Hub Life – Building Community, Making VR, Changing the World

It’s a truism that like a fish, we take for granted the waters we swim in.
I’ve had the great fortune to be swimming in the confluence of some amazing waters lately will be starting to share about that here, in a “Hub Life” blog series. There’s two key pairs of intertwined threads this will focus on the values I’m focusing on and the vehicle I’m using to do it. All these come together in my new workplace: Vancouver’s new VR / AR Hub, created through a partnership of Launch Academy and the Vancouver chapter of the VR / AR Association.

The first pair: Positive Social Impact and Community Building.

These have always been passions – from the amazing community of wondrous weirdos that gelled in the 90s (you know who you are) through work with children & youth in a host of settings to my passion for cohousing, facilitation and facilitation training or building arts based community with the Living Closet arts collective. I’ve always been surrounded by a deep community of extraordinary people passionate about the world they live in and how to make it better.

In January 2018 I made the decision to bring my work and life more solidly in line with my love of community and the addictive adventure of building better games and systems for our species to engage with.

Joining Launch Academy’s VR/AR Hub has given me an amazing opportunity to engage with these values heartily.

The second pair: Immersive Experiences and Entrepreneurship

Societal paradigm shifts are slow. As Quantum Mechanics is to Newtonian Physics, as Fractal Mathematics is to Platonic shapes, so Augmented and Virtual Reality are to traditional computing. Every truly revolutionary change in how we understand and interact with the universe takes a long time for people to get. QM is about 100 years old and aside from treating its paradoxes as entertaining, the vast majority of us don’t appreciate how radically it has shifted the bedrock of our beliefs about the universe and our place in it.

Fractals can be beautiful, so they’ve had more attention, but it’s still fairly rare for folks not steeped in them to jump from the aesthetic to the significance.

So too with VR and AR – we’ve been in a slow-burn increase in understanding of their significance for decades now, and the technology is quickly catching up with the potential. But on the whole we haven’t grasped the written-language-level shift in our perception that XR represents.

The precedents we set right now will determine how effectively XR gets used as a tool to uplift humanity, or to target our weaknesses for profit.

I see amazing potential, and find myself in a position where I can be a part of the emergent, extraordinary group aiming it towards human betterment. And so, here Banging Rocks is, and here I find myself, at the VR / AR Hub

These Are The Voyages…

So, it’s cool that I get to try to chart these waters, but I’m going to record some of them here. I’m going to call this set of posts “Hub Life” because the VR / AR Hub is central to my current experience. I’ll talk a bit about why the Hub is having the impact it is, and about what I’m learning and experiencing there. I’ll also pull up the hood to show what’s going on in an early-stage startup. How our business model is evolving, how we deal with partnerships, our investment thesis for which projects to take on and how we handle our pipeline….. the frustrations and subsequent elations when SteamVR updates their input binding system… whatever is on my mind or whatever folks are wanting to know.

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