Facebook recently announced its highly anticipated wearable sunglasses that can record video from a user’s perspective. Despite many of our legitimately squeamish reactions to this new product, one of Facebook’s decisions in this launch is likely to make it a success where Google Glass failed.
Taking a page from the business school curriculum, Facebook leveraged an effectual approach to its launch by partnering with Ray-Ban — a lesson all new product managers would do well to remember.
To best understand this, we need to first revisit Google Glass. It launched in 2011 as a prototype for only select users. Consistent with Google’s approach with beta launching at the time, these users paid $1,500 for their chance to play and test out what looked and felt like the future.
Despite being named one of Time Magazine’s best inventions of the year, Google Glass was riddled with problems and very much an unfinished product. Many have commented previously on how one of the key failures of Google Glass was that it was a classic example of putting out new technology without a clear use case. What were people to do with Google Glass?