Ten Things We’re Thankful For

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In honor of American Thanksgiving (seeing as we’re based in California), I thought I would write a post about some of the things we’re thankful for here at eleVR.

  1. Our Team – This one should probably count for several bullet points. The eleVR team is, hands-down, the best group that I have ever worked with. We’re serious and honest with each other, we bounce ideas off of each other well, and we’re all friends as well as co-workers.
  2. Our Collaborators – Of course, as great as our team is, we don’t live in a bubble, and a lot of our best work has been done with help from people outside of our “official” group. Some of these people have not only worked with us on projects (we note any major collaborators on each project on the associated project page), but have also taken the time to write guest blog posts for us.
  3. Our Office – So, I do like working from home, and I admit to begrudging my rather long train + walking commute to the office, but I would never want to be office-less. Our office gives us a physical place to meet and to set up our often bulky VR and mixed reality experiments. Of course, with Evelyn having joined the team, we now do a lot of in-VR virtual meetings, but we’re still not at such a stage where that’s quite the same thing as sharing a physical office space all day.
  4. The Office Security – This deserves it’s own bullet point separate from our office. See, we used to have a different office where we literally got robbed and had thousands of dollars of tech equipment stolen not just once, but on four separate occasions. We now have a real alarm system, are in an office building with security people, and don’t have a more or less unlockable cargo elevator going straight into our office space. It’s pretty amazing, and I’m grateful for it every time I set the alarm on the way out the door.
  5. The extended HARC and YCR groups – We don’t talk about this too much on the eleVR blog, but eleVR is part of a larger group, the Human Advancement Research Community (HARC), which is itself part of YCombinator Research (YCR). Some of these people share an office with us (or are in the nearby Oakland office). Others are further away such that we mostly interact with them at our Tuesday community-wide meetings, over email, or at occasional all-hands meetings. Regardless, these are all smart, thoughtful people that we share feedback with and who’s ideas inspire and influence our own.
  6. The HARC non-research staff – Making a research group that works well takes more than just good researchers. There need to be good people filling in all of the other supporting roles as well. People like Liz Proehl, our office manager, and Chris Clark, our COO. These people make everything run smoothly and do jobs that most of the rest of us don’t have the knack for.
  7. Access to Hardware – While we’ve occasionally made our own camera setups and phone AR systems, we’re solidly not hardware people at eleVR. Almost everything we’ve done would not be possible without having access (often early access) to various VR and AR systems. And, as great as the content from our early home-brew camera setups was, we’re still ridiculously happy to not have to deal with that setup anymore.
  8. Outside Software Tools – We write a lot of software at eleVR, but if we had to write everything we need to make our stuff from scratch, we would have made a lot less content and accomplished a rather different set of researches. We talk about some of the great tools that we use on our FAQ.
  9. All of the Shoulders We Stand On – It’s not just other people’s software and hardware that we use. Our research is depends on and is inspired by a long legacy of work by other people. As Vi aptly puts it, “We work in a context of immersive media that includes Ivan Sutherland’s work in the 60s, David Brewster’s stereoscope in the 1800s, all the way back to panoramic paintings, cave paintings, and verbal storytelling.”
  10. You! – We’re constantly surprised by the people who take the time to read our blog, keep up to date with what we’re doing, and even contact us with their own feedback. You guys help remind us that we’re doing something worthwhile when we’re down and provide us with extra eyes and ears so that we can keep properly up-to-date on other relevant work. We’re not always the best at answering email (ahem, we’re actually probably closer to being the worst at it…), but we do appreciate almost all of the emails and tweets and other feedback that we get from people.
  11. Our Team – The team, the team, the team. I told you it was worth more than one bullet point, so I’m giving it another one. Thanks for being understanding and inspirational and friendly and fun. It’s impossible to imagine eleVR without you because without you it literally wouldn’t exist. Y’all are the best.