Facebook has shown off their much-anticipated wearable eyeglasses, which can record video from the user’s perspective. Because of our conflicted feelings about this new device, one of Facebook’s launch decisions is likely to catapult it to succeed where Google Glass failed.
Facebook was able to successfully promote its product in the same way that business school textbooks had done earlier thanks to a strategic partnership with Ray-Ban. This is an important lesson for all new product managers to remember from the start.
In order to fully appreciate this, we must return to Google Glass. In 2011, a small set of users were given the chance to test it out as a prototype. According to Google’s beta launch strategy, they paid $1,500 to play and experience what appeared to be the future of gaming and entertainment at the time.
Despite being voted one of Time Magazine’s best inventions of the year, Google Glass had many flaws and was still very much an incomplete product when it was released. According to a number of people who have previously expressed their discontent with Google Glass, one of the most serious issues was that it was a textbook example of deploying new technology without a clear use case in mind. When Google Glass was initially presented, the general public was perplexed as to what they were supposed to accomplish with it.
Another notable feature of the debut was the fact that the Google Glass product was built in-house and that marketing was done through an inadvertent public relations effort directed by co-founder Sergey Brin, who was photographed wearing the glasses everywhere from Silicon Valley to Fashion Week. To put it another way, Google was riding the crest of its own popularity when it chose to introduce a new toy that seemed inevitable but had no obvious application.
To see how things are progressing, let’s fast forward a few weeks to the beginning of the current month. When Facebook unveiled its new wearable spectacles earlier this month, they were immediately and constantly compared to Google Glass. Except for the question of whether or not the person sitting next to me is secretly recording me, everyone is anxious that Facebook’s attempt will fail in the same way that Google Glass did. The true wearable, created in partnership with well-known eyewear company Ray-Ban and sporting one of their most recognizable trademarks, the Wayfarer spectacles, is unlikely to be a success, but Facebook’s version is.
Despite the fact that Facebook has been in business for more than a decade, it, like many other large digital companies, must constantly push the boundaries of innovation to avoid products or services becoming obsolete and rendering its platforms ineffective. As a result, many of Facebook’s next product launches will require their involvement in order to deal with scenarios that are neither risky nor unexpected but are nevertheless unpredictable. What exactly is the distinction between the two?
The term “Knightian uncertainty” is used to describe the problem that Facebook, as well as a large number of other technology futurists, are attempting to tackle. In the early twentieth century, Frank Knight published studies emphasizing the necessity of distinguishing between risk and uncertainty in financial markets. The Big Four internet behemoths are most concerned with revenue management this year, specifically ensuring that Facebook’s ad revenue growth outperforms Google’s in the following year.
Both companies’ revenue growth has been constant, allowing us to make some rather accurate forecasts about their futures. The most important thing to keep in mind is that prediction tools are extremely strong and can be used to help in decision-making.
In comparison, the situation is extremely different when it comes to whether or not Facebook’s glass project will succeed. What historical records could we consult for ideas? Will the Apple Watch be as popular as the iPhone in terms of first-year demand? Will it be more like Microsoft’s unsuccessful iPod competitor, the Zune, or something else different? In this scenario, we’re dealing with Knightian uncertainty, which refers to the fact that the demand for this commodity is unknown, hence forecasting is useless under these circumstances…
What, as a result, are the factors that contribute to Facebook’s success? Because, despite the fact that Facebook is no longer a startup, it has increased its chances of success by applying a key entrepreneurial strategy, which is detailed below. Facebook, for example, was able to launch the Facebook Glass with greater success by cooperating with Ray-Ban.
While Google attempted to create its new specs from scratch based on its imagination of what customers desired, Facebook capitalized on a design that was already well-known. Collaboration between firms and entrepreneurs is required for the development of new products or services. When prediction tools fail to deliver, the most effective way for restoring control is to work together. The term “effectuation” refers to a business strategy that encourages entrepreneurs to benefit from assets they already own or may acquire in the future.
Begin by introducing yourself, then describe your experience and provide a list of contacts. Instead of attempting to predict what people will value in a pair of glasses and then learning how to market them, the social media giant chose to make spectacles using the knowledge of the market’s top player.
Faced with the potential of a new product, Facebook sought the advice of a well-known figure to guide the company through critical skepticism of the new offering. As a result, it stands a better chance than the vast majority of its competitors of prospering.
Finally, new consumer product inventions are very unpredictable (though not necessarily risky), and the vast majority of them will fail in the early stages of development. Despite its arrangement with Ray-Ban, Facebook is vulnerable to failure on a multitude of fronts, including its financial model. Facebook, on the other hand, increased its chances of success by taking a critical entrepreneurial approach to its product launch, hence increasing its chances of success.