A Startup is All About Money – Interview with Antony Vitillo (Co-founder at New Technology Walkers)

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    VR/AR is very fascinating stuff and when we start using it, it becomes cooler and excited. Talking about AR/VR we have Anitilio Vintilio with us, an Italian guy who is the perfect mentor in AR/VR industry, he is also a developer, blogger, social media expert and the list continues, he is very much active on his website skarredghost.com, Anitilio also has a youtube channel where he shares an amazing detailed VR product reviews with hands-on. So without wasting time lets jump to the Interview

    1. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers

    Hello everyone! I’m Antony “Skarredghost” Vitillo, and I’m an AR/VR professional. I have born as a developer, and in 2014 I fell in love for virtual reality, and since then I have devoted my life to immersive realities (AR/VR). I’m still a developer (I mostly use Unity), but now I’m also a consultant (in these years I have gained some skills in understanding the XR ecosystem even from a business standpoint), an entrepreneur (I have co-founded the agency New Technology Walkers) and a blogger. Most people in the field know me exactly for the blogging gig: my blog The Ghost Howls has somehow gained a good reputation these years, and I have found myself in various “Top 50 VR blogs” or “Top 50 VR influencers” classifications. I am very happy with it because it lets me connect with very important and very smart people in my community.

    2. Can you please list and brief about the projects you worked to date How to become an AR/VR developer?

    I was already a developer, but my life changed in 2014 when my University classmate asked me to join him in his entrepreneurial adventure. We talked about what we could do together and then one day he made me try the Oculus Rift DK2 in the office: I was amazed because by wearing something on my head, I immediately was teleported in another place, that was a villa in Tuscany. The graphics were pretty bad, the comfort was mediocre and after 3 minutes I had strong nausea, but I was in love with that technology, so I decided that it should have been the purpose of my life.

    I was already good at using C# and C++, so I investigated what were the tools that were the best to develop AR/VR solutions. I found that Unity and Unreal Engine were (and still are) the best ones and luckily there were many tutorials about them. I picked up Unity because it seemed easier to learn, watched some tutorials, and then started experimenting with it. VR is a new field and there are still no standards to follow, so experimentation is key.

    During these years, I was involved in many interesting AR/VR projects:

    • Immotionroom, a solution to bring your full body in virtual reality without having to wear sensors;
    • Some enterprise applications to perform maintenance or training in immersive realities (under NDA, so I can’t say much about it);
    • A plugin to use a VR headset to do AR;
    • A mixed-reality fitness game called HitMotion: Reloaded, that lets you stay fit while having fun! You punch the droids in the virtual world, and by doing that you move a lot, you sweat and you stay fit. It has been made in collaboration with HTC;
    • A big concert of the electronic music legend Jean-Michel Jarre, that we made perform live in the virtual world VRChat. The concert has been attended by 2500 people on PC/VR and watched in streaming by 600,000 people in the first 24 hours (this my post-mortem article: https://skarredghost.com/2020/07/04/how-to-organize-vr-concert-lessons/)

    3. How is a Startup’s life? and how to manage it

    Startup life is an emotional rollercoaster. I love it and I hate it. I love that I can participate in projects at the cutting edge (like the concert for JMJ), and that I can always meet new interesting people. The startup community is full of talents, and it is great to get to know them and exchange your ideas with them.

    I hate it that it sucks all your life: it is tiresome, and notwithstanding all your efforts, the odds are against you and in the end more than 90% startups fail in the first 3 years. It is also difficult to find a work/life balance and the risk is that your work becomes your life.

    My piece of advice is to try to reserve some hours every week to meet your friends, to stay with your family and to care about yourself. Otherwise, you either burn out or you succeed but your life will feel empty because it will be all about work.

    4. Which all countries have you travelled for the VR/AR technology, Could you please share your learnings.

    I have travelled in many countries: Italy (my country), Belgium, Great China (Mainland & Taiwan), Czech Republic, Germany. What is interesting is that in all the countries that I visited, I have found the same problems: the technology is not ready yet, so startuppers are struggling to make a living out of it. But the situation is improving. In China, it was interesting to see that the government is pushing a lot for these technologies because it wants China to become the worldwide XR leader by 2025.

    5. What do you do in your free time?

    What is the free time? 😀

    Jokes apart, before the COVID, I used to go to the gym, go out with friends, and read some books.

    6. What’s your thoughts on Guest Post, is it dead? Is it Spammy? and best practices for Guest Post

    I think guest posts are a great thing when done properly. The problem is that 90% of the time, they are just garbage.

    Since my blog is known in the XR space, I get many requests to host guest posts. But many of them are just shallow material that some marketers have created by making a Google search on the topic. They have almost no info and give no value for the readers. One guy once really copied and pasted some paragraphs from other websites and tried to make me publish his guest post made this way just to have a link to his platform. This is just unrespectful.

    Valid guest posts are long, detailed and insightful. I have one ergonomics professional called Rob Cole that sometimes writes guest posts on my blog: they are great and I myself love reading them. I am very happy to let him add all the links that he wants, because he’s giving an enormous value to my platform. And this should be the mission of guest posting: helping each other in providing more value, and also in getting a wider reach of audience.

    7. One advice that you would like to give to those who aspires to become an entrepreneur.

    I’ve written on my blog many articles to inspire new entrepreneurs, like this series: 
    https://skarredghost.com/2019/08/16/how-to-good-vr-startupper/
    https://skarredghost.com/2019/08/17/how-to-be-good-vr-startupper-2/
    If I had to give one single piece of advice is to remember that “a startup is all about money”. Your passion, the technology that you use, the team… everything is useless if your company doesn’t make money. “If you don’t have revenues, you don’t have a startup, you have a hobby,” someone told me. So focus since day 1 on the product-market fit and on creating a valid revenue model. Otherwise, your startup is not going to work.

    It was such a pleasure talking to you and thanks for giving us your time. Requesting to DailyScrawl readers.