hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

First 24 Hours of Google Glass

This was originally posted on May 2nd on Medium

Last week I got an email from Google informing me that I would be one of the first people to get Google Glass.

I had been anticipating this moment for years. We started hearing rumors of Google Glass a few years ago, but it wasn’t until last May, atGoogle I/O, that we saw people wearing them. And we all saw Sergey Brin sitting on the subway five months ago. They were being spotted in bars and around NYC and SF with greater frequency. Finally the day had come when I would get to bring mine home.

I had the opportunity to play with a pair at a Google event in February. But I was really curious about what it would be like to actually have them on my face out in the wild: on subway rides, first dates, at the office, and in bars.

This post isn’t about the metaphorical discussions around Glass and its impact on the future, however interesting those debates might be. I also want to avoid giving my insights, at least yet. It’s just about wearing Glass. Here’s a recap of my first 24 hours of wearing Glass (sports and sleeping not included).

Holy Shit, Today is the Day

At 3pm on April 25, Dustin (my plus-one) and I headed over to the 8th floor of Chelsea Market — a gorgeous, sun-filled loft. It felt nothing like previous Google events I’d attended, which were crowded but modest. Two young, friendly Glass-wearers took our IDs and showed us inside.

We were escorted into a beautiful lofted space, with windows and mirrors everywhere.

After Marina, our Glass Guide, greeted us, we sat down to get set up. We accepted free champagne because nothing says day drinking like momentous and historical advances in personal computing. Then she took us over to a wall to try on all the different color options that Glass is available in (teal, orange, shale, charcoal and white).

These days, so much emphasis is placed on the unboxing experience, and this one certainly did not disappoint.

Setup is painless. I downloaded the Android app, synced the Glass and my Android phone together, and was ready to go. My first text message, to my colleague Amanda, said, “hi from the glasses.”

I know, not very creative. But cmonnn. I was able to text Amanda simply by speaking a few words. And the amazing thing is — it worked. No fussing, no fucking up. It sent her what I wanted to say, and then Glass faded into my periphery.

After another glass of champagne, it was time to go out into the wild.

Stop #1 — The Office

We work in an amazing office with some great companies: Branch,Medium, Abacus, and ThinkUp.

They all knew what Google Glass was, but most have never seen it, so everyone immediately everyone gathered around. I passed them around so everyone could give them a try.

This was fun, but the day was over, and it was time

to head back out into the world.

Stop #2 — The Subway

We hopped on the L train into Williamsburg. We were a group of four, two of whom were wearing Glass. So we got a lot of curious looks and stares, but no questions or interactions.

Walking the streets of New York was much more interesting. One guy almost tripped over the sidewalk doing a double/triple/quadruple take of us. It was hard not to laugh.

Some hipster girl on a bike yelled “FUCK YOU AND YOUR GOOGLE GLASS!”


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nice, young couple came up to us and asked us some questions on the street while we were waiting for a friend and then asked to take a picture.

Stop #3 — Meatball Shop

We walked into the Meatball Shop and put our names down for a table. After we sat down, the waitress asked what was on our faces. When we explained what it was — a computer, but for your face — she said, “Weird,” and walked away.

The conversation was a total dud. I realized that explaining this thing to people who have never heard of it was going to be a process.

Stop #4 — Brooklyn Bowl

We went to a concert of Killer Mike and Big Boi that night at Brooklyn Bowl. Inside the venue people were looking but not really saying anything.

The moment the music started was one of Glass’s finest moments. I recorded 720p videos of song clips and the entire rendition of ”The Whole World,” and captured photos — and I didn’t have to take my phone out once. Although you do have to try and keep your head still, the content I captured was beautiful, and the sound and video quality are ridiculous.

The next stop was One Stop Beer Shop, my local bar. The first bartender, Michelle, said, “You are an idiot, what are you doing with that on your face?”

The other bartender, Claire, said “OMG!!! You have those!!! Wowwww!”

A couple of other regulars were curious, and we chat about it until around 1am.

Stop #5 — Prospective Office Space, Chinatown

We are looking for new office space, so a few of us went to check one out in Chinatown.

I had never been to this building before, so when I got off the subway I asked Glass to take me to the address.

Navigating with Glass is unreal. A Google maps navigation comes up on the screen, showing where you are and where to go. As you walk, it updates in your eye, so you only have to glance at it occasionally to see where you are going.

Again, it just worked. I believe I had to speak the address twice for it to get it right. But it got me right to the door from the subway with no fuss. The direction of the arrow was correct for the direction in which I was walking, and I made it there without running into any piles of garbage or old fish.

Not everyone in the company could come to check out the space, and as a result, I took some photos and video with my Glass and shared them then and there to all of my colleagues via Google+. After watching the video, they felt they didn’t need to go see the space themselves.

The cool part about shooting video with Glass is that wherever you look, you are filming. You don’t really need to think about where the camera is, as it’s just your field of view.

You can activate it by asking Glass to “record a video” or “take a picture,” or you can click a shortcut button on the top of the device to do either. I find myself using both ways, but definitely the button shortcut more.

Stop #6 — Red Egg

After checking out the office, we stopped at Red Egg for some dim sum.

We sat down, ordered food, and finished our lunch. Nobody really noticed or said anything, but Glass was on the whole time.

Then one of the waitresses came over.

“What is that?”

“Google Glass.”

“Shes like is it a microcomputer on your head?”

“Yeah exactly… Do you want to try it?”

“Can I?”

“Yeah sit down and we will show you.”

We played the video we took of the office space and had her place it on her head. And all she had to say was:


hacks things and practices open sourcery. Engineer.

How I Landed my Job at Grand St.

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Why We’re Offering No-Fee (0%) Pre-Orders on Grand St.

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We Did an On-Demand Pop-Up on Cyber Monday and Here’s What Happened

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Grand St. + Etsy

To everyone in the Grand St. Community –

Today we are announcing that Grand St. has agreed to be acquired by Etsy, subject to closing conditions.

As you may know, Etsy is an amazing company for handmade goods and a true pioneer in both marketplace development and the maker movement. We have always admired them from afar, especially their dedication to craft and their commitment to their B Corp certification.

While this is a big step for us as a company, we plan to change very little about the site and your experience of Grand St. in the near term. We exist to bring you the best in indie electronics from designers and makers all over the world, and we’ll continue to do that at grandst.com. We will continue to launch new features and have a few coming out soon that we think you’ll love.

Simply put: the rise of the individual, small-batch maker is changing product development, production and commerce. The process of making physical goods is shifting as consumers are more interested in unique and personalized products. This leads to a greater variety of products, and a fulfilling path to growth for creators. Etsy knows this and everything they do is designed to welcome this shift and embrace it.

We are very excited to be part of a company with such overlapping values, where we’ll have a chance to accelerate our mission of helping independent makers grow and scale. Thank you for your continued support,

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we really appreciate it.


Amanda, Aaron, and Joe

PS — Questions? Email us at hi@grandst.com, we always love hearing from you

is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

Introducing the Grand St. Marketplace

Screenshot 2014-02-19 09.09.34Today we are really excited to announce the Grand St. Marketplace.

Our goal has always been to create a better way for hardware creators to find an audience and get their products to market. For this new version of Grand St. we wanted to create a flexible solution that addressed indie hardware makers at different stages in the development cycle. We are launching a self-serve platform today that offers three ways to discover and distribute new hardware:

1. Pre-Orders: These are products that are not yet widely available, but will be in 1-6 months. If you are listing a Pre-Order, note that Grand St. takes 0% commission on these sales. This is possible because of the percentage we take on other types of products — our goal is to grow the entire ecosystem. We know that as a consumer, pre-orders are risky, so we are doing things a bit differently. We hold onto the funds until the product is shipping, so if the product fails to ship you will be refunded.

2. Beta: With Beta products, you can help contribute to the product development process. Beta products are evolving based on user feedback. When you purchase a Beta product, you’ll have access to a special discussion section with the testing group. For makers, the goal is to use Beta as a way to build a better product and to gather momentum, whether the next stop is crowdfunding or straight to retail. Grand St. takes an 8% commission on sales for Beta products.

3. Shop: This is for consumer-ready products that are 100% functional, offer guaranteed customer satisfaction and are currently shipping. It’s the gadget shop of your dreams, but for real. Grand

St. takes an 8% commission on sales for Shop products.

In addition, you’ll notice we completely re-designed the site to make room for these new products, and today we are launching with hundreds of new products…more than we have sold in the past year.

Hope you love it.

Please email hi@grandst.com with feedback!


is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

Happy 2014 from Grand St.

When we started Grand St. we wanted to build the best way to bring creative technology to the world. Over the past year, the community that has come together around Grand St. has been amazing, and fuels the work that we do every day. Thank you for your support, we

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As we look forward to the year ahead, I wanted to glance back at a few of our favorite moments from 2013.

1. We released our Android app in June. Our team is extremely passionate about mobile and our goal was to make a mobile Grand St. experience that was beautiful and easy to use. We were selected as one of 11 “Most Beautiful Apps” by the Android Design Team for both their summer and winter lists. Go download it here if you haven’t already.

2. We launched Grand St. to the public in July. After a few months of closed beta, we opened Grand St. to the world. The most exciting moment for us was seeing orders come in from all over the country and the world. Grand St.’s community grew a lot in the second half of 2013.

3. We worked with hundreds of creators. The core belief that informs everything we do at Grand St. is that anyone with an idea should be able to make and sell a product, and our goal is to make that easy. What excites us most is the amazing lineup of products we have for 2014.

4. Released some super cool hacks. We sell creative technology, emphasis on creative. And we have fun doing it. Check out these posts on jsTar and Mindwave Mobile. Our #impcube twitter contest was a worldwide trending topic in October.

5. Put together an awesome holiday box for our very first holiday season. The tweets, photos and emails that we have seen from all the Grand St. gifting has made us smile.

Keep an eye out for us in 2014….we are looking forward to introducing you to more awesome products and creators this year.

merchandises Grand St. and spends most of his spare time tweeting and thinking about puppies.

The 10 Best Holiday Gift Guides

As a merchandiser at Grand St., I spend most of my day finding what’s cool and thinking about what people want, so come the holidays my friends are fond of asking me what to buy their loved ones. Fortunately (unfortunately?) these days there are nearly as many gift guides as there are gifts to give, so I decided to share with you the best ones I know – a guide of guides, if you will. From gifts that help others, to DIY computers, to puppies (seriously). If you don’t find what you need in these guides, I will give you your money back.


Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.43.31
Essential to a good gift guide is a great design that makes it easy and pleasurable to shop. While most media websites take the slideshow approach (to feed you an ad with every product you view) the Grey Lady made an entirely custom design to show you their picks in an organized, easy-to-browse way. Their effort paid off big time.


2) Sugru Gift List

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.46.15
We unabashedly love Sugru, and their “alternative gift list” has some really great ideas that fall under three categories: things you’ll buy one and use for a lifetime, things that help you make and create, and things that help reduce your dependency on companies. It’s pretty rad.


3) Mouth

Screenshot 2013-12-04 16.06.12
Selling food online is hard – look no further than the late Gilt Taste and Fab Foodie shops. Fortunately a new startup – Mouth.com – seems to be up to the challenge, focusing on independent and artisan foods, and they’re doing a damn good job. Their gift guide is pretty sweet (see what I did there?), and who doesn’t like getting food as a gift?


4) Christmas.am

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.50.19
When they’re not talking about drones on 60 Minutes, Amazon occasionally sells stuff. Fortunately the utilitarian (read: ugly) design of Amazon proper didn’t affect Fictive Kin’s ability to make a beautiful, well-selelcted gift guide in the form of Christmas.am. More like this, please!


5) Toms Marketplace

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.57.21
It’s hard not to like Tom’s shoes, one of the first companies at the forefront of the “buy-one give-one” charity business model, and they’ve outdone themselves with the unveiling of their marketplace of other socially-concious goods. If you like to feel good about your purchases (or just gloat about how selfless you are when you buy things), you should check it out.


6) Bonobos

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.59.09
Cool Hunting always has a great gift guide, and this year they teamed up with Bonobos to create this beautifully presented, color-coordinated guide that includes plenty of non-Bonobos products from the likes of Jawbone, Best Made Co., Tom Dixon, and Jack Spade.


7) Maker Shed

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.45.29
The 8-year-old in me wishes I had a store like Maker Shed when I was actually 8 years old. Full of amazing DIY products for kids and families, Maker Shed’s guide is a one-stop-shop for the little maker in your family.


8) The Wirecutter

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.55.29
While normally they’re the go-to place to know what’s best in electronics, Wirecutter’s gift guide this year is full of great ideas both electron-powered and not. Just plain great.


9) Bureau of Trade

Screenshot 2013-12-04 17.17.35
Basically eBay for hipsters, Bureau of Trade is a great place to

find one-of-a-kind products (and puppies!). While they don’t have a gift-guide per-se, they’re chock-full of unique stuff ripe for the giving – I recommend the art section (and the puppies).


10) Grand St.

Screenshot 2013-12-04 18.01.07
You clearly have never met me if you didn’t think I’d end with the shameless plug. Seriously though, we at Grand St. spend a lot of time sifting through a lot of crap to bring you the best in independent electronics, and I hope you enjoy what we found for you this year. We even built some cool filters to help you narrow your search!
is a co-founder of Grand St. and infamous blogtress.

Today Only: Grand St. Comes to You

Screenshot 2013-12-02 14.46.37

It’s our first Cyber Monday at Grand St., and we are excited to feature a great selection of indie electronics this year. If you haven’t already, check out the site for some amazing gift ideas.

This year, we are also trying something new. Grand St. is all about introducing you to new technology products, and for our friends and fans in Manhattan, we put together an On-Demand Pop-Up Shop, powered by the fine folks at WunWun.

Download the WunWun app and hit “Request Pop-Up” and a WunWun Helper will come to your location with a selection of Grand St. products that you can test, play with, and purchase.

We like to think of it as bringing the store to you.

After all, the best part of experiencing a new product is to see it in person and

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play with it yourself. Try it out! Supplies are limited for now but our enthusiasm certainly isn’t.