Should I Invest In VR?


#1

I have recently sold my start-up and I now want to start investing in a basket of different things:

• Start-ups

• Value-stocks

• Distressed debt

• Farmland

In terms of startups, I am particularly interested in investing in Virtual Reality - both the hardware and the software market. Does anyone think I should invest in VR?


#2

I follow Stratechery online (you should too and subscribe as well - it’s great!)

Anyway…

I remember he had a very interesting viewpoint on VR… rather than half engage with what he said and mince his words, I am going to very crassly copy and paste his words in…

The power of computing, at least in my world view, was best articulated by – who else – Steve Jobs years ago:

What is so powerful about this analogy – that the computer is a bicycle for the mind – is that it elevates the humanity of a desired action, in this case transportation, and inserts the computer as an aid. This is exactly what the iPhone and the smartphones that followed have done for people: instead of a computer being a destination, it’s something that is always with us, ready to call up a map, or a restaurant recommendation, or simply fill time with a flapping bird. To put it another way, mobile is a big deal not because we use computers more, but because a computer is with us in more places.

Envisioning a future in which Oculus’ technology is the dominant platform is diametrically opposed: it’s a reality where humans retreat from day-to-day activities in favor of computers. This idea – a life lived in computers – is something that appeals to the technically predisposed; who among us spends all day in front a glowing screen, and then goes home to do the exact same? I’m sure Zuckerberg is in that boat. But it’s a much smaller boat than many technologists realize.

For most people, computers are a means, not an end. Computers help them create music, or write novels, communicate, wayfind, or hookup. To use Jobs’ analogy, it’s not that people want to ride a bicycle for a bicycle’s sake, but because they want to go from Point A to Point B; offering such a person a full-featured massage chair simply misses the point.

Zuckerberg’s biggest strength is his willingness to adjust and adapt, as seen by Facebook’s mobile pivot. This acquisition, though, suggests that pivot was rooted more in a response to the facts on the ground than it was in a fundamental appreciation of why smartphones are the best bicycle yet, and that is concerning.

What is so powerful about this analogy – that the computer is a bicycle for the mind – is that it elevates the humanity of a desired action, in this case transportation, and inserts the computer as an aid. This is exactly what the iPhone and the smartphones that followed have done for people: instead of a computer being a destination, it’s something that is always with us, ready to call up a map, or a restaurant recommendation, or simply fill time with a flapping bird. To put it another way, mobile is a big deal not because we use computers more, but because a computer is with us in more places.

Envisioning a future in which Oculus’ technology is the dominant platform is diametrically opposed: it’s a reality where humans retreat from day-to-day activities in favor of computers. This idea – a life lived in computers – is something that appeals to the technically predisposed; who among us spends all day in front a glowing screen, and then goes home to do the exact same? I’m sure Zuckerberg is in that boat. But it’s a much smaller boat than many technologists realize.

For most people, computers are a means, not an end. Computers help them create music, or write novels, communicate, wayfind, or hookup. To use Jobs’ analogy, it’s not that people want to ride a bicycle for a bicycle’s sake, but because they want to go from Point A to Point B; offering such a person a full-featured massage chair simply misses the point.

Zuckerberg’s biggest strength is his willingness to adjust and adapt, as seen by Facebook’s mobile pivot. This acquisition, though, suggests that pivot was rooted more in a response to the facts on the ground than it was in a fundamental appreciation of why smartphones are the best bicycle yet, and that is concerning.

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