Episode 0050 · June 13, 2023

The podcast about what to do next.

Goggles Pro!

[Unedited Transcript]

Rich Ziade: [00:00:00] Hey, Paul, what’s up?

Paul Ford: Whoa, rich, where are you? I I, I, hold on a minute. I can’t get this thing. Oh my God. Wait, okay. You, you’re now a giant web browser. Can you see my eyes?

Rich Ziade: Yeah, but they don’t look right.

Paul Ford: Uh, okay. I, I kind of spent $3,500 on these new goggles called Vision Pro from Apple.

Rich Ziade: Why do your eyes look like the eyes of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo?

Paul Ford: My face hurts and I, but the good news is I can email in 360 degrees

Rich Ziade: Whoa,

Paul Ford: and I’m in the California Rockies.

Rich Ziade: I gotta say, they don’t look to, are they goggles? Are they future go? Are these, is this apple goggles?

Paul Ford: Has a brand new paradigm in technology suddenly been unleashed in our world?

Should we discuss this?

I can’t figure out how to get ’em off.

Rich Ziade: Z and Ford Advisors Pro.

Paul Ford: All right, here we go. [00:01:00] All right, so Rich, we watched the event, the event, the event.

Rich Ziade: It’s five hours

Paul Ford: Five Apple does not, they should create a product that will shorten those fricking product release event.

Rich Ziade: Can I see something gross?


I. I think about bad bodily functions at the Apple offices for some reason.

Paul Ford: Oh, cuz it’s all so sterile.

Rich Ziade: Well, it’s just like, I gotta step, I’ll be back, I gotta go to the restroom and it’s like 18 minutes going. David, are you okay? Uh, I don’t know. That was that crab that I had for lunch.

Paul Ford: of all, it’s a 75 minute walk to the nearest bathroom. Second of all,

Rich Ziade: yeah, it’s gonna, that, that fog,

Paul Ford: do you know, like door? If you, if a baby, you know, like if a baby fills its diaper in the apple, like 12 sirens go off like it is absolutely like [00:02:00] there is no room for, for human moistness

Rich Ziade: No, no, no. We can’t have it. Which is oddly, strangely depressing, but we’re not, that’s not what this is


Paul Ford: is.

It’s a weird one because it used to be the least sterile of the consumer companies, but it’s very sterile now. Like everything is like that’s office and the environment, the way they pitch, the way that their voices work. There’s no hair outta place.

Rich Ziade: It’s a lot and it is grounded in what they believe is like if you design well, then you elevate consciousness and it’s actually, you touch something emotional, but they’ve come full circle.

Such that, that like when you perfect anything right, the soul comes out. Right? And that’s, that’s just reality. And look, I, I am, this sounds like I’m shitting on Apple, I own. So many

Paul Ford: No, I’ve got, I’ve got you.

And I have [00:03:00] $4,000 of apple gear strapped to our bodies a lot of the time. So listen, um, you know what though? Hold on. Tell

Rich Ziade: your take on it and I’ll tell you mine,

Paul Ford: I’ll tell you. First of all, I just want to go go back to the point that you’re making earlier, which is, and it’s, the design is sterile. It’s very clean.

Apple actually used to, because computers were not an established category, they made them accessible by making them cute. The Mac was cute.

Rich Ziade: Cute is a

Paul Ford: Oh, it said hello. It had a funny little smile, and that actually stayed for like 20 years, 25 years. They kept it cute and it’s just not cute anymore. Everything is bevels and shadows and it, it’s serious.

It’s, it’s very, you know, it can, it, it can be accessible and friendly and it can bounce around a little bit, but there’s no sense of it being like your happy pet.

Rich Ziade: Well, the, the days of experimentation and personality I think have given way to. A, you know, I find design systems in, I find no, I like design systems. They’re good for work. We have a software product. [00:04:00] We use design


Paul Ford: Sure.

Rich Ziade: I hate it when people talk about design systems,

Paul Ford: Oh, that’s a particular kind of conversation, isn’t it? Yeah, it’s a, boy.

Rich Ziade: design systems is another way of saying, You will stay in these lanes and when you stay in lanes, you know what you get end up with

Really boring network television. Yeah. And really lousy music. Because you stay in lanes and Apple has gotten to a scale where the design system isn’t just a system.

The design system is, is is religious. All like to the point where there is an unspoken set of ground rules you’re gonna adhere to.

Paul Ford: all so every discipline takes itself so seriously. And now that we’ve, you know, kind of been floating around the world a little bit, we’re allowed to laugh. But like you, you, I remember seeing a tweet that was like, oh man, dynamic island and name the designers like the best, whoever did it. And

Rich Ziade: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

Paul Ford: yeah.

Is that LeBron James of making a circle? [00:05:00] Like I

Rich Ziade: working title for, I Send this in a previous podcast was dynamic whole, but they had to rename it to

Paul Ford: do it, can’t do it.

Rich Ziade: it to Dynamic Island.

Paul Ford: rewind it. Okay. So Apple comes out with the new super goggles and you look into them and there’s like a 360 degree ultra high resolution screen, and you can interact with those objects using your fingers, and it’s like a whole new kind of computer that you strapped to your head.

Uh, is virtual reality, but it’s a little more focused. Like desktop and productivity. It’s not super like gamey oriented, like the Facebook

Rich Ziade: It’s not gamey. It is, it

Paul Ford: there’s no metaverse. That word didn’t come up.

Rich Ziade: It didn’t come up. And it’s not you strolling around some fantasy island. It’s not that or dynamic

Paul Ford: fantasy island.

Rich Ziade: Um, it’s not that. It’s more like a new. Interface that’s more sort of engrossing and whatnot, like

Paul Ford: very big on on it goes kind of like translucent, you know? Not really cuz you’re strapped in there, but like it’ll show you the outside world. It [00:06:00] shows people coming in the

Rich Ziade: that up and down, right? You can say, okay, you know what?

This is an ugly collection of people. Let me dial it up and be in a

Paul Ford: But you were making a point earlier. Okay, what’s the name of it and the last word in particular.

Rich Ziade: It’s called Vision Pro

Paul Ford: Pro. Right. So it’s 3,500 bucks. Like they basically have come out of the gate saying it’s not for you.

Rich Ziade: It’s a they, they exactly.

Look, they are, they are one of the few companies where people will go into debt to try the thing. Like people go into debt to buy their iPhones. That is a reality. There’s financing. Actually, probably most FI iPhones are not bought outright. They’re financed through your mobile contract. That’s actually how people get them.

But they want ’em, man, and they know that these things cost two, $2,000 an up. And they want ’em, right? Uh, because they’ve created these incredible objects of desire, and so they can do that, and it’s not too shocking, but what are they doing here? Right? What they’ve done is, first off, it’s not, it’s not high margin, by the way, because it’s worth talking about [00:07:00] what’s in this thing.

It is.

the same, like a similar class of internals that’s in a

Paul Ford: they gotta, they gotta sell, they gotta sell like a million of these before they start to make any money. I mean, you think about how much they’ve invested.

Rich Ziade: Oh, on a, and on a per unit

Paul Ford: basis. Yeah.

Rich Ziade: It’s not great.

Paul Ford: Yeah. Yeah.

Rich Ziade: there’s, I think, seven cameras. There’s cameras that are looking down at your fingers.

Paul Ford: have spent billions of dollars probably, or at least hundreds of millions to bring this thing into reality. Yeah. Yeah.

Rich Ziade: it’s billions of, so what have they done? They were like, time to sell this and. Keep going. And what I mean by that is I think, you know, there is a prototype video inside of Apple that just has what looks like a normal pair of glasses doing the exact same thing of course.

And then what they’re saying is we are 10 to 15 years away from technology and battery technology and all of that, uh, being able to do what

Paul Ford: well, I mean there’s another element, which is that they understand their own vertical [00:08:00] integration better than anybody else. Like they own the chip production.

They own, they own the, the lens manufacturing at this point, so they can actually make a 10 year prediction and then drive certain things along in a way that if they were dependent on only on Samsung.

Rich Ziade: very few companies can make that kind of a long game.

Paul Ford: and. And look, I mean, I’m, I’m wearing an Apple Watch right now and the reason I got an Apple watch was my kids got Apple watches, and Apple watches now include cellular, and this one has a little keyboard and we’re, we’re minutes away from it having the, you know, the camera and, and just sort of like be, you know, it’s probably two generations from now.

It will be a, pretty much a sufficient phone, but really small. Like it’s not, you know, a sufficient smartphone. Like we’re, so they, what we see with Apple is that they’re willing. There is no absolute category destroyer like the smartphone in the world. Like there’s nothing where you go. Okay. Obviously.

So they have to, they have to do things where people kind of roll their eyes a little [00:09:00] bit. Like when the iPhone came out, everybody’s like, okay, okay. But, but with the watch, everybody’s like, oh, who cares?

And now it’s, you know, a vast category. So I think, you know, they’re doing this with augmented reality.

If anyone can pull it off, et cetera, et cetera, you know, it’ll be them. And, but, uh, where, where did you land on it? Did you want it?

Rich Ziade: No, I don’t do well with them. Uh, I, I, I, I had an Oculus. Um, I will, I want to try it. Absolutely. Um, uh, do I want it? Uh, no. I don’t want it.

Uh, I, I think I don’t want it mainly because, um, the idea of leaving my, I think, and I think, I think VR generally is facing this is the idea of leaving my surroundings to take on an experience. It’s kind of cool for a little bit. Yeah, but like an eight hour workday and they tried to push productivity as a thing

Paul Ford: I just don’t think they know what to do with it. Right. So they, it’s, you know, they’re showing people using a web browser in 360 degrees.

Rich Ziade: [00:10:00] Yeah. And let me tell you something, man. Uh, most websites can barely work in two degrees. Yeah. Two dimensions,

Paul Ford: Don’t even mention mobile, right?

Rich Ziade: Yeah.

Paul Ford: Look, I I, to that point, right? Like, I’ll, I’ll tell you a use case. That would be cool. Not $3,500. Cool. Uhhuh, I’m, I’m trying to learn piano. That’s like a lifelong process.

Rich Ziade: It’s very hard to play piano.

Paul Ford: if, and I look down at the keyboard. Okay. And I watch where my fingers go. Yeah. And they usually go in the wrong place.

Yeah. Okay. the, the


goggles, whatever, that the Vision Pro could look at the keyboard and say, here’s where your finger, it could light up the keys on that keyboard.

And it could say, play here. Whoops. Bad note. And that would be really interesting. That’s not, like I said, not 3,500. 500 maybe, right?

Like, you know, you can start to triangulate. So there are a lot of use cases where it’s like skill improvement, um, yeah. You know, various aspects that are professional. I could see doctors loving this thing, right? Like so, but, so I, I think it has use cases. That’s why they put pro with [00:11:00] it.

Rich Ziade: I will say something even more optimistic think specialized training is interesting. these things are gonna get really, really good and, you know, a lot of surgeries, especially like more complex surgeries, are assisted with computers.

In fact, if you’re doing sort of micro movements already are, there already is software. So what you’re talking about here is something where, A surgeon of 30 years experience that’s in Chicago can actually administer a procedure

Paul Ford: Listen, buy

Rich Ziade: miles away. It’s pretty wild. Right? Let’s pause and talk about

Paul Ford: Buying a thousand of these for the hospital system is not even a thought.

Rich Ziade: Not even a thought. Right?

Paul Ford: 3.5 million for this, if it works with the software as opposed to the, you know, 2 billion we were gonna spend throughout the hospital.

Rich Ziade: Specialized software for, for medical procedures is insane. The hardware is insane, [00:12:00] but there’s another, I think this isn’t about me.

Um, uh. Or do I want it? Uh, no. Is this a mass consumption product? No. What is it? Is it a product that can open up a world for someone who’s disabled? I mean, oh my God, yes. Right. Uh, in

Paul Ford: That’s true because it uses eye tracking. Very minimal motion.

Rich Ziade: Minimal motion. Does it open up a world for someone who’s, uh, elderly, who will not be able to travel the two connecting flights to some location and experience it or do anything really much anymore?

And so mobility is highly limited. That is fascinating and interesting to me. Um,

Paul Ford: also, again, situations very often in which, um, money finds its way, right? Like it’s just, that can be really worth it.

like wheelchairs are incredibly expensive. Is this an augmenting accessible technology? And actually I, a lot of people don’t know this.

Apple’s accessibility reputation’s excellent. They, they don’t[00:13:00]

Rich Ziade: go into your settings on your phone. It is a world. They’ve have teams of people who have done a lot

Paul Ford: you don’t have, if you don’t have eyesight, you probably use an iPhone. It’s, it’s surprising people don’t think about it cuz they’re so visual. Yeah. But they are inc.


Rich Ziade: no, it’s a top. I actually spoke to some of the team members on the accessibility team when readability was making its way out to, they wanted to feature it in the accessible apps section or whatever.

Paul Ford: It’s a priority. So this, I think you’re, I think you’re right. When they say pro, what they mean is doctors, people with special needs communities where buying 500 of these to support the members of that community could be really valuable.

Rich Ziade: And rich people who buy things and use them for 20 minutes.

Paul Ford: one of the most important sectors of our economy. Yeah.

Rich Ziade: Um, so let’s go back to what they, I thought they kind of got wrong. So look, you’re a Guinea pig, 3,500 bucks. Big bulky thing on your head. I think the battery lasts two hours. They’re testing this on you and people will buy [00:14:00] it because, my God, it looks kind of cool to watch Spider-Man that way, I guess.

Paul Ford: I guess,

Rich Ziade: I don’t think they’ve solved.


know, Facebook is so awkward. I, I think people find joy in, in, in seeing and experiencing things together generally. And Facebook, in its infinite awkwardness said, well, of course they’re together. Each of you will be a bottomless thing in the space, and now you’re together again.

Apple didn’t even

Paul Ford: Now, you know what else Facebook

Rich Ziade: you’re not seeing your

Paul Ford: but also Facebook was like, oh, and, and they’ll be like cryptocurrency. Like they just couldn’t, they just kept,

Rich Ziade: just kept going,

Paul Ford: doubling down on everything that sucks until they’re like, and here’s the product.

Rich Ziade: was terrible. Right? And so Apple was smart not to say, okay, um, you’re not, you know, we’re not gonna have your husband avatar stroll on.

They didn’t do that. They were, but it, it looked incredibly sad and lonely, that woman on the couch. And then there was another scene, which was just, so,

Paul Ford: oh, the dad taking pictures of the [00:15:00] birthday.

Rich Ziade: He’s staring at them and he’s so in one place and they’re in another, like they could have been a thousand miles

Paul Ford: The mistake that Apple made here, right, is that there is no way for someone who is new to this technology and hasn’t experienced it, to look at it and go, oh, that is a connective tool that will bring families closer together. Really, you only see the gap once when somebody straps something to their eyeballs.

And so they, they thought they could sort of push through that with little narratives and marketing messages and humans just like, were like, now you’re wearing a blindfold. I don’t want to talk to you right

Rich Ziade: Exactly. What they should have shown is grandma in Florida,


talking to the grandkids in wearing the thing, because now you’re actually connecting people.

You know what the family can do for once is get on a plane and go see grandma, but no, no, no. We’ll ship her the goggles,

Paul Ford: but you know the OR, or the world of wonder at the Monterey Aquarium where you’re looking at the jellyfish, [00:16:00] you know, and then you take ’em off and

Rich Ziade: and you’re moving your head around to sort of see the different angles.

Oh, yeah, It’s all, look, is it a mass? Are kids strapping these on at school for social studies? No. I I don’t think they are. I don’t, I, I think as a, as a society, we’ve, we sort of strangely, in the most subtle way, rejected Bluetooth headsets.

Paul Ford: we did.

Rich Ziade: it became such a

Paul Ford: and Google Glass

Rich Ziade: and Google Glass.

And I think what that was is just something sort of very subtle but very profound is just us saying, uh, you’re crossing a line. Right? Like Cyborg guy who does sales, there’s this great, I’m on blue, sorry, I was on Bluetooth like video on you. There’s a bunch of

Paul Ford: you know what? You know what it is? You have to choose a place. You can either be entirely inside World of Warcraft.

Or you can be at Thanksgiving dinner, but you can’t play World Warcraft [00:17:00] at Thanksgiving dinner.

Rich Ziade: I think that’s what this is, right? And the kids are playing in front of you, dad. And I know you want to capture the moment, but you don’t have to hide your whole face.

Paul Ford: Yeah, you could use your, the, the camera on your phone.

Yeah. And that would be just as good.

Rich Ziade: Paul, do you know who Nick Carr is?

Paul Ford: Oh, yeah. Um, very well known technology analyst and journalist.

Rich Ziade: very well known. I’ve gone back and forth. He sent me a signed copy of his book, which was very sweet. Uh, I used to blog a lot, like 400 years ago, and he used to read my blog and I used to read his, and I used to, we used to comment on each other’s blogs, on our blogs, which was

Paul Ford: oh yeah,

Rich Ziade: only us two

Paul Ford: Good Days.

Rich Ziade: each other, I think.

Paul Ford: Blog Buds.

Rich Ziade: Oh, incredibly smart. And he, he wrote a piece, I, I didn’t know he was still writing. I saw his tweet. And he wrote a piece about the Vision Pro. Uh, and he said this, in most situations, the smartphone still seems more [00:18:00] practical, flexible, and user friendly than something that, like the Xenomorph in Alien, commandeer is the better part of your face, which I thought was very sweet and endearing.

And I think what he’s saying there is like, I need to see your face. Can I just see your

Paul Ford: I mean, That’s

where we are. Although at the same time, if you had shown, um,

Images of people lying in bed, staring at their phones together 20 years ago.

Sure. We all would’ve been like, look at those sad zombies. we’re that we are, that we’re still there today, but nonetheless we’re used to it. All right. So, okay, rich, you and I have a product together. It is a web-based product.

So I think this is a way to give kind of meta advice, which is, are you and I going to react to this new form factor?

Now we are gonna launch a mobile app. We have a desktop app, we have a, you know, so we’re, we’re in on all the different kinds of

Rich Ziade: What product are you Talking,

Paul Ford: oh, I’m sorry. Did I not mention? It’s called a board. You can get to it@aboard.com. And it’s a, [00:19:00] it’s a great way to bring together all the different things that you like to do, uh, from the web and elsewhere and organize all your data with friends.

It’s a good collaboration tool. However, that’s not why we’re here. We’re, I’m just asking you a little product question. Do you care about Vision Pro in the context of our web product? They showed web browsers all through that thing.

Rich Ziade: I mean, I gotta be honest, a board’s very visual. It’s card based. Sure. Um, I, I, I do envision, you know, um, uh, someone moving their hands around and moving cards around and organizing them and throwing them to their friends.

Who am I to say no?

Paul Ford: Yeah, but that’s, that’s just safari.

That’s just a browser


Rich Ziade: to us, they only pretty much showed Safari and Keynote in the damn

Paul Ford: frankly, this is the perfect product for you.

Rich Ziade: Yeah. Yeah. Um,

Paul Ford: that’s a little for people that know Inside Joke there. Rich Loves Keynote. We should probably dedicate an

Rich Ziade: so much.

Paul Ford: it.


Rich Ziade: I think Keynote is a keynote is a [00:20:00] phenomenal prototyping and I think I view, you know what I viewed as a communication tool and I wanna say something to the team.

Sometimes I open Keynote, um, which is, Really,

you know, go ahead, take your jabs. Right. Executive wants to talk to his team with a keynote slide deck.

Paul Ford: it’s a st It’s the stereotype too, but I love it cuz it’s, it’s keynote. It’s not PowerPoint cuz you’re still cool. You’re cool. Yeah. Yeah. You’re a cool guy. Uh,

Rich Ziade: us

Paul Ford: All right. So if we’re gonna, we’ll support this ridiculous thing through the web. Who

Rich Ziade: who are we to decide where people are and

Paul Ford: Cook is gonna tell us what to do. Yeah. Yes sir. Alright, great. So, uh, that’s our sponsor is a board. We are also the co-founders in this strange, strange environment in which we find ourselves. Um, check us out aboard.com, check us out. See audi ford.com. Check out at aboard on Twitter. We’re, I’m tweeting more, I’m, I’m, I’m social media these days.

It’s pretty cool.

Yeah, I’m having a good time. We gotta talk about gift box, the tool that [00:21:00] I used to make animated gifts one

Rich Ziade: Gift box. Maybe we’ll do a cool Apps

Paul Ford: Yeah. Keynote and gift box

Rich Ziade: Well Keynote everybody knows about, I don’t

Paul Ford: No, it’s time. It’s time to go back in and teach people to love Keynote again.


All right.

Rich Ziade: Have a wonderful week.

Paul Ford: week.

That’s not what this is about. Yep. Hello. It’s audi ford.com. We’ll talk to everybody soon and be well. Bye.

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