UX Speaker Series: Yolanda Barton, The Revere XR Story and Its Oculus Launchpad Triumph

UX Speaker Series: Yolanda Barton, The Revere XR Story and Its Oculus Launchpad Triumph

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series in HCDE, and so as with every week we're  in for treat again this week. I'm so excited   about this week's speaker, she's also going to be  hanging around for a couple days for a hackathon   afterwards which she'll be also talking about. So  it's great to have this engagement this week. So   it's my pleasure to introduce Yolanda Barton,  she's a trailblazer in immersive storytelling   she's a venerated expert in pioneering founder of  Revere XR, using cutting edge extended reality,   virtual, augmented, mixed reality, and artificial  intelligence to recreate history and bring it to   life through XR preservation. She's transforming  the ways we engage interact and experience history   melding rich history and heritage of the past with  future technologies. She holds double master's  

degrees from the University of Washington. She's  the most recent winner of the Oculus launchpad,   and named among the top 100 women of the future  as an XR evangelist and a finalist for the ferals   black ambition award. She's also been honored  by various foundations so with that I'm going   to turn things over to Yolanda and she's going to  go old school and use no slides today so we're in   good treat. Oh look at that. [Yoland Barton]  [Applause] I feel like we've met the quota for  slides in the first five weeks so I'm going to   spare you that and actually have a conversation  and hope that we can accomplish an interaction   today. I'll test the mic can you hear me okay? If  someone in the back could give me a thumbs up can   you hear me I see one I see two sold. Thank you  really excited to be here with you guys today   and I'm telling you it is bringing back insane  memories to be walking around on this campus.  

I'm not the average husky for a lot of reasons but  I'll say that I initially started on this campus   as a high school student. The Ida B. Wells school  for social justice was chartered on this campus   and I was one of the first 10 students, and then  the University of Washington picked five of us   to come straight from high school in to to do our  bachelor's. I finished my bachelor's here - okay   I'll date it, 2004, which was quite some time  ago. I was trying to decide if I really wanted  

to be honest about my age but given that I have a  birthday I'm excited to tell you I'm 44 years old.   And I as a professional who had been in corporate  for more than a decade came back to school as a   graduate student. I know no one wants to say that  because we're all fixated on the timeline but   it was honestly the best thing I could have ever  done was to leave. And I was in not the cute part   of corporate I was in the highly crisis-driven  environment of corporate pushing like 80 hours a   week it was not easy, and I wanted to do something  different. So I took the time to get back to who   I was as as a person. So let's start there I'm  born and raised in Seattle how many of you are  

from Seattle raise your hand. Oh you unicorns  yes okay a couple of us. For those of you that   live in Seattle but aren't born and raised here  I'll fill you in on some history. There's some   amazing people that chartered their career and a  lot of legacies that come from this city that a   lot of people don't talk about. Since this is  black history month has anybody heard of Jacob  

Lawrence? Seattle. Has anybody heard of Jimmy  Hendricks? Seattleite. Quincy Jones. so people   like Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Jimmy Hendricks,  Bruce Lee, Ernestine Anderson, Ruby Bishop,   Sir Mix Alot, Kenny G, I mean Kurt Cobain, I can  keep going. You guys can add to this list too. All   amazingly from this city and for a city to have  touched that many genres, that much music history,   yet nobody talks about that. Well I was very proud  of that history growing up and very keenly aware   that my city birthed legacies - genius brilliant.  So to be from Seattle for those of you who raised   your hand congratulations and for those of you who  are here you're now connected to the legacy, that   was something I was really proud of when I was  younger. I mean my parents helped do the breakfast  

program with the Black Panther Party my father did  a lot of like football camps and bought uniforms   and coached and there was just a huge emphasis  on community and I'm very grateful to be from   that space to know that such brilliant people and  contributions from so many other people came from   the city. My grandmother was the first black woman  in the city to own a beauty salon and she trained   other women how to be beauticians so that they  could make money and generate revenue. So much   history wrapped up in Seattle that nobody's really  talking about. And then I left, after college like   most of us do and we go explore life elsewhere.  Lived in a couple different places worked for   some mayors worked for some global leadership  in corporate, established an amazing career   in project management and honestly I finessed  relationships and learned that that was a gift   but it wasn't intentional. It was just something  I good at - I care about people right and I care  

about their stories and that seemed to work for  the people that I represented was that I cared   about people's stories and learning who they were  and where they came from. That's always been at   the core of who I am so when corporate no longer  worked for me I had to ask the question, what now?   Anybody else been there am I the only one that's  had to face the what now? That's not enough hands   it's coming trust me. What okay three hands thank  you. I appreciate you okay four. We're almost   there it's coming and you really want to take the  time to be honest with yourself and really get to   the core of like what is my purpose. Listen I'm  not here to tell you what you should believe in   in terms of a higher power or not but we have an  opportunity to explore what our purpose here could   be and how that could impact others and that was  something that I took very seriously. So as as a  

grown and older professional with two children  I applied to a communication leadership program   with an emphasis on digital storytelling since  storytelling is at the very core of who I am and   what I want to offer the world. And I got accepted  to come back to the University of Washington and   reestablish my world as a grown Husky as opposed  to the undergrad Husky. And that really launched   something new because I was excited about bringing  my two daughters back to the city that I was born   and raised in you get to connect with your legacy,  you get to see your great grandparents history,   I have so many stories. Except when we got there  none of that history was there anymore. Nor was   the community that I was born and raised in.  It literally vanished. Anybody experienced that   before going home and it not being there? It was  definitely a devastating moment that I really had   a hard time approaching and so let's talk about  the reactions of that - a lot of people are like   get over it we moved. That's one approach not  necessarily mine some people feel like well   this is the new upscale version of your community  except none of my community is here anymore. So  

I want to make it really clear I am not here to  talk to people about all the awful and the pros   of gentrification but I am here to tell you it  exists. And that an entire group of people and   the history of a community that literally housed  some of the most priceless history in the city   they were displaced, and people are still finding  their way back to their community. And some of the   reactions I had was what about the elders what  about Miss Johnson, she's the one I would walk   home and carry groceries and hear her stories  around the clock like what's going to happen to   the storytellers, what's going to happen to the  stories, what's going to happen to the history,   how are we going to make sure future generations  have access to that history. Some of you may be   asking yourself the same questions and that's what  I was faced with. I did not have an answer answer   I did not have a solution but I decided I was  going to use my grad school journey to approach   a solution. And um I did. So I took the concept  of what does it mean to preserve what's urgently  

vanishing into every single classroom I don't know  about you guys it's really easy to just kind of   go to each class focus on the syllabus and you're  just kind of checking off what's coming right and   then it's over. But maybe there's an opportunity  to approach it with a deeper story or a stronger   understanding of what you're trying to do in life  that can help guide you along that syllabus. And   for me mine was how in the hell do I preserve the  history that was lost, how do I honor the elders   that took the time to raise me and contribute to  my entire community. So given that you've already   been updated that I did two masters I brought  that concept into a lot of classes and there's   some professors along the way that still are a  part of my journey because they took a lot of time   to support me and be a part of that. I'll share  with you a little bit more about what happened   from there after going through each class and  taking some classes outside of my area of study   I was exposed to some technology that literally  blew my mind. I mean no one in my community ever   talked about virtual reality nobody even knew  what that was. So the minute I put on a headset I  

was immediately exposed to what I'd like to say is  infinite possibilities, right. And I think for the   people who were plugging me in I'll say they were  really excited about the games - yeah this is cool   I can play beatsaber all day with my kids it's  awesome I love that we can do sports and fitness,   it's cool it's wonderful but there's got to be  something else to this than just that. And for me   I decided look are you telling me we can simulate  any environment, like we can do that and then so   we can simulate environments that we no longer  have access to which means we can recreate history   and bring it to life for people to experience? Bam  there was my solution and so from 2016 to 2019 I   did two masters and part of a doctorate where  I met Yim in the iSchool and I just pushed that   concept of what does it mean to preserve history  with immersive technology. Built a body of work   called XR preservation and immersive storytelling  and you know really got some great media for that.  

But what I think is really important for everybody  to do and what I want to encourage you guys to do   too I didn't just leave my ideas in the classrooms  and the study groups and the professors,   I went to communities to ask them their thoughts  to get their feedback to get a response. And I   make jokes all the time especially when I was in  my doctorate program a lot of people are getting   doctorates and doing research on their neighbors.  You didn't really reach that far you know or   they're doing it amongst their friends. I know  that I'm not necessarily the council for who gives   people doctorates but I believe if you're going  to do research you should do it in groups and in   communities that are very different from the one  you sit in to really truly see the impact. So I   went to different communities and said what do you  think about virtual reality for preserving history   anybody have any idea what the response was? I'm  willing to take a gauge anybody want to take a   guess? Okay I get it they said what the hell  is virtual reality. So then there lies a bigger   problem like I'm trying to talk to you about how  we can preserve our history I have the solution in   this headset right now and you've never heard  of it. Well who else hasn't heard of it so we  

took the time to really pivot with our research I  encourage you guys to do the same thing like when   you don't get the response that you're looking  for be open to trying to take a new path and so   we did. We went to a lot of different communities  over a year we put on focused design groups all   over the place we did it at Microsoft we went to  communities that have no access to tech and we   plugged people in still do it today even today  you can go to the central district of Seattle   and at least three times a year we are plugging in  community. There's a lot of people that have never   touched the technology and how are we ever going  to be able to see the impact of that technology if   we don't put it in other people's hands. If we all  have the same area of expertise and we're using  

technology in the same way how are we expanding  its purpose beyond this room. And so we did a lot   of opportunities to plug in elders, artists,  storytellers, community high school students,   teens, and literally said what do you think about  recreating history in the space? What history   would you like to see preserved in this space?  How do you believe this technology can amplify the   stories that exist in your community how can your  voice play a role in this community like can we be   a little audacious in our questions right I'd like  to see more of that too and I hope that encourages   you guys. But we got great responses and people  wanted to be a part of that. So I spent an entire   masters interviewing elders and collecting their  history, we call it oral history preservation,   lived experience preservation, but it's an  opportunity to take history from those who   have lived it as opposed to just reading a  book about it. We worked with archives and   oculus invited us to speak at their headquarters  about our use of their technology and then we were   invited to Oculus Launchpad. Now here's where  the definitive line came for me. In school it's   a concept it's a body of work it's a theory right.  I really needed it to be more than that and so I   took the time when I made the relationships with  oculus to say let me prove it let me show you the   impact that this can have on people so joining  Oculus Launchpad was great we built a team we   built a prototype we rebuilt the entire Central  District of Seattle like a 12 block radius you   can explore in virtual reality. We filled it up  with elders history we put in different spaces  

you can walk into and hear elders talk to you  and share stories and we're still doing so much   more it's not over. And what's really great is  that the response from the community has been   exceptional. In November we had 107 elders show  up at Douglas Truth library to experience their   community in virtual reality and when they put  on the headsets they told stories, they laughed,   they cried, they joined in circles and shared  stories and reminisced and it transformed the   space. Many students from HCDE participated as  volunteers and were immediately impacted and to be  

honest that was in November and a lot of students  are still posting about it on LinkedIn or on their   social media the impact that it had on them. So  that's where I really determined my lane was more   about bringing a touch a humanity into tech. It's  interesting like I have kids and I hear a lot of   other parents say technology is just removing our  opportunity to connect and now kids don't connect.  

I beg to differ it's how we're using technology we  can really reins connection and explore humanity   through our stories because every country, every  city, every community, even every company has a   story and so what better way can we experience  one another's stories and each other's culture   than through immersive storytelling. So yes most  people say I'm the CEO and founder of Revere XR,   I am but I go by immersive storyteller because I  really care about using this technology to amplify   our stories and to help us connect through lived  experience. Really excited to tell you that our   prototype is going to be announced the winner  of oculus Launchpad it's the most recent very   excited and I noticed when they were judging there  was 1165 submissions under the category game and   then there was one category that said other and  it had one in it and it was ours. Which is in   my family and in my community I've always been  othered, I've been I was othered on this campus,   I was othered in a doctorate program, I've  been othered in so many capacities that   it's hysterical now that I won with that because  that's usually the opposite of how you feel when   you're othered. But I've never been more proud  to be othered in an industry where people don't   look like me think like me don't consider the  possibilities of technology like me and I feel   like I'm the greatest opportunity for them to take  advantage of what we can do with their technology,   and I care about how that impacts community. And  so listen I know the purpose of these sessions  

are more about user design so some of you  are like what the hell Yolanda. But I would   I would like to say something that powerful how  people experience technology is something that   should be taken a lot more seriously. What  are the community components in the voice of   community that you can interweave in tech. Well  I tell you that something we really care about so   we're hosting a hackathon here on campus tomorrow  and Saturday in the Bill and Melinda Gates Paul   Allen CSE - okay it's got multiple names now.  When I was here we went to the opening and it   was the Paul Allen computer science building.  So that's what we'll be tomorrow and here's   what we're doing we have 14 elders coming one of  them is turning 100 years old and he's spending   his 100th birthday with us. And he has all of the  stories of Quincy Jones and Ray Charles playing  

at the same piano when Quincy Jones was 15 and  just hearing these stories transforms you. So   can you imagine experiencing and hearing it  at the same time. Each team in our hackathon   is dedicating themselves to preserving an elder  through augmented reality and we want to bring   that history to life for everyone to experience I  have a vision for how history can be simulated in   the real world how that can transform our ability  to celebrate our differences to experience history   and really to be inspired about our future.  So you're welcome to come by and check out our   hackathon you're welcome to mentor students  that are really interested and learning how   can they preserve the voice and stories and  history of elders. There's plenty of seats. And that's what we're doing is we're recreating  it uh the the definition of what a hackathon   should be. I was invited to many hackathons I've  been to reality hack at MIT I've been to Harvard   I've been to a couple different hackathons and  one thing that I would say is that I was othered   there too and that people didn't really want  me on their team because I didn't have coding   experience. But I'd like to see a future of tech  where we're not just relying on only developers,  

programs, coders. I mean technical artists is  a great opportunity but what about vision what   about community voice, what about storytelling to  really navigate how we're using that technology   and for you guys what about user experience.  How can we bring people together through how   they're experiencing this technology what are the  untapped in opportunities for connection how can   you bring human connection into every opportunity  and I do not doubt that that's challenging and a   very difficult conversation to have, but in all  the differences in this room we stand to create   the greatest innovation just by exploring our  different lived experiences and how they can   enhance technology. And so that's what we're  about that's what this hackathon is about.  

We literally invited elders, community members,  storytellers, amazing groups in design like HCDE,   and we invited - there's community storytellers,  elders, and design and we're letting people show   up as their most authentic self. Come as you  please not who you think you need to be not who   you're told you need to be not who you've been  trained or programmed to feel like you need to   be on campus but really who you are and what  your ambitions and goals and aspirations are   for technology and for people to engage and  create community. And so all those people are   coming to the hackathon we have a wait list but  you're welcome to come check us out we're doing   presentations Saturday every team is going to  get an elder that they have to preserve and   collect their stories so every elder there  is going to be preserved into the future   and that's what we're about preserving the past  into the future and creating new and innovative   ways for people to experience that. Now see now  that I've said that a ton of you have questions  

about that [buzzer] that was my time? No okay  I'm messing with you um so I'd love to hear   your feedback and I want to be able to have  an interaction so I see a hand up let's go. [unintelligible] History yeah absolutely in fact we'll be sharing  a lot more and people be doing presentations on   what they build what we've created is called  an immersive footprint and for some people I'll   say culturally a footprint is something that's  more like an ancestral gift to the culture that   I come from because it means you're following  in the footsteps of those that came before you   you're honoring the footsteps of those that came  before you, and that's the purpose of Revere XR   it's about reverence in technology because that's  what we feel like is lacking is honoring what came   before us. Celebrating the past and helping it  inspire our future. I mean I will say personally   Jimmy Hendricks was one of my favorite musicians  but when the at the time the 97-year-old elder   told us a story about this 15-year-old boy who  was he wasn't old enough to get in the club let   alone by a drink right and so he would go to the  back of the club and he kept using tools to create   a hole in the back of the club so he could watch  these music legacies transform the stage and bring   music to life. Every week that hole got bigger and  bigger and people started to catch on to what he   was doing they're like where's that kid we got to  stop him from doing that and one day a blind man   who plays the piano said he can come sit in here  with me he can sit at the piano don't worry he   won't drink let him sit at the piano with me. What  the blind man didn't know was that 15-year-old had   been taking music theory and piano lessons from  a legacy in Seattle and that was the first time   that Quincy Jones and Ray Charles played at the  same piano together. And you wouldn't know that  

story if an elder hadn't told it that's not in a  history book that's not in something you'll see in   an archive it's a story it's lived experience and  being able to experience that can transform how we   interact with history. So an immersive footprint  allows you that opportunity to experience history   and with the use of AI we can now interact with  history. Really excited about that future and   leading what immersive storytelling looks like in  this city so I hope that answered your question. [unintelligible] I purposely was wetting  your palette not showing you any visuals   but you can come to the hackathon and see a  lot more of what we're doing. You can check   out our website reverexr.com and you'll learn  more about what we're doing and there's a lot  

more coming coming out we'll give you  a reason to plug in don't worry. More questions? So the elders are going  to be coming between 10 and 1,   we celebrate Cecil's birthday at lunch  at 1:00 so if you come be prepared to   share what your vision for the next 100 years  looks like and celebrate a 100-year-old Elder   who has more stories than I think this city  has in archives M another question I saw one yeah [unintelligible] Well first I'll just say  and if I'm overstepping my balance let me   know don't describe yourself as just an entry  level anything. If you're here it's because   you have purpose and you have something to offer  that only you uniquely can provide. So removing   the idea that the amount of experience dictates  your expertise or what you can accomplish then   you guys should boo me off the stage now because  I've never developed or coded anything and I'm   not a programmer I'm a voice I have stories I  know how to amplify stories and uplift stories,   and I still am very confident that that's part  of the unique purpose that I have to offer. So   not trying to check you I just want to make  sure you really give yourself what to do and   not really downplay your skill set because what  you contribute is something only you uniquely can   offer. I do recognize that it is difficult though  a very difficult job to consider what does it mean   to experience this technology how can we shape  those interactions and I think what we need to   expand is what we want want people to get out  of it what are we hoping it's going to do right   and let that really guide our process and not  be afraid to do things that haven't been done   before like let's push the boundaries let's make  it something that people like. So I will say some  

people consider a particular person from Stanford  like a grandfather or Godfather of VR and he came   to UW when I was in the doctorate program and  I shared with him my passion for immersive   storytelling. And what he said to me was hmm  that's not really what it's for. And so at that   moment I'm in the middle of a doctorate program  the person that I would - you know how sometimes   we really look up to some of these people and  we just like want them to mentor us and we feel   like they're somehow a part of our journey and our  solution - well it was very clear in that moment   he didn't see what I saw. But I'm also the kind of  person that if you tell me no I'm probably going   to do it and so I thanked him in my Ted Ex talk  that it one of the greatest things that happened   to me was someone told me that my ideas weren't  what that technology was made for because it just   made me want to do it even more and I found myself  being driven to say I'm going to prove him wrong   I'm going to force him to watch my TED talk I'm  going to force him to see me win all these awards   and recognition so he can see that he really  missed out on the opportunity that I was trying   to bring to him. I should find out how he feels  about it now cuz that's been quite some time ago   but I think being really audacious and apologetic  so in my TED EX talk I bring up the understanding   of what unapologetic yech is and I think some  people think she's so rude like unapologetic,   well I think I just explained to you guys I've  been othered in every category of my life and   nobody thought that was rude right so it's more  about accepting yourself who you are not feeling   like you have to be like other people to bring  the best of who you are to a space authentically   walking into every single space, not having  to sort of adjust that or mask who you are. I   mean a lot of people of color and people from  indigenous communities and immigrants and all   kinds of people have worn masks long before covid  like I did in corporate I had to mask a great deal   of who I was because that wasn't part of the  environment. And unapologetic tech just means   we're not doing that anymore so when you come to  our hackathon community is running some of these   workshops and you're going to learn how important  it is to include community voice in every piece of   technology and that every story has an opportunity  to amplify connection and if the story is not in   the tech it's not immersive storytelling. Wo  being unapologetic and accepting your gifts  

and your talents means not limiting them to what  other people think you are like an entry level,   nah you're more than that and what you bring is  so unique so just own that and celebrate it and   I really think the answers don't come easily. Like  y'all I walked through quite a few degrees before   I got to this solution but I was determined to  create something and you have to be willing to   say maybe I don't know what it is maybe I don't  know what that outcome is maybe maybe I don't   know exactly what I want to build but am I willing  to walk through this process and learn from it and   help and mold and shape me and my ideas and that  the answer will come. So sometimes get rid of the   trajectory and just be open to what happens.  [unintelligible] yeah thank you so so much I  

love hearing about this and this idea has always  sparkled thank you how do you like you have this   idea that especially people have like pushed back  against how do you find the strength resources you   know confidence to like keep going through like  building a company like that's an unbelievable   amount of time and effort like how do you stick  with it instead of being like I guess I should do   something else? [Yolanda] Well I'd say that those  are questions I ask myself every day honestly   I mean a lot of entrepreneurs we have to walk  around on all the time. You are always pitching,   you are always selling, you are always 100%  demonstrating the power of what you can do   and there's not a lot of safe spaces you can go to  say wow this is a lot, do I need to reassess. And   I'd say when I do that something really amazing  happens every time I questioned if I should be   doing something else because of how other people  feel about it I get offered to do a TED talk or   I get offered to present to the mayor of Seattle  and him say, tell me more about how we're going   to preserve Seattle's history. So I would say if  it's truly for you you honestly can't get away   from it it's going to keep knocking at your  door and you know being celebrated and really   embedding yourself in village and community  that has the same aspirations is what got me   named top 100 women of the future because I  found like-minded ecosystem of women who want   to push the boundaries see more women leadership  in tech and not be told that they're not enough.   So I think you know I've always been unapologetic  we were in the same doctorate program so you know   how I other myself just by being like no I'm  here and I understand that you don't recognize   the value in this but this is what's happening  this is what we're doing. And essentially that's   what we're doing at the hackathon tomorrow  too right is I know how you define hackathon   let me show you how we define hackathon and what  that means to bring people together and preserve history. [unintelligible] Yeah we're doing some of  that in fact Nvidia has offered us the opportunity  

to be on their stage March 21st at 12:30 Pacific  Standard time in San Jose and I have to say the   whole thing it just just it works for me um  we're going to bring a historic legacy to life   and allow people to interact with it now what I  can tell you is there's a lot of learning going   on right now there's and and my team is amazing  because we have no problem facing the challenges   because they're like we're going to figure out a  solution together. But it's also opened us up to   a community of people who are doing similar things  and then they want to join our table and say this   is what worked for me this is what didn't.  The opportunity in partnership with Nvidia is   amazing because we get to test out some of their  technology that's not available to everyone yet   and I wouldn't lie if I wouldn't say listen the  last thing I want is an elder acting like chat   GPT telling you anything you want to know we want  to create some boundaries around that, we want it   to be safe, we want it to be true and represent  the stories and not have it turn into what a   standard conversation with chat GPT can look like  if you're all over the map. And so it is important   and what I can say is we care a lot about testing  the technology and what I won't do because of my   ethic and values is just throw anything together.  And that technology is growing every day like I  

think what we want to create sometimes is a little  further ahead than what the technology is able to   do and while there's a new AI technology coming  out every five minutes, 20 more by the time this   talk ends we still have to learn the strengths and  weaknesses, we still have to explore the ethics,   we still have to consider how it impacts people,  we still have to consider how people want to use   it, what they want to get out of it, and we  need to consider what it looks like for future   generations. As always it's not just us here  right now what do we want to do to lead a future   that promotes more connection and positivity and  upliftment through technology. [unintelligible] got be a little louder for me I'm sorry [unintelligible]  Oh wait one at a time, I'll lose it I'm sorry I  know my strengths and weaknesses. Let's do that  

one and then we'll go to the second one. So I  I want to answer that in a few ways. I have to   check myself on on a regular basis. I do not own  history I do not want to dictate what should and   shouldn't be told, that's not what I'm here  to do. So we approach it in a way where we're   focused on elders and their stories of lived  experiences because we don't negate that. And   then we're making it accessible and available and  we don't determine we're only going to share this   type we're not going to share that type we don't  do that. We partner with archive organizations in   Washington state where we pull history from there.  Has anybody ever interviewed an elder like I mean  

a 90-year old person has anybody ever sat down  with their grandparents at an elderly age and   ask them questions? Okay couple hands few of you  okay and not because your parents made you because   you actually wanted to - you don't have to answer  that. It's not easy you know because you don't get   everything on the first round and elders don't  tell you anything until they can begin to trust   you and feel like there's a connection. So you  spend more time creating that connection in order   to help like make that transfer of information  so we had to go back a few times right and I'm   not going to lie there are some elders that only  want to talk politics and I can't be mad at that   because their history was paved over their  communities were erased I'd be pissed too. I   mean I chose to use my frustration in a different  way but at 90 years old I don't know that I would   have enrolled for a double masters program to  create a solution for the entire community. So   we want to create a safe space where they can  truly express themselves and again I don't own,   it I don't dictate it, I don't tell them what they  can and can't do. But it does take a gift and one  

that I'm grateful to be born with because I care  about building relationships with people and   hearing their stories so they know that I don't  have an agenda or motive and that's priceless   when you're extracting information from elders  or community is that you don't have an agenda   or a motive. I've been interviewed many times and  what I've noticed by a lot of people interviewing   me is that they're trying to make my words fit in  their box. They're trying trying to approach this   with their motive and intention for whatever it  is they're writing and they're not really using   what I'm saying or what I'm trying to tell them  they're going to take a couple sentences that hit   all the facts they need to be able to provide you  know the agenda that they want to pursue and share   with the world. That's dangerous in storytelling  you really got to be open to what's going to come   out of somebody's mouth and not negate it or tell  them they're wrong and so you have to be patient,   you have to establish trust, you have to make  someone feel comfortable and valued in a safe   space. What I'm trying to do to show people  how important that is is at this hackathon  

I've built a Zen space it's for it's a safe space  for conversation for people who are dealing with   impostor syndrome, for people who feel like they  don't belong because maybe it's their first time   even exploring this technology. I don't think  the culture of tech does that. I don't think   people say like come on in and do this it's okay  if it's your first time we're going to create a   safe space, we have people there to focus on  your mental health and wellness to make sure   that you're removing doubt and imposter syndrome  to make sure that you don't feel diminished in   this environment. That's the level of tech  that we want but that's also what I brought   to the table when I'm interviewing elders and  collecting their stories and I stay away from the politics. Any more questions? Did you have  your hand up before I'm going to let her go  

first and then I got you. [unintelligible] First focus on what you're trying to achieve and  then find the this is this is what I'm going to   blatantly say too is leave the UW campus and go  explore what communities and organizations are   interested in that cause, because they are the  ones that have the connection to the community   for you. So if you can bring your mission and what  you're trying to establish to organizations for   me that was heritage, that was culture, that was  history and preservation that was the archives,   that's the libraries that's there's a long  list right but if you're willing to explore   those lists then congratulations because I and  another person in this classroom have spent a   lot of time in classrooms with people getting  their doctorate interviewing their neighbors   and not being willing to explore a much further  reach to see what their what the impact of their   research can create and consider like beyond what  they already want the answer to be. So embed your   yourself in the community that you're trying  to serve. So if you're looking for the LatinX  

community what about de la rasa what about all the  heritage organizations that are in alignment with   your very mission and you have to be audacious in  throwing that net out there. And an email isn't   enough I know it's not a LinkedIn message is not  enough it's just not and I know nobody says that   because you just expect well if they didn't  respond to LinkedIn that's no actually you're   going to have to channel your good old people  skills and go have a conversation and explain   what you're trying to achieve and allow them to  bring the solution to you because community always   will. They'll always if there's alignment and they  value what you're trying to accomplish they will   open the door and help you access relationships  and connections but you have to be willing to   leave this campus. Like I'm born and raised in  Seattle we were never allowed to go past John   Street you know down the hill and I didn't know  this was here and until I was in high school and   they told me that I was going to be the first  10 students doing my high school diploma here.  

That was the first time I even knew this campus  existed. So I think about so many people on this   campus who don't know what's up the street from  here 10, 15 minutes away and it's worth going to   explore and consider what other organizations and  communities you're in alignment with. Allow them   to be a part of your mission, allow their support  and their access to community to help shape what   you're doing. And then I do know you had question  two and I stopped you at one so if you still want  

to ask question two? Okay. [unintelligible] Yeah you know we were solely focused on virtual  reality for quite some time and like I said I   would go into communities we called it our  plug-in campaign and plug people in. 98% of   the people that came to our events had never  ever had the opportunity to put a headset on.   What's interesting is that in our internal group  when I found out I wan some before right before   someone asked someone from meta like what are you  going to do to create more accessibility for VR   and that leader literally said we've we're already  charging very little and so we have to accept that   like it's not a priority to everybody. For us it  meant putting on regular events where we said come   plug in. You don't have to buy this let's make  it accessible for you. But at the end of the day   that's not enough either right that's a small fish  in a huge pond and we can't do that for everyone.  

What we decided at Revere XR was it's going to  take some time to captivate everyone in the realm   of arts and culture and community into VR because  it's a huge investment you know asking people to   buy a headset is one thing downloading games on a  regular basis is another right so we're shifting   some of that focus to augmented reality. So now  the community is like what is augmented reality   so we're putting on a hackathon to introduce them  to augmented reality. Because everyone has a phone   and with all of the new technology coming out  there's a lot of ways to amplify AR so that we   can experience history in a lot of different ways.  So we do absolutely use both we do have a strong   vision for virtual reality but part of a pivot as  an entrepreneur is really understanding what your   consumers and community have access to, otherwise  we're just another organization only serving a few. Any questions? [unintelligible] Oh that's a whole another talk! Um that's real  that's something I deal with every single day   like look we're being given opportunities that  a lot of companies aren't right we're standing   on Nvidia stage, we're pitching to the NFL at  Super Bowl, we like we get offered to do things   that companies who are a lot older have a lot  more funding and resources they don't get these   opportunities. And part of it is because I am  unapologetic in saying everybody on my team is   far more talented than me and it's we remove  that ego and that need to kind of trump each   other which you guys know happens in tech like  sorry I didn't like that choice of words but I   think you guys understand. What I'm what I'm  saying is that the competition of who's the  

best who has the most experience who's going to  figure it out the fastest the junior versus the   senior right like that that needed to be removed  and we check ourselves on a regular basis about   that like are we focused on the outcome and what  it does for people or are we kind of weighing each   other's ego and seeing who's is bigger. But every  day at least 20 times a day I am faced with what   you're talking about right now and especially as  a woman of color in tech we make up a very small   percentage of leadership and we are othered in  every sense of funding resources and support.   But the team that I have I call them the Marvel  team they bring the visions to life. I just have   them and they're all committed to being a part  of that but we get people coming to us every day.  

That's another thing is that there are people  that want to work with Revere. There are people   that I have teams that left Oculus to come work  with me I have people that are working for large   organizations like meta and saying they're bored  out of their mind and they will volunteer time   to work with us because they want to work on what  we're creating. It is not easy, every day I'm at   faced with with like I said at least 20 different  decisions about how to delegate something,   how to acknowledge that I don't have the skills  and expertise. And on some level my team is just   like overwhelmingly excited about the fact that  I have a regular weekly meeting with Nvidia and   I don't have any background in tech. Or that I'm  in front of Mayors talking about the road map for   their city and how to preserve their history to  make tech and education more fun and exciting,   and I have no background in tech. So it's part of  owning that otherness calling it unapologetic and   being authentic about who you are. I have the  brightest minds to help me determine how we're  

going to do it and the research and development  is no joke like we spend a significant amount of   time on that. Because we have to explore quite a  bit of it but it really is a whole another talk   the entrepreneur part and I will say I really  couldn't go work for someone else and do what   I'm doing today. I've worked for politicians  I've worked for global leaderships of huge   organizations and nothing feels better than  what I'm doing right now. But that other stuff  

you're talking about is really difficult.  So there was one more question up there? [unintelligible] I don't think it's intuitive for anybody I think  everybody's trying to figure out what the next   greatest thing is going to be. You notice that  right like we're in this space where everybody's   like oh this is going to be the next greatest  thing, this is going to be the next greatest   thing, and you see companies closing their door  taking that leap. I commend them I don't fault   them for that now is a time where we have to be  willing to kind of push the boundaries in that way   it's intuitive for me I don't think it's intuitive  for anybody else. And my team believes that this   is the future of it as well so we're just going  to keep going. I don't feel like I answered your  

question so if you want to [unintelligible] That  we need more of you for right like we really had   to explore what is more intuitive about how people  navigate this neighborhood how they sit down and   interact with elders and that's why you come to  the hackathon to share your perspective so we're   open to having that discussion. I know we don't  have a ton of time left... any more questions? unintelligible] You just need to register for the hackathon all  the answers are there this weekend. We in terms   of tools we are big on storyboarding right because  you're talking about something highly visual can't   just go based on what someone 's explaining.  We have a lot of structures in place to keep  

track of what didn't go well what is going well we  primarily use unity and we're like that's one of   our favorite tools. Learning more about technology  that we're beta testing for other companies right   now but I would say the design process is  really important and we usually contract or   have a consultant come in and manage that part  for us because we all heavily invested that it's   hard for any one of us to facilitate that so we  need someone to come in and people in you guys'   space always want to do that for us because we  have the best ideas. And I think it's not easy,   and the marketing part well if we win this pitch  competition with the NFL they'll help us with   that, and since I want Oculus Launchpad when we  do release Meta says they'll help us with that.  

We want to really focus on the organizations that  have the reach that need us us because they don't   have this option to give to anyone so we also  recognize the power in what we bring that no   one else has brought. And so while we want their  help marketing they absolutely need us to keep   people plugging in and buying their headsets  and downloading games from their platforms. So   I would say we're very clear on our added value  and you know going to different cities and doing   demos has definitely helped too. So we've been in  New Orleans, DC, Seattle, Atlanta, North Carolina   and people line up because they want to see what  we're bringing that's different. And some of them   like I said 98% of them are just people that are  like I've never tried VR and I want to try it. So  

107 elders coming to the event that we had to say  I want to see what this is are you telling me I   can see my old community and my neighborhood? And  I can experience stories? So in some respects if   you're from the community you also know good old  community is word of mouth and it travels faster   than any post to be honest. But I don't know that  everybody feels that way we still do because we do   very little advertising and marketing and  we are always highly attended and sought after. [unintelligible] Thank you, thank you  I hope some of you weren't disappointed about   the lack of slides but I'm glad we got to  have this conversation. [unintelligible]

Okay thanks come and check us  out if you want this weekend   and you can follow us at Revere  XR on Instagram and if you want  

2024-02-17 18:35

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