those were called shovelware. Although, now we have shovelwear.
Companies are acting as though there hasn’t been a shift in the zeitgeist and that consumers at large will not jump on just anything that’s put out there. Glass has pretty much disappeared, at least for now and except in the enterprise space, which is where it makes more sense in its present form. Millennials Aren’t So Into the Apple Watch, says re/code (et al), concluding that “Apple Watch may suffer from a generation gap.”
Not long ago, we commented on a piece by a University of Texas student who posted an article on Medium, explaining how his age group used social media. You didn’t notice anyone in his age group writing a piece on Apple products v Google and which are their platforms/devices of choice.
We’ve said before that Silicon Valley has lost its mojo, to some extent, and due in no small part to the income disparity between people living in SV and those of us who live in the world at large. Newsflash, in case you missed it: Millenials are more focused on apps, which do not cost $10k or even $349+. And they’re not alone.
There will always be those Glassholes who want to try the newest thing – and developers who want to get a jump on the platform/possibilities of the tech, because that’s their job. Apple Watch, in its current iteration, will have its takers, but we will remind you of this question: When or where can I buy Google Glasses? According to that piece, millions of us should be sporting them by now.
Star Trek was a defining moment in science fiction and part of the popularity of the early Startac flip phone was that it reminded us of the communicators that Kirk and company used. That little icon on their shirts? Wearables. But there was not anything that resembled an Apple Watch to be found. In any Star Trek generation. The communicator watch was Dick Tracy, who is the antithesis of sci fi. And note to self: when you notice that people pretty much have stopped wearing watches, that should tell you something. When you notice that they stop carrying multiple devices, especially when many devices have been replaced with apps, pay attention. Less is more.
As for Google Glass, it will no doubt be back at some point, and if it is to stand any sort of a chance in its next iteration and speaking of Star Trek, it’s got to be less Borg. If you’re reading the tea leaves, and plan on innovating in tech going forward: it’s not about marginal utility. It’s about maximum utilization. That’s just the way it is. Resistance is futile. Onward and forward.