Seattle VR and the Spirit of Community

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Beer, meet Hololens.

Lots of fun last night at the AR/VR Collective Meetup, held at Pluto VR in Ballard. This was the third AR/VR Meetup I’ve attended, and I was happy to catch up with some familiar faces and meet some new people. Lots of cool demos of Hololens and Vive, too. I’ve been thinking a lot in recent weeks about how this community is growing and building a new industry in Seattle, what it means to be inclusive, and how to focus on creating the world you want rather than expressing outrage at the imperfect world in which you happen to find yourself.

I genuinely like everybody I’ve met in Seattle’s VR community, from Tim Reha to Eva Hoerth, from the PR folks at HTC to the indie game designers working out of their garages. Seattle’s VR community as a whole is all about embracing possibilities, pioneering a new medium, empathizing, welcoming, reaching out, honoring diversity of thought, sharing knowledge, and building bridges. The more people with creative ideas who are empowered the better. I haven’t met anybody who seems to feel differently.

I think the AR/VR Collective is doing excellent and important work to empower creative people by bringing them together. CNDY Factory is doing excellent and important work by providing a hub for Seattle’s VR community to interact, particularly with the investment community. HTC has demonstrated a commitment to Seattle’s culture and to the indie game ecosystem. All these VR companies, from garage startups to Oculus Rift, are creating opportunities. The positive things that are happening far outweigh the negative.

It’s really easy to talk about why certain things suck, easier than talking about what makes certain things great. Conflict is unavoidable and makes for great stories. But I think there comes a point when you have to decide whether you are on a Pro team or an Anti team. Are the majority of your efforts directed at what you oppose? Or are they directed toward what you honor and support? Do you spend your time talking more about the things that make you mad, or the things that fill you with joy?

I don’t know about anyone else, but to me the news this summer has been one sad and tragic thing after another. I long ago surpassed my saturation point of negativity. I’m feeling inclined to celebrate what’s good, and there are plenty of people in Seattle’s VR community who make it easy to feel that way. So many cool people, so many creative ideas, so much possibility.