What better publicity could a VR company ask for, than to have an Avenger demo your product in prime time, on one of the most-watched talk shows in America? That’s exactly the kind of lucky break Beat Saber had, and today’s guest – Zambezi Partners co-founder, and long-time occupant of the XR space, Jenna Seiden – was instrumental in making that happen. She regales Alan with the tale at the top of this new episode of the XR for Business Podcast.
Alan: Today’s guest is Jenna Seiden and she’s an entertainment and emerging technology consultant in VR, AR artificial intelligence, and IOT, and she’s a social impact investor. Jenna has a proven executive leadership in entrepreneurship, with demonstrated startup and high growth business experience. She has broad experience in traditional film, TV, digital media, augmented reality, virtual reality and video games. She has an innate ability to lead diverse groups, including creative, financial, and engineering teams. She has outstanding content and business development, success on a global stage, and a sophisticated board of directors, to production-level experience. She’s worked for some amazing companies; Venture Advisor for LUMO Labs Beat Saber, Springboard VR, Felix & Paul Studios, Baobab Studios, Exit Reality VR. She’s the former head of content acquisition and partnerships for VIVE Port at HTC VIVE, and she used to be the V.P. of content development and strategic partnerships for the worldwide business development for Microsoft Studios. It’s my absolute pleasure to welcome Jenna to the show. Welcome, Jenna.
Jenna: Thank you so much for having me.
Alan: And one thing I failed to mention; people can find you at Zambezi Partners.com. Welcome to the show. You have done so many amazing things in your career; where do we begin?
Jenna: I’m exhausted, hearing you give me such an amazing intro there. I’m just this person who likes to help people tell their stories. And I started off in sports, then went into traditional Hollywood, and somehow found myself being an explorer in all these new tech platforms and went, “wait a minute, these great storytellers have all these other places to tell different branching storylines. They can do this on YouTube, and they can do this on an XBox. They can do this now in VR.” And I sit right in the middle of the tech side, and the storytelling narrative side, and the business side. So I’m thrilled that I now have a narrative, because once upon a time I had employers go, “you make no sense, you move around too much.” And I go, “well, I’m not my grandfather that worked at IBM for 50 years.” This is a world where people do bounce around every two-to-four years, and we get to try things. And I love that I had such great experiences with some of these amazing consumer products companies. They were all challenging — sometimes were great, sometimes were not so great. And now, it’s the first time I’ve been on my own. But I’ve never been happier.
Alan: So, Zambezi Partners is a small consulting firm, but it seems like you’re consulting for some really big brands. I mean, let’s just take Beat Saber. Beat Saber was just on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Here’s a VR/AR game that is now in the forefront of mainstream media. How did that happen?
Jenna: I’m thrilled how that happened. I will caveat it with, I was on Jimmy Fallon’s team of agents back in the day. I worked on a mobile game with him. I used to work at NBC. But none of that was initiated when this opportunity came up, which is what I love so much. It was a nice thing to throw in there, when people who didn’t know me were like, “who are you?” But from the beginning, the Beat Saber team has always believed that their product is for the mainstream, and that’s what’s so great about it. And there was outreach directly from The Tonight Show, from some of the producers there who knew about it. Obviously, Jimmy is a gamer, and he’s been using VR to play Pictionary-like games and other fun things on his show. And there are times where — obviously — there are paid segments, and then there are times where Jimmy — and I know him personally to do this — just generally likes something. So, long story short, they did the outreach. Our head of marketing, Misha, and I spearheaded making sure we delivered to them. We worked with some other tech partners on our side. LIV, for example, to help them do the mixed reality. We played around whether or not we can do some custom songs for them and whatnot, and it was hard because we only have two developers. So our resources are very limited. But we were patient. They kept trying to find the right talent, and make sure the tech worked. They were really amazing in followthrough. And it all came to be that we got an Avenger, and she hit it out of the park. So we were very thrilled. And then three days later, I met at a Dave & Busters, and people are looking at our test stand-up arcade unit that plays Beat Saber. And I’m hearing people in the crowd go, “hey, you gotta see this; I saw this on Fallon last night,” and I was… I couldn’t have been more pleased. It was pretty awesome. And that machine at Dave & Busters in Denver, Colorado, was back-to-back booked, and families were playing.
Jenna: It wasn’t anything like the families were like, “oh, not sure they should play this…” [It was] “oh, I want to do it now!” And people kept coming back. And it was so awesome.
Alan: It’s so fantastic to see this just becoming part of our daily paradigms. VR has been accused of being isolating and stuff like this, but I don’t think — especially when you have the mixed reality part, where people can see what you’re doing in it. I think that’s really amazing. You mentioned LIV.
Alan: I had the opportunity to hang out with Cix, the founder of LIV… what, a few times? Great guy and amazing at taking a green screen and turning it into something magical on camera, giving people the ability to be in a video game, be part of it.
Jenna: Yeah, absolutely. When I was at HTC, yes, my job was a quote/unquote, “sit behind a desk” kind of thing. My favorite thing to do was work with all the other hardworking folks in our Seattle office and New York office, who were running around doing demos at conferences and events. And I would love to go to those, because seeing someone — once you were able to show them, whether it was on a screen, in the green screen, or put them in the headset — and they walk out, you can’t do it any other justice than letting people see what it is. So mixed reality is crucial, I think, for people to understand what it can be; not only in hitting music blocks flying at you, but also in training, and in all these other enterprise examples and educations. It’s very approachable. And once people start to not be scared, and there’s less friction in putting a headset on — with tetherless coming, with Quest, and all these other things — it’s really important that VR is not only mainstream for games, but also for everything you do in your life. Everything. So I mean, until that happens, when people start to see more content and headsets in schools and it’s just everyday that you’re going into your job to design a car or fix a heating unit, you’re putting on an area VR headset. That’s happening and it’s coming. So it’s fantastic.
Alan: My last interview earlier today was with Jonathan Moss, the head of learning for Sprint. And they’re using AR — mobile-phone-based AR — to create new education modules, and they’re seeing millions of dollars in savings already.
Alan: Millions of dollars in direct transferable… because I asked him about his KPI. “How are you measuring your KPIs?”
Alan: They said they’re measuring it in four ways; through sales, customer experience, turnover of new stuff, and then operating expenses. And when you look at it from that standpoint, they literally have shown a direct correlation to millions in sales and millions in savings, in travel and stuff. I asked him how much it cost. And it was under $100,000.
Jenna: Just as in enterprise or in entertainment; keep it simple. I am always saying — and I learned this really well at Microsoft, and worked at XBox — that we were developing the Kinect camera. The folks who created it had so many things in their bag of tricks that you could do with just the Kinect camera. And I’d say, “hey,” — I’m raising my hand here — “the audience that you need to adopt this right now? They’re not leaning forward so much as they’re falling off their chairs. They’re leaning forward a little bit [too much].” Just self edit. The simplest thing… Beat Saber, the simplest mechanic. You don’t have to overwhelm people with all these things. You can still have them, and I think you should build the product roadmap that way. But I agree, that it’s the simplest thing, and you don’t have to spend millions of dollars on the narrative piece — on the experience — to be able to communicate what you want the tasks to be, or the feeling you want to evoke. So yeah, I love hearing that. And I think in enterprise, those are amazing KPIs, to be able to judge the effectiveness of that. It’s a little different, I think, on the entertainment side. But on the enterprise side, I’ve seen it time and time again with many, many organizations.
Alan: We actually built AR platform, so that people could make their own AR, and we included 3D models and animations and all the stuff. And 99 percent of the people used it just adding a video to an image.
Jenna: Yeah, yep. I’m not surprised.
Alan: If we had known that, we would have saved ourselves a year of work.
Jenna: But it’s hard if you don’t know what they wanted. I work with Springboard as well, you mentioned that. And they are an amazing team based in Oklahoma, and have a lot of people who work remotely. And when I started working with them, they were very big into, “well, let’s ask the operators, because they are a content management and distribution platform for our commercial operators. Let’s ask them what they want.” And that’s not wrong. But you’re asking people for things that they don’t know about. So they’re going to go back to like, “oh, I want comedy, I want fashion.” And you’re like, “well, we don’t have a lot of that. We shoot a lot of zombies.” It’s not that you’re throwing spaghetti out there disingenuously, but you sort of — from what you did, and what a lot of people do — is like, “let’s give them everything, and then we’ll see what they want that they don’t know right now.” And so it’s sort of like, hey, you got a little bit of an edge ahead of them. Let’s see if we tell them and then hold back. It’s hard.
Alan: It’s really hard to sell everything, to anybody.
Jenna: It is. It’s like getting a Cheesecake Factory menu; it’s too much. And so even though you have all these tools in your box there, you have to look and then go, okay, who is my audience, and what can they digest? I mean, you’re doing that now with arcade operators. And there’s a difference between those mom & pop, independent, location-based entertainment folks, who are going online and informs, going, “hey, what headset should I use? What PC? How do you daisy chain these together? Blah, blah, blah?” And then you’ve got the tiers that are above that, of the family entertainment centers who are… I say more of a legacy business, because they’re used to buying a Pacman arcade unit, and they’re like, “what, you mean price per minute?” You have to adjust to what you’re selling to all these folks who are brand new. And so for you to have all that skill set and breadth of experience is great. But then at the same time, it’s like, all right, which is the most lucrative for us to scream about? It’s tough.
Alan: [laughs] You know what I’m working on next, so… it’s not been announced yet, but that will take all of that learning, and all of that experience, and put it to good use. I hope.
Jenna: Good. Good, good, good! That’s all we can do. I think everyone in the space is passionate and figuring it out. And those who are not are quickly schooled by those who are.
Jenna: And then we all sort of — it happens — because it’s just… it’s new. Even though VR has been around for 40+ years. But now is the time… heh, that’s funny. I literally was looking through — I am old, and I still read Time Magazine, in the paper version of it all, I don’t read it digitally — and there was an ad from the Postal Service with a generic VR headset. And I stopped in my tracks and went, “oh my goodness!” It’s getting there. Everyone’s still figuring it out. But I sort of doubled back to that page, because I see VR headsets in my dreams. So when I see it in a Time Magazine, you’re like, “wait a minute, is that real?” So, we’re all learning. And whether it’s opportunistic to throw it in a nice four-colors paid ad in Time Magazine (that has very few circulation at this point, but still), it’s pretty cool.
Alan: I think as an industry, we are always looking for the newest, greatest, latest, best thing. What’s coming next? What’s coming next? And one of my podcast interviews this morning was with Caspar Thykier from Zappar, the AR platform. And his mantra is, “do what’s possible now.” Focus on what’s possible now, and what’s possible now is, like, incredibly amazing to 99 percent of the world. The rest of us in this industry are a little jaded. We’re like, “what you mean, it doesn’t work on web?” And we’re so concerned about what’s happening in the future that we kind of forget that today, we can do all of these cool things, and most people are really excited about that.
Jenna: Now, I agree with Caspar. We’re looking at VR right now, and people are all excited about 5G. They’re like, “oh, we got to go and get the telcos.” And I said, “listen, they are currently — if they are doing anything — that they support 360 video. We all have a list of what the opportunities are in 5G. So many things! But you have to build for today’s current technology first and foremost, and then think, how it does scale. Think strategically. What features can be leverage? Social features? Holograms? Who knows what? But you have to build for today’s current technology. If you start trying to jump ahead when no one really knows really what that is yet, it’s a problem. So Caspar makes total sense.
Alan: Let’s look at some of the business use cases. What are some of the best of this technology that you’ve seen so far? That made you go, “wow!”
Jenna: Business use cases? Let’s say… I’m trying to think from outside, because I work mostly with people who like to shoot zombies.
Alan: Fair! One of the zombie shooting games, Brookhaven Experiment.
Jenna: I love that game.
Alan: The police force in Toronto asked us to come in and do a conference. And we’re like, “well, we don’t have anything. We have no idea.” It was during the times where we would just say yes to everything, and hope for the best. And we went to this conference. We brought Brookhaven experiment to it, and we put these huge police guys in Brookhaven. And one of the guys was shooting zombies, and it was getting really intense. And I grabbed his leg. Oh, my God, the guy FREAKED out.
Jenna: Yeah. Rule number one: don’t touch people when they’re in VR. Don’t do that! Come on.
Alan: True! But I couldn’t resist myself.
Jenna: No, I hear you. I think the horror and — I’m saying this in quotes — shooting scenarios. I come from video games where there’s a very big difference between Call of Duty, that shoots humans, versus Halo, that shoots aliens. I like the notion of targeting and shooting, per se. And zombies. Who doesn’t want to be prepared for the end of the world and shoot zombies? Absolutely. That horror sort of… you don’t know who’s coming around the corner. And so, I think that mechanic, in that environment, makes a ton of sense.
Alan: It’s terrifying, to be honest with you.
Jenna: It is terrifying! It is! You don’t know who is behind that door. You don’t know which way to look. Spatial audio is so important in a game. So important. How do you discern and distinguish between a sound to your left? To your right? And so, I have heard… I have worked with the military on some things, and others that were tactical training. I had someone in from one of the branches of the military the other day, who was asking about something I am working on, which is a… ironically, it was built as a game — a full body, free-roaming, VR, SDK and suit, if you will — and we built it to make it into a multiplayer game, for a potential of VR eSports, whatever that can and might be. At the same time — to your point of using Brookhaven Experiment for real police training — we have now taken this SDK and the suit and the gloves that we have, and we are working with a couple branches of the military, and some European countries are using it for so many things, where you definitely need to figure out, how can you train 25-500 people? And that’s what we’re able to do with this, and do it with a VIVE Focus. You can do it with an Oculus Quest. It’s been amazing for the military. Security training issues. I’ve seen a lot of things in that. And I’ve also seen a lot that we did at HTC and their folks — who can speak much more articulately about this — but warehouse, and teaching people how to do supply chain, and how do you go and find that item, and train someone literally with a forklift. It’s so important. Or teach a firefighter a simulation of what it’s like to hold a hose, with that pressure, but see what it’s like in the fire; what it looks like. All of these organizations are–
Alan: I think that was probably back when you were at HTC. There’s a company called Raymond.
Alan: They do forklift training.
Jenna: That’s who it was, yep.
Alan: They won an award that has nothing to do with their industry. Was like, “the best technology” award. And here’s a forklift training company that won best technology. It was mind-blowing.
Jenna: I love being at CES, watching my colleagues — who did spearhead zombies, DeNA, everything else at the time — and just seeing the media come in, and people come in, and their eyes are already wide when they do do something like a Beat Saber or who knows what. But then, when they actually see the practical solutions that these headsets and this technology can provide? It’s heartwarming, because — like my background that you ran through [says] — I’ve worked at the NBA and I sold basketballs and jerseys to people, and I worked in television and I showed sitcoms to people. VR is great because I can go shoot a zombie, and I can hit blocks, and I can explore gnomes and goblins and things. And it’s amazing. But for the first time, I really feel that I was able to, with this technology, contribute to the school system. There’s amazing use cases. I love that the forklift company was something that we were able to show at HTC; I believe it was two years ago at CES.
Alan: Yeah, actually, one of my very first interviews for this podcast was Alvin [Wang Graylin, China President, HTC VIVE].
Jenna: Oh, yeah? Yeah… love me some Alvin. He’s a wonderful voice for all the things that HTC is doing. He has no fear in sharing. And it’s really great, though, because people don’t hear enough about all the different applications.
Alan: The whole point of this podcast is… [I’ve learned that], in meeting with thousands of different business people, that none of them care or know anything about our industry. They’re like, “what the, VR? Isn’t that a game thing” I tried it at the rec room the other day. That was cool.” And they have zero understanding that it can be used in their business. Zero. I said, “well, we need to get this information out there. We’ll make a podcast.” That’s what this podcast is, is how do we tell the world about the great work that’s being done, that may not be out there in the public sphere. But, what is the most important thing that you think that businesses can do to start leveraging this technology? If you were to give a business advice, what advice would you give a business now?
Jenna: I’m going to, again, put it in context of what I know. I don’t want to speak to anyone else’s business, but what I’m seeing… one thing actually does go back to what you mentioned with Caspar. It’s something that I was going to bring up; build for today’s tech. But you do need to start thinking about where things can be going. How does your business or your story scale? How do you take your Beat Saber — a single player experience; an anomaly in its success, because it is single player, where Arizona Sunshine is one of the other top games and obviously multiplayer — where do we take it with multiplayer? We need to think about that. Think about 5G and Edge Cloud computing, and split rendering, supporting people playing all over the world at the same time, and who knows what. So you need to think about all the things, and where things could go. But you also need to think about the hardware, and that it’s supporting front-facing cameras in AR. Think about the hardware, and think about how do we — from a transmedia point of view — tell that story, and leverage all the different technologies? If you think your story or your business warrants that; so, should there be an AR component to your VR experience? But if so, brainstorm for it now. Build for it — or at least put it in pencil, and you can erase it later. Working for today’s tech, but thinking about tomorrow’s possibilities is absolutely crucial, because if you’re just going to throw 3D on a movie after you’ve already produced it, it doesn’t play so well. You can’t layer that in after the fact. You have to build with that in mind from the beginning.
That’s one thing I think; Thinking about your distribution channels is the other. A lot of people call me and say, “hey, I have this amazing experience. It might be about a moment in time that is perfectly communicated in VR; take you back to this moment that is so pivotal in our nation’s history, or in the world,” or who knows what. And then they go, “yeah… can you help us get it funded?” And I’m like, “didn’t you announce it already? With a bunch of people and partners?” And they’re like, “yeah.” You have to think about the distribution channels, because they are fragmented. You’ve got great stores with the Oculus Store, and Steam, and VIVE. Then you’ve got Out of Home. So what does that mean? Does that mean arcades? Does that mean schools? Does that mean universities? What age range? Museums? Global? Local? So you have to start thinking about where those channels are, and then, what are those business models? Even though it’s still the Wild West — and people say that all the time, but it is — you do have to think about that before, I think, you publicly go, “hey, you’ve got this great press release.” And then nothing comes of it because it hurts everybody. When you make a big announcement for a VR piece that was acquired at a festival, and then you’re like, “oh, it’s great. And here’s the money. And then, when/where have you seen it? No, I’m not a big fan of press releases. I’m a big fan of a press release after you’ve got all the pieces in place. Because people are going to able to poke holes in that, and it’s going to hurt a lot of other folks who are trying to create great products, and then go, “wait, but I thought… I thought this existed, or this existed.” No; do your diligence. Think about the distribution channels, and how do you take a legacy business and appropriate it, or how do you build something new? There are a lot of great channels out there now that could use everyone’s help in pushing great content through. But think about that before you go out there and pitch something, because then you’re going to hurt your investors and other folks and who knows what.
Alan: Wise advice. On that note, if you’re giving advice to maybe startups in the industry who are looking to work with these big companies — because I know one of the things that you do is look at a product and say, “how does this scale? How does this get beyond, especially in a time where there’s not a lot of headsets in mass consumer adoption? It’s not like an XBox, where there’s one in every second household. A lot of it is location-based entertainment and stuff like that — what advice are you giving startups that are making either technology like LIV or Springboard, or content like Beat Saber?
Jenna: It’s tough. I’ll jump around very briefly. So, the Beat Saber team; extremely talented. A lot to say that was there at the right time. And they released on Steam early access, even before they even wanted to. There’s a lot of pressure, because there was a great mixed reality piece that brought them a lot of attention. But it doesn’t mean that you throw something up on Steam, and you’ll get feedback, and now you have a great piece and you know exactly what to do with it. I don’t believe in that. Even though some people will say, “oh, just throw it up on Steam and you’ll get enough info to guide you in your product development, and you’ll make enough sales to fund your company.” Not necessarily true. Because not a lot of marketing there, and if not everyone is in a position to work tirelessly without being paid and whatnot… I guess the thing is–
Alan: Wait a second. You mean, startups don’t love to work for free forever?
Jenna: Yeah, I’ve learned that from some places. It’s amazing, when some people who have chequebooks go, “you know, I think they’re startups. They should be hungry; and then, we’ll pay them when they’re really successful.” It’s the opposite of logic to me. It’s like… it drives me nuts. Creativity and forward progress and innovation come from the startups, from those innovators. And that’s not to say that it doesn’t come from the big companies of the world, too, but that’s where it comes from.
Alan: And there’s a difference between “hungry” and “starving.”
Jenna: Exactly. I was always telling many of the companies I work with — because I’ve always worked with content creators, or I represented them — I’m like, “they have to eat, or make a gesture. Don’t take it for granted.” I have worked with a lot of people who eat just fine, and get paid a ton of money, and they don’t work as hard. I don’t fight as hard for those guys anymore. I don’t. I know them all. I come from Hollywood. I fight for the ones who are the startups and stuff. It’s really hard to tell them, “hey, think about developing AR, MR, and immersive theater. Do everything, because you never know.” But they can’t. They can’t. They don’t have the resources. So it’s a tough question to answer, and it’s tough to be able to say to them, “just focus on one thing,” when they are like you and have a million ideas and want to focus on everything.
Alan: Well, I think the problem also is that you’re in an industry… you’re trying to disrupt an industry that is constantly and consistently disrupting itself. So how do you grow the product? How many startups get wiped out when ARKit came along?
Jenna: Oh, completely, completely, 100. Easily. Hardware sales are growing. I am very bullish, and I’m not a rainbows and unicorns kind of gal, but I genuinely believe that. Let’s talk about what I think is very positive. I do think with the pending release of the Oculus Quest, I think it’s going to change a lot of things. I think it’s going to bring a lot of energy and opportunity back to the community, ’cause that friction that most people have, which is like, “oh, god, I gotta get a VR-ready computer and that’s X amount of dollars; I’ve got to set up these space stations, or Blah blah blah.” I really think now that Oculus is going to have a portfolio of products, people are going to be able to afford them, be able to find content that might be passive or slightly interactive, and then find the things that are sick stuff, really interactive. So I’m a big believer in that, and I’m a big believer in the opportunity. Again, I’m going to stick with the B2C World. The free-roam, full-body kind of experiences as well. You’re seeing that in the LBE space, where most people are going to experience and go tell their friends about VR. But what I would tell these folks is, you have to think about social.
No matter which thing you’re building for — AR, VR or whatnot — you have to build social. I’m working on a lot of immersive theatre meets VR/AR. And the biggest challenge we’re having is they’re like, “oh, it’s a very intimate single-play experience.” That’s adorable, but it doesn’t scale and no one’s going to sponsor it because it’s throughput. How do you get more people through? It doesn’t benefit you if you only have like one person every hour. So think about social. Think about the experience of the people around the experience. Same thing for enterprise. Right? You have to build for scale, if you have a company of 10, to a company of 200. How do you do that?
Alan: Actually, you mentioned something interesting. The ability to engage other people when they’re not in headsets is very important. I went to VR Park in Dubai and what they’ve done is they’ve… like, I went around the first day and I didn’t try anything in VR; I just walked around the place, and just walking around was mind blowing. They basically took a VR thing that you can buy for your house, but what they had done is they created this whole façade where you walk in. I played the John Wick game and you’re playing John Wick there. You’re in a big vault. ?
Jenna: Yeah, you have to do that because I mean, if you can throw up beautiful walls that set up your periphery for a Vive AR and Oculus, right? You’re setting your chaperone system up and people can see the hardware, but that alone doesn’t convey the experience. You’re about to go in. So there is responsibility, I believe, on the part of operators… or if you’re at an event — I don’t mean full blown-out ComicCon multi-million dollar setup that a lot of the movie studios do, which are beautiful. I did. It worked on the Ready Player One partnership. I’ve been involved in a lot of things. And yeah. The action’s happening in the headset, but people need to be marketed to, and so they want to feel that experience the moment they walk through the door to either buy the ticket or go through the queue. So there is a little bit of pageantry involved in bringing people in, and VR Park does take something that they can now go home and go, “oh, I can do John Wick at home.” And they don’t need all the physical build out, but they have that. So I do think just like take a little learning tip from Hollywood and make it a big activation. If it isn’t an LBE, even now in the small indie side, the operators are desperate for marketing material, and that’s a lot of a burden on a small any developer. Just like I just want to build my game in code and I’m really good at that. I don’t know what to make posters or tchotchkes and things like that, but there are intermediaries of the Springboards of the world, and the Synthesises of the world and private label controlled… their parties that can help create those mixed reality videos, or help them create templates and posters. So I love that you bring that up, because the VR part is an anomaly. It’s ginormous. And everything there is very fabulous out in Dubai. But here, it doesn’t mean it has to be 100,000 square feet to do that. It doesn’t need to be, but still ninety five percent of the… I think it’s higher than that… of people walking into an arcade or wherever. If you’re going to see a Vive or an Oculus or whatever they had said. It will be in an AT&T store. I know they’re also selling Magic Leap. That’s a whole other discussion. But wherever they’re going to experience it, this person probably hasn’t tried it before. So what is it? They’re like, oh, let’s try this other piece of tech — no. You have to sort of make a show out of it. Sales; try to mix reality videos running on a monitor, are so important too. Or thinking about if I’m going into an immersive theater experience like Jack, which debuted to Tribeca last year without Baubab was amazing. It got such critical response, andis based on Jack and the Beanstalk, but it’s a single person experience. So what would you do to involve other people? Do we all, like, fight for that magic bean and we get chosen? Do we get to vote on how the person participates? I’m literally trying to figure that out right now. How do I take Jack and make it much more social? Anyone has any ideas? Please hit me up. It’s really important to involve other people or give them a reason to share it and tell other people about it.
Alan: I think one of the things that’s missing from these movies or location-based experiences is a take home or a shareable, or some way to share the experience.
Jenna: They’re working on it. You’re shooting down the roller coaster and they take that horrible picture of you screaming, right? And then you can buy it for whatever. That’s coming. LIV’s working on things like that. Mixed cast coming from blueprints. These are some technologies that are being integrated into a lot of the games such that an operator can offer up that video experience or even a director’s cut of your experience in that world. That’s an immediately-shareable mind show, which is one of the most brilliant VR experiences. I think that from day one, where people can actually create their own TV shows and be the star of their own sort of animated sitcom, if you will. That was immediately shareable. I think there’s some amazing things out there that people at home are gonna be able to participate in, and then there’re going to be some things at the arcades where there is a shareable video or there is, you know, with 5G we can all be watching 360 movie together, and then participate, and then we can all maybe manipulate the scenes together or we can all go into a live concert together and then copy it quick and push it and share it. So you’re totally right. We need more of those tools. But I am actively seeing them happen right and left,and expect you to be out with the next one soon, too.
Alan: My kids are very kind of spoiled. We have a Magic Leap, we’ve got a Hololens. We’ve got two VIVES. We’ve got all… we literally have all of the things.
Jenna: Yeah. I mean, you have to. There’s a whole generation that has no idea what this is. We’ve got our generation that is like, oh, I think I know what this is. And then the next, which is like, what you mean — who doesn’t grow up without a headset?
Alan: The problem that I see, and here’s what makes me a little bit concerned, is that we have all of this tech, and my kids don’t gravitate towards it.
Jenna: Yeah, your kids are like, yeah. “What do you mean you didn’t grow up with your own Finch controller? I had like six you know.”
Alan: We used to have two VIVES set up in the basement, so you could actually have two people in it. But there was never anything where you could both participate together, even though I had two VIVEs, set up a 20×15 space. It was like, oh, “can we both do tiltbrush, but not together?”
Jenna: What do you think that is? Is it because, you know, this is dad’s business? Or is it because — I think it’s because — maybe their friends don’t have it. And if other people don’t have it…
Alan: Let’s pivot this on a very high note. What problem in the world do you want to see solved with XR Technologies?
Jenna: Ok, I love this question, because I didn’t realize this technology could make my dreams come true. I am a huge animal rights animal advocate, and Zambezi Partners — my consulting umbrella, if you will — my business partner and I, we built it out of our mutual love of saving animals. Specifically, big animals, because my partner is a trained safari guide, and my family’s been in sort of the animal rescue business for a long time. And I looked at my nieces and went, “oh my God, in 5-20 years, they won’t see rhinoceri (as I like to call them). They won’t see elephants or giraffes. I have to do something about it. A long story short, Zambezi NBC Partners was meant for us to help companies and our consulting practice practice such that we can bring tech ranging from AI, AR, VR, block chain, IOT — bring that to Africa, to sub-Saharan Africa specifically, and help preserve these animals by capturing them. Not in a bad sense that poachers do; but protecting them with drones, protecting them with amazing cameras, capturing great footage and making those documentaries, putting people in those worlds, supporting them with donations to these environments that we can create in a virtual world and tokenizing them. I believe XR and all the other emerging tech that compliments it can be used for the United Nations and their sustainable development goals, and specifically for me, animals in Africa. And so that’s what I am personally working on right now; bringing that tech over there, and raising a fund to bring alternative income sources to the communities, so that they don’t have to poach. But this technology can be used for security and all these other issues that are out there. But for me personally? You’ve worked in Hollywood for a long time, and you work in tech and you’re like, “I really love animals because they’re just innocent.” I’m going to work with them for a while. I’m excited to be on this mission where I never thought I could combine my passion with the technology. And that’s what I’d love to use it for. And I’m already well on my way in doing that.
Alan: That was amazing. And I wish you all the most success with it. And if there’s anything you ever need, I’m here to help as well.
Jenna: I can’t thank you enough. I’m a huge fan and get so much of my information from your very genuine sharing of it. And now the different channels and whatnot. And so I would love to pick your brain more about it. This is the case where I do want to know everything because information is my currency. And if I can help bring a little tad of information to a client or to a friend or for our social cause, I need it. You are amazing in what you’re doing with your podcast and with just sharing really relevant information. So thank you in advance.
Looking for more insights on XR and the future of business? Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or Spotify. You can also follow us on Twitter @XRforBusiness and connect with Alan on LinkedIn.