Understanding Social Responses to Glass

I want to learn to predict the future. It's incredibly difficult. The majority of people who are paid millions of dollars to predict the future fail most of the time. Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreesen Horrowitz, suggested that the best way to hone the skill is to observe past predictions with 20-20 hindsight, and understand why they were right or wrong.

I spent about 5 hours last week hitting on women while wearing Glass. And I've read a lot about other people's experiences with Glass. I have very small pool of data, but enough to lay out a hypothesis on how and why people will react to Glass in public.

Context is king in eyeware computing. I was able to discern that fact without wearing Glass. It didn't occur to me that the same principle holds on the other side of Glass.

This guy spent his day at Disney Land wearing Glass. He thought he would be bombarded by kids and families wanting to know what it was. He prepared for it to happen. It didn't.

I spent no fewer than 15 hours walking through the streets of Manhattan this week during the day wearing Glass. New Yorkers are known for walking quickly, and not taking time to socialize in the street. They've got places to be. During those 15 hours, about 15 people walked up to me to ask about Glass. I too expected more people to ask.

Last week, I hit on women while wearing Glass. The inquiry rate skyrocketed among men and women alike. Strangers were approaching me every 5 minutes between sets. For every person that walked up to ask, ten didn't have the courage to. I caught dozens people staring at from across the bar, and overheard all kinds of mixed grumblings like "Are those the Google Glasses?", "What are those?" and "OMG he has Glass!". Glass commanded the attention of those who did and didn't know what it was.

Based on the anecdotes above, here's my my hypothesis on how the general public reacts to Glass: if people are in a social setting where it's ok to walk up to strangers and say hello, they'll immediately form an opinion, usually at one end of the spectrum or the other; Glass is a polarizing device. But if people are in a setting where it's not appropriate to talk to strangers, they rarely notice or care that someone's wearing the device.

I guess I'm not as special as I thought Glass would make me. Not during the day anyways.