I’m sure you have heard someone say, “It’s all about timing” at some point in your life. If you haven’t heard it, you’ve had the fortune to witness it over the last 10 years. Two words, “Wearable Tech” but more specifically smart glasses!
First up, Google, who came out with “Google Glasses” in 2012 that were essentially a “smart” pair of glasses that you could perform a number of “so-called” useful tasks with. Were the glasses unique? Yes. Did the make some waves in the tech and consumer markets? Yes. However, everything comes at a cost, with a hefty price tag of around $1500, many people were unsure
of the technology and were not willing to drop the money of a computer on glasses. Little to no surprise, the hefty price, lack of design, and limited useful functionality led to them funneling out of production. Not to mention, the glasses were starting to be banned from some establishments, driving with them on, and so on.
BUT!, its all about timing, these glasses came into the market back in 2012 when mobile apps were still booming and were the primary focus of the consumer market. Wearable tech just started firing their boosters to take off and Google proposes that people make a massive jump into glasses. Again, all about timing. Something simple like a watch, ring, or bracelet might have been more accepted, but not glasses. They entered a market with hopes to create the standard while being one the first ones in. However, the market proved itself to be the ultimate test and rejected it. Since 2012 Google has released a statement of a new pair of Google Glasses that will be more geared for the Enterprise Level Workforce industry. Nevertheless, Google has had many projects over the years that had potential and failed, but they are always innovating.
Next up, Snapchat glasses, aka, “Spectacles”. Snapchat seized the moment of the “mobile app boom” which is obvious given they have around 187M daily active users (2017) and are valuated around $14B. No big deal right?
They timed the mobile app right, it took off and people craved using their app. PIVOT! Time for a new direction, Snapchat decides to test their popularity in the wearable marketing with their spectacles in late 2016. Their spectacles had a decent price of $130 dollars. That doesn’t sound too bad for a smart pair of glasses, but again, it comes down to the ultimate test, the consumer market. The market proved itself as always, the glasses lacked popularity, the poor design (fashionable look), and overall functionality.
Again, it’s all about timing. They entered a market where smartwatches, bands, rings and so on were taking priority. Let’s be clear though, there is nothing wrong with being early into the market and being the innovator. However, if your product has not been tested enough, lacks daily or weekly usage, functionality is limited and is being produced by an image messaging mobile application company, then you should be careful entering.
At the end of the day, the market has proven to us, that it doesn’t care about your highly intelligent team, the name of your company (Google or Snapchat), how big or small your company is, or the time you have put into your product, it only cares about itself. The market is the ultimate test and it all comes down to timing. I watch a Ted Talks video that featured Bill Gross, the founder of IdeaLabs a couples months back. I really just stumbled upon it but wound up watching the entire video and found it quite interesting. While everything made sense, I liked the way that Bill breaks down the process and stages of a company entering the market, it’s different than most. Also, how certain ones were more successful over their competitors was definitely an attention grabber.
Give it a watch, it’s only 6+ minutes – YouTube or watch it below