Magic Leap is wildly ambitions and secretive. This is incredibly annoying. Their vision is grand but they won’t tell us what they are actually doing. This engenders a feeling of negativity. It makes us feel like they are in a secret club and they won’t invite us in. It makes us feel like they think they are better than us. That they have a secret Magic power and we can’t have it. It brings out our feelings of entitlement. It stretches our patience to a breaking point. It makes us want them to fail. It makes us look at that vision and say “No, you can’t do that”.
I get it. I get that feeling. I feel it too.
But it is fundamentally a negative emotion that you should try to overcome. It comes from a feeling of being left out. It comes from impatience. Feelings of jealousy. Feelings of entitlement. And it grows. It evolves from the initial feelings into a solid belief that needs to be fed with more justification. It spirals until nothing that the company does could possibly be good because at this point it would prove that you are wrong and we humans fight this idea of being wrong tooth and nail. We lose sight of where this all began. We lose sight of the scale at which we should react. We lose the fact that the company is just ambitious and secretive and may have bitten off more than they can chew and instead think that they have personally slighted us or attacked us and are therefore irredeemable.
This isn’t only true for Magic Leap. You see it happening to almost any unproven entity that is trying something ambitious. Oculus got it in the early days. Elon Musk is in the middle of it now. It is very common.
Magic Leap showed off another developer sample last week. It was a “Hello World/Teapot” style sample that shows off some basic interactions that developers can learn from. As well as releasing the sample, they walked through some video of the sample in action. This video, that is not intended to show off the full power of the device, was a lightning rod for the feelings described above.
This has fed the spiral of negative rationalisation. Folks see it as an indication that they were indeed right to dismiss and insult Magic Leap as a whole for being secretive and, it seems, for releasing concept videos that are over 3 years old and in some whale jumping cases almost 5 years old. This feeling has long memories.
Companies make concept videos. This is a common practice. There is nothing wrong with that. It shows the vision and ambition of the company. In many cases, it is used for hiring. They can attract the top talent that wants to be working on the problems that need to be solved to hit that vision.
Have a look at the zelda announcement video for example. This video shows a level of graphic fidelity far beyond the product that was released. The video was published years before they had a finished product. It was to show what they wanted to build. Zelda was an unmitigated success. Nintendo was able to build a concept video, not hit the target of the concept video and still be considered one of the best games ever released.
So, I think if you are sitting behind that keyboard right now and you are mad at this company. You need to let it go. Those concept videos were released over 3 years ago by a start-up that is still trying to find its feet. Perhaps they shouldn’t have published those videos but to continue to indict this company for 3 year old mistakes is unreasonable. They have since released many videos to help properly guide expectations. At some point you have to consider the idea that you are using these concept videos to rationalise the feeling of dismissiveness you have towards Magic Leap and not the other way around.
Let go of your negative feelings and just embrace the fact this company is try to build something cool. They might fail catastrophically. In fact, that is the most likely outcome. That isn’t an insightful point. It is the obvious point. So be bold and stand up for the underdog.