15 Jun 2021 Aspire to Tech: Chief Creative Officer at PrecisionOS
What is your role? What is your title? Where are you located? How long have you been doing it?
I’m the Chief Creative Officer. Which is in my view, fancy for Art Director. I am currently in North Vancouver, working from home. In this role . . . I have been in this role for 4 years, but I have been making digital content for about 25 years.
What makes your job interesting?
Kind of what I mentioned, my job is just super interesting because I’m learning all the time, I’m always problem solving, I feel like what I’m doing is helping people, and it’s cutting edge – like it’s just uncharted territory.
What is the most fun? I’d say it’s the problem solving and working with colleagues – I love problem solving with people. And would you say that’s also the most challenging portion of your job? It is yes! They are one and the same – that’s why I do it, because I love it.
How does your role help drive the company’s success?
I’m responsible for anything visual so obviously in this role it’s very visual – I help drive the look of the anatomy. With my experience in games, I have a lot to say about the feel of things: how things feel when you use them. And then I’m also responsible for most of the marketing of the company and so I can directly impact how we market and the materials we use to market. That’s what my role entails.
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you actually spend your time doing?
Lots of meetings. Usually, some sort of problem solving with my team. Then some form of marketing work, usually some sort of video work, and if I’m lucky I’ll get to make something!
Tell us about your career history? What was your very first job and how did your career path take you to where you are today?
One of my first creative jobs was in video games about 25 years ago, starting here in Vancouver at Radical Entertainment – the first video game company I worked for. After about 6 years there I started my own company called Black Box Games, with some co-founders – about 9 of us. From there we were acquired by Electronic Arts, where I stayed for about 6 years. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot there. Then I decided with quite a few of my former co-founders at Black Box, we started a company called United Front Games, and that ran for about 9 years before we decided to wrap up. From there I was just looking for something new and I discovered VR through one of our co-founders, he had just bought a VR headset. Fast-forward to being in his basement using the headset and- Danny was there as well – we all just had a light bulb moment and thought, ’how can we use this to help people in medicine or education?’ and that’s how the idea was born.
What’s your next role? What motivates you for your future career? Will you stay in tech?
I think I would probably still be in this role. I think because it’s a startup I’m on the ground floor quite a bit. I think what I’d like to do in the next phase of my career is to go a little more high-level, not be so involved in the actual work and be able to influence the company from a higher level and be more forward thinking. Help us to figure out what the road map is for our technology and visuals.
Tell us about your company? Why are you excited to work there? How would you describe the culture?
Again, I would describe the culture as a lot of people who have been in the entertainment or video game field and have come to a moment where you can pop your head up and ask, ‘how can I use my skills for something else’, that’s what really excites me. I get to take all my experience I built up in video games, but I get to do it for a different purpose. My day to day is quite similar to what it was in video games – I use the same tools, the same workflow, the same technology- but I get to use it for a different purpose. The analogy I always use is, my wife is a therapist and our joke used to be that the – video games – we break people, and she fixes them. Now I like to think I’m doing some of the fixing!
Any final words of advice?
It’s not too late. There are no experts in VR, AR, it’s so new that it’s just fertile ground for creative people, people that have ideas – it’s a wide-open field. I think the ship has not sailed, VR is still very much alive it’s exploding and if people are interested tell them just to jump right in and explore how they can use it and what ideas they can bring to it.