Why Shark Tank was wrong to pass on PopSlate.

So in the last year I have occasionally watched Shark Tank. I think the concept and the execution is interesting. I am a huge Indiegogo and Kickstarter backer and work with campaigns frequently as a consultant so the end game intrigues me.

On this weeks show a project came up. Popslate. Normally there are two Sharks that I always agree with, Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec. The other sharks are interesting but I find the thoughts, ideas and projects backed of those two to fit with the logical view of the world that I like. Except for this project. This one I disagree with for a number of reasons. First off the concept of expanding cellular screen real estate fits with the future tightly. It is, as I have posted again and again tightly coupled with the screen as a service. It makes the peon more effective. The second version that just closed on Indiegogo with a great funding round, shows incredible promise.

External case for the iPhone. The sharks said two things that concern me. First they said the world is going to wearable’s. While I agree to a degree, expanded phone screen real estate is a path for the future. The second thing they blasted the founder for was being limited to the iPhone. This is not a religious war like Macintosh vs. PC has been for years. This is a manufacturing reality. The iPhone is a controlled ecosystem. Android phones are not, in fact from one maker to another (pick two companies that make Android phones any two) there isn’t consistent hardware. Different accelerometers, different almost everything.

I get why the other sharks passed. They are consumer goods people. Their concern is more for branding and distribution. That Robert and Mark passed for the reasons they did made me sad.

Oh well, they are right most of the time in my opinion so I guess everyone is wrong from time to time. I believe that given the reality of how people use cellphones today,the wearable impact is different than people expect. Watches are in decline overall. As a wearable device they continue, but the thing about wearable is output. Where does the information go? To your tablet and cellular device. They are IoT/CPS sensors. You can use them to gather information and consume that.

The other reality is the battery of your cell phone. Today, connected to the 30 or so sensors I have connected to my system my battery lasts about 8 hours. The extended battery I use adds between 8 and 16 more hours. That is it however. If it is a day I am with a customer, than my cell phone lasts 4 hours or less (including talking) so the extended battery helps me last the day.

My only fear for PopSlate the reality of fragility. Paper is a cheaper monitor so effectively you can replace it fairly cheaply. But accidents happen. Over time the device will get slowly decay from dropping and water etc. More resilient Populates will appear (3, 4 etc.) that handle this issue.

The future of IoT and CPS for me is integration. I want that information visible to me quickly. PopSlate as well as a few other projects will make the reality of the Screen as a Served (SCRaaS) arrive. Keecker, the screen that follows you and interacts with media sources you choose. Jibo the interactive communication tool to watch and communicate with lvoed ones. Skype devices from Logitech and others. All of these devices extending the screen as a service you can consume.  I have a dream.

Someday my screen will ask me where I want to pull content from. It will ask me where I want to display content. It will offer me the option to have my content, on the wall, plus the news playing on the traditional screen in the background.

Sorry Robert and Mark, I think you were wagon about PopSlate. But its easy to be a critic. Normally I think the two of you are spot on. This time, not so much.


Shark Tank Fan