Thursday, January 25, 2024

Back to Reality

After 3.5 years, I am leaving Osso VR. Times are tough all over. I've been through this before, and while I am sad to be leaving, I am genuinely excited about the future.

The Osso VR team did amazing work, and I am grateful for the opportunity to assist in blazing a trail on such a necessary and revolutionary product. I believe that virtual reality surgical training is as much a foregone conclusion as streaming music was. However, like streaming music, the early days are difficult -- you have to do everything yourself, from scratch, the hard way. It will likely take a few more years to catch on and become practical. Streaming was slow going until the widespread adoption of the modern smartphone. I think VR still needs that kind of transformative change on the device side and in the public's mindset.

I started working at Osso about 6 months into the pandemic, in August of 2020. The first year there was unusual and at times felt unreal, perhaps appropriate for a company working in virtual reality. Those early pandemic days were weird for everyone. I did a series of 20th century music lectures on Wednesday mornings that first year for team-building, and watching the attendance grow week to week was satisfying.

I remember working through The Day San Francisco Went Orange, with the ash-choked air from the wildfires mixing with an unseasonable heatwave. Nothing says "work from home" like sitting inside an 82-degree house. Hey, if I'd wanted that, I'd have kept working in Tokyo in the summertime!

During my first 2 years, the company grew tenfold, and that was an experience and challenge in itself. It was exciting to be back in start-up land, seeing the rocket start to take off.

My product team -- Sanju, Cameron, Maritza, and Jakoby -- were some of the best people I ever got to manage (and I got to hire most of them, too). I will miss them and the rest of the staff. They are mission-driven, passionate, and young. This was perhaps the first time in my career that I found myself being the oldest person at the company by far. I was impressed with my colleagues at every turn. It makes me feel better about the future.

Osso VR's leader, Justin Barad, is an exceptional person. I remain grateful to him for the opportunity. We did not always see eye-to-eye, but I respect his vision and persistence. I wish him and the rest of the Osso team the very best of luck. 

I am looking for another gig, and have some other exciting plans for the end of 2024. But for now, I'm going to take care of myself for a bit, work on some music, and do some more writing. 

I hope your 2024 is going well. Drop me a note -- I'd love to hear from you!

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