#59 - Taking a Stand
WALL-E, the wrong question, and it's early
Sometimes you’ve got to take a stand.
To say: F**k it. Let’s see what happens.
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Perhaps you’ve seen the Pixar movie WALL-E. No worries if not, I’ll fill you in.
WALL-E is set in the 29th century. The main character, WALL-E, is a rubbish collecting robot. In his time humans have abandoned earth and now live on a space station.
These humans have robots pampering their every need. They spend the days zooming around in levitating chairs. It’s a sorry sight. Their faces glued to the screens that contain their lives.
The startling thing about WALL-E’s humans is that that’s the trend. At this rate it’s not such an unrealistic future. Look around the London underground these days. Everyone, almost without fail, is face down in a screen.
Perhaps this is just the next chapter for humanity. But that would be a shame.
The good news is it’s not over yet. They say the best way to predict the future is build it. Unplugged, I hope, can help move the trend in another direction.
The Wrong Question
Pre-launch I got some advice from someone smart:
Can’t you just run an experiment? Make locking away the phones optional and see what people go for.
The problem with this approach is it asks the wrong question.
It’s a great way of finding out how to convert more website visitors. But it’s not necessarily the way to solve a problem you see in the world.
We didn’t run the experiment. We decided it didn’t matter which option lead to a higher conversation rate. Only one option led to the change we’re trying to make.
We had someone invest recently who initially passed on the opportunity. But he changed his mind.
Last month one of his friends disappeared. For days no one heard from her. Her parents, very worried, spoke to all her friends. But no one knew where she was.
10 days after disappearing she reappeared. She’d been at a meditation retreat and off her phone.
Hearing this, our investor got back in touch. He told me he sees the digital detox space as like the vegan space ten years ago. If you’d told someone you were opening a vegan restaurant ten years ago they’d have thought you were mad. That’s changed.
Let’s see if that investor is right. I hope he is. Not just for Unplugged, but for humanity.
Maybe WALL-E will go back to being improbable after all.
My Week in Books📚
Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe
Crazy. The true story behind the Sackler family and their greed spawning the opiod crisis that has ravaged the US for the last three decades. Such a great book. A glimpse behind the curtain of how society functions.
I’ll be updating the books I’ve read this year here. Any recommendations? Let me know!
A Final Thought 💡
“People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research.”
– Steve Jobs