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24 Hours with Spectacles and My Excitement Has Disappeared - Carlos Gil

One word to describe Spectacles: Hype

I don’t know how to say this, but I’m really disappointed.

Rather than offer a traditional product review which rants and raves about how great Spectacles are, I’m going to offer you a sincere synopsis of my experience.

I want to preface by saying that I’ve pondered for the last 24 hours how to write this post without coming across as negative or anti-Snapchat because the reality is that Snapchat is still my go-to social network.

What has changed though is how I feel about the Spectacles product and its launch.

I’ve been hesitant to write this post out of fear that someone at Snap, Inc. will see it and immediately blacklist me so I want to reiterate that this is not a knock at the company but rather feedback from one loyal user.

So here it goes…

I have never in my life developed an obsessive compulsive disorder over anything like I have with Spectacles.

Around three weeks ago, when the first Snapbot was launched in Venice Beach, CA, I didn’t think much other than I would buy them once they’re available for sale to the mass market.

However, as soon as the first tweets started to roll out my fear of missing out kicked into high gear.

Seeing famous YouTube sensations like Jesse Wellens and Andy Milanokis tweeting that they had Spectacles triggered a series of emotions that I’ve never experienced before over a consumer product.  I was jealous, envious, and sad all at the same time. I was confused.

I am someone who has now spoken to upwards of thousands of marketing executives about applying Snapchat in their business. Disregarding the fact that they have millions of subscribers and followers, why did two YouTubers get a pair of Spectacles before me I pondered.

Then, a few days later, as I was visiting family in Florida the Snapbot appeared in Big Sur outside of San Francisco.  A good friend of mine was lucky to snatch a pair that he later flipped on eBay for a profit.

Once again, I felt left out and lonely, as if I was the only kid at school that didn’t have the hottest toy or nicest sneakers.

I started working every angle that I possibly could even reaching out to a senior executive at Snap, Inc., who informed me that not even employees were allowed to purchase them at this time. I would have to get them through a Snapbot.

As the days went on, I became obsessed with scouring Twitter to learn about people’s experiences with Snapchat Spectacles.  I would chat with friends across Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter in areas where the Snapbot would appear next as if it was a scavenger hunt leading me to a pot of gold.

When the Snapbot made its way to Catoosa, Oklahoma, I officially showed signs of my desperation when I begged my social network to fetch me a pair if they lived close by. I even went as far as trolling the Twitter feed to see who was in line at the location of the Snapbot and offered to pay them $1,000 to get me a pair.

Still, no luck.

This brings me to last Saturday at which point my 6-month pregnant wife, daughter, and I were parked at the Muir Woods outside of San Francisco where I swore the Snapbot would be next.

As we sat in the car and saw the countdown from my iPhone, the seconds turned into minutes.

With my hands sweating profusely and heart racing faster than ever, I was utterly disappointed when I learned that the Snapbot wasn’t going to be in Northern California but instead at the Rose Bowl in Southern California.

But, I had a plan.

I immediately called a friend and asked, “Sean, do you want to make a quick $1,000?”

After a bit of convincing my friend, who happened to be 15 minutes away from the Snapbot, drove to the location, sprinted across a field of tailgaters, and stood in line for well over an hour and a half.

I was literally pooping my pants in excitement.  I was already planning on driving to SoCal that evening (approximately 6 hours away from my home) to pick up my new present.

This was until Sean called to let me know that they ran out of Snapchat Spectacles roughly a few people ahead of him.  My heart sank.  This made me want them even more.  These Snapchat Spectacles had officially become an obsession.

The next day the Snapbot was literally at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  I decided at that point to pull the plug on my chase.

I decided my sanity is worth a lot more than a pair of sunglasses, therefore, I’d just go onto eBay and purchase a pair.  This was until I woke up on Monday morning to discover that Snap, Inc. had opened up a pop-up store in the middle of New York City.

Finally, there was hope… or was there?

 

While there was, in fact, a Snapchat Spectacles store, there was still only one machine.

Nonetheless, I raced to Facebook and Twitter putting out the call-to-action to my network to see who could get me a pair.

Sadly, my friends that either had already scooped up a pair, waited in line for someone they had committed a pair to, or they wanted to sell them on eBay to make some Christmas cash.

I get it.

Then it happened, a few friends reached out over Facebook saying that they would be heading to the store sometime that week and would get me a pair

Hallelujah!

One of those friends, Jessica Bahr, unfortunately, spent a total of 13 hours in line over two days and was turned down at the door on both occasions.

Fortunately, another friend of mine, Ronald Curiel, somehow waited his entire Tuesday until he was able to score a pair for himself and me.

Mission accomplished.

I was done.

No longer would I have to scour @Spectacles on Twitter nor see friends of mine posts with their Snapchat Spectacles while I sat at home empty handed.

From the moment I woke up on Black Friday morning, every time a car would drive in front of my house I jumped out of my seat, ran downstairs, and opened up the door thinking it was the U.S. Postal Service.

Because of the holiday, my package was delayed another day.

Then, on Saturday morning this happened…

 

At last, I was the proud owner of a pair of Spectacles.

In my mind, I had already played out every moment, every selfie, every Facebook post and so I went upon my business and did as I had mentally imagined I would do.

So here comes the fun part….

Are you ready?

After everything I just mentioned, now that I own a pair and the thrill of the chase is over, I am not just disappointed – I’m devastated.

Countless hours over the past several weeks have left me wanting more than what Spectacles are, a pair of sunglasses that record 10-second snaps.

Snap, Inc., Snapchat, Spectacles, et al. had me sold on a vision.

They sold me on a dream that this product was so revolutionary that my life was about to change right before my very eyes.

But before I conclude this post, let me provide you with a more in-depth product review.

I spent all day yesterday in San Francisco playing around with Snapchat Spectacles.

Here are some of my first impressions post below.

The first step is to pair your Spectacles with your iPhone or Android directly through the Snapchat app using Bluetooth technology.

Content recorded using Spectacles is manually backed up to a new Memories section of your account, called “Specs”, and does not automatically send to your story.

In fact, it can be confusing right out of the gate and took me a while to figure out how to transfer content from the Snapchat Spectacles to my account.

My plan was to go sightseeing and create content at the Golden Gate Bridge, Painted Ladies, and all of the classic San Francisco landmarks to then show off to all of you.

This was until I discovered on the drive to San Francisco that my pair of Spectacles only had 16% battery and, unfortunately, I didn’t bring the case which charges them with me.

NOTE: Watch this video to learn how to charge Snapchat Spectacles 

By the time I arrived in San Francisco, which is roughly an hour drive from my house, my Spectacles were at 8% and then 0% after taking a few snaps from the car.

Perhaps that one was on me for not fully charging them before I left but, nonetheless, I should have been able to get more than a few snaps out of 16% battery life.

Though I was not able to use the Snapchat Spectacles to snap, they made for a nice looking fashion piece as I walked throughout San Francisco’s Mission District and then into Peoples Barbershop for a haircut.

Because my Spectacles battery died before I could synchronize my phone again, I had to wait until returning home later in the evening to then upload content which had been recorded several hours prior.

Once I uploaded content from my Spectacles to my story, I was disappointed to discover that the quality of my snaps was not on par with that of my iPhone 7+ which takes far better looking photos and video.

And that’s it.

The harsh reality is that I bought into one of the most hyped up marketing campaigns of all-time and fell for it.

Would I stand in line for 6+ hours in the cold of New York City knowing what I know now?

Absolutely not.

For anyone who disputes word-of-mouth marketing as being an effective means for mass amplification, look no further than my own experience.

Spectacles right now is a V.1 product which is not a replacement for your mobile device that likely takes better photos and video.

It is, however, a tool to free up your hands and allow you to create first person point of view content on the go without having to use your phone.

By no means will my experience stop me from creating all the content and tutorials that I already have planned around Spectacles.

I applaud Evan Spiegel and the team at Snap, Inc. for making a product that in time will change how others view the world around us.

This is only the beginning and I feel humbled by how I let their product launch consume me.

Well played.