16 May Why Silicon Valley is all wrong about Amazon’s Echo Show
On Tuesday, Amazon launched the Echo Show to great fanfare and consternation. I feel less riled up this time, but still want to add my 2c to put this device in the proper context—if only to make worthwhile the countless hours I’ve spent doggedly investigating the front lines in the battle over the future of conversational products and technology writ large.
To clue you into my process, one of my tricks is to peer into the vastness of negative space and try to piece together what the pundits, analysts, naysayers, and enthusiasts aren’t seeing and aren’t saying. Not that they’re intentionally hiding anything, but sometimes they’re so close they can’t see what should be obvious to anyone with a little more distance. For example, for this device to succeed, it needs to achieve scale and ubiquity in order to change behavior and expectations. Yet pundits complain about the design or look of the product, when it’s likely the result of keeping COGs (cost of goods) low. Other times these folks fall back to their default assumptions in order to jump onto the hype train and use explanatory shortcuts to avoid the more time-intensive work of committing acts of original thinking. For example, evaluating this device as a poor, immobile substitute for an iPad misses the point entirely. That’s just a lazy brain barfing out whatever immediately came to mind on first glance.