Just a few years ago, virtual reality was being showered with very real money. The industry raised an estimated $900 million in venture capital in 2016, but by 2018 that figure had plummeted to $280 million. Oculus—the Facebook-owned company behind one of the most popular VR headsets on the market—planned to deliver 1 billion headsets to consumers, but as of last year had sold barely 300,000. advertisement advertisement Investments in VR entertainment venues all over the world, VR cinematic experiences, and specialized VR studios such as Google Spotlight and CCP Games have either significantly downsized, closed down, or morphed into new ventures. What is happening? Recent articles in Fortune and the Verge have voiced disdain for VR technology. Common complaints include expensive, clunky, or uncomfortable hardware and unimaginative or repetitive content. Skeptics have compared VR experiences to the 3D … [Read more...] about The big problem with virtual reality? It’s almost as boring as real life
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Late in 2013, a group of investors and entrepreneurs sat onstage at Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored event and announced a new initiative: The Smart Tech Foundation would put $1 million toward spurring innovation to create safer gun technologies. The goal would be to sidestep the political gridlock surrounding gun safety and look instead to “free market alternatives.” If government couldn’t solve the problem, maybe innovation could. advertisement advertisement “We looked at this and said there’s been a systemic failure in the level of innovation and capitalization in this area,” serial entrepreneur Jim Pitkow told Fast Company at the time. He, alongside angel investor Ron Conway, are two of the foundation’s chief backers. “Well, we know how to foster innovation.” More than 200 people applied for a piece of the grant. The foundation chose 15 applicants with what seemed like the most promising ideas, from … [Read more...] about Whatever Happened To That So-Called “Smart Gun”?
Note: This article is also included in our year-end creative wisdom round-up. advertisement advertisement If this summer at the movies has taught us anything–aside from the fact that Jay-Z was huge in the 1920s–it’s that it isn’t so easy to write a summer movie blockbuster. Just ask the writers of such box office and critical flops as The Lone Ranger, After Earth, and The Hangover Part 3. Actually, instead of doing that, we called up Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, writer-producers of Star Trek Into Darkness, our pick for the best action movie of the summer (and we’re not alone in that assessment). The longtime writing partners’ impressive track record includes the previous Star Trek movie, Mission: Impossible 3, a couple of Transformers movies, and next year’s Spider-Man sequel. They also produced the summer sleeper hit, Now You See Me. Amidst a couple of Star Trek Into Darkness spoilers (you have seen it by now, right?), they laid … [Read more...] about How to Write and Produce a Summer Movie Blockbuster
Gradually, awareness about the harm we have inflicted on the planet has been growing. But while a few take action, most people do nothing. Why? Because they feel hopeless and helpless. “What can I do about it?” they say to themselves. So they do nothing and sink into apathy. The most important message I have for these people is to help them understand that every single day, each of us makes some impact on the planet—and we can choose what sort of impact we make. It is the cumulative effect of millions—or billions—of ethical choices regarding what we buy (especially concerning our diet) that will move us toward a better world. Of course, some people—decision makers in government, CEOs of big corporations, and so on—can make individual choices that will have a huge impact. advertisement advertisement I am motivated to carry on [with this work] because I care passionately about the natural world, animals, future generations. I know that … [Read more...] about Jane Goodall would love to pet your dog, if that’s okay
Andrew Mason is the unlikely CEO of last year’s unlikeliest breakout business. The 30-year-old Midwestern music grad has transformed the bottom-feeding coupon trade into a billion-dollar force that even sexy Google lusted after. A savior for small businesses, Groupon is the most exciting thing to happen to retail since eBay. Mason himself is a person of uncommon candor. “I feel like a lot of companies invest a lot of energy and money in trying to figure out who their customer is and how to be just like that, and it never comes across as genuine,” Mason told Fast Company from Groupon’s offices in Chicago (as rumors of an IPO swirled). “The companies that I like to do business with are–even if you find them a bit strange–genuine and real.” Groupon’s culture is an unusual amalgam of Second City humor, traditional newsroom (a few hundred employees have done time at one or the other), and good old-fashioned salesmanship. In a … [Read more...] about 05_Groupon