Random Glass Encounters #1: Fremont Street

I always love interacting with strangers – i generally have a very optimistic and positive outlook about people and love hearing the wide variety of unique stories that people have to offer.  It’s one of the reasons i love playing poker in casinos and have an affection for public transport such as the New Orleans street car or airplanes – it offers opportunity for interaction between strangers that when passing each other on the street would not give each other the time of day.

I wore Glass a lot during my vacation time in Oregon, Washington, and Nevada these past two weeks, and i quickly discovered that Glass was another conduit for random stranger interaction.  There were quite a few people who recognized what it was and were very “fanboy” regarding the device, and there were others who may not have recognized it but were curious enough about it that they would come up to me and ask me what it was all about.  Wearing Glass made me more approachable – and while the resultant interaction had much more to do with me and Glass than the strangers i was interacting with, it was still pretty neat to see their reactions to seeing it and trying it on.

As a result, i’ve decided to start creating a blog series that document the more interesting of these Random Glass Encounters, something that hopefully over time will evolve and refine itself as a means of sharing great stories about strangers and about humanity.  The interaction I had with a street worker on Fremont Street is what inspired this idea, so it feels appropriate to start with him.

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These two guys were working Fremont Street in Las Vegas, walking up to passersby to convince people to go into the Plaza Casino.  The guy in frame was about to hand me the pamphlet and probably give his marketing schpeal, but as soon as he saw that i was wearing Glass, all thoughts of his job went out of his head and he immediately asked very enthusiastically, “Is that Google Glass??”

One of the Glass Explorers forum topics that i see on our little elitist discussion forum is the question “What do you do if someone wants to try it on?”  I haven’t read through that because i’m sure that opinions are pretty polarized.  I know that people are probably fairly wary of someone running off with a device that they sunk $1500 into, there’s also potential issue of privacy for all of the data on the device, etc.

For me, one of the reasons i got the device in the first place was to share it.  The likelihood that someone is going to run off with the device feels pretty low probability, and the reward of giving someone the unique experience of wearing it far outweighs that low risk.  In fact, i’ve found that in some cases i have to take a fairly aggressive approach regarding sharing the device – most of the people who approached me asked questions about it, but didn’t ask if they could try it on, probably because they’re afraid to ask or assume that i would say no, so I’m the one that has had to say, “do you want to try it?” and help them put it on.  Almost everyone has had that “opening up Christmas presents” look on their face when given that opportunity.IMG_20130726_131844

I remember very clearly that when I asked this guy if he wanted to try it, his eyes got wide and he asked, “are you sure?” and i said of course, no big deal, and helped him put it on.

He was immediately enamored with the device – it was clear that he was pretty fanboy about it and knew about it generally (he knew that it was in limited beta, he knew i had to pay $1500 to get it), but he didn’t know a lot about the specifics of what it actually did and how it worked.  So i walked him through the basic functionality of taking pictures and video as well as the other features of the device.  I discovered fairly early that Glass can pick up my voice commands even if someone else is wearing it, so I did an “okay glass, take a picture” while he was wearing it to get another of what people have been terming “selfies,” and the reaction on face when he realized that i was giving it voice commands to take a picture was priceless.  I did the “okay glass, record a video,” and ended up taking a 13 second video while he had it on:

The other guy knew about the device too and asked a couple of questions but was otherwise pretty sideline about the whole thing.  After another minute or so of talking, mainly speculating about what the price of the device was going to be when it went public, they both walked off.  He never did hand me a pamphlet or even tell me which casino he was promoting – i had to look at the picture afterwards to figure it out.

I wish i had gotten his contact information so i could have forwarded the pics with him wearing it.  I’m sure he’s told his friends about it, likely posted something on facebook or google plus about it, and knowing that Glass created that sort of personal story for him makes me pretty happy.

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Mendel Lee

I'm a composer, musician, and music educator residing in New Orleans, LA.

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