On Episode 26 of The Edge of Innovation, we’re talking with Paul about finding time to stay informed, entrepreneurship, and augmented reality. We’ll keep you on edge!
Staying Informed and Entrepreneurial
Jacob: So, Paul, as we look at the way you are productive and that you contribute to the business world, the entrepreneur world, and Savior Labs, the company that you founded and lead, there is a high volume of articles and content that you are pushing out, and it makes me wonder, how do you organize your time. How do you prioritize your time? How do you reduce what we’ve talked about as cognitive dissonance? How do you set up your time so that you can focus and read and think about what’s important and the things that are interesting to you?
Paul: Well, I think I take the time. You know, thankfully, this company called Apple invented an iPad, which makes it very easy to consume information. I mean, when it first came out, it was a… I tagged it as an information consumption device. That’s really what it is. It’s a way to consume information and so now I’ve… Over the past year, I have equally shifted towards the iPhone, because I have an iPhone 6 Plus. It’s a little bigger. And I can consume information there.
It is a very wide net that I cast, and it’s largely motivated at, because I don’t want to miss anything. Not because, you know, I’m not interested in the recent gossip on Brad and…whoever. You know. That’s not what I’m interested in. But I’m interested in thoughts that are occurring, so much so, that somebody has written about it. And they’ve made effort to do that.
And so what you see is these signals, you know, that are coming in. And you have to arbitrate them. And you know, I’ve been blessed with an ability to arbitrate lots of signals at once. Some might call that multitasking. Most of my reading is done while I’m doing something else.
Jacob: Is it really?
Paul: Yeah. It really is.
Jacob: So you don’t… Some guys talk about setting aside, you know, 30 minutes at the end of the day or whatever to do this.
Paul: No. I’ll use it as down time. Like, you know all the time. I mean, I was in a meeting last night, and then was some down time between it while people were getting their coffee and stuff like that and, you know, whatever the snacks were. And I was sitting there flipping through Flipboard. Oh, this is really interesting.
You know, a lot of the times, I tag the things, and it’s because I think they’re interest. Well, no. It is. I mean, it’s because I think it’s interesting and something that will add value to my daily routine, uh, and produce benefit. And, you know, people come along and say “How do you know all this stuff?”Well, you know, I just take a pill that adds it all to me every day.
Jacob: The Matrix downloads it.
Paul: I do the work, you know. But you’ve to be looking for those nuggets. You know what’s interesting is 30 years ago, it was very hard to dig this information out.
Jacob: Right. You had to get a subscription to 20 different magazines and keep your newspaper in front of you.
Paul: Yeah. It was very hard.
Jacob: But now, it seems to me like I think the word that’s coming out of this is being intentionally curious about the world around you.
Paul: Yeah. I think so. I am definitely curious and fascinated on so many different levels. Why is this? What’s this? What’s this? And you’ll see that as, you know, different things I edge into. I do have another habit where I post things that, you know, they get posted to Twitter. I also have a private channel where I save things that I want to read in depth and ponder, that I want to revisit that’s a much shorter list, but it’s stuff that… And it’s sometimes, like, weird. I mean, completely orthogonal to what you might think I was interested in.
So, but, I will, you know, I’ll get home from work, have a few minutes of downtime then, you know, I’ll read a whole bunch of articles then and, uh, usually when I’m going to bed, before going to sleep, I’ll, I’ll read a whole bunch then. When I’m exercising, if it’s on, you know, like a treadmill or something, I’ll definitely do it then. So that’s, you know, using all those, those opportunities.
Jacob: Yeah. That’s excellent. Well, thanks for sharing with us about how to be, how being intentionally curious is functional in your life.
Apple and Augmented Reality
Jacob: So, Paul, you recently were telling me about an article that you were reading about Tim Cook, the great Tim Cook, who, by the way, at the beginning of college football season, I will just acknowledge and celebrate in public that he is an Auburn University graduate.
Paul: Well, we all make mistakes.
Jacob: This is not going to way I expected. So, Tim Cook on virtual reality and Apple’s posture on virtual reality. Talk us through that article and just some of your thoughts, because you were sharing some very interesting things about that with me.
Paul: Sure. Well, first of all, you know, when, when Tim Cook talks, everybody listens. This is the voice of Apple now. And, uh, you know, he’s a very different person than Steve Jobs, you know. So we have to…he’s a business person. Steve Jobs was a visionary. You know, I’m not saying that Tim isn’t a visionary, but I don’t think that’s what he would put on his business card.
You know, where Steve, if he didn’t put it on his business card, we’d put it on there. And it certainly—
Jacob: Yeah. Well, his name is almost synonymous with the term visionary.
Paul: Yeah. So the whole idea and what bottom line is, is that… It’s an article in Vanity Fair based on an interview that was done with Good Morning America just September 14th, I think. He talks about augmented reality and virtual reality. And basically, he’s saying virtual reality, you know, is, is one thing. Augmented reality is going to be the one that takes off. And primarily, because it can be a shared experience. That’s really the distillation of what he’s saying, is that I put a virtual reality headset on, I’m isolated from you in the same room.
Now, we could both be in the same virtual reality, but I can’t interact with you really. I mean, I might be able to touch you or hit you or do something like that, but I can’t, I can’t have the visual, my visual cortex, you know, be engaged with your shape and who you are and see that you’re grimacing. I can’t see that.
Augmented reality, I can do that. And so, you know, augmented reality and the way the Microsoft HoloLens was sort of first introduced, it was a person in a house, and they looked at the refrigerator, and they saw a list of things that they needed in the refrigerator. And I’m like, “Oh, that’s sort of goofy.” But now if you sort of extrapolate that and say that we’re both going to go play a game, and we look at that wall and we both see the, the monster and we have to go and get that…
Jacob: The Pokémon.
Paul: The Pokémon. Yeah. So, that, that’s a little bit better. And so that sounds more intriguing than having my grocery list on the refrigerator. I don’t know why I’d have my grocery list on the refrigerator. That’s not when I need it. I need it when I’m at the store. Or actually, I need it when I’m driving near the store, and I haven’t made a commitment to go somewhere else. You know, like if you know, I imagine there will be some systems for augmented reality that will tell you, just after you passed the store, that you should have stopped. But that wouldn’t have been good. It would have been, “Hey, you’re heading up here. You’re going past your favorite market. Why don’t you stop and get these five things that we know you need?”
So really, he didn’t say a lot. You know, Apple has no play in this game. They have nothing in virtual reality. Samsung has virtual reality — it’s cool — for their phones. They can snap into a headset. You can do that.
Virtual reality is important because when we’re not in the same room, virtual reality is someplace where we can actually interact.
Jacob: It’s a place in between where we can connect.
Paul: Right. So I do that on Facebook with people all the time. Well, you know, I don’t think it will be all that unusual. And that’s why they bought Oculus is because they want the Facebook experience to happen in a virtual reality. So that means that the whole, you know, backdrop is virtual generated. Well, in augmented reality, only other things are generated. So, you know, you might have a white wall in your living room, and that might be a picture frame into a virtual reality that is where your Facebook friends are. So they come online, and you see them standing there in a combination of virtual and augmented reality.
So the augmented reality gives you that ability to have it within your own context. So you’re not isolated. There’s a, there’s a great movie from the ’80s called Brainstorm, which talks about, you know, some deprivation chambers and their…and some reality headsets that they were wearing. Very fascinating study on how that stuff can go horribly wrong. And, uh, you know, I don’t think it’s going to go that way — you know, science fiction, and I think more fiction than science.
But, you know, so Apple doesn’t have a dog in this fight yet. But hey. He’s talking about it.
Jacob: It’s telling and it’s interesting that Apple would not pull the trigger on one way or the other, which is probably an indication that what Steve Cook is saying, like, augmented reality is going to probably be the winner, but they haven’t laid their cards on the table yet or put their money in on a particular direction yet.
Paul: And you know, you have to remember, Apple is a consumer electronics company that makes stuff for mass market. They’re not a niche company. These are niche products.
Jacob: These are still niche products.
Paul: Very much so.
Jacob: And I think that’s helpful. That’s certainly not the way they come across in terms of tone at times. Like, they seem like, “This is the future.” Well, maybe it is, but at the moment, 0.0001% of the market actually cares about this. And I think maybe the tipping point might have been Pokémon Go.
Paul: Yeah. Well, it’s definitely…there’s a collision there of augmented and reality, you know. What’s interesting, though, my son is 16 years old and has some money from doing some work and was very interested in getting a virtual reality headset. And I said, you know, “It’s your money, if you want to do that.” That was 700, 800 bucks, a decent amount of money for the, I forget the one. The one that works with Steam. And he was enamored with it. And I said, “Well, you know, I was reading a great article.” It’s one we posted, I don’t know, probably three or four months ago where somebody had several virtual reality headsets sitting in his closet. And he was lamenting the fact. I mean, he got most of them… I don’t know if he bought them or he had them given to him, but he was like, “I just don’t use them.” And I, I said, you know, “You should really read that before you go off.” And he read that and read a few of these, and he says, “Yeah. I think I’m going to wait.”
Because there’s a lot of technology that, you know, sounds promising and you buy it and invest in it, and it’s a letdown. You know, and that’s what’s going to go on my tombstone, you know. Technology will always let you down, because our, you know, our brain is so malleable. And we can imagine the best case scenario. And it’s very rare that technology delivers that best case scenario.
Jacob: Excellent. Well, thanks for your thoughts on that update from Tim Cook and augmented reality. We’ll be looking to see what happens with Apple on that fight and in that dog in the race in the days ahead.