Facebook, fake news, and our troubled relationship with social media is just the prequel to our evolving relationship with technology. This great read from the Atlantic starts to frame some of the bigger issues we’ll need to face as a society of humans….
Author: jblogg (page 1 of 10)
I’m excited to work with Walmart on their virtual reality strategy. The project is within Walmart’s incubator called Store No. 8. The Store No. 8 reference comes from the name of Sam Walton’s early store, where he experimented with new and bold ideas for retail.
I was impressed with the Store No. 8 team from the first meeting. Creating a culture that plans for change that is 3-4 years out is hard, many say it cant be done within large traditional organizations. I’m up for the challenge!
Were building the ground floor for V-COMMERCE and planning a major VR event in October.
Stay tuned as a new adventure begins and I will share more details as our projects progress!
Background on Store No. 8
Walmart VR Focus:
I recently read a great summary of what the major labels are doing in “VR” (link below). The initiatives mentioned are cool, and moving things forward. But I dont think any of these video based initiatives really are “VR”. 360 video and live concerts in a headset feel more an incremental new video format than a disruptive new medium.
Take a read and think about what it takes to create real disruption!
Over the holidays I always get a chance to catch up on my reading and thinking.
Here are a few stories that frame the future.- Some scary, some Hopeful, but all ring true. Lets make sure we know where we are going!
The end of adolescence
When every moment of childhood can be recorded and shared, what happens to childhood?
How video games unwittingly train the brain to justify killing
People will still power an AI workforce
The top artificial intelligence stories of 2016
The Case Against Reality
I am excited to share I am working with Mindshow, a Virtual Reality app that lets you make your own VR cartoons using your body and voice, acting out your own parts, and then filming them in VR to create a clip you can share on all social platforms.
That’s a mouthful because talking about VR is always tough – so lets just say Mindshow has that “thing” that’s been missing from VR and I was hooked the first time I tried it!
Virtual reality does provide a platform to consume content in a new way, but what about creating content? Do I need to learn a programming language and visual effects tools to be in the game? How will VR meet the “everyone is a creator” ethos that YouTube helped solidify? How will VR disrupt creation in the same way Youtubers re-defined what’s “watchable” for an entire generation?
Mindshow takes advantage of immersive VR to create and share stories of your own. When your senses tell you you’re an alien or space captain – something NEW happens to your creative brain. But acting inside the characters is just half the fun, stepping out of the characters and then filming your performance in a virtual 360 space lets you express yourself in new ways. And when it’s done, you have a video you can share on all social platforms. Even if your friends don’t have VR they can be a part of it today!
I cant wait to see what a new generation of creators use it for! Working at maker convinced me that VR needs more then just content, we need to build an ecosystem that builds a deep connection between users and creators, getting everyone involved. Creating content = play for kids today, and Mindshow found a way to use VR to make a whole new way to play!w
So weather or not you have VR, wth Mindshow, I can share my VR experience with you in a way that makes it fun for everyone!
I enjoyed speaking on the Investments in VR panel, part of New York Media Week 2016! I also met some cool folks at the digital influencer dinner. A few snapshots and a link to more info!
T. Hale Boggs, Partner, Corporate/Finance, Capital Markets and Venture Capital, Manatt
Tim Chang, Managing Director, Mayfield Fund
Matthew Wang, Managing Director, Evercore
Bryan Biniak, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Nokia Growth Partners
Jeremy Welt, President, Invisible Robot
Moderator: Joost van Dreunen, Co-Founder & CEO, SuperData Research
Take a deep dive into the process and creative driving the combination of VR and Music today with Wired. From a business perspective, Wired’s article also does a god job at drawing attention there may be something here people wood pay for! I agree, and believe that VR, when combined with music, is impactful enough to make Music a primary activity again, and increase monetization direct with fans.
Peter Understands how Disney and earnouts work and it takes time…
Jocelyn shares Video Inks coverage of the merger…
Full interview here, starts at about 7 minutes in…good insight to how difficult mergers can be, upside and challenges they both make great points!
For the last few months I’ve been advising the mobile VR company SPLASH. They are a crucial part of the emerging Mobile/Social VR ecosystem.
Splash lets you create fully immersive 360 videos with just your phone. Even better, you can watch them in a entry level VR headset like Google cardboard, again with nothing more than your phone. The app also allows you to share native 360 on most social platforms, so no reason not to explore!
On Friday, Splash announced a 2.5 Million raise, led by Greycroft Partners, other participation from Advancit, Felix Capital, BDMI, Seedcamp, DeNA, Kevin Wall, and e.ventures. The Splash team just completed a great run at Vidicon, sharing the app with the creators and executives that are the glue between the future of video and the future of VR!
Update 5/4: More Pictures!
I traveled over 300 miles and climbed a mountain to an ancient forest, all for a chance to watch Marshmallow Laser Feast at work! MLF, The creative collective know for the Sundance award winning “In the Eyes of the Animal“, as well as my favorite VR music video for Squarepusher (available on samsung gear VR and cardboard), was headed to a special trail to find and digitally scan a 5000 year old tree for their VR project #treehuger!
I got to tag along and I’m not a wimp when it comes to hiking! But this was much more – we weren’t prepared and nature pushed us hard. In the name of “digital art” all of us faced real fears we wouldn’t make it out alive!
But before fear of snowy death brought is together, true passion for VR is where the journey started. If you’ve tried presence based VR, (That is the high end headsets coming out now from Oculus, HTC and Playstation), you learn quickly the powerful graphics and capabilities don’t just make a great VR experience, they leave a lasting impact long after the headset comes off. This is what mass consumers don’t yet know about high end VR – See a forest in VR, care more about nature for days after your experience.
With good intentions we hit the road on a Monday, and on the way up to the park, we were warned by several people that the road to the pines were closed for the winter. We heeded no warnings, it was sunny and 70 where we were, so we pushed onwards
But as we got higher, we entered the
snow lines, and into those clouds. Strangely all the roads were open!
Finally, the road dropped us far above the snow line. It was getting to deep for the Tesla, so we parked on the side of the mountain, and went about a mile on foot to the trail head.
Once we got on the path, the views were amazing!
Finally we got to a peak, and could see the old pines, but you cant run the capture machine with the snow because it throws off the data scan. Barney (pictured) kept saying “its going to clear up, the sun will come out”…
From here, no one believed it…and then it happened !Clear Skies!
Time to scan the forest!
It was only about 8 minutes for a full scan, and after meticlous captures, from multiple angles, we realized it was getting late. The sun was moving behind the mountains, and the snow started again. As we set out on the loop path back, we realized we had twice as far as we thought, or almost an extra 2 miles, plus the walk back to the car.
Here is where it got dicey! The snow was so deep, just moving a few steps at a time took a lot of effort. We had no snow gear on so we were soaked and cold, and now running out of energy (no water or food).
There is a reason these trees have been untouched up here o long – its rough!
Trudging through deep snow, expelling so much effort with every step, we were at the end of our rope when we finally got out of the woods…
…then 1 mile back to the car
We had to leave Ersin at the trail entrance at this point He insisted on stopping to run a towel on his feet! To be fair he couldn’t feel them, but the sun was down and we were so close. He promised to not die in the snow, but I had to get bad to the car.
But when I finally got back to the car, I collapsed and had a mini panic attack! I couldn’t catch my breath! Instead of felling relived and warm, I threw up and basically passed out within minutes of getting back to the car.
Ersin made it back with warmer feet and I when I woke up we realized I got Altitude Sickness. We were at 9000 ft. Luckily the guys were able to drive most of the way home. A burger and fries later, we glided back to LA with some magic captured in the machine..
Stay tuned to see what it looks like.
Its been a great ten year arc in the online video Space!
From “your doing what with your phone?” (see clip below!) …
..to the sale of Maker studios to Disney, online video has matured. To think uploading video with your phone was a conversation stopper just 8 years ago!
I’ve been part of the online video from the beginning and I am as excited about the VR journey as I was when working with Ashley Tisdale to put the first established artist on youtube ever!
Ben Smith has a few article worth reading over at Road To VR, connecting the dots between the online video revolution to todays growth in VR.
Someday well have a video to look back at that will make the beginning of VR as old fashion as using youtube on your phone!
The Oculus developers conference is a hot ticket in Los Angeles this week! After a few months looking for the best experiences to play with on with my Samsung Gear VR (powered by Oculus), it’s clear developers and creators are calling many different types of content and experiences “VR”.
At its essence, a major part of Virtual Reality is your state of mind. This makes labeling anything challenging. Simple text messaging with a friend puts me in a “Virtual Reality”, and I clearly feel like I’ve left my current space, and am “with” that person.
If your just starting to explore this emerging industry, and looking to understand the ecosystems and hardware for consumers and creators today, here is a simple explanation of the different terms being used on the road to technology that can truly create a virtual world for all senses.
360 degrees of 2D video mapped onto a sphere. Think of cutting up a map and putting it around a globe, but your inside the globe looking out.
Here now – no extra hardware needed. For consumers, it works on iOS, android, YouTube, Chrome, and in many apps/browser plug ins.
User controls the POV from the fixed camera angle across 360 degrees of vision, you cant move the camera’s fixed perspective.
No interaction with environment.
Lots of hardware available to capture this now, its getting cheaper every day.
Here is a 360 video example from Discovery (but notice they call it VR….)
Facebook announced support for 360 video today
Where it gets a bit confusing is when you watch 360 videos with a headset like cardboard or Samsung gear VR. In this state, instead of using a mouse or your finger to move the camera angle, you can move your head to change perspective. With a headset, the spherical video covers your entire field of vision, and some assume the leap to VR happens here. To me, its too passive to call VR.
3D 360 (stereoscopic)
Taking all the the above but in true 3d. I find Its sometime hard differentiate between 2d and true 3D 360 video. 2d 360 kinda feel like 3D to me….
Headset or eyewear required, ideally headphones as well.
Your still in a fixed perspective and not interacting with elements in the video.
Harder to film live action as you need 360 and 3D rigs. Easier to achieve in rendered game environments.
From my experience, this is where great sound design makes a big impact, combing 3D 360 with sound cues, it all starts to come together. Again, still trying to resist calling this VR because there is so much more to strive for.
A slight departure to mention AR – People seem really excited about augmented reality. It’s not as interesting to me but needs to be mentioned. Maybe that just my nature, i want to swap out the whole of reality, not augment it! My phone does a fine job of augmenting things today. My car had a heads up display and I wont even go to my experience with google glass
Rendered assets over reality (think google glass and/or a heads up display).
User controls, and can process and interact with Augmented elements displayed over reality.
This gets very subjective, but the “true” Virtuality I see is in 3D, with a headset and headphones, with the ability to control camera’s POV. Your interacting with the environment, and other people, and ideally you have hand controllers and motion sensors that let you controll all aspects as if you were really there (oculus demoed their controls yesterday!).
Much harder to film, I’m not sure how or if you can even do this today with live action, but I think gaming is where this becomes attainable in a really cool way to start.
Today Oculus is making some big announcements at there confernce, so I will leave the further exploration of what it can be until after the keynote today. As with all early stage emerging space, everything may change by the end of the day!