Sink or Swim in the AR Field — My First 90 Days
I’ve read that the first 90 days are the most crucial time frame when taking on a new position. There are endless articles on this (trust me, I searched), books written, and tales told on how these first three months either made or broke the careers of countless new hires.
Well, my first 90 days have come to a wrap, and I have neither been propelled to the throne, nor fired, so I feel like celebrating this modern day semi-success story. So let’s take a moment to reflect on my brief time in the exciting new field which I only recently became privy to.
Initially, the various differences seemed endless. Upon entering the concrete-floored, open office overlooking Los Angeles Center Studios, I was struck by the visibly advanced technological environment — iPads outside every room, eye-scanning door locks, holographic lobby demonstrations — the works. I felt like I had just walked into an episode of the Jetsons. I quickly learned that working on bleeding edge technology thrives best in an environment that supports it, with the latest and greatest hardware and software to encourage such advancements.
What’s more, DAQRI culture is one that truly believes that mental and physical health are strongly related to work performance. This is demonstrated by the weight lifting gym where more than 60% of our team spends time daily (guided by a trainer), a nap room, bi-weekly yoga classes, an onsite nutritionist and wellness coach, and a state of the art kitchen stocked with healthy, mostly unprocessed foods.
Additionally, with seven offices around the world, DAQRI has implemented the latest methods in communication. You’ll often see teams casually collaborating with our offices in Vienna, Dublin, and the UK via televised conference call as if they were working in the same room. It helps that one of our chief products hosts a number of incredible features including something called “Remote Expert”- a tool that allows experts in their fields to visually assist teams from around the world easily and accurately.
But at the end of the day, DAQRI is still a young company. Improvements in process and communication occur daily. And unlike my previous employer, a 100+ year old network boasting “lifer” employees and processes that often outlive them, DAQRI employees are often exposed to new practices as a team.
THE LIFECYCLE OF A (TECH) PRODUCT
Many of my team members, like myself, come from innovation adverse industries: automotive, aeronautical, oil and gas. I have roots in a similar archaic structure — film and network production. One would think that where I worked — on the business side of entertainment, in marketing — would be less dated, but unfortunately, it is far more antiquated that most would believe. The process of ideation, execution, and distribution of a television pilot or film is an extended one, requiring dozens of eyeballs and approvals, as is the design and production of a car, or the engineering of an airplane engine. Life cycles span years, and have been perfected to avoid disaster and waste, thus these industries are prone to discourage change — especially change that utilizes technology that isn’t already widely adopted and fail-safe.
That is not how we operate here at DAQRI.
We see an opportunity to innovate and we seize it.
We see a new technology that we can incorporate and we work it in.
Our roadmap is always moving forward, but never at the cost of exciting advancements.
With an office full of brilliant, forward thinking engineers, designers, and neuroscientists, change is the only thing that is inevitable. There is no time for egos or unnecessary, excessive approvals before releasing a flawless concept. When you’re working in the future, there’s no time to waste.
LESSONS I’VE LEARNED
Though I haven’t been here long — 90 days in the LA tech scene feels equivalent to a year in most companies — I already feel at home. And, like a sponge, I’ve done my best to absorb what I believe to be incredible advice — both personal and professional:
In order for a company to grow and stay relevant, it must constantly be aware of the changes occurring in the world around it — which is why we must ask “Why?” Ask why a policy or process exists — it might no longer be useful. Ask why a certain design feature is put in place- it might help to stimulate creative juices and brainstorm what other features might be beneficial. Something went wrong? Ask why. This might prevent the same mistake from taking place in the future. One of the most inexpensive and efficient methods of improving operations and product is to ask “Why?”. So stay curious, ask “Why?”
Aim for Results, not Effort
“Results-oriented” is not just jargon fit for a resume, it’s fit for real life. While effort is admirable, to succeed in today’s economy, it is important to remain flexible, and adjust to redirect effort accordingly to achieve maximum results. Effort for effort’s sake serves no purpose in an environment that works in the future. If you want your team to be driven to action, focus on results, and reduce wasted energy.
Success in temporary. Like many things it in life, success has to be earned daily or it fades over time. It’s a journey. And one of the greatest barriers to continued success is an overabundance of ego and pride. Surround yourself with people who are willing to contradict you or you might lose sight of reality and risk.
ONWARD AND UPWARD
I guess you can say that DAQRI has become my new school of knowledge — I’ve learned so much in such a short time. As with most growth through learning, I cannot go back to how I saw things before. And that’s a good thing. I’m now capable of seeing a world where AR is everywhere, augmenting our lives — from work to the car to home — allowing us to live enhanced lives.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that a new Industrial Revolution is ahead of us, and I feel privileged to partake in what will be an exciting, augmented ride.
I can happily say that I look forward to the lessons I’ll learn in my next 90 days.
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