Move slow and fix things

Jimmy Zhang
3 min readFeb 14, 2024

After over 15 years working in Silicon Valley, I’m thoroughly steeped in the culture of “move fast and break things” and “throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks”. Shipping early and often suits startups well since you are in one of those Red Bull DYI plane competitions and most attempts go hilariously head first into the water. It’s a worthy strategy for many products and services but the world is not a one-size-fits-all kinda place. For some technologies, you have to move slow and fix things.

I joined the VR industry in 2014 and for the last 10 years I’ve often wondered why the average person couldn’t embrace VR (Spatial Computing) like I had and use this technology for “all the things”. I wondered why they got so hung up on the limited field of view or the “screen door” effect (SDE) or the motion sickness. I joked that we had to “drag people kicking and screaming into the future”. I thought the technology was ready and I was wrong.

Red Bull Flugtag

Spatial computing is a giant leap forward. We didn’t hackathon our way to the moon — the Gemini and Apollo programs were methodically planned and executed. Let’s face it, there were so many components of spatial computing that weren’t sufficiently “baked”. Passthrough wasn’t color until Quest 3/Pro and the optical distortion was still quite noticeable until Vision Pro. For my (close to) 20/20 eyes, Vision Pro is the first headset to reach “retina” display quality meaning the individual pixels aren’t noticeable. Controllers drifting or straight up needing to be replaced? Hand tracking that reminds of the original Leap Motion? Let’s not count out controller input yet but interacting with the stock “human controllers” crosses another threshold we didn’t know we needed to cross for wide adoption.

Sharing what you’re seeing with others in the same room is easy now on the Vision Pro with AirPlay. Taking spatial pictures and videos is controlled by a single button. Using the Vision Pro as a monitor for your (Apple) computer? Yup, similar AirPlay flow. Seamlessly transition between “AR” and VR? Turn the digital crown.

We’re still not there yet. Vision Pro has shown us that the average person out there needs us to keep baking. We haven’t cleared the weight and comfort threshold as evidenced by the indentations in people’s faces we’re still making and the fact that we have to ship two straps — one that looks great and one that will marginally improve comfort. We haven’t cleared the content bar yet since people are still excited about vacuuming aids . Price is the biggest bar to clear but that one is the easiest to fix. The stakes are higher now. Miscalculate on comfort and people may hurl and avoid you like a bad carnival hot dog. Go too intense on a jump scare and give someone a heart attack. Us developers need to be more deliberate now and fix more of what we thought were “the little things”. A lot more care and intention are required.