On Copilot+ PC Launch

I got into design because of productivity software and consumer tech, and being able to witness a launch so closely feels very special.

There’s this feeling that I am...part of something bigger than myself? Okay, before you roll your eyes I should say I am normally skeptical and cautious of this sort of feeling because of the nationalistic trigger the government of my place-of-origin has often pulled. I still am and that’s why I am writing to wrap my head around it.

To be clear, I wasn’t there at the live event. I didn’t go to the recording watch party as it’s blue-badge-only™. Most importantly, I have contributed nothing to this launch. But, but! Oddly there’s still a personal connection to it because now I’ve met and known many people who worked on those things.

So in a sense it is close, like the designer who designed this Copilot+ PC sits right across my desk close! I’ve also met—or at least know the names of—the designers who worked on Recall, Paint Cocreator, and Windows Studio Effects. I might have even dropped by their Figma files and taken a walk. The launch became not so much about some random creepy features from a tech Leviathan, but real people with real names.

Despite how gorgeous everything looks from the outside, there are many many people scratching their heads behind those dazzling sizzles. After having an insider view of how messy and chaotic and stressful the situation was and how hard people worked and how many strings they needed to pull together to make it happen (it was still quite remarkable nonetheless!), seeing the devices and features finally shipped and get the attention they did I just feel proud of my colleagues and really happy for them. Now they have something shiny to put on their portfolios!

I think one of the other reasons why it feels close is that I’ve been using this new device myself. I mean, trying a new toy before MKBHD while all the tech influencers are commenting on and reviewing the device I have been using for the last couple months? It’s fun to hear people sharing publicly their thoughts and see how they align with or contradict the internal perspective—it feels so different from shipping updates iteratively and inferring people’s reaction by the proxy of data. But I have to admit, it also feels...weird.

I actually want to say it feels good, but it hasn’t always felt this way that’s why it’s weird. It feels good because I am in now. I am not just in I am aHeAd—I have the latest and greatest that everyone does not have. The weird part is that there’s this cognitive dissonance pre- and post-launch. One day before it was a secret to keep and a prototype to test, and after the announcement suddenly it became a token of status, the thing that everyone wanted to get their hands on but only a selected few have access to. So there’s this insidious feeling of vanity that I have access to things that others don’t. Of course I did nothing to earn this; it’s merely a coincidence of working in this team and I want to be careful not to mistake this attention/glory for mine.

On the other hand if you ask me how I like the wasn’t a particularly enjoyable experience to test drive it. I didn’t get to try Recall because some unknown reasons preventing me from installing the build. The camera or speaker would randomly stop working until a restart. Windows would crash many times a week. One time it got so serious that I had to wipe it clean and start from scratch. But all this is to say I didn’t get the retail consumer experience, so it wasn’t fun. It has become more stable now and I am sure it will only get better. But this is what contributes to the dissonance between a test driver’s prototype full of flaws and a powerful new device that just launched.

Anyway I’ve been rambling and just trying to put down some thoughts. Now back to work...