Facebook just announced the highly anticipated wearable sunglasses, which can capture video from the user's perspective. Despite our legitimately uneasy reactions to the new product, Facebook's launch decision is likely to make it a huge success.
Facebook took a page out of the business school curriculum and partnered with Ray-Ban to launch its product. This is a lesson that all new product managers should learn.
This is why we must first go back to Google Glass. The prototype was launched in 2011 for a select few users. These users, following Google's beta launch strategy at the time, paid $1,500 to test and play with what they perceived as the future.
Google Glass, despite being named as one of Time Magazine's top inventions of the year by Time Magazine, was plagued with problems and a very incomplete product. Many people have already commented on the fact that Google Glass was an example of new technology being released without having a clear purpose. What was the purpose of Google Glass?
The Google Glass launch also featured a unique aspect: the product was designed in-house. Marketing was handled by an unintentional public relation campaign by Sergey Brin, who was seen wearing the glasses everywhere from Silicon Valley Fashion Week to Silicon Valley. Google was effectively surfing on the success of its other products and offering a new toy that appeared to be inevitable, but with no clear purpose.
Now, fast forward to earlier in the month. Facebook introduced new wearable sunglasses, often compared to Google Glass. Everyone is wondering if Facebook's attempt to replicate Google Glass will fail like Google Glass. The Facebook version will likely succeed because of Ray-Ban's partnership with Ray-Ban, which allows them to use Wayfarer glasses as the main wearable.
Facebook, although it is more than a decade away from its entrepreneurial roots, must continue to explore the frontiers of innovation, just like other large technology companies. Many of the products that Facebook is considering launching require users to not only navigate risky or unknown situations, but also unknowable ones. What is the difference?
Knightian uncertainty is the issue facing many tech futurists, including Facebook. Frank Knight's research published in 1921 highlighted the important distinction between uncertainty and risk. The Big Four technology companies view the risk as the management of revenue in order to maintain a high market share among Facebook's ad revenue growth.
Both companies have a history of revenue growth. We can use historical data to make reasonably accurate predictions about the future. This is because prediction tools have power and can be used to make decisions.
Comparing that situation with whether Facebooks glass will succeed is a completely different situation. Which historical records are available? Is the demand similar to Apple Watch's first year? Will it be like Zune, Microsoft's attempt to compete with the iPod? It is impossible to predict the demand for this product. We can also call it Knightian uncertainty.
Why will Facebook be more popular? Facebook is not a startup but it has used a key entrepreneurial approach to increase its chances of success. It partnered with Ray-Ban to launch the Facebook glass.
Google attempted to design its new glasses by using its imagination, but Facebook used a design that already had some certainty. Collaboration is key to ensuring that a company's new product or service is launched successfully. Entrepreneurs can use effectuation to take advantage of aspects that are within their control.
This is done by starting with your strengths, what you know, and who you know. Facebook decided to use the expertise of the biggest player in the market to help it predict what people might like about a pair of glasses.
Facebook moved through the unknown by finding someone to guide it through a key uncertainty in its new product. It has a greater chance of success because of that alone.
New consumer product innovations are extremely uncertain and risky, and many will fail. This means that, even with Ray-Bans' partnership, it could easily fail on many other parameters. However, Facebook, like any good entrepreneur, has increased its chances by using a key entrepreneurial approach for its product launch, improving its chances to succeed.