By Ksenia Newton
Lex is an award winning VR/AR developer. Over 90% of Virtual Reality is made with Unity®. Lex is likely the foremost Unity® expert in NYC. When he’s not deep in code, developing the future of VR/AR – he runs NYC VR University – an official Unity® meetup where he and his team teach the community how to make VR and AR – for free. He hosts a 360 video podcast for Unity® developers called Build and Run. Join him on VRathon.com – an episodic iterative VR hackathon – where you’re able to participate through 360 video
Ksenia Newton: Lex, what are the upcoming industry trends are you excited about?
Lex Dreitser:The upcoming industry trends that I’m most excited, just happen to be available to the public at this time. This is a magical kind of time to be alive, where this futuristic alien technology that used to only be available for the military and very few industry insiders, is now available to us.
For example, if you are in the position to cater Christmas shopping experience to people – I highly recommend buying the HTC Vive – one of the most exciting products in the industry. Not only for its affordability for the amount of technology that is packed in it, but the experience which is really room-scale VR, full immersion virtual reality, where you can walk around the room and experience all the fun of virtual worlds. It’s a product that is not owned by Google, and it is the experience of painting literally in three-dimensional space. (Ed. Note: IKEA is already up and running on this idea!)
So in terms of things that I’m looking forward to – the Vive, which is already available for pre-order, and people are getting them as we speak. Then, the PlayStation VR, which is very high-end amazing gaming experiences or with fantastic living room presence that will dominate the market in that space. And it’s a real pleasure to be able to develop for all of these devices through my company VRVU. We have contracts to develop for all these major platforms, and we can help you with anything as simple as cardboard or 360 video to AAA titles vrvu.com
KN: What do you hope to learn more about / who do you want to hear from at the CTW conference?
LD: Creative week conference has so much to offer us. This is a fantastic time for creative people in technology. The convergence of the technology’s capability to allow you to express your imagination fully in three-dimensional space without compromise combined with the ease of use that allows anybody with creativity to realize their complete and total vision, puts us in a place this year in Creative Tech Week that is like none other. This is an epic time in history for creativity and technology. This upcoming Creative Tech Week will absolutely go down in history. As a matter of fact, as part of NYC VR University, we are holding the most epic weekend in VR history to kick off this CTW. We’ll have giveaways; we’ll have a special rock star guest directly from Unity and some of the other leaders in VR. Sign up at NYC VR or sign up at NYCVRU.com
KN: What do you wish someone would have told you before joining the tech industry?
LD: The thing that I wish people told me, I guess, would have to do with community. Diving into technology, diving into creative work, you almost become so focused that you ignore your human self. And then, your human self needs community. It needs communication. It needs others, their acceptance and understanding. Also you need to work with somebody, to have somebody to celebrate the victories and share your frustrations with. This community [NYCVRU.com] will give you that positive feedback, that positive reinforcement that will keep you going in this field and will allow you to transcend your earlier struggles and prosper and thrive in this growing emerging world.
KN: Do you have any best practices of success stories you’d like to share? If so, please elaborate.
LD: The events like the Creative Tech Week play a major role in the success stories of many accomplished individuals. So prepare as much as possible. Learn all you can about the people you’re going to see at the conference.
If you go through the agenda, you can pick out the talks and events that interest you the most. Do some research ahead of time. Look up the presenters and moderators. Be familiar with their history, and then start looking up their projects. Find as much as you can about the technology being used and really make yourself a knowledgeable literate individual before you show up.
Then, don’t be shy and express your opinion. Many of the experts – presenters are here to listen to your honest reaction, and the more intelligent you sound, the more impressed they will be with you, and the more likely you will be to hit it off. That is a great benefit of conferences: you can connect with very influential people in the industry, who can absolutely help you, and most importantly, these are all people interested in the same things as you are. This is not the financial technology gathering; this is not a dress-up-in-animal-suits kind of event. This is Creative Tech Week! So if you have a passion for creativity and technology, you were in the right place, and you’re among the right people, you will have 100% chance to build your own success story.
KN: What would you recommend to those who, just like you, have a passion for technology but have yet to make the step forward toward their dreams?
LD: If you have a passion for creativity and technology, stop living in your imagination. Go to Unity3D.com and download this software. Go to the Learn section and learn it. Just do it. Exclamation point.
That term is overused, but the reality shows that listening or reading these words is going to make you act. I doubt it. I mean, I think Acting is what is going to make you Act. Take your life in your own hands. Try the NYC VR University community. It’s a great community; it’s free to join, and I try to make it the best in New York.
But at the very least, show up to Creative Tech Week. It couldn’t be any closer; it couldn’t be any better, and I hope, I will see you there.
Ksenia Newton is a digital marketing and social media specialist who works on various aspects of the industry including strategy, content marketing, marketing analysis and web optimization. She can be reached at @ksenia_newton.