1. pkcable's Avatar

    I KNOW we don't have an Ask Russell forum YET! (you know it's coming, lol) BUT I am curious what makes you do this? Why do you cover VR (and Android, and tech) as a career, and run VRHeads? What lead to you joining first Android Central, and then VRHeads. And what inspires you to keep going and keep doing this? Anyone else that you admire here at Mobile Nations, or otherwise that you would like to mention?

    Yes yes, I'm asking for your "superhero origin" story! lol

    02-01-2017 12:52 PM
  2. pkcable's Avatar
    Do we need an "Ask Russell" section before I get an answer? lol
    02-08-2017 07:24 PM
  3. Firegold21's Avatar
    We might. Never know.
    02-09-2017 05:17 PM
  4. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    Do we need an "Ask Russell" section before I get an answer? lol
    I can give you an answer:

    "To make us jealous!"


    Thinking about that, I don't know if those smart guys really made a decision or simply were involved in the situation and are exploring the talent but also discovering.

    I think I can do some smart things, but writing in not one, it's to difficult sometimes to make the words explain what I'm seeing or what I mean (not only in english which is not my native tongue, in any tongue I mean), but with this topic I kind of believe you need to love it do to di it also.
    02-12-2017 08:56 PM
  5. pkcable's Avatar
    02-13-2017 09:06 AM
  6. Russell Holly's Avatar
    I am seriously the worst at forums, which I know is not what any of you want to hear. I've never been very good at using them, but I really am trying to get better.

    Now, I guess I owe you a real answer to the question.

    Long before I was a writer, I have been fascinated by emerging tech and the communities that form around those ideas. Lots of people on the Internet know me as an Android blogger, but before that I was a server admin/ project manager with my eye on something called Open Moko. It was a totally open handset, a smartphone that was 100% open source. The linux nerd in me was so excited and ready to put down money, but the project folded due to licencing and source issues with Qualcomm. Android followed shortly after, and the T-Mobile G1 actually let me terminal into my servers with a keyboard big enough to comfortably type on. All of the Blackberry and Palm people in my office laughed, but I knew this was something special and stuck with the community growing around Android.

    I left that company and went to work for Comcast for two years, doing mostly over-the-phone tech support and helping train everyone in the office on this crazy new thing called Windows 7 that I knew was going to be something we'd all need to know more about sooner rather than later. We had a particularly nasty snow storm that winter, and on the way into work one morning before the maintenance crew had arrived I slipped on a patch of ice and landed elbow first onto a concrete table. That fall destroyed the Ulnar nerve in my right arm, and I spent almost a year in and out of surgery and therapy trying to restore partial function to my fingers.

    That year was really dark for me. I was really unhappy with work to begin with, having only taken the job because of how much it paid, and not being able to type or game or do most of the things I enjoyed really hit me hard. I gained a ton of weight, was generally unpleasant to be around, and really needed some kind of outlet. The only thing I felt like I had at the time was reading. I read everything I could about Android, rooting, flashing ROMs, really anything I could find. I started talking with some of the CyanogenMod team members on a daily basis, and one day ordered one of those Dragon: Naturally Speaking kits so it was easier to talk to people. At some point during this obsession, I realized people were actually interested in what I had to say about Android. My experiences in the Linux community transferred fairly well, and I found I had an audience. As I built that audience, a company approached me and offered to pay me to write for them, which was something I had never considered doing for money before.

    A lot changed very quickly after that. My arm started improving to a point where I didn't need the microphone to write most days, I bought a house with a space big enough to be an at-home office instead of working out of my bedroom, and I started to realize just how miserable I had been. It took me a long time, and a lot of writing, but I realized what I really wanted to be doing was chasing emerging tech. My first stop on that journey was smart lighting and connected home tech, and then I moved on to Google Glass and other wearable computers. I found tech that truly excited me, and I found the start of a community full of incredibly bright people. We all know what happened to Google Glass though, and so I went back to Android when Phil decided I was good enough to consider hiring at Mobile Nations.

    Finding VR, much like finding writing in the first place, was kind of an accident. I'd used several of the Oculus Rift developer kits, but was largely unimpressed and didn't pay it much mind. HTC was showing off the Vive at the same time they were showing off a new phone, and that first demo completely hooked me. The thing Oculus was missing was room-scale, the ability to move around and interact with the virtual world. I needed to know more, and I wanted to talk about it with the Mobile Nations audience. I was so passionate about VR when sharing it with the others at Mobile Nations that Kevin Michaluk decided it would be big enough to spin off into its own website. That was a little unexpected, and I wasn't totally convinced I had all of the skills needed to handle the task, but I was excited by the opportunity and jumped to make this happen. Now, instead of following a growing trend, I'm helping create it with all of you!

    I don't think that counts as a super hero origin story, but that's how I got here and why I wanted to do this. Hopefully that explanation was worth the wait.
    Klortch, Firegold21 and pkcable like this.
    02-23-2017 01:26 PM
  7. Firegold21's Avatar
    Thank you for sharing, Russell. I've been a bit curious as well, since pkcable asked. I don't know that it's a "superhero origin story" either, but it is definitely interesting to know where other people are coming from.
    pkcable likes this.
    02-24-2017 03:26 PM
  8. pkcable's Avatar
    Perfection! Missed you in Barcelona! But I guess they had to leave SOMEONE home with the keys to the store!
    02-26-2017 07:56 AM

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