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.