The Rift between innovation and business.

inventions-of-the-past-01

Graham Bell is really pissed with this little kid with a big wallet that has blown close to $20 billion in less than a month. We know him better as Mark Zuckerberg.
After the $16 billion purchase of WhatsApp a while back, today it was announced that Facebook bought Oculus VR, or better known as the company that made Oculus Rift, a virtual reality 3D headset for gaming for $2 billion.
So what exactly did Mark do to piss him off? What has Graham Bell got to do with Oculus Rift anyway? Read on…

We don’t innovate. We replicate.

Let’s begin with my favorite punching bag, Samsung. The day Apple announced the Gold iPhone, the Korean plastic company was quick to release a Gold Galaxy 32SPT or whatever…And this is just the latest attempt at catching up with the California based giant. They have done this so many times in the past that they now stand eye-to-eye, spitting venom at each other in a courtroom. While the world celebrates the success of every plastic device churned out by them, there is a very inherent and a grave issue that is being overlooked here. This is the biggest reason I would never buy a Samsung in my life. The fact that they blatantly copy everything and anything they can from Apple is seriously no laughing matter anymore. This not only demoralizes the people working in your company, it also gives birth to a lot of unhealthy competition outside in the market. What your empire is standing on is nothing but rotten and decayed roots.

This is the very same reason why I prefer Windows Phone over Android. Even if it has failed, it is still new and fresh. And what Samsung has ushered us into, is an era of replication more than innovation.

The mind. The money. And nothing in between.

Back to the topic, Mark buys a new $2 Billion toy to play through Facebook. They are a pair of 3D glasses meant for gaming. Now let me break down that sentence a little. I said, “3D”, “glasses” and “gaming” and Facebook has nothing to do with any of that. It is an advertising tool disguised as a social medium. This is perhaps the most bizarre buy-out ever. It’s like Pepsi buying a typewriter company. Or a fashion brand buying a pharmaceutical company. IMHO, it would have made more sense if NVIDIA would have purchased it. More like a car company buying a tyre brand?

So what exactly will Facebook do with it, much like what it’s going to do with WhatsApp, remains a mystery. But here’s my best guess. They could be entering the gaming arena. “If NVIDIA can do it with Project Shield and ValVe can do it with Steam OS, why the hell can’t we?” must be the thought.
But what will Facebook do with Oculus Rift is far from my worries. There’s a deeper, more serious issue at hand. That invention is dead. Today it’s all about money and everything is business. If you have the money, every thing has a price tag. And sadly, the dying breed of inventors, on the other hand don’t have funding till they prove their mettle. And which there is no looking back mind you. You have all the fat cats of the Silicon Valley purring outside your doorstep, till you finally give up and open the door to let them in.
My question is since when is gobbling up start-ups become the new invention? How different are you from any one-song wonder, whose “list of achievements” can be summed up in a single line?

Peer Pressure.

The other possible reason is Google Glass. With news that they have now tied with Oakley and Ray-Ban, Mark woke up from a bad dream and realized that Facebook has nothing except Facebook. But again I argue, why ape? Why can’t you create something your competition can think of? And that, as far as I know, is innovation. And that’s what Graham Bell did back in the day and exactly what Facebook isn’t, making Graham very angry.

Just like back then, we need to pull up our socks and think of what things need our attention, and Oculus Rift definitely isn’t one.
In world where diseases, poverty, wars, animal cruelty and other evils eating our society from within, how do you justify investing $2 billion in a gadget that doesn’t fit your business portfolio?

Facebook has clearly sent a lot of wrong signals out with this move, both to start-ups and its rivals. If there are so many issues that need a solution, there is obviously space for innovation. After all, necessity is the mother of inventions right?

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