Augmented Aesthetics


Before I get to today’s newsletter, I wanted to share the annual letter written by Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital.  It’s a quick read and quite the contrarian take on the current VC climate.  I particularly enjoyed the parallels he highlights between PE/VC and healthcare organizations.

Now, to the newsletter:

Topic of the Week: Augmented Aesthetics

My husband and I take a lot of walks. It’s our time to catch up, enjoy the nice weather, and get some exercise in the process.  My favorite use of this time is to take advantage of my hostage audience and ramble about whatever topics I find most interesting that day. Bless him.

This past week, the topic was augmented reality.

In case you’re not familiar, augmented reality is a category of technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world (per

Pokemon Go is one of the wider known examples of augmented reality, but there are a lot of companies doing interesting and useful things with augmented reality.  See this Forbes article for examples.

Most of these use cases require you to view the world through your phone, where you then see static and obviously computer-generated images.

It’s still early for augmented reality; however, I don’t think we are too far away from incredibly realistic augmented reality used by the masses.  By realistic, I mean images that react to environmental changes and can be viewed in our normal field of vision (think google glass but less douchey).

Imagine this.  You receive an invite to my annual holiday party.  Upon stepping into my home, you enter a winter wonderland scene, complete with snow falling from the ceiling and icicles dripping from every corner of the room.  None of it’s real. It’s all digitally designed, and I uploaded to my augmented home.

What if we could engineer and design every visual aspect of our life and change it at the drop of a hat to something completely different?

We already see people doing the early stages of this on social media.  It’s rare that an image is uploaded without first editing it or applying a filter to make it look different.  If the ability to do that dynamically, in real-time existed, I believe people would jump all over it.

Augmented decorations. Augmented makeup. Augmented clothing. Augmented gardens.  An entirely curated and augmented aesthetic life.

This was the stream of consciousness I was unloading on my husband last week.  His favorite use of our walk times is to poke holes in all my ill-formed theses. He quickly shot down my take on the future of augmented aesthetic design.

He believes augmented reality is a blip on the way to something closer to Ready Player One.  He doesn’t think you need to change someone’s perception of the physical world if we can all enter a world that can be entirely customized in an instant.

My brain is officially fried from writing this post, so I’m going to leave you with a final question: Team Seamus or Team Danielle?

In the spirit of failing fast, I deleted the Candid Instagram account.  I may try it out again in the future, but for now, you are stuck sharing your feedback via email or twitter.

Have a great weekend!

About the author

Danielle O'Rourke

Recovering Investor. Mom. Wife.

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By Danielle O'Rourke

Danielle O'Rourke

Recovering Investor. Mom. Wife.

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