Screen no more

Posted on March 4, 2012. Filed under: startups, venture capital |

This morning I had the chance to talk with one of my favorite thinkers.  We cycled from topic to topic, what’s next? What’s the future? This particular guy is a sort of 10-20 year thinker.   He said to me that he was trying to understand how the world will change in 10 years when we spend 10 hours a day staring at our mobile devices.  As he went on to articulate vertical by vertical, I interrupted him…”I disagree with your premise” … I explained that in 10 years we will not be spending 10 hours a day looking at our mobile devices, but rather the interaction currently housed within the mobile device will bleed out into the 10 hours we currently spend staring at “the real world.”  It may seem that this a nuance…that his premise of 10 connected hours a day is still a valid structure on which to form vertical theses by market, but the difference between those two structures is much more than a nuance…it points to an augmentation of our normal daily lives…an enhancement…as opposed to a tectonic shift in behavior…it points to a reality of remaining human…of bucking what seems to be a linear digression into starting at backlit screens instead of peoples eyes.  The change that I see coming is in the interface between human beings and the web/cloud/information backbone.  It is no longer that we have to go “into” the web in order to retrieve information that can than be applied outside of the web, or “in the real world.”  By the day, the information is jumping out of the web and into the “real world” in which we remain conscious and present.  A thin layer of the web is quietly forming atop our physical lives, negating the requirement of moving through a portal such as our mobile device in order to consume and leverage what traditionally exists only on our screens.  Often this layer becomes visible through the consumption of a physically proximate actor who themselves has moved through the portal of their own device, thus negated the need for you to do the same.  Other times, a simple vibration in your pocket reminds you that you have a meeting in 10 minutes….again the information coming to you so that you do not have to go to it.  The idea of online to offline still exists through the portal of a mobile screen, but sooner than you think the interface to our collective information will be inside of our physical human bodies.  There will be no mobile device, just a cloud connected to our natural physiology.  That is a “our lifetime” thought but not a 10 year thought…but there is a lot in between the chip in my bloodstream and staring at/banging on the glass of my iPhone.  Even interfaceless UX like IFTTT, when coupled with passive and contextual triggers is a movement in this direction…I can’t wait to stop looking down and start looking out into the real world again.  Google heads up display, microphone/auditory inputs into UX, etc, etc. etc…can’t wait

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2 Responses to “Screen no more”

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nice post – the concept of augmented reality (or whatever you want to call it) is truly exciting and holds so much promise. having everyone, head down, as the most popular way to bring enhanced data into her world is ripe for change, but will take a while as the technology catches up. wrote a similar post to this back in 2009 ( where I proposed that one of the “game changer” companies could be driven forward by producing a game that blended the real with online world. exciting stuff!

On a more short term note, I spent all weekend at SXSW thinking about how push notifications are the new UI.

Take @Sonar for example. In the middle of a party, I don’t want to open up their phone and browse the crowd. I’d rather get a few buzzes in my pocket, then digest my backlog of notifications while taking a piss or waiting for that really, really hot chick in the cowgirl hat to walk up and start talking to me (just kidding, Bryce!). Also, when I say “digest my backlog,” I mean in Apple’s notification trey, not necessarily in the app itself.

Prob wouldn’t work for the mainstream but I bet there are people with jailbroken iphones who have hacked the push notification function and made it much more customizable (e.g. 2 second buzz for an email from your mom, 6 second buzz if the girl with the cowboy hat looks at your profile on @Sonar etc etc).

Good post.

+1 Google googles API, btw.

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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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