What was your inspiration behind Hearo.live?
In 1997, Multitude (my previous startup) invented the first talk and play game, FireTeam. It was a bit like LoL (10 years before them) and then FireTalk, a lot like Skype (but 3 years before them). Since FireTeam, gamers have been putting on headsets to talk and play together, but we learned that the 2 billion gamers often watch more than they play. We wanted to have a game that helps people connect with friends, even when we’re not playing together. That’s what inspired Hearo.Live.
What was one of your biggest worries when launching the company?
If I was a worrier I couldn’t be an entrepreneur! I know first hand that launching companies is hard. But this isn’t our first rodeo. We started with a disruptive idea, brought on smart investors and a world class team, and are building a revolution. But even that’s not enough. Everyone needs a bit of luck too. Until this strange year no one wanted to bet that phones and computers could really connect people.
What’s been the biggest surprise while launching this company?
Who would have guessed that the whole world’s physical venues would be shut down? COVID-19 has given us a huge boost. Through a twist of fate, Hearo has become the world's only scalable live venue for sports, shows, and events.
What is the impact you want to make?
I grew up watching TV piled onto a couch with friends and family. Now our 7 billion connected devices divide us, each on our own screen. We want to change the billions of hours people spend every day from watching alone to watching together, to make the world a friendlier, more connected and social place.
What do you think is the #1 skill you think entrepreneurs need to succeed?
Entrepreneurs can’t be one trick ponies. They should know finance, sales, marketing, project management, people management, product management, and more.
If there is a skill to master, it’s team building. Since no one can know everything, or do everything, the entrepreneur must build a team that can.
What’s your team culture like?
We’re a pro team, like a winning sports team. We have high expectations, skills, trust, and collaboration. We know how to do our jobs, and we all believe that Hearo will bring us closer to our own family and friends.
What is your superpower?
I can visualize the near future and build a team or company to turn that vision into reality. I’ve had a lot of practice, starting with EA’s first hit 3D game, Chuck Yeager’s Advanced Flight Trainer, then F22 Interceptor, one of the first successful 3D console games. I also worked on the first game with texture mapping, Car & Driver, and the first all texture mapping game, Ultima Underworld, and was CTO on the Sims and Director of Engineering on the PS4. It’s been an amazing journey growing up with the game industry, from the first 3D games to the spectacle of 12 million people watching the rapper, Travis Scott in Fortnite. Amazing!
What’s your kryptonite?
Self promotion, overconfidence, “I’m better than you”, not putting ‘us’ first—these attitudes all drive me crazy.
Do you have any unusual routines or habits?
Doing 10 x 400 meter sprint intervals at Kezar stadium on Tuesday. I’m a competitive runner.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Mountain biking and getting outside with my family and friends. That being said, mostly my job is my hobby. I love making stuff, whether its games, game platforms, and now a live, social platform.
What kind of content or shows do you like to watch? Any recommendations?
My favorite show is whatever my family is watching. When I commuted to Sony, I got hooked on podcasts. My favorites are Freakonomics Radio, Hidden Brain, Invisibila, The Moth, Radiolab, This American Life, and on TV, Nova are all brilliant. I’m currently reading Behave by Robert Sapolsky. I think everyone on earth should read it.
If you could give yourself one piece of advice 5 years ago, what would it be?
Bet on Leicester City.