• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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Is virtual realty a gimmick?

As a gadget guy, you’d think I’d be ecstatic to try out a virtual reality gadget but I may have reached the point where technology either scares me or, more disturbing to me, just plain bores me.

The fear of technology is nothing new, but it has never been a fear for me. While countless sci-fi novels, movies and TV shows have preyed on that fear, I’ve never had it. I love the British TV show Black Mirror that’s currently on Netflix. And it’s all about the fear of technology.

Virtual reality
It looks cool, but virtual reality is still a little fake.

But something about virtual reality makes me wonder if it’s as useful of a thing as its supporters claim. Hulu just launched a Gear VR app that lets you watch its offerings in VR. Netflix already has a virtual reality option.

Thinking about it more closely, what’s so scary about it? That it’ll be too realistic? Am I just getting old where anything new no longer excites me?

Right now, virtual reality doesn’t feel like reality.

Both of those questions may be true, but it’s probably more of the latter. Virtual reality has a gimmick feel to it, like 3D movies. Any big blockbuster movie today has a 3D offering but there is some backlash to it. It doesn’t feel real, even though we as humans see the world in three dimensions. It feels overly produced.

Does using virtual reality do the same thing?

It does, a bit. It’s not as intentional as 3D but it’s so vivid that it is only a sensorial experience rather than a meaningful one. You’re caught soaking in the big picture instead of noticing details. It, as this point, still feels made up, not the realistic experience it promises because there’s a loss of texture.

I’m sure the VR manufacturers will get better and the experience will become a larger part of our world than it is now. But not all technical trends turn into something truly useful.

Right now, I’m not overly optimistic.

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