Constant Curiosity | #13
Virtual Worlds, Sensory Deprivation & Revolutionizing Email
Howdy from Austin!
I hope you’ve had a great week.
Let’s jump in!
🤖 Virtual worlds
A recent article from The Information shared details about Apple’s plans for a virtual reality headset.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of Apple entering the VR space. The iPhone, released in 2007, was the last truly new platform Apple launched. A VR headset would immediately empower millions of existing iOS developers to start building on this new platform. This means world-class apps, games, and entertainment options will be developed for VR.
Virtual reality has already been making tremendous year-over-year improvements. Specifically, Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 headset delivers an incredible VR experience for an affordable price and sees great sales success.
However, VR has not yet entered the mainstream in any meaningful way. The average person doesn’t spend time in VR each day. Apple’s headset could change that.
This version 1 of the Apple headset is likely to be very expensive and won’t see mass-market adoption (much like the first original iPhone). However, it will pave the path for a cheaper and more mass-market device to follow.
Like most disruptive technologies, VR will come slowly then suddenly. It is quite possible that by 2025, VR will become a meaningful part of our daily lives. We could work with colleagues in a virtual office and stay in touch with family in a virtual living room. Virtual spaces could become nearly as important as physical ones.
🌊 A first-timer’s experience in a sensory deprivation flotation tank
The following is an excerpt from my journal immediately after my first sensory deprivation tank experience a few years ago.
I felt scared at first. It was the deepest darkness I had ever experienced. The tank felt unfamiliar and impersonal. I worried that I would be locked in, or that I wouldn’t be able to find the door to leave. Images of the tank filling with water as I slowly drowned raced through my head. “Drowning is supposed to be the most pleasant way to die,” I thought to myself.
However, remembering the 157 positive Yelp reviews and credibility of the establishment gave me ease.
I spent the next moments acclimating to the tank environment. Finding the right position for my arms and feet. I felt a strange pressure in my stomach, as if my body was being pulled down at both ends and stretching apart in the middle.
Once I felt I was comfortable, my mind began to wander. At first, I was concerned with getting the most of this experience. Would I have a life-changing lucid-dream-like experience like I hoped?
📧 Revolutionizing email
A brand-new email serviced launched last year called Hey. So, why in the world would someone launch a new email service in 2020? Especially when services like Gmail and Outlook are dominant? Even more surprising, this email service isn’t free. It cost $99 per year.
It turns out that email, invented in 1971, hasn’t really changed since then. Apart from unlimited storage, spam filters, and a better interface, email has remained virtually the same. Basecamp (the company that created Hey) saw that as an opportunity to finally do something new with email.
One of the most unchallenged assumptions about email (until now) has been that anyone with your email address can contact you. Unfortunately, that means that by now, your personal email address has been shared, sold, and spammed more times than you can count. Hey challenges this assumption via a fantastic feature called “The Screener.” By default, new emails don’t get sent to your Inbox; instead, they go to a separate section called “The Screener.” From here, you have the option to screen-out or screen-in each sender. If you let a sender in, you will get all future emails from them. If you screen them out, you’ll never hear from them again.
This simple feature completely changed my relationship with email. Now my inbox is a reflection of my priorities, not someone else’s.
There are many other great features in Hey, which you can find on their website.
The main lesson here is that we still do so many things every day that we just accept as the status quo. Yet, they are ripe for being rethought and revolutionized. The only question is, what’s next?
That’s all for now.
Have a great weekend,