Wow. Alright. So….
Just as I was starting to formulate my great escape from Los Angeles, into parts unknown around the world, in order to indefinitely become a digital nomad adventurer…. well… the phone rang.
“Hi. Is this Christopher?”
“Is this Christopher Emerson, the founder of the virtual reality tech startup SpherePlay?”
“Is this Christopher Emerson, the founder of the virtual reality tech startup SpherePlay, which we would like to accept into our investment accelerator program and to which we we’d like to give lots of investment money to get started?”
I might be paraphrasing slightly how that phone call went. But… in the blink of an eye, my life just took a very unexpected turn.
SpherePlay is my first technology startup as an entrepreneur and something that I have been dedicating a lot of time to over the past year and a half.
I have always wanted to launch a tech company of my own and my specific interests in virtual reality date back to when I was just 8-years-old. At that time, there was an announcement that one of the first public displays of consumer virtual reality would be on display on the Berkeley University Campus near San Francisco, California. My dad and I took a road trip over from Reno, NV to try this incredible newfangled technology, destined to revolutionize the world!
Especially by today’s tech standards, the entire equipment rig you were placed inside of in order to experience a very crudely rendered computer generated world was comically ENORMOUS, stupid heavy, very bulky, unwieldy, ugly as hell, nose-bleed expensive just to tryout, and sooooooo slow. In other words…. it was F#@%ING AMAZEBALLS!!!!
8-year-old me: “You are telling me I put this heavy plastic shoebox on my head and I get to look around inside a video game like I am (sorta) there?! SIGN MY ASS UP!!!”
Consumer virtual reality had a quick death back in the mid-90’s due to every single limitation listed above. The tech just was not even close to being there to pull off the dream of a truly immersive, seamless, powerful virtual reality sense of presence for the user.
Jump ahead a couple decades…. A small company named Oculus has one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all-time. Raising X # of BEJESUS $ while promising the rebirth and realization of that lost holy grail of virtual reality… true presence.
My inner-child inside me, who is still about 8-years-old, as though waking from a long nap like Smaug the dragon, began jumping up and down and running all over the inner playground/treasure trove of my mind, screaming with glee that dreams of virtual reality were alive again. And this time, all the technology is there to pull it off, needing only to be the size of a pair of large ski goggles and just as featherlight. We will now truly be able to be transported into photorealistic worlds and achieve the once elusive sense of…. presence. That feeling as though you are actually there.
I wrote a whole tech article on the subject for a blogger friend of mine, Juan Carlos Bagnell, better known as SomeGadgetGuy, detailing my take on the past, present and future of VR. Check it out!
by Christopher Emerson
It was at THAT event, GDC 2014 in San Francisco, that it hit me! BAM! I was struck with an idea. An idea good enough to turn into an entire tech company.
I finally asked myself, “What if I created my own tech startup company in this renaissance wave of virtual reality?”
My inner-child stopped, halted cold in his tracks. He stared at me, anticipation on edge. A grin cracking one corner of his lips. A single tear forming beneath a dilating pupil. It would mean some serious life changes, maybe some significant sacrifices along the road ahead if we committed ourselves to this. Could we do this? We sized each other up as though playing “chicken” on the playground. Each waiting for the other to make the next move. “What’s it gonna be?” Then, in a sort of inner-self-outer-self battle cry in unison, “Let’s do this!”
SpherePlay was born.
Now, a year and a half of emails, websites, phone calls, investors meetings, courier pigeons, team building, engineering development, and LOTS of learning… here we are.
A single phone call… two weeks ago… has led me to this moment. Right now, I am writing this blog post to you on an airplane to Montreal. I will be living in Montreal for the vast majority of at least the next 3-4 months. There will be various travels for work, but my life has taken a big and sudden departure from where I thought it was heading just a short time ago.
Before all this happened, I was just about to write a follow-up post to unveil my big decision of where in the world I would start my digital nomad travels once the self-imposed deadline of January 11th, 2016 rolled around.
A little secret between us, my dear reader… of all the choices I was pondering… I was leaning in the direction of starting deep in South America’s Patagonia, Chile, and Argentina, then onwards up through Brazil and everywhere else in the Americas.
So… a dream is coming true while another one is going to be put on hold for a little while. Or rather, be transformed into a whole new and different adventure. Though I didn’t think I would leave Los Angeles until January… and though it wasn’t on my list of destination considerations… my travel blogging digital nomad adventures start RIGHT NOW and in…
Life is pretty crazy… eh?
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