I don’t know much of anything about Snapchat because I’m frankly just too old to get it.
But I have a 13-year-old daughter, and she and her friends get Snapchat and then some. They use it constantly – it’s by far their most beloved app.
Are they going to be instant customers for the newly renamed Snap Inc.’s Spectacles and new wearable video recorder that Business Insider’s Biz Carson has been reporting on over the past few days?
At $129 a pop, it’s not a super-major outlay for a parent, or even a teen with some money saved up. These things could be big this holiday season, assuming they’re even available.
There is something oddly brilliant about Spectacles, and succeed or fail, I think they prove that CEO Evan Spiegel is able to leverage his youth – he’s only 26 – to dial into some interesting business opportunities.
They don’t look to me a like a built-to-last kind of thing. Actually, they very much remind me of a bunch of el-cheapo fads from my own pre-digital youth in the 1970s. You may have heard of some this goofy stuff, like pet rocks and mood rings.
Spectacles look large and kind of silly – Spiegel has called them a “toy” – and they come in basic black as well as two offbeat colors, the always popular teal and coral. They can only record up to 10 seconds of video, so they’re clearly only useful as a Snapchat accessory. You play around with them for a few months and then move on. Fad finished.
OK, maybe they stick around and are improved. But how much fun could that be? Spiegel has to be too cool to have missed the negative reception that Google Glass received.
One thing I’ve noticed about digitally sophisticated kids who aren’t yet of driving age is that they cycle through their enthusiasms quite a bit faster than previous generations. This appears new because they’re all using the mobile internet, but it also feels very ’70s to me. That was a decade when all kinds of trends came and went rapidly, in music, culture, fashion, and even politics.
I tried this theory out on my 13-year-old, and she agreed that they were possibly a neat gimmick – they reminded her of some other recent fads, like hoverboards, something I hadn’t thought about.
But something that Spiegel probably has.