Quite The Spectacle(s)
Another day, another city for the cutest little vending machine to pop up and dispense the latest thing in hardware. Yes, Spectacles are taking the tech world by storm. In large part because they didn’t want this to be latest wearable for techies. Instead, Snapchat did what they do best. Understanding what a trendy teen would want, and unleashing it to the world. But what lead up to Snapchat having this level of success and hype with Spectacles?
Roll Out Strategy | The Idea Of Scarcity
One of the best things Snapchat is doing through their roll out is building up the idea of scarcity. The countdown. The mystery locations. The fact that the vending machine only holds about 200 pairs of glasses. [LIKE WHAT?!?!?]
But what does this scarcity do? Is it just some cruel joke on die hard Snapchat fans? No. This built in scarcity is building engagement from across the coast. People are waiting to see what the line is like at Big Sur. Calling friends out West to ask them if they’ll wait in line for them. Even the pessimistic writers at Recode have been tempted to drive down from SF to snag a pair off the Venice Boardwalk.
Hopefully we see a wide scale release to test if this roll out was worth the time and energy. I think either way Spectacles has been a good shake up in the hardware space and they are certainly capturing the attention of all consumers.
Snapchat >>> Snap Inc.
If you don’t like what they’re saying about you, change the conversation. Some people thought that Snapchat was social media, some thought it was focused on publishing partner’s content, and at first they referred to themselves as a messaging platform. But why not just flip everything and look at the core functionality; “we are a camera company.”
Sure, there were a few sneers, but it forced people to look at Snapchat as Snap Inc. And when they flipped the typical hardware funnel, they really forced their new positioning on everyone. All this before, what we all are anticipating to be, a massive IPO. The kind of IPO we haven’t seen in some time in the tech world.
Are they going to make a lot of money from Spectacles. No… you can’t make money when you sell 200 glasses a day from a vending machine. But has this been a strong proof of concept that could possibly generate some real revenue for Snap Inc outside of advertising and partnerships? I would say so and I’m excited to see what comes out of it.
Evan Spiegel did it, although it might have been Imran Khan (chief strategy officer). Snap Inc’s play was bold. There wasn’t a pressing need for them to develop hardware, but what they’ve created ties beautifully into the fun brand they have been developing for years. Spectacles brings a few things to light for Snap as they have matured into a company gearing up for an IPO.
1- They can develop and execute beautifully in the hardware space, an area that even Google has had trouble with in the past.
2- Their strategy is consistently bold and inventive, not deviating from their brand, but instead reinforcing their new image as a camera company.
3- With a semi-secret AI team building up at Snap (I have special sources), what will future products look like ramping up to or post-IPO?
TLDR: Spectacles shows Snap Inc is moving in the right direction and maturing well.