VEC Career Fair Part II: Reality Check

There’s nothing like Vancouver’s biggest Career Fair for folks in Digital Entertainment to highlight being a little fish in a big pond. As I pass the ILM booth and find my spot, I take stock of things.

First, there’s my materials. Or, rather the lack of materials. When I went to retrieve my 2′ x 4′ banner from the printer’s the previous night, I discover that in a Spinal Tappian mix-up they’ve printed me a 2″ x 4″ banner.

After an evening spent designing sheets explaining who we are and what we do, I stop by early morning to print off copies, but a technical glitch with the printer leaves me scrambling last minute to get down to the Convention Center with no materials in hand, and too early in the morning to avail myself of a Staples or Kinkos. As a hail Mary, I pop into the downtown SFU campus in hopes that I’d be able to print in the IT department (I’m still on the books as an instructor thanks to the Aging in Place course we created and led at Source Facilitation) – but no dice, too early for them as well.

I drop off my gear for the day at our booth and wander, looking for a solution. My hero arrives in the form of Helen at the Pan Pacific Vancouver, who prints me off a copy of each piece in between juggling guests signing in. (Thanks Helen!!!)

Back at the booth, I practice what I’m going to say. This is the first time I’ve tried to explain our business model since its evolution, so I’m nervous. Is it going to make sense to anybody?

Once the doors are flung open, there’s no time for nervousness and it gives way to excitement as close to 3000 job seekers begin checking out the booths. The background audio as things start is the first guest speaker, who’s schpiel is on why VR is a dead industry with no future. Resisting the urge to join the crowd at Q&A and ask cheeky questions, I talk with the professionals streaming by, joking with a few about the linearity of the speaker’s argument (mobile is everywhere and great, therefore VR will die) – with cars as ubiquitous and useful as they are, when will they stop making ships?

Stumbling over it the first few times, I eventually hit my stride, switching hats between VRARA rep (“Did you know Vancouver’s the 2nd largest VR / AR hub in the world? The VRARA brings together the best minds from each segment of that ecosystem and helping track and improve the industry…”) to Banging Rocks (“We’re a startup using VR / AR for positive social impact in a range of domains, and we specialize in creating per-project ad-hoc teams…”)

By the end of the event, my voice is hoarse and back aching from 6 hours on my feet chatting with folks. And I have two key takeaways:

  1. Our model isn’t actually that hard to understand once I explain its parts.
  2. There’s a lot of potential interest as it’s such an easy fit for students, folks looking for work, and those looking for something interesting to do off the side of their mainstream desks.

Over the next day or so I’ll be updating our site and explaining what this new model is and why I’m excited about it.

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