Selling the future when you’re still grasping at it yourself can be a tough game.
Mixed reality startup Magic Leap’s VP of Public Relations and Government Affairs Andy Fouché has left the company to join a stealth startup led by Andy Rubin, Recode reports. This comes just over a month after Magic Leap’s VP of marketing left for the same startup.
Magic Leap has run its marketing efforts like an overzealous Kickstarter and its PR like a certain tight-lipped Cupertino tech company. That disconnect from its engineering progress has left the company, reportedly valued at $4.5 billion, in a bit of a tight spot following a recent report from The Information that shed light on the fact that things weren’t coming along quite as quickly as the company’s communication thus far would have you believe.
While the process of miniaturization has advanced more slowly than the company may have expected, where the clearest failures have lied is in the cult of mystery and high expectations that Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz seems to have chased in order to inflate his company and his own premature illusions of grandeur, all of this before the company has anything to back that visionary status up with.
It’s clear that the time has arrived for a shift in the way the company communicates its ambitions. Now that the cat is in many ways a bit out of the bag, it might behoove the company to shift from drumming up enthusiasm based on the potential world their product might create to the real experiences that they have in the works for their consumer device. Taking a few pages from the Oculus playbook on communicating an eventual consumer product in language geared towards developers early-on would likely be wise for the company if its path to the consumer is as lengthy as recent reports have made it out to be.