Do you

see

what I
see?

Dan Gardner
Dan Gardner
Founder & Exec Chair of Code and Theory & Founder, ON_Discourse

Believe the hype

I can’t stop thinking about spatial video and neither should you.

From the editor: Our co-founder was having a creative anxiety attack after unboxing the Apple Vision Pro. It has been a long time since we’ve seen this digital tech executive so excited by new technology and wanted to give him a chance to explain his enthusiasm

I just got the Vision Pro and now I have seen the light. This product is not a fad. The goggles are ugly and expensive and it does not matter. Spatial computing is going to unlock new audiences for new behaviors and ultimately shape a new kind of internet. If you are an executive in digital media and are not excited by this product, then, please pardon my pun, you simply have no vision.

Let me explain myself: I was blown away by the experience of spatial video. It made me feel things. There is an ethereal quality when 3-D spatial video combines with spatial audio. For example, the Apple Vision Pro contains a spatial video with Alicia Keys in the studio that feels like you are next to her in that room. I need to reinforce this point: it’s not just being next to her; the experience feels like I am simultaneously forming and experiencing a new lifetime memory in real time. The jump cuts in the editing, so common in standard video formats, break the spell of the experience. For a moment, I was next to her at the piano, feeling like I am there, and suddenly now I am somewhere else because of that cut. My mind is literally vibrating with ideas about how this experience can unlock new opportunities for brands and end-users. Imagine Taylor Swift recording in spatial. Imagine a NBA or NFL game in spatial. Do you see what I see?

Do not underestimate the power of feelings. I don’t know that I’ve seen technology evoke a sensation as strongly as the Vision Pro.

Do not underestimate the power of feelings. I don’t know that I’ve seen technology evoke a sensation as strongly as the Vision Pro. It’s not just naturally visual, it’s naturally emotional. A simple spatial video of my kids left my wife in tears. The dimensionality of the experience resonated with her in a way that overcame her typical techno-skepticism. The implications of this technology cannot be overstated – imagine this technology powering the next generation of user-generated social media. Do you hear what I hear?

My enthusiasm comes in spite of the fact that the Apple Vision pro is the ugliest piece of hardware ever to come from Apple. That is saying something. It also acknowledges the insanely high price point that will restrict access to early adopters. This technology is only beginning.

We are at the precipice of an epic technological revolution. The power of AI, Web3, and spatial computing are coalescing and redefining the experiences that have defined the first generation internet. We are now entering into a new phase. And that is a gigantic white-space that is ready for new ideas, development, and investment.

“Sorry Dan, I disagree. All I see is a niche product.

This isn’t as groundbreaking as it seems and I don’t think it will scale.”

Overheard at ON_Discourse
Overheard at ON_Discourse

During a recent debate, one of our members made a strong counter-argument to against Dan’s fanboying enthusiasm. Given our observance of Chatham House Rules, their name has been redacted.

Here’s my thing. We’ve seen this movie before, right? The early adopters got the Google Glass in 2013. Modern users can get the Ray Ban glasses from Meta. Is the market penetration on either of these devices massive? No, and they are not even close to as expensive as the Vision Pro.

I’ve thought about these technologies and this hardware for a long time. I just don’t see a world where a ton of consumers are wearing these headsets and having meaningful experiences.

There are a lot of headwinds consumers face even if they want this. Price is the most obvious one. The second is access to experience. There are still limited options for a consumer to truly experience the amazing spatial video the Vision Pro offers. The third issue is more important: this is a fundamentally isolating and solo experience. People want to watch the big game together. They want to watch a movie together. This does not allow that. It erases community from the experience. No matter how cool the hardware is (and goggles aren’t cool and will never be cool), people want to be with other people.

Sorry but this isn’t it.

Good brands

will integrate

more friction

into their CX

Hear me out

Let’s get a little inefficient

in the AI era

Dan Gardner

Dan Gardner

Co-Founder & Exec
Chair of Code and Theory
Co-Founder,
ON_Discourse

From the editor: Our co-founder spent the past 20 years designing to remove friction, only to see how AI stands to push it too far. Do you think he has a point?

Technology, if you really think about it, is an evolution of removing friction from everything that we do. Successful brands offer their customers value and build their staying power by leveraging technology to remove friction.

AI is just another piece of technology with the potential to remove even more friction. Taken to an extreme, it’s easy to imagine the perfect AI-driven experience: no friction. Whatever you want or need is available exactly when you want or need it. A perfectly frictionless experience.

Friction points let customers
recalibrate ahead and realign
with the brand in a more direct
and human way.

Think about the Humane Ai Pin launch video. There is a moment when a book is offered in front of the Pin with a directive to buy it. Which store? At what price? Is there a membership plan associated with the retailer? The assumption in that video is that the consumer is in some kind of a rush to buy.

We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close. 

When you’ve removed all friction, there’s no moment left for decision making. Brands could no longer need, or even allow the customer to make decisions anymore.

If we were to reach such a point, brands would need to learn where and when to add friction back in. In a world of no friction, the trend of removing friction would have to reverse. This is where good brands will distinguish themselves.

Good brands will define ideal friction points for their customers. Friction points let customers recalibrate ahead and realign with the brand in a more direct and human way.