Episode 47
October 19, 2017

Is Magic Leap the Solyndra of 2017?

What is eVTOL? Does the future of the world depend on disruption in Food Delivery and innovation in Public Transit? Also - Project Loon in Puerto Rico, Magic Leap takes a Series D

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This week’s episode arc: the future is a nuclear hellscape full of zombies to the future filled with sustainable food, vibrant public transit systems, voice ux assistants for non sighted developers, and a technologically innovative rebuilt Puerto Rico. Sometimes you need the dark to see the light.

Google Home vs. Amazon

  • Game over? Target partners with Google for voice enabled online shopping, joining Walmart to give Google two huge retailers. Amazon, what happened? You had a two year head start.
  • Brian reminds Phillip: Amazon doesn’t need to partner with Walmart or Target.
  • Amazon’s Alexa is trying to be branded the same way, but at some point, is it a blender, too? Its definitely a fridge.
  • Amazon’s been blowing their lead to Google

Google Missteps

Amazon Acquires Body Labs

  • Amazon Acquires Future Commerce podcast alum Body Labs for $70MM
  • Brian called it, and he’s excited; confirms that Jeff Bezos listens to Future Commerce.
  • Body Labs is a body modeling software that takes a 2D picture of your body and turns it into a 3D representation.
  • Ramifications for: private label brands, custom clothing, new sizes, sporting goods, and even video game avatars.

Uber eVTOL

  • Phillip got an Uber survey; subject: rockets. Specifically, eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing).
  • 100 questions almost entirely on eVTOL, e.g. does it need a pilot for you to feel safe, or can it be autonomous?
  • Show title idea: “I’m running a little late, my eVTOL crashed.”
  • Phillip peers into the future and sees only two options: eVTOLs, or scrap metal fortified shelters protecting the huddling remnants of humanity from zombies and nuclear apocalypse.


Oculus Go: VR for the common folk

  • Exciting development, Facebook announces Oculus Go.
  • Affordable entry point, stand alone, embedded audio, “near high VR experience.”
  • Phillip says, “it doesn’t sound good to me, that’s like saying ‘it’s not diarrhea, it’s near diarrhea.’”
  • A clear upgrade in the affordable VR realm: this is not pseudo-experience that feels like a phone hack.
  • Not only visual VR, but spatial audio as well.
  • Hugo Barra, Zuckerberg, if you’re listening, send the guys over for a demo.
  • VR still kitsch: it’s not clear how it makes life better for consumers.

Magic Leap gets some serious Series D funding

  • 1 billion dollars of Series D funding. That’s a lot of money, especially for an unknown product.
  • Prediction: Magic Leap is the Solyndra of 2017
  • Exceptional at fundraising, but nothing else?
  • Or maybe the CEO of Magic Leap is just Killgrave from Jessica Jones.

Technology for good in the public sphere

  • Brent Toderian, tweets Enrique Penalosa, Mayor of Bogota’s, inspiring quote: “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich ride public transportation.”
  • Real disruption comes when convenience outweighs other factors: need innovation in public transit.
  • “The whole world depends on disrupting food delivery and public transit systems.”
  • Shoutout to Jason L Baptiste and his new company, Studio Live.
  • Google’s Project Loon connects Puerto Rico to wifi using hot air balloons.
  • Mark Zuckerberg uses Puerto Rico to shill for his new Facebook feature.

Phillip: [00:00:44] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce, rated as one of Forbes Top Six Podcasts Worth Your Time. I'm Phillip.
Brian: [00:00:52] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:00:53] And we have to get that little self promo stuff in there now. Getting good about this stuff. We want you to give us feedback about today's show. So please leave that in the Disqus comment box on our site at FutureCommerce.fm. You can also listen at anytime on Apple Podcasts, as we like to call it nowadays. And Google Play or listen right from your Amazon Echo on TuneIn radio with the phrase "Alexa Play Future Commerce podcast."

Brian: [00:01:17] Also, don't forget the setup for FC Insiders, which is our weekly newsletter about what's new and what's next in retail.

Phillip: [00:01:29] And I'm stoked because it's a thing that's actually happening now, and people are excited about it.

Brian: [00:01:33] Yeah, it looks really beautiful, and it's got great information. I highly recommend it. And it's just gonna get better as we go.

Phillip: [00:01:42] And what we're really excited about is the exclusive content that will come to you free of charge. You know, a lot of podcasts are trying to monetize these days with, like Patreon on or some other means. And we're not saying we'll never do that. Don't hold us to it.

Brian: [00:01:58] For now.

Phillip: [00:01:59] Yeah. For now. The way that we want to get exclusive content and unedited interviews and our hot takes on certain topics outside of our social channel is in that email newsletter. So please check it out at FutureCommerce.fm. And holy cow, this week has been insane.

Brian: [00:02:16] There's a lot happening.

Phillip: [00:02:19] It's like ever since ever since Donald Trump took office with the news cycle just being insane, I feel like all of like everything, all the news cycles, even retail technology, even security, retail security, like all of the things that it used to be like every quarter you'd have something really big happen. I feel like we're getting really big happening all the time now. So it's crazy. We've got a lot to talk about today. So buckle up.

Brian: [00:02:48] Yes. Let's start with Google Home, because it was just announced that Target will now be selling through Google Home, which means that Google Home now has two major retailers that it's partnering with.

Phillip: [00:03:08] Who is the other one? What's the other one?

Brian: [00:03:09] Oh, you don't just Walmart.

Phillip: [00:03:10] Yeah. I haven't ever heard of them. At some point, it's like if you have Walmart and you have Target, is it game over?

Brian: [00:03:19] Well, no, because there's Amazon.

Phillip: [00:03:23] Is Amazon bigger than Walmart and Target combined?

Brian: [00:03:25] Kind of.

Phillip: [00:03:27] I mean, like from a net value, maybe. But they do a lot more than just sales. I wonder if their marketplace channel is truly bigger than Walmart and Target combined. Walmart is the number one grocery retailer in the United States. Think about that.

Brian: [00:03:42] Yeah. Yep.

Phillip: [00:03:43] And so I don't know. Like this feels... For me, the real story here is how do you blow a two year lead? How do you blow it like that? Like how do you do it? This is the miracle at the Meadowlands. But in voice first.  

Brian: [00:04:01] Is it really a two yearly lead blown? I mean, yes, Google Home is catching up. I think it's safe to say that Google had a lot of the things necessary to do this kind of already in the wings.

Phillip: [00:04:13] Right.

Brian: [00:04:13] It wasn't that hard for them to take their AI assistant and throw it onto a device that could listen. Right?

Phillip: [00:04:19] Yeah. But they're making headway in the partnerships. Everybody wants to fight Amazon.

Brian: [00:04:23] Well, Amazon doesn't need to partner with people. I mean, they've got their own empire. They don't need to go partner with Target.

Phillip: [00:04:30] Just even from a technology cycle perspective, you know, Google Home has for six months had the multiple House member, voice recognition, sort of personalization. Guess what? That was just announced. Just announced like within the last three days by Amazon.

Brian: [00:04:46] Yeah. That's true, but Amazon's...

Phillip: [00:04:48] I just don't even care.

Brian: [00:04:49] They have been investing in other ways, though. I mean, it's like they've been investing in different types of hardware. And now, I mean, how many I don't even want to get to how many devices there are...

Phillip: [00:04:57] That's the other problem.

Brian: [00:04:59] There are an infinite amount of devices now, at least in terms of like my mind and what I can buy from them. There's a device for everything. There's like a little alarm clock looking device now. It's crazy.

Phillip: [00:05:12] It's kitsch, but it's it's cool because it does the thing that, not to talk about FC Insiders again. Oh, actually, you know what? I don't need to talk about FC Insiders. Dropbox. So Dropbox announced a rebrand that everybody is hating and vomiting over right now and Dropbox is purposely kind of shoving its logo or its redesign logo on a bunch of ugly, you know, sort of 80s neon backgrounds right now. And the stated purpose is that they want Dropbox to be seen as more of a malleable brand in that the brand logo icon of Dropbox can fit into every part of your life, whether it's work or home or play or music or whatever. And I feel like that's kind of how the Alexa brand is trying to be presented to consumers in that it's a camera, it's a TV thing in your kitchen, it's also a speaker, but it could be an alarm clock. Like at some point, is it a blender, too? Like at what point do we go...

Brian: [00:06:13] It's definitely a fridge. I mean. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:06:18] Definitely a fridge. So here's my... I do think that it's important to be perceived as the technology leader and you need to lead the news cycle before somebody says, "Oh, Alexa's just copying everything Google Home does at this point." Google Home was doing multi room audio. They acquired Sonos like forever ago. And it took them forever and a day to integrate some sort of solution for multi room audio and multi room...

Brian: [00:06:51] But think about this, though, from like a consumer perspective, like a general public perspective. Who has more visibility right now? Google Home or the Echo series?

Phillip: [00:07:04] I truly don't know.

Brian: [00:07:07] Definitely the Echo.

Phillip: [00:07:07] I don't think I can objectively answer that. I walked into Costco. I walked into Costco today. Do you know what they have in the first seven foot of walking into my Costco, my local Costco?

Brian: [00:07:19] What's that?

Phillip: [00:07:20] A buy two, a BOGO on Google Home devices.

Brian: [00:07:25] That's a win.

Phillip: [00:07:25] A BOGO.

Brian: [00:07:26] That's a win.

Phillip: [00:07:28] And I looked around for an Echo, and I know that they have to be there, but they're not. I couldn't find them.

Brian: [00:07:33] No, they're probably not there, actually, I don't think they're there.

Phillip: [00:07:37] I don't know, man, I feel like when grandma and grandpa are going to Costco and they buy their like golf shirts and chicken wings and, you know, a bottle of Pino, and they pick up a Google Home on the way out the door... Yeah, that smart speaker is going to win the game because they're owning... It's like a multi generational approach to the whole idea.

Brian: [00:07:58] Imagine if Costco added up on Google Home as well.

Phillip: [00:08:02] Dude, I'm telling you, this is a trial balloon and they're just putting that little cardboard in the front of it.

Brian: [00:08:09] Again, Amazon still has the most dominant epurchasing empire, if you will.

Phillip: [00:08:19] Sure.

Brian: [00:08:19] Whatever electronics form of commerce there is, they are the standard. So you can tell me all day long that Google Home is catching up. But I think Amazon, they don't have to connect to Costco because they are Costco. They don't have to connect to Walmart because they are Walmart.

Phillip: [00:08:38] Yeah. I would characterize it. I don't think that Google Home is catching up. I think Google Home is leading the first pass the poll on every single milestone from contextually knowing who it is in your home that speaking to the speaker, to major, major retail partnerships. They're capturing the news cycle. And I'm a little bit bummed out about it because I think objectively, I do think that the Amazon devices are better. But it's hard to justify right now because the news is being totally owned by Google Home doing all these things first.

Brian: [00:09:18] Right. That's a really good point, because they can announce a partnership, whereas Amazon, they don't need to announce a partnership. Google home is going to inevitably dominate the news with all of these partnerships because it needs them.

Phillip: [00:09:36] Yeah, I would say that's more advantageous for them from a consumer perspective is who is the one to go to if I want to shop at Walmart and Target, which I do. I just don't see Walmart and Target... There's probably some sort of an agreement there that there is an exclusive on the Google Home devices for some period of time, too.

Brian: [00:09:56] It doesn't feel like it. You would have thought Walmart would have one, but they only partnered with Walmart a few months back. And now they're partnering with Target, which is like Walmart's biggest competitor.

Phillip: [00:10:07] All right. There's so much more to talk about. I just think that I'm super... I'm getting bummed because I feel like the last 12 episodes or 20 episodes we just keep talking about how Google, like Amazon keeps blowing this lead. And just because you're first to the market and you kind of create a new market segment doesn't always mean that you, I guess, Digital River in Rio would say that about iPod. Somebody can come along and do it better, and it will be won on partnerships. And I'm kind of nervous because and you know what it is? It's because I own so many Echo devices. I don't want to buy another. I don't want to buy a Google Home.

Brian: [00:10:47] This is just fear talking.

Phillip: [00:10:49] This is my own fear. All right. Move on. Move on.

Brian: [00:10:51] Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. One more note on the Google Home. Did you see that their new, smaller device had a glitch where it actually was always recording. Did you see that?

Phillip: [00:11:05] Yeah. Oh, that's true. That wasn't in our doc. That is a big problem. In a month where there is security issue after security issue after security issue, the last thing anyone wants is also privacy problems, which is the thing that everybody's been worried about with these stupid speakers anyway.

Brian: [00:11:22] True. True. Yeah. Does your like Echo ever glitch out on you where Alexa will just say something randomly?

Phillip: [00:11:32] Yeah. Randomly. Yeah. That happens.

Brian: [00:11:34] Yeah. Yeah. That does happen.

Phillip: [00:11:37] Google is not above it though because Google does the same... My "Okay, Google" gets triggered every now and then. Like it just got trigger right now. Oops.

Brian: [00:11:46] Yeah. That makes sense.

Phillip: [00:11:47] That happens from time to time, too. I would also say that my, and it's usually with the TV in the background, like it'll mishear something. But Google has its own share of problems. Google Fi this past week pushed a push notification out to like half a million Google Fi subscribers, saying your data has been limited to excessive usage. And which signaled a bunch of things to Fi subscribers. One, the rollback of the "We'll never throttle you" promise. And that means that somebody somewhere is working on a notification system to say that you're using too much data. And two, that maybe that's going to be in place because there is an unlimited plan probably around the corner. So that's an interesting thing, too. But Google is not above having missteps, that's for sure.

Brian: [00:12:33] Geez, if if Google Fi released an unlimited plan, I would probably switch back.

Phillip: [00:12:38] I mean, if you're going to go with an MVNO right now and you're looking for an unlimited plan, I mean, as much as I gag and want to throw up when I say it, Xfinity actually has a $50 unlimited MVNO. So that's not so bad. They actually, you know, they have the phone financing and all that good stuff too. Anyway, sorry.

Brian: [00:13:00] Back to Amazon because this is probably the most exciting thing we're going to talk about all day.

Phillip: [00:13:04] I mean, for you. I've been super like not passionate about this, but I'm apparently the only one because our listeners seem to freaking love these episodes. But yes.

Brian: [00:13:13] And on top of that, we kind of call it.

Phillip: [00:13:16] You called it. I have nothing to do with this. This was all you.

Brian: [00:13:20] So Body Labs was just acquired by Amazon for what was it, 70 million?

Phillip: [00:13:26] Seventy million, yeah. Body Labs who we've had on the show.

Brian: [00:13:29] Yes. Super excited about that. I've been feeling that that was going to happen. And so that definitely was really exciting to see Amazon sort of agree that that this is something they want to invest in.

Phillip: [00:13:47] What was the value prop for Body Labs for those who don't remember or haven't listened to the show yet?

Brian: [00:13:52] Oh, good point. So Body Labs is a body modeling software that can actually take your 2D picture of your body and turn it into a 3D representation of your body down to, you know, very high levels of accuracy. And they had some different solutions out there for retailers to be able to, you know, use their software to capture body data on their customers. I think Amazon is going to do a lot with this. They've already released the Look device, which means that they're already starting to get data on what people wear and how they wear it and what they end up wearing. And so ultimately, I see the Look device as being a way for Amazon to now take the technology that Body Labs is adding to their collection of tools and be able to help people preview clothes on themselves or to a lot of other stuff. They could use this for their private label brands and use the data to do custom clothing or make clothing that fits people better or build sizes around body shape and style.

Phillip: [00:15:18] Yeah, I mean, this goes right with the Amazon Look, right?

Brian: [00:15:21] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:15:22] Yeah. What was really interesting that I'm kind of a little bit bummed about because it's sort of obvious, and I don't know that it's going to continue to go that way, but it's kind of obvious to me that Amazon is going to use this for its emerging clothing and fashion play and probably integrating body data into its look in Alexa products and stuff like that. But Mosh, which was Body Labs sort of fun Snapchatish, you know, see what you look like if you have tentacle arms, kind of proof of concept app was actually kind of cool and fun.

Brian: [00:16:02] It was, yeah.

Phillip: [00:16:03] I'm really bummed to see that go away. And I wonder if that particular type of technology, if we're gonna see a social network or an image network or something to that effect, maybe a partnership with Snap where... Maybe they should just just acquire Snap. I'm saying that out loud in case it happens, so I can say I was right. But gosh, I'm just like I'm thinking to myself it would really help the stock right now, too. But I'm just thinking to myself, that was kind of cool, and I hate to see that go away.

Brian: [00:16:33] Really good point. And actually, we talked about this with Body Labs. Their technology can be applied to way more than just fashion. I mean, it can be applied to anything related to the body. Right?

Phillip: [00:16:43] Yeah.

Brian: [00:16:44] So I think, you know, Amazon may get into game development more or they may allow their game developers or partners to use this to introduce the idea of like a personal avatar for games. And we talked about this at length in Episode 8.

Phillip: [00:17:07] Yep, yep, yep, yep.

Brian: [00:17:08] And in the episode with with Body Labs. But yeah, I mean, there's a ton of custom furniture, custom golf clubs, custom, you know, everything, anything that's related to your body could be done with this.

Phillip: [00:17:21] That's the problem is that when anything could be done, it's hard to imagine what could be done.

Brian: [00:17:27] Well I think they've got some good use cases up front. Really tangible use cases up front, which is worth the purchase alone, let alone the future of body data and what can be done with it.

Phillip: [00:17:40] Sure. Sure.

Brian: [00:17:41] It's just really cool to see. You know, we've been talking about this for so long. It's really cool to see Amazon kind of maybe they were listening to the podcast and decided to make the purchase. {laughter}.

Phillip: [00:17:52] I'm 100 percent sure that's what happened.

Brian: [00:17:54] Exactly. Bezos was like, "Oh, that Brian and Phillip, they know what they're talking about."

Phillip: [00:17:58] Yeah, "Remember that time that Brian predicted the Whole Foods acquisition? We should listen to those guys more often. Let's see what else they're saying." Hey, as this is totally crazy and totally off base, I would like to point out that in the last episode you chastised me for talking about frickin rockets.

Brian: [00:18:17] I did? Did I?

Phillip: [00:18:17] But today...

Brian: [00:18:18] Oh I did. Yeah. You're right. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:18:21] You did. You said this has nothing to do with anything. Okay. Here it comes.

Brian: [00:18:26] This is amazing.

Phillip: [00:18:29] So I got two surveys this week. The first survey was from the National Retail Federation? Foundation? Federation.

Brian: [00:18:39] Federation.

Phillip: [00:18:40] Where NRF asked me what I thought about Shop.org, and I had to answer it in a way that wouldn't cause me not to be invited back on a press pass again.

Brian: [00:18:49] Speaking of which, speaking of NRF, before you go to the next point, really quick aside, we had a really fun conversation with their head of content.

Phillip: [00:18:56] Yeah, yeah. That's true.

Brian: [00:18:57] That conversation that we had with him was almost its own episode.

Phillip: [00:19:01] It really was. It was actually I will say this. If they would just put that... Is it Eric?

Brian: [00:19:09] It's Eric. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:19:12] Eric Olson. At NRF. He's the Vice President of Education Strategies at NRF. If they had put Eric on a stage somewhere...

Brian: [00:19:25] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:19:25] He knows what's up. Eric knows what's up.

Brian: [00:19:28] That would have been a great session. That's a good point.

Phillip: [00:19:29] The three of us actually, I wish we had just pressed record on that conversation. It was really great. It actually gives me a lot of confidence that NRF actually knows what they're doing. Not that I didn't think that before, but, you know, it's the experience of sort of being at a show, a trade show like that, and then actually speaking to what the people... Hearing people cast vision for the show and what they want it to be versus what it actually comes out to be sometimes I think it's a very different thing. And these cats really know what's up. So, OK, so that was the first one. And that was the first survey I got. The second survey that I got this week was from Uber. Says we've got a 10 minute survey for you. Love for you to check it out. And and so I was like, really? Do I really want to, you know, answer a survey that's likely about Have I ever been sexually harassed inside of a Uber? And I was like, do I really want to deal with this? And which is, you know, whatever. All jokes aside. So I'm really glad that I clicked into it because Uber... The first question was "Which of these technologies have you ever heard of?" And I had heard of all of them. There was know self-driving cars and solar in roadways and some other things. One of them was the electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, eVTOL. And I was like, yeah, I've heard of that. I think we might have talked about it, you know, a year ago on the show or something to that effect, because there was actually it wasn't that long ago, back in April, they put out a PR on PR Newswire. There was a. Press release about the Uber Elevate network. So basically like drones that can carry people will be Ubering around the world and we're like, yeah, that's bunch a BS. Well, this survey, which was no less than like 100 questions, was almost entirely about how do you envision yourself using eVTOL? Like what would make you feel safest? Having bomb sniffing canine dogs or having metal detectors or does there have to be a pilot? Can it be autonomous? Some like "Hell yeah there has to be a pilot?" Would you feel safe if you knew that there was a parachute onboard?

Phillip: [00:21:54] Just imagine a world where everyone's getting picked up by these like drones, and they run out of power for there's a failure and they just have these people parachuting down.

Brian: [00:22:07] And you call into work, "I'm running a little late. My eVTOL crashed. Sorry." Show title. Then we had this other bunch of other questions like "Do you envision it being more like a bus transfer station where you wait for your eVTOL, like mass transit? Or as a high end experience that you're willing to pay a little more for the similar amount of travel, just save a few minutes?" And "Would the experience feel more like like a first class lounge at an airport?" And it was really interesting. Do you expect food to be free? Do you expect to be able to purchase refreshments? Do you expect to be able to have access to your bag during flight? Really interesting to see what they're polling for. I don't know how in the world I qualified for this survey, but I super want to try this.

Brian: [00:22:58] With the parachute especially.

Phillip: [00:22:59] So Uber, if you're listening. Kalanick, if you have anything to do with Uber anymore, then put me in one of those freakin things. I will pilot it. Now pilot in the sense of I'll be first. I don't want to take control of the vehicle.

Brian: [00:23:14] That would be the worst if everyone was just out there like flying around their own little drones everywhere.

Phillip: [00:23:21] My word, it was certainly, like I'm thrilled just talking about having received the survey. Taking the survey was an inexperience itself. I was very excited about that.

Brian: [00:23:32] Hurry up, future. Get here.

Phillip: [00:23:36] {laughter} I'm gonna call it right now, 20 years from now, and there will be no eVTOLs. I'm just saying.

Brian: [00:23:40] You don't think it's going to be here in 20 years?

Phillip: [00:23:43] I feel like we are at like an inflection point where we will either all have eVTOLS, and that's our primary mode of transportation, or we're all looking for scrap metal, so that we can fortify our homes and shelters from the zombies in the coming nuclear apocalypse that we're all on the brink of.

Brian: [00:24:05] That's your vision of the future?

Phillip: [00:24:07] There're only two paths. There're only two options that we have.

Brian: [00:24:14] Speaking of the future... {laughter}  

Phillip: [00:24:19] {laughter} If the future is 2011. Yes.

Brian: [00:24:22] Facebook announced their own food delivery service. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:24:27] You know, it's funny because we said, when we were talking with with Eric from NRF yesterday, we said un-ironically that food delivery is a disruptive technology. And now we're laughing at one of the largest companies in the world getting into it. I find it funny. I think it's just not on brand for them.

Brian: [00:24:44] Yeah, I think that's the part that's a weird it's like, why is Facebook going... Of all the things that they could go invest in this is not the thing that I kind of expected them to go and announce.

Phillip: [00:24:55] I don't know.

Brian: [00:24:56] It's just kind of comical. I don't know. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:25:00] I have this vision of me sitting with the brand new Facebook Oculus $199 VR headset on at home and then getting a notification on the headset that my food's about to arrive, then getting a notification that Brian liked that my food was about to arrive on Facebook.

Brian: [00:25:19] Oh my gosh.

Phillip: [00:25:20] Then I get the food from the door.

Brian: [00:25:24] And you take pictures of it.

Phillip: [00:25:25] Yeah. And then Facebook Messenger pops up and it's like, "Rate your delivery driver." And then I can see how this plays into the entire ecosystem. I really can. But what would be really funny is if moments before ordering the food I post, you know, "Bachelor for the weekend. Wife and kids are away. Gonna be awesome." And then, you know, it posts a status for me, "Phillip ordered three cheese pizzas from Sal's Italian Restaurant."

Brian: [00:25:55] {laughter} Oh man. Yeah, yeah. This is the future.

Phillip: [00:26:56] {laughter} It's not a very bright future. Actually, I kind of love more... We had a food delivery service out here. I live out west, west of West Palm Beach. And it's in the suburbs. It's definitely in the suburbs. But we don't have a lot of food delivery out here. And I wish we had, you know, like what's the big one? Seamless or...

Brian: [00:27:23] GrubHub?

Phillip: [00:27:23] GrubHub or whatever. Yeah, I wish we had one of those. I don't have a lot of confidence that Facebook is gonna be the thing that disrupts that. Uber Eats, I think could work here.

Brian: [00:27:34] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:27:35] And we do have Uber out here and people, you know, use Uber all the time out here. But for whatever reason, Uber Eats is not even piloted in my area yet.

Brian: [00:27:43] Oh wow. I think it's in my town. I'm kind of in a suburb of Seattle, too, but it's kind of on the edge. And I think, yeah, I think we have it. I haven't tried it.

Phillip: [00:27:52] Anyway.

Brian: [00:27:53] Speaking of Facebook, though, they do have some interesting news, right?

Phillip: [00:27:57] Yes.

Brian: [00:27:58] Facebook Oculus. A hundred and nineteen dollars stand alone set.

Phillip: [00:28:04] The Oculus Go is what it's called.

Brian: [00:28:06] Very exciting to me. Very exciting. All of the high end producers of VR sets have been really like unapproachable, unless you're a VR nerd. And, you know, I love all the nerds out there. But unless you're one you probably don't own the Oculus or HTC Vive or one of those other high sets. And so this will hopefully be sort of a high VR experience or near high VR experience with a lower price tag.

Phillip: [00:28:49] I love that near high VR experience is... Near high VR. It's like it's not high VR. It's near it. It's like saying, you know, it's not diarrhea. It's near diarrhea.

Brian: [00:29:04] {laughter}.

Phillip: [00:29:08] That doesn't sound good to me. I don't know. Anyway, it is definitely not five hundred dollars and it doesn't require another device. Right? It's self-contained.

Brian: [00:29:18] That's the part that's the coolest. I think it's just buy and go. They named it Go. Right? Like it's buy one and get rolling on VR right away.

Phillip: [00:29:28] I don't even need to plug my phone into it.

Brian: [00:29:30] Yeah. Which is great. I'm tired of of phone VR. Like that's been around for several years now. Google Cardboard has been around for several years.

Phillip: [00:29:38] Yeah it has. And it never actually did anything of any worth.

Brian: [00:29:42] No. Same with Samsung VR. No one wants to take their phone and put it into a case that probably doesn't fit it very well and then put on glasses and have this weird, like, I don't know, like a pseudo experience where you feel like you're hacking your phone to get VR.

Phillip: [00:29:58] That's true.

Brian: [00:29:59] That's just not been people's desire. I've used a couple of them that I really enjoyed. I actually thought it was pretty good. But it doesn't seem like its own thing. So I feel like this is the real first step in getting VR out to the public in a much more accessible way.

Phillip: [00:30:20] Yeah. And it's not just VR in the visual sense, but it also has spatial... What's it called? There's an audio thing that kind of goes along with it. It's self-contained. The whole thing's self-contained.

Brian: [00:30:37] Yeah. You just put it on and jump in. The other thing that's cool is...

Phillip: [00:30:39] Spatial audio.

Brian: [00:30:40] Yeah. Spatial audio. Exactly. The Oculus has, I think, it's widely said that Oculus has the better set of apps than Gear or any of the other ones. So I think it's exciting to me because I've actually never tried Oculus specifically. And I think I might actually go purchase this.

Phillip: [00:31:02] Somebody needs to give us both an Oculus demo. That's what really needs to happen.

Brian: [00:31:08] That's a really good point. We do need an Oculus demo.

Phillip: [00:31:09] If Hugo Barra, if you're listening to us right now, we will fly to you and give us an Oculus Go demo. That'd be awesome.

Brian: [00:31:19] Or Zuckerberg if he's listening.

Phillip: [00:31:20] Or Zuckerberg. Yeah, Zuck, listen. Call me. Call me baby. Call me. Do you know what I feel like this is though, and I hate to do this, so I'm on the Verge right now reading the article about Oculus Go and under the recommended tab, which is one of those like outbrain content syndications sort of thing, sponsored areas. It's like explore the new Lincoln Navigator. And it has like this concept of a Lincoln Navigator with a Gullwing door. And I'm just thinking to myself, this is exactly right, because VR is kitsch.

Brian: [00:31:57] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:31:57] And I'm not trying to be that guy. I'm not going to hate on it because I do think that this is interesting and sort of a it's a brand new world, but it's still viewed as there's a reason that particular article is being promoted here is because it is still, it is the Gullwing door, Lincoln Navigator of user interface experience and user experience right now.

Brian: [00:32:20] Good point.

Phillip: [00:32:21] You know what I mean? We have to get past that.

Brian: [00:32:23] I totally agree.

Phillip: [00:32:23] And I think this helps. Price points going to help in a big way. But we still need a mass consumer adoption moment that there is some sort of application that helps it betters people's lives and makes it feel like they can't live without it. I don't know.

Brian: [00:32:40] Yeah, no, totally right. And that's why I think AR is going to continue to stay ahead of it, because that use case for AR is just really obvious.

Phillip: [00:32:51] Right.

Brian: [00:32:51] And so, I mean and well, this leads us to another topic which is Magic Leap just took Series D.

Phillip: [00:33:02] Series D and not a small Series D. This is a one billion dollar Series D is what they're looking to get.

Brian: [00:33:13] This is a lot of money for a product that doesn't exist. I mean, at least that no one knows what it is.

Phillip: [00:33:22] Okay. I'm gonna call it right now. Okay. You ready?

Brian: [00:33:25] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:28] And I might make this the episode title, so we can freaking find the episode where I said it.

Brian: [00:33:34] Okay. All right. Do it.

Phillip: [00:33:37] Magic Leap is the Solyndra of 2017 tech. Solyndra was a solar Silicon Valley startup that swindled the U.S. government for over five hundred million dollars back in, you know, back in the Obama era.

Brian: [00:33:55] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:55] And I am calling it right now. We haven't seen a single real thing from Magic Leap. I'm okay to be wrong.

Brian: [00:34:04] So I'm going to take the complete contrary position.

Phillip: [00:34:08] OK.

Brian: [00:34:09] All right. I've gonna say, that Magic Leap is the next step in tech that we've all been waiting for.

Phillip: [00:34:17] It just keeps getting winnowed down. Like every time that we talked about Magic Leap in the last year, it's narrower and narrower. It used to be that it was gonna be laser projection on your freaking retina. And now, like, it's the AR device augmented reality glass company. It feels like they are exceptional at fundraising and nothing else. That's my opinion. They're in search of a technology and a platform for the technology that will actually be able to have some sort of application. And that never bodes well for a tech company.

Brian: [00:34:54] You might be right.

Phillip: [00:34:55] I don't know. Series D, man. Billion dollars. You can't make something happen. I mean, something. Even came out with glasses.

Brian: [00:35:04] You got to have a heck of a demo.

Phillip: [00:35:06] They must have a heck of a demo. I mean, there was this whole thing about using VR with, you know, psycho active drugs of some kind. I forget... There's a specific name for it. But, you know, having a totally immersive experience doesn't require haptics because, you know, we're tricking the brain into seeing and feeling things and smells and all sorts of things because you're using drugs at the same time. If Magic Leap gives that kind of a demo with, like, you know, psycho actives to the CEOs who are, you know, in Silicon Valley that are... We're gonna find out. I'm pretty sure that it's... Did you ever see Jessica Jones?

Brian: [00:35:48] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:35:49] Yeah. So I swear to God, Kilgrave is the CEO of Magic Leap. That he's just out there talking people into this and nobody knows any idea why they're pumping money into this company. Anyway. That's my rant.

Brian: [00:36:04] There you go.

Phillip: [00:36:04] I have to be grumpy at some point today. So there it is.

Brian: [00:36:06] Yes. That was pretty grumpy. I like it. I think this is going to be good because, like, you and I have opposite positions on this.

Phillip: [00:36:13] Yeah someone's gonna be right. Future Commerce called it. Oh, hey, this is something that kind of rocked me the other day, which I'm you know, I'm not super into. I follow a bunch of city planners, urbanist type people. I don't know if you follow anyone like that on Twitter. It's kind of fun. There's one person in particular that actually got me into this space who's a local here in West Palm Beach who's been advocating with the city for some time. He runs a Twitter called Walkable WBB, Walkable West Palm Beach. And I forget the guy's name. I'm so bad about that. If somebody out there knows who he is, let me know. I forget. But he's also affiliated with strongtowns.org. Doesn't matter. He put something out on Twitter, which I thought was really impressive. The mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Enrique Penalosa, was actually had this phenomenal quote about. He said, A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It's where the rich ride public transportation. And I thought that that was transformative in the way that I think about how we're... I know we're joking about eVTOL a little bit ago, but I really believe that real disruption in public transit, real disruption in that way is going to come where the convenience outweighs any other factor. And it's so convenient and so cheap for you in every way, every means of convenience for you to use public and mass transit to get around cities. I just find we're at this weird place where most cities, most people, don't travel around that way. And that places the urban centers where we have such high innovation are the places that are innovating in public transit as well. Anyway, it's a thought. I don't have anything else to say other than that. Interesting thought.

Brian: [00:38:26] Great thought. No, great thought. I think worth kind of considering. And, you know, as America continues to develop itself, it's a good thing to consider. Speaking of sort of developing countries...

Phillip: [00:38:43] Sorry before you segue. Before you segue. Sorry.

Brian: [00:38:46] Yeah. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:38:46] One other thing. We're in a public health crisis. And I mean, I laugh about it because I am somebody who's been affected in that way, in that I'm at 37 years old and finally getting active for the first time in my life. And so I know we're making some jokes about food delivery and body data in particular, but the intersection of all these technologies is better lives for human beings. And if we had better food to eat or we make better choices and there's a cost associated with it, we're always available to make a better choice for ourselves. And then we also have the ability to be more active, and cities that have revolutionized their public transit systems have more active populaces.

Brian: [00:39:35] Yes. Really good point.

Phillip: [00:39:37] We wouldn't have a public health crisis and then we wouldn't have potentially even a health insurance crisis in this country. I think it all might come down to the whole world depends on disrupting food delivery and innovation in public transit. Boom.

Brian: [00:39:53] I think there's also going to be... {laughter} Well, that's quite a statement. I also I'm really excited about sort of gamification of health. And so, yeah, I think body data is going to play a role in that. We talked about that in Episode 8 as well.

Phillip: [00:40:07] And just a shout out, too because we forget about him from time to time. But Jason L Baptiste. He started this new company called Studio Live, which is effectively like basically like gamification of... Well, I don't know how to explain it. It's something so he's created basically like a cryptocurrency called Fitcoin where you earn... It's like Nike points or whatever they called them. But you earn them, and they're able to be redeemed for certain things. Some of them, at least in the first run on Studio.Live, the first iteration of that is more like a digital swag, ephemeral swag. It's like, you know, you can get new avatars or stickers or something to that effect. But, yeah, it's gamification. But, you know, with a cryptocurrency sort of cross-section. It's interesting. And so we do know people that are doing this, and it's really exciting.

Brian: [00:41:21] It is. It's awesome. I agree. A good shout out to Jason. We should get him back on the show sometime soon.

Phillip: [00:41:27] Yeah. I'd love to hear about his new thing. Sorry. You were saying...

Brian: [00:41:32] Oh well I was going to talk about Project Loon and how I got deployed in Puerto Rice.

Phillip: [00:41:39] Yes. I forgot about this. Dude, you can actually go ahead. Go ahead. Talk about it. What is Project Loon for those who don't remember?

Brian: [00:41:45] So it provides cell reception via hot air balloon, which is just mind blowing. And so, you know, they're deploying it in Puerto Rico right now to help make sure that, you know, communications stays up and people can stay connected. I'm just really, really happy that Google is using it this way and actually getting out there and deploying some of the stuff back from there Project X days or whatever it was called.

Phillip: [00:42:13] Yeah.

Brian: [00:42:15] Was it Project X? Was that what it was called?

Phillip: [00:42:17] It was called Project X and then I was spun out.

Brian: [00:42:19] Was it Projects 10 or Project X?

Phillip: [00:42:23] This isn't Apple, it's Google. But you're right. You're right. What was really kind of amazing to see and I'm trying to pull it up now, so we can reference it in the show notes. I should have had this, like, cued up, but you can actually see Project Loon aircraft on flight radar.com. You can actually see them in in Puerto Rico up in the air and doing their thing. It's kind of inspiring. And we said this in the last episode. But Puerto Rico being a proving ground. I mean, I don't wanna get too excited about it because it sounds like the government is doing everything they can to try to prevent from helping rebuild Puerto Rico at the moment. But that's another story and probably your viewpoint of that probably depends on your politics. But just to see that we're gonna use Puerto Rico as our ability to test and pilot things like this. So if you got to Flight Radar 24, you can actually check out. You can actually search by Project Loon and you'll see Project Loon balloons literally over not just Puerto Rico, but overtop of St. Martin, overtop of the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. It's inspiring because this is what this tech was supposed to be. This is what it was created for.

Brian: [00:44:00] Yeah, and this seems way more useful to me than what Facebook did, which was Livestream a video of him taking a virtual reality tour of Puerto Rico to promote the new Facebook feature, which was just insane to me.

Phillip: [00:44:16] Yeah. Was a cringy?

Brian: [00:44:19] That was beyond cringy. It was insulting.

Phillip: [00:44:22] And yeah, that's kind of messed up.

Brian: [00:44:26] Yeah, I was hoping that Facebook would get involved in a much more productive way than that. But yeah, I think what Google did was awesome. And, you know, I hope they continue to employ the stuff that they're doing in that way.

Phillip: [00:44:43] Oh gosh. It's really cool. Facebook actually had a similar program that they at least put a trial balloon up for sometime ago. That was drone based, right?

Brian: [00:44:56] I don't think I heard about that. That's cool.

Phillip: [00:44:57] Yeah, yeah. Facebook had this whole promo or they had Wi-Fi drones. It was like Facebook drone Wi-Fi. Okay. Sorry. I have to search...

Brian: [00:45:07] Were they like chorded? Like how did they keep their charge.

Phillip: [00:45:11] So they were solar drones.

Brian: [00:45:13] Oh solar drones. Okay.

Phillip: [00:45:14] Yeah. I believe the first was I believe called Aquila. I believe so. And they actually did this really interesting pilot where. Yes. It's basically a Wi-Fi repeater in the same way that Project Loon is. And it's solar powered and in theory, they would never, ever have to land. And yeah, the Aquila project, I think, is what it was called, which was kind of interesting.

Brian: [00:45:45] Oh maybe I did see that.

Phillip: [00:45:45] Yeah, I think we mentioned it at some point. I can't remember.

Brian: [00:45:50] Yeah we might have.

Phillip: [00:45:50] Anyway. Very cool. I feel like I'm now so overhyped. We have to come down. We have to come down a little bit.

Brian: [00:46:01] We might be a little hyped.

Phillip: [00:46:04] I don't have anything else. Oh, one last thing, which, you know, again, may or may not qualify as news in any way whatsoever. But GitHub, which is a programing tool for source control, if you're kind of in that world and sort of a very popular Silicon Valley startup for enabling developers. Those cats, quite literally, that's their mascot, just kind of gave a little nod in their big annual conference to Voice UX as a potentially emerging technology, not just for retail, but also assistive in terms of being a programing tool and a tool for developers. And that's the first time I think I've seen someone un-ironically use Voice UX in regards to programing. It's something that I think we talked a lot about when we first started the show. And the kinds of techniques that need to be used to design user experiences and voice.

Brian: [00:47:07] It's a big deal. Yes. Yeah, no, I think it's a big deal because GitHub is where the majority of productive development is done.

Phillip: [00:47:16] It's like social coding right now. Right?

Brian: [00:47:18] Exactly. And so, you know, I think that he's nodding to Voice UX. That's a big step. And I think that the entire development community is going to take note of this.

Phillip: [00:47:30] Yeah. And I think that's what's going to help drive voice adoption. You know, I think one thing that we're sort of missing and I had done this some time ago, which is programing IOT buttons to have context. And so, you know, if I have an IOT button, like a real button in the real world and I did this with the Amazon dash developer kit button. But I'm on one page in, you know, in a web site. Let's say it was Magento because that's exactly what it was. And I'm on one page in the back end of Magento. And I press a button, and it does one thing, and I press it on another page, and it has another function. So the function is based on my context. And I think that voice could work very similarly. And the fact that every developers, by and large, especially those who are using Github, probably use Macs more often than not, they probably have access to Siri now, more often than not. So it's an interesting... So there is probably a way for us to see a future where we're using voice in a way that, you know, would be transformative.

Brian: [00:48:50] I mean, even more transformative than it already is.

Phillip: [00:48:54] Right. I'm also thinking, like, I wonder. There have to be non sited people who already, you know, our developers, and they're doing interesting work. And I would love to see them have additional interfaces for interaction. And if we could help them be more productive with Voice UI and UX, then how much more awesome would that be?

Brian: [00:49:22] That would be awesome. Yeah. That's a really good point.

Phillip: [00:49:25] Yeah. Very cool.

Brian: [00:49:26] We ended the show on a series of like really positive notes. That was awesome.

Phillip: [00:49:30] Yeah. I don't know how we did it. We're usually not that good.

Brian: [00:49:33] Well, especially since at one point in the show your vision of the future was pretty insane.

Phillip: [00:49:39] Yeah. Pretty bleak. To be honest with you.

Brian: [00:49:42] Good way to end it. Thanks for listening to Future Commerce. We want you to give us feedback about today's show, so please leave us some feedback and in the Disqus comment box below. If you're subscribed on iTunes, please leave us a five star review. Gotta love those. You can also subscribe to listen to Future Commerce on iTunes and Google Play or listen right from your Amazon Echo with a phrase, "Alexa, play Future Commerce podcast," and do not forget to sign up for FC Insiders.

Phillip: [00:50:13] FC Insiders.

Brian: [00:50:14] You will not be disappointed.

Phillip: [00:50:16] Yeah, you won't. I promise you. And then until next week...

Brian: [00:50:21] Keep looking towards the future.

Phillip: [00:50:23] We're in sync today. I like it.

Brian: [00:50:26] We are.

Phillip: [00:50:26] Peace out. Bye.

Brian: [00:50:26] Bye.

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