Opinion

Why Facebook should buy Linden Lab

There’s been a lot of talk about Second Life on Rift this week and the potential future of virtual worlds. What it’s really highlighted for me yet again, as I said in my post on the Oculus acqusition, is the immense potential for social with the Rift. By acquiring Linden Labs Facebook can leapfrog over 14 years of research & development and start delivering an experience where Facebook becomes the THE virtual world.

 

Examples I always use to illustrate the potential of VR are:

  • Personal: If I’m on the other side of the planet to my dad, who is a massive Man Utd fan, and there’s a big match on. We can organise to watch the match together at Old Trafford, sitting beside each other in the best seats in the house. We can chat, have a beer and just generally have the best experience possible outside of being in the stadium, without leaving our living rooms.
  • Business: I honestly believe that the Rift could seriously change the entire landscape of business travel. Yes, we are always going to have in person meetings but imagine the amount of smaller meetings that can be held in a virtual world where you’re able to really get to know that person without having to leave your own office. This is Skype and Google Hangouts on steroids.

I wish I just knew how to buy some Linden Lab stock…but as an alternative, buy Facebook!

Tech News

Apple’s Death Spiral

Yesterday it was, kinda, announced that Apple are acquiring Beats for $3.2bn. Dr. Dre and Tyrese Gibson even posted a video of them bragging about the acquisition which was promptly pulled once it got the attention it was obviously going to get! (It seems they don’t know the etiquette of the acquisition process). Anyway, to me the acquisition signals the slow decay of Apple Inc as we know it.

Many people have written about what a smart acquisition it is because Beats is a solid business with a great brand that is at the higher end of the market which fits perfectly with Apple’s position at the higher end of the computing and mobile industries. But for me, these are the exact reasons it’s spells the end of Apple. Apple are not about buying existing brands and selling them alongside their products, they are about buying products or software, repackaging them as Apple and building them into global brands (i.e. NeXT becoming OSX, SoundJam becoming iTunes etc.)

Do we really think they’re going to do this with Beats? Would they remove the Dre brand? Will they just be called ‘Apple Beats’? I don’t think so. In fact, this looks like they’re trying to piggyback for the first time ever.

This whole acquisition smacks of desperation from Apple and makes it way too obvious that they’re trying hard as hell to stay relevant. Apple are one of the most iconic brands in the world, so a diversion into another brand makes no sense at all. No doubt they’ve acquired a good business, but integrating acquisitions into existing businesses, and especially combining two massive brands, is bloody hard. Some people are speculating that Beats have some advanced technology, I’d be very surprised if this is the case. I just don’t see what they could have.

If I was you I’d short Apple…this, to me, is the first signal of a slow downward spiral.

Opinion, Tech News

Facebook buying Oculus makes complete sense

I’ve been reading a lot about Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus and many commentators are saying the deal makes no sense at all…I disagree 100%.

What Facebook have done with this acquisition is prepare themselves for the potential next wave of interactive technology, not just for gaming but for everything. The excitement around the Oculus Rift revolved mainly around how it’s technology could be used to enhance gaming experiences but there were many companies getting as excited about it’s potential for films and education. Now, I’m pretty excited about it’s potential for social technology in general. Imagine sitting in your living room and interacting with friends you haven’t seen in years through a connection between your Oculus Rift and your Facebook account. When it comes to education, I think it’s pretty obvious how online tutoring services will eventually evolve. Why not have a class learning French by walking around Paris virtually with your tutor and interacting with the locals? Second Life on steroids basically.

Tbh, at $2bn the deal was cheap, cheap…CHEAP! and I know the gaming community is seriously pissed off but this move could accelerate a massive shift in how humans behave and interact. I bought an Oculus dev kit 6 months ago and at this point I feel torn, because on one side I love the thought of a young, punchy startup coming out of nothing and becoming a “game changer” (like Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.) but on the other side I understand their chances of success were slimmer without someone like Facebook attached.

Time will tell.

Player.me, Startups

Introducing Player.me

Finally we’re able to start letting people on to Player.me with our private beta launch today!

It’s been a mad few months trying to get everything done and in all honesty we missed a couple of targets we set ourselves in the early days because…well they just weren’t feasible and we wouldn’t have been happy releasing an inferior product.What we’re launching with is something we’re happy for people to see. There is a load more for us to implement and add but as private beta products go I think this one kicks ass!

I’ll be sharing loads more about my Player.me experiences on the blog and I’ll also go back to highlight some of the things we did to get over 1,000 private beta registrations before today. I’ll also share some thoughts on how we achieved a conversion rate on Betali.st of over 60% and highlight tools we’re using to optimize the overall user experience.

Exciting times!