Dear VR industry,

Firstly, fair warning that I am in a contemplative mood. I have just finished watching Game of Thrones, drinking a glass of cheap red wine, and my cat is purring on my lap. So if you’re expecting tightly-worded, eloquently written prose which would make Jane Austen smile, then I am afraid my writing would be much more akin to the sporadic scrawls of sub-par YA authors. Initial apologies, just want to put it out there.

Secondly – I don’t know what your name is. ‘VR industry’ makes sense, but I know you have many names like XR, or the immersive reality industry. I’d like to think they are multiple nicknames for the same person – you’ve been around for a while and touch many people’s lives, so naturally everyone has ┬áseen a different side of you and calls you slightly different. A sign of an impactful, well-traveled person, I suppose. For the sake of clarity, ‘VR industry’ shall do – a rose by any other name is still, quite clearly, a rose. Clearly.

My cat, Bartimaeus

I remember when I first started – it was around 2015, and I was a very unhappy person. I just started a graduate job at a public relations agency, and I was not doing as well as I liked. Getting to know the job role, adapting to agency life, learning new skills – it was all new, and I struggled to learn what I was doing. It was a low point, when nothing seemed to click right. It was like learning how to ride a bicycle. Then learning how to ride a bicycle with no hands. Then learning how to rise a bicycle with no hands and everything was on fire.

My outlet for dealing with the stress was quite simple – joining a event. Meet new people, see new ideas, have an adventure. And ultimately, find a way to escape and try something fresh.

The meetup I decided to go to in late 2015 was Augmented Reality. So yes, you can thank Steve, Tanya and the rest of the crew for why I am here today with Virtual Perceptions and my obsession with VR. All their fault.

Now, ever since then I got this craving for learning more about the industry. First of all, it’s young, but not that young. It’s in that awkward, adolescent teenage phase where it’s trying to find itself while doing lots and lots of things at once. And that was exciting – it’s fresh and new, but at the same time had the solid grounding of veterans. It was an incubant phase which reminded me a lot of the quidditch community in the UK. That fascinated me, so I wanted to learn more.

One of very few photos of me which are serviceable!

And the second reason is simple – potential. I’m a firm believer that websites like YouTube and have opened the floodgates for how we consume content, and it will dominate the way media works for many years to come. VR is the same, but in so many different areas – medical, training, gaming, meditation, automotive. Charting the progress gives me a level of excitement which isn’t matched by passively accepting content from others – I want to contribute, push forward thoughts of my own. Take risks. Be bold. Be wrong. Like a lot of other people, I am hopping on a train moving faster and faster, and seeing where it heads.

So out of this hunger to learn more, and make my own views, here is the sum of my passions – Virtual Perceptions. A home where I can store my thoughts and a platform where I can write. If I had the time and equipment, this would be a YouTube channel. But with my skills and Chromebook, this website shall do.

And through this website I have done a lot. I have met new people – cool, wonderful people who dwarf me and my skills, and have done a lot in a short amount of time. I have more respect for them than many, many other people I know. More then I thought possible.

I have written reports on the industry, and seen them cited in numerous places across the web. I developed an ethos where I want to do my own research, and boldly challenge people on some issues. I am sure I didn’t make any friends with this particular review – but I will always defend it and say, ‘these are my honest thoughts, and here is my reasoning. Take it as you will.’ And in any context, in any walk of life, I am happy I have the freedom to do that, for right or wrong.

Well anyway, that’s all I want to say for now – I will likely expand on this some other day. But this was cathartic, and just to let you all know that you are all wonderful, just the way you are. Go out and do something random – you may start something brand new out of it, not for wealth or fame or power, but for fun. I can think of no better reason.

Tom Ffiske