Philip Rosedale: To Be A Master of Real World
A long time ago, nobody believed that "virtual reality" would dominate the world. In 2016, everybody knows it will be the next big thing. Let's learn the mindset to get over difficulties to achieve your ideas
Philip Rosedale: Life-long Entrepreneur
Philip Rosedale is a serial entrepreneur and investor. He created an innovative Internet video conferencing product (called "FreeVue"), which was later acquired by RealNetworks. In 1999, Rosedale left RealNetworks and founded Linden Lab. There he led the creation of a virtual civilization called Second Life which is the most famous virtual world inhabited by millions. In 2010, he co-founded LoveMachine (www.lovemachineinc.com) as a lab to build several new ideas at the cutting edge of work, computing, commerce, and intelligence. In November, 2011, Rosedale released Coffee & Power, a site that enabled people to connect for small jobs and services using a free-market system and distributed work principles. At the beginning of 2013, the team at Coffee & Power became a new company: High Fidelity, and are currently working on the prototype for a new global virtual world.
-----For those who are not familiar with you, tell us more about you. How did you get interested in coding and why did you decide to learn physics in university?
I built electronic circuits as a kid and started programming as soon as affordable computers were available - my first computer was a Timex Sinclair that I bought at a flea market when I was in middle school. I loved programming and in particular the idea of programming emergent systems and exploring to what degree computers could simulate the physics of the real world. I studied Physics in college because I already felt fairly strong in Computer Science and wanted to better understand how the world worked to inspire further software work.
-----How has your experience of learning physics helped you code or manage businesses?
Physics is a very practical thing to study because you have to take apart the way things work with observations and build sensible models based on what you see. These strategies apply to many things, not just physical systems. Studying physics helps you think very generally about building things.
-----Why do you keep developing new things? What drives you to jump into an new entrepreneurial project?
I was always entrepreneurial, having started my first software business at 16. I didn’t have a lot of money growing up and not a lot to lose in trying to start my own companies. Nowadays what keeps me going is my passion about seeing and helping with what is going to happen to the world as virtual reality becomes widely used.
-----I assume you have seen many different kinds of people. What is a common misperception that people have about being successful?
People believe that being an entrepreneur is a career choice, like being a doctor, and that by studying entrepreneurship you can get better at it. That’s not true: Great entrepreneurs arise when people cannot help themselves from wanting to build something they are dreaming about. It isn’t something that you study.
-----You seem to be a big thinker who builds the future. At the same time, you pay attention to lessons from the past. How do you balance between your vision, which has not been realized in the present, and the data that reflects the past?
I mostly think about the future. I think about whether, with the tools that are currently available, I can do something I am dreaming about. Whether you are too early is the greatest risk of building something genuinely new.
-----If you have a big idea, what do you need to remember to make it happen?
Never give up.
-----Even though creativity is not a physical object, people try to apply Newtonian mechanics to creativity that they look for a formula like A+B=C. As a result, normally, it does not work. What is truly important to make the most of your creative potential?
Creativity is the window that allows you to see an idea. But it doesn’t make the idea happen. There are a lot more creative people than successful ones. What is important is to have sufficient passion to be motivated to work really hard to make that idea happen.
-----Imagine there is no limit and all the resources are available to you. What would you create?
A virtual world larger than our own - another universe for us to explore together.
-----If you could make a call to 20-year-old Philip Rosedale, what kind of advice you would give to him?
To not doubt yourself.
-----If you can leave one message to make the world better, what would be your message?
Use technology to learn as much as you can about people far away from you.