The Cost of Wearing Glass

This post was originally featured on the Pristine Blog

I started the Austin Google Glass Meetup. For our opening meeting this past week, I gave this presentation. It opens with an introduction to Glass, both the hardware and software, and then delves into usability, use cases, and how to think about Glass app markets and monetization.

My goal when building the presentation was to take all of the insights I had gleaned and written about Glass and present them in a single coherent presentation. While I was giving the live presentation, I made perhaps the most profoundly simple, concise, and powerful insight yet with regards to monetizing Glass apps. There's an explicit cost of wearing Glass: apps have to be compelling enough to justify actually wearing the device. There's never been an explicit, direct cost of actually using a major computing platform before Glass (electricity doesn't count since it's not paid for immediately).

People don't like putting stuff on their faces. They will if there's material utility, but they won't just because Google (or Apple) made it. Do people wear glasses to be stylish, or because they're functional? Sure, people want their glasses to be stylish, but no one wears empty frames. Glasses have a purpose: to help people see. People have been called "4 eyes" for years, and they've dealt with it because the cost of not wearing glasses (and not being called "4 eyes") is being blind. Being called "4 eyes" is better than being blind.

So for all of the consumer focused Glass app developers, please don't waste your time writing trivial apps. If you intend to make any real money, your apps need to be so good that that they justify the cost of wearing the device itself. That's no small feat. There are most certainly consumer niches that will use Glass for specific hobbies, but there are only so many hobbies to be tapped into. If your app assumes the user is wearing Glass just to wear Glass, you're guaranteed not to make any significant sum of money.