In 1990, I started one of the world’s first laser tag company called Laser Storm. In the process of building over 200 sites in 30 countries, I opened the world’s first laser tag and virtual reality arcades in some of the top malls in America. Then, in 1999 as part of the leadership team at Global VR, I helped launched the most successful VR Arcade game of all time, Beachhead 2000, built on a proprietary boom-mounted display platform called the VR Vortek.
Today, I write for Replay Magazine on technology trends, and speak around the world at amusement and technology conferences on interactive location-based entertainment. But what really gets me fired up is mentoring entrepreneurs to help them launch their businesses and products, and bring amazing entertainment experiences to their customers.
For the last 2 years I’ve been mentoring the founders of Zero Latency, helping them launch their amazing free-roam warehouse scale VR platform onto 4 continents. Under my guidance they’ve grown from a single location in a warehouse in North Melbourne Australia to more than 13 sites on four continents, and a dozen more in development. I also work with the independent operators who are opening these locations on marketing and launch strategies. The most recent locations have sold thousands of tickets before they’ve even opened their doors.
It’s like I’ve become the Genius Bar for VR Arcade owners, answering the hard questions that inevitably come up, helping them see the questions they haven’t even thought of, and guiding entrepreneurs to ultimately run more successful businesses.
Having been in the industry for almost 30-years, but always staying on the bleeding edge of technology, I am able to predict both tech and business trends, giving my clients the unfair advantage of getting to where the market is going way before the competition figures it out. And viewing those trends through the lens of a marketer, I can connect dots that many technologists just can’t do.
I’ve developed the uncanny ability to navigate the maze of products and technologies to select the best combination of hardware and software, so operators can build a sustainable and profitable VR Arcade, and then develop the most effective marketing strategies to keep customers lined up buying tickets.
One of the biggest issues for VR Arcades is that there is so much consumer technology flooding the market, it’s impossible to figure out what to offer. Lots of arcades seem to think they should be offering everything, but this just confuses consumers, making it likely they won’t have an amazing experience, won’t be telling their friends, and won’t be bragging about you on social media. Most operators also think that the novelty of VR will just lead to a stream of customers leading to their door. While this can be true in the first weeks or months, once the novelty wears off, you need a solid marketing plan and product update strategy to keep customers coming back.
If you’re getting into the VR business at this early stage, it’s because you’re passionate about the technology and experiences. For Virtual Reality to take off, it’s critical that consumers, most of who are likely experiencing VR for the first time at a VR Arcade, have an amazing experience. And with so much bad VR out there, you have the responsibility to curate those experiences to guarantee your customers have a great time, and want to do more VR with their friends in the future. I want to help you do just that.
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