Glass Greets Paris: Parlez français?
December 12, 2013
Posted in Paris
If you’ve ever been to France, you know that language matters here…a lot. Keeping the global invasion of English at bay is a passion, so how would Glass fair in Paris?
In Paris, much as in Spain, Glass’s arrival sparked curiosity. Walking down a street someone’s eyes would meet mine and if our eyes locked, the pedestrian would, ever so politely, ask, «Excusez-moi» and point to Glass. I’d stop and show, demonstrate its abilities but, of course, giving commands in English, they’d ask « Parlez français? » Well, not quite. It will translate French, though, and instantaneously! Ah, bon, but $1,500USD and it does not speak French!
Glass has a lot of competition for Parisian pocketbooks, I realized quickly, but how would the techies here feel? My friend Sebastien invited me to the Remix Job Fair, an incredibly well organized Parisian startup job fair, overflowing with hundreds of job seekers happily talking to dozens of companies. Once inside, the whispers and glances crescendoed but no one approached. We needed to crack the curiosity code.
Fortunately the opportunity arose quickly when Sebastien introduced Glass (and me) to prominent Parisian tech blogger Korben. I demoed Glass and the whisperers collected around us, unleashing pent up desire to ask and try. Soon I was encircled, person after person inquiring about Glass, wanting a photo with Glass. And, of course, they asked question: « Parle français? » Well, not quite.
Instant celebrity got Glass a broadcast interview with Florent Paret. He wore my Glass as I coached him through a few simple commands. “When will Glass be released in France? And when it is released will (it) Parlez français?” Wish I knew. “I’m just here to get people’s reactions,” I’d say. “I’m on a journey with Glass, not marketing it.”
Outside this event and when not on the street, my Parisian contacts had either seen Glass before or known someone with Glass. A friend studying at Istituto Marangoni had done a recent class project on enhancing Glass fashion appeal by partnering with Luxottica. She congratulated me on my choice of charcoal Glass. Classy and not too flashy…
In sum, Glass provoked less passion in Paris than in Spain, less overt desire to acquire, but still a high quotient of curiosity. To break into this city Glass will need to become multilingual and it may also need to hurdle local frugality. Parisians use a phone until it no longer works, as I learned with Sebastian, who also told me about a new no-contract phone company that provides cell service for only 20 euro a month. You want to compete against that Glass? You’d better parlez français!