On Facebook Acquisitions, Predicting the Future, and Messaging

In the book, How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery, I learned that people aren’t very good at predicting the future, but they are okay at predicting the next thing. Our brains just aren’t wired to take 2 steps at once, but we can make 1 step + 1 more step fairly easily. Because this explanation sounds dumb, you know that it’s true. Let me give you an example from the book:

Hand a person a box of tacks, a book of matches, and a candle. Ask them to mount the candle on the wall.

Most people first start by making a shelf of tacks on the wall and then attempting to mount the candle on the shelf. Once they realize the box is empty and they see the shelf they think: I can use the box as a shelf and they correctly mount the box to the shelf with the tacks and put the candle in the box.

Facebook bought Oculus Rift. Facebook bought Whatsapp.

Months later we are just now seeing how those first steps are leading to the next steps. Oculus Rift lets people experience virtual worlds with other, real people in real-time. Whatsapp is a messenger platform. Facebook is a social media platform, which also features a heavy game element and already had Messenger. Messaging is already a bigger platform worldwide than social media and is set to grow. Gaming platforms like Steam, Xbox Live, and Battle.net are likely where Facebook is headed with their VR set, but I’m guessing they will have a live-meeting aspect as well.

I’m rambling now. I don’t know anything. Here’s what I know:

When I was young I used to have a third place to call my own. It was called “The Blue Lounge“. When that was threatened, I built an outdoor Blue Lounge. When that was taken away, I kept looking. I kept looking for a place that I could meet my friends and have a conversation. I dreamed of a day where I could virtually sit in a room with people just like I could back in the Blue Lounge. Now that day may be approaching.

But what about coffee?

I hear you. Get coffee together when you can. We’re not animals. Get out of your storage shed, onto your motorbike, and get down to The Raft to be with other people now and again. It’s good for you – and you just might save the world.