The TimefireVR Crew

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Oct 172017

TimefireVR Crew 2017

Diversity, camaraderie, dedication, commitment, loyalty, and an effort beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. That is what best describes this group photo of the team that I had assembled.

The majority of these amazing people have had to go on to explore other opportunities but I am forever grateful for what they gave to a dream that had been percolating in my imagination for over 25 years. This summer just after the 4th of July holiday I had to do something that was the single most isolating and distressing thing I’ve had to do as the founder of a company; I had to let them all go.

It has taken me more than 90 days to bring myself to look at these faces and seeing them again simultaneously warms my heart and strikes me in the gut with how much I miss them. I can never fully explain the profound disappointment I felt and continue to feel that on the verge of trying to find our place in the world we ran out of options and money and were no longer able to keep them employed. While we had all the growing pains one would expect from a startup that was simultaneously trying to invent and innovate, on the whole we had an awesome team.

There are a few people not in the photo, notably my co-founder Jeffrey and myself. In the days this photo was taken we were scrambling looking for options to make payroll. The hoped for bump in sales or attracting a partner with deep pockets never materialized. This was especially difficult for us, as we were in active conversations with some larger players following our favorable press comparing us to being the “Virtual Minecraft meets Facebook.”

Doors started opening but funds to meaningfully engage in those conversations were greatly inhibited. Over the course of the summer we were able to maintain a skeleton crew that not only kept the platform alive but have revamped many things that have put us in the position to release our title anew and are we are now compatible with not only the HTC Vive but the Oculus Rift from Facebook too.

The old adage “A dollar short and day late” certainly applies here, though that doesn’t absolve me of the guilt I feel in letting these people down.

I do not know how to repay them or even honor them. Along the way I have felt a lot of gratitude and a fair share of outright hostility and hatred for how I chose to do things or how things were done due to the compromises that comes with spending other people’s money, but life goes on or at least it should.

My ambition was large and enthusiasm great as a group of mostly amateurs strove to create something I hoped would be beneficial to society by not diving into the tropes of violence, misogyny, winners and losers.

Labor of Love – Hypatia

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Oct 162017

A Glimpse At Some Of Hypatia From TimefireVR

Sometimes, in an effort to create something extraordinary, we take chances on unproven markets and ideas that have no precedence; this is the path to innovation. We are in an age that demands participation from better educated populations on a global scale. We cannot allow geographic and/or economic isolation to limit our being able to enjoy the benefit of what deep cultural integration and a strong education can bring. We must all be afforded the opportunity to be the right person in the right place at the right time. Our world now more than ever requires our innovation and ability to develop workable solutions that do not rely on outdated technology. We cannot survive in isolation and ignorance. We truly are living in the future many of us have dreamed of and must learn to live accordingly.

TimefireVR through Hypatia has been a labor of love that has been toiled on for more than three years. Through a million lessons learned and a host of methods explored on how not to create a VR title we finally reached the point this summer that we thought we were ready to test the waters. The only problem was that by then our funding was running thin and we would have to try to find customers without a marketing budget and being limited by being “ready” for just one platform; the HTC Vive.

Stumbling blocks were encountered shortly after our early release, as happens in many small companies still in the startup phase; but with a reduced crew we have endeavored to correct some of our shortcomings and are close to being able to roll out an update to Hypatia.

First of all, we are making changes to our pricing model for Hypatia and a BIG surprise is around the corner. In order to help with this change we have worked over the summer to bring a trade and commerce model to Hypatia that will allow better economic participation with our city.

Next, we have been updating our map for easier navigation, updated the entry into the world, updated the avatars, and have been making a ton of improvements for an all-around better experience while people visit, play, and learn in Hypatia.

Finally, we are just about ready to launch in support of the Oculus Rift.

For those of you who have been our early adopters we offer you thanks for trying to help us create an early economic model that was hoped to help bring visibility to our efforts. We have something in mind to reward you for your participation and will discuss that in a future blog post. Again, thanks for your contribution.

[Edit: I posted this as a blog entry on my other website: as an update to what has happened to our company over the summer]