I waited for news and was glad for YouTube and Twitter. From January 6th through the 9th, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) provided thousands of companies opportunities to show off their gadgets. I follow trends, but I am not a gadget guy – unless it is an awesome gadget. There was a chance that this year one of the companies I follow would reveal an awesome gadget. The company was quiet. Maybe their major customer would make a major announcement. As the days passed, very little news passed – officially. Unofficially, people were talking on YouTube and Twitter, an in blogs. Social media, the new news source, particularly for individual investors.
There was a good chance that MicroVision’s recent mystery would be resolved. In the first week of January a small Korean company, Celluon, released news of a projector that would fit in your pocket, and that MicroVision’s technology would be involved. Finally, news for MicroVision, and its stock MVIS. Then, the notice was pulled from the Internet. Maybe pressure from one of MicroVision’s large customers squelched the news so they wouldn’t be upstaged. Sony might have that much power.
CES began. Sony announced a variety of products in their keynote presentation; but without a mention of MicroVision. A mention may have been asking too much, but even the allusions to the technology were only directed towards prototypes and possible, not committed, products. No news.
Hello, Celluon. Now, they felt comfortable officially re-releasing the premature release. They posted the original text, posted videos, and started the stream of tweets. MicroVision echoed the basics. No videos. No tweet stream. They let Celluon do the work.
Searching for news is easy if you are satisfied with the official story. Thirty years ago, that was the only option, except for those who could devote their time and money to newsletters. Now, if there’s an official story, there are unofficial stories too. If an official story was expected and not delivered, there will be unofficial stories about that. Thirty years ago we in the US relied on ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS – and newspapers and magazines. Editors were involved in every media. Now, anyone can produce news, they can produce it quickly, and we can receive it for free. The editor’s job of filtering the content, however, is ours. That is still much better than nothing.
If Sony had exalted MicroVision and sent MVIS to $200 I’d be satisfied with that news. Even $20 would be good. The lack of news may be what let the price of MVIS fall back below $2. The news from Celluon may be what helped it back above $2; but wasn’t enough to raise it higher. Such a small name has a small effect, until it proves itself. Celluon’s PicoPro pocket projector (not pocket protector) will be available by the end of January 2015. This is good news, but until the gadget folks get one and tear it apart to review it, there really isn’t any news.
Sony said little. MicroVision said little. Celluon said the most, but even that wasn’t much. I knew someone would be saying something, so I brought up my two favorite, unofficial, unfiltered, somewhat suspect, news sources: YouTube and Twitter.
People visit trade shows. Companies may have strict pronouncement procedures, but people post things for the fun of it, and maybe because it can be useful. In both Twitter and YouTube I’d search on the same names: MicroVision, Celluon, PicoPro (or in twitter-speak @MicroVision, $MVIS, @Celluon, and #PicoPro ). Visitors to the trade show posted tidbits and reviews. (Thank you, @PrimePremise.) Piecing them together, filtering out the obviously planted opinions, and watching in the backgrounds of the videos provided insights that may never reach an official outlet.
The good news. People seemed generally pleased when they played with the projector. That fact that it is always in focus is so seamless that it is easy to overlook, but they noticed – which tells me that focusing the other projectors is a problem for the competitors. The ease of use, the weight, the heat, the noise, the image were all so innocuous that they didn’t have to be mentioned. The PicoPro worked the way you want an everyday gadget to work, without a fuss.
The not so good news. Nowhere in the non-Celluon YouTube or Twitter feeds did I find a mention of MicroVision. Either the Non Disclosure Agreements are amazingly efficient, or there was nothing to say, not even about the prototypes described by Sony. This is like going to a family gathering and realizing there’s a cousin everyone is not discussing. Is the news so good that no one wants to jinx it, or is the news so bad no one wants to mention it? Even some non-committal tweets about how tired the company representatives were would at least humanize the event. Maybe they didn’t have much to do. I don’t know.
I use YouTube and Twitter for much of my news. The major news institutions are tending towards opinion and gossip and tending away from data and logic. YouTube and Twitter certainly do not enforce objective rigor, but they don’t stop it either. I can draw from the feed the pertinent and objective, flavor that with some subjective insights, and get a better feel for what is truly news. I do so for investing, but I also do so for world events, scientific breakthroughs, sociological trends. In the act of finding the central truth, I also get the ancillary environment.
MicroVision may not be doing much publicly to increase demand for their products or for their stock, but I can at least supply some of my demand for news by reading what others produce. Heavy filtering is required, but that’s the nature of our new news source.
Considering that, I’ve created a short MicroVision playlist on YouTube. Watch and enjoy, or at least learn.