Credit Where Credit is Due

Posted on November 30, 2020. Filed under: Uncategorized |

It’s pretty in vogue these days to hate on Facebook. I myself installed a chrome extension years ago that wipes my newsfeed and replaces it with a single quote. It was my compromise to keep my identity layer and FB auth while shunning the product itself. I don’t have the FB app on my phone and am not an MAU (monthly active user).

All of that said, I have to acknowledge that Facebook has created the single most valuable product I’ve bought and/or used during this past year. Right when shelter in place began, I ordered a Facebook Portal+ for my home and sent one to my parents and one to my sister’s family. I figured if we were only going to be together virtually, we should have the highest fidelity, most natural virtual togetherness possible. The Portal is not just a dedicated video screen with a nice camera (although it is both of those things), it’s also software product. The camera automatically sizes and frames the shot to acknowledge everybody in a room, it focusses on who’s speaking, and intelligently pans around to capture movement, changes in activity, and whatever else is happening in your environment…it breaks the concept of a single point of focus in video conferencing in a way that more closely mirrors the focal permissions of in person presence. It’s honestly delightful.

My family has a tradition on Thanksgiving of going around the table and saying what each person is grateful for. This year there was no table, but we still shared in the same format over Zoom (which btw is now supported on Portal hardware). Common answers were “health” “the vaccines and biotech companies” etc…but when the conch passed to my mom, and she thought about what she was grateful for, she said “I’m grateful for the Portal. Honestly, without this, I’m not sure I would be able to get through this time. It really makes me feel like we’re together.”

I’ve heard countless pitches from founders that begin “we have so many ways to connect on social media, and yet we all feel isolated.” The party line is that Facebook is an afflictive force, stripping us of real connection…but in practice they’ve created an amazing product in Portal that does just the opposite.

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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