What Product Managers Can Learn from Ray-Ban Stories

What Are Ray-Ban Stories?

Ray-Ban Stories are the first smart glasses by Ray-Ban. In other words, they're a pair of sunglasses that come in a couple different styles and colors but look just like the normal Ray-Bans you've come to love.

But unlike your normal sunglasses, these allow you to take photos and videos, listen to music and answer phone calls. Hence the term “smart.”

But we've been here before, right? Do you remember Google Glass?

How Are They Different than Google Glass?

I am one of those folks that bought an early pair of Google Glass. I was intrigued. But I was also one of the folks who stopped using it days after getting them, and being pretty frustrated about how much I spent for what the product was and did.

The Google Glass didn't just take photos or videos, but it also created a virtualized visualization (say that five times fast) that gave you a way to see things no one else could. If you never experienced it, you can see it here.

When Google launched the product, and in the rapid timeline afterwards, they kept pushed out several apps to help with adoption. This created a much more complex product than today's Ray-Ban Stories.

What Product Managers Can Learn from Ray-Ban Stories

I love my new Ray-Ban Stories. I'm here in Cabo running the 8th CaboPress, a business conference where sessions are in the pool. Imagine wanting to take photos of the conversations in the pool with your DSLR. You might freak out. But I had no trouble taking photos and video using my smart glasses.

Check out this great photo from my balcony taken not with my phone or my camera, but with my shades.

So what can product managers learn from Ray-Ban Stories?

I think there are three things I would call out.

  1. Keep your products simple. Avoid complexity. This product takes photos and videos. There's one button on them. That's going to help users adopt your product. I needed no lessons. The old Google Glass was a complex product. This isn't. And it's harder to build a simple product. So focus on that.
  2. Keep your story straightforward. We create and launch products to sell them. That means we have to be able to articulate their benefits, their features, and why it's worth spending money. If your story requires slides or a three-part answer, it's too complicated. The Glass story was complicated. Ray-Ban Stories aren't. In fact (more on that in a second), I think they could have even streamlined it more.
  3. Create ways for people to champion your product. My photos from my glasses are easily moved to my phone's app, and even my photo gallery – making it easy for me to share. And as I have over the last few days, I've gotten tons of questions and eager desire to try them.

What I Would Do Differently

Ray-Ban Stories still feel more feature-rich than I need them to be. In the end, while I appreciate the ability to answer and take a phone call from my glasses, it's not what I'm going to do, and I wonder how many others will do the same. We've become accustomed to a level of quality that I don't want to pull back from.

It also adds a bit of complexity to handle phone volume by sliding my finger on the side of the glasses – something I do without thinking.

All in all, I love this product and am excited to keep taking photos this week with them.

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