Once upon a time, John Doerr made a big bet on the Segway. And we all know how that worked out. There’s a reason it feels like the only person still using one is Gob Bluth.
“The Segway as an investment was a failure. No questions about it,” said Doerr during PandoMonthly in San Francisco. “I made some pretty bold predictions about Segway that are wrong.”
Doerr has been equally bullish about Google Glass. Still, Glass is fast developing a stigma, and it’s not even on the market yet: It’s been called a “Segway for your face.” Its wearers have been called Glassholes. And Doerr’s image has even graced this blog.
But Doerr believes Glass will escape the fate of the Segway. His firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers has even teamed up with Google Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz for the Glass Collective, which will throw money and support to developers building on Glass. He mentions that his firm did the same kind of thing when the iPhone was introduced, creating the iFund.
He thinks there are definite distinctions that set it apart: Glass is hands-free, recognizes your voice, and is operated using voice commands. In fact, Doerr is excited about the whole category of wearable devices, like smart watches, which leverage the power of big data.
“Entreprenuers are much more excited about what they can do with Glass than what they could do with these,” said Doerr, pointing to his smartphone.