Bond with your team in virtual reality with Sean Weisbrot

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Sean has founded multiple companies and done multiple 8 figures worth of business.

He’s currently advising, consulting, and investing in business just like yours.

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Timestamps

00:00 – Introduction
01:19 – My Interest
04:21 – The Event
05:56 – Pros and Cons
08:20 – Final Thoughts

Transcript

Read the transcript
Welcome back to another episode of the We Live to Build podcast. Today is another special episode where it’s just going to be me, and I’m going to share about something very important that I decided to do with my team. The short of it is, I got my team to use an application called Alt Space VR for a team bonding session. I’m going to talk about why, how, what, etc. so let’s get into it.

Welcome to We Live to Build. My name is Sean Weisbrot, and I’m an entrepreneur, investor and advisor based in Asia for over 12 years. Join us every week to fast track your personal growth so you can meet the ever increasing demands of the company or companies you are passionately building. Time waits for no one. So let’s get started now.

Over the last four months, I’ve been increasingly interested in virtual reality and augmented reality, not only as a user, but also for my business. And I bought a headset around Black Friday. So the end of November 2021 and I made it a goal to use it every day for an hour. I bought a boxing game, I bought a mini golf game, I bought a table tennis game, I bought an adventure game. And there’s other social games that are free.

One of them is Alt space VR. I’ve been using it a lot, going to all of the different worlds, meeting people from all over the world. They’re all very interesting in full 3D. It’s a really good experience.

So recently I started thinking about my role as a CEO and what I could be doing to increase engagement in my team, because the pandemic has shown that people are willing to quit their jobs if they don’t feel engaged. And my team has been fully remote since day one for the last few years, until now, we were just using zoom calls and slack, and it’s not a great way to bond, that’s for sure.

We’ve done a few town hall meetings on zoom, and, you know, we have weekly meetings on Google Meet and all that, but it just wasn’t sufficient.

After I started getting involved with Old Space VR and these other applications, I started to realise that there could be a really fantastic potential for us to use something like Alt Space VR to arrange for the team to get together and have this private space where they can bond. So finally, about a week ago.

So that would be the last week of January 2022. I talked to the team about it and they all seemed keen, so I went through the process of creating an account on all space VR, the website, and I went through the process of going to create a world and whitelisting all of the users, which means I had to get all of the team members to create an account and tell me their usernames so I could add them as friends and whitelist them in the world and all of that.

So I chose this like stage, this bar kind of area. And I started looking around and it was it was a pretty solid thing. Next I went back to the executive team and I said, you know, look, we need to make this work. How do we make this work?

So we started strategizing and all that. I started looking at, you know, what are things people do to bond and things like that. What’s really great about all space VR is that they also have these things that you can interact with inside.

So like they’ve got a basketball hoop and a beanbag toss and a media player and a trivia game and tic tac toe and whatever you name it like, there’s multiple ways that you can have your team bond with each other. I didn’t know how to get that part to work, so I brought my CTO in. And because he’s the only other person on the team that has a VR headset, so he spent, I don’t know, 5 or 6 hours with me the other day, just preparing to make sure that it would make sense and that the things work and all of that.

So finally, we had our happy hour event because I didn’t want us to talk about work. We had this event Friday, the date I’m recording. This actually the 4th of February. So a few days ago, as of when you’re probably listening to this recording, it was Friday evening. Most of the team is in Asia. So for me, being in America is early. Early for me about 6 a.m. 7 p.m. for them.

We all logged on and everyone was trying to figure out how to move around and all that because they never use it. So side note, everybody was using the desktop application, so they were using their mouse and their keyboard to interact with the interface.

But my CTO and I, having a VR headset, were in the full native version of the application. I was able to have the team come in, they all tried it out, we got everyone comfortable. Then we brought everyone inside to where the stage was. We put everyone in a circle. I thanked everyone for their hard work. I thanked my CTO for helping to set this all up and told them, you know, look, let’s not talk about work, you know, let’s have fun.

So where we went from there was I had everyone talk about something that they were excited for in 2022 and something that’s happened to them recently that was interesting. And a lot of them were talking about, you know, how they’re excited for the MVP of what we’re building to come out this year and to get users on and feedback. And I was like, you know, guys like, let’s not talk about work, but like, that’s what they were excited for.

Maybe it’s because being in this pandemic, a lot of them were still kind of on lockdown. In the Philippines, for example. They don’t really have much to be excited for. Either way. I appreciated their sentiment and all of that, and the things that they were interested in were being able to travel again and to meet each other face to face and things that we haven’t done before. So after that, I started to ask them, you know, what is your experience so far in this application? What are the pros and cons of it? So I’ll, I’ll share that with you. Now. First, for me as an organizer of this event, the pros were creating, the world was very easy.

But a con was trying to set up all of the other games, and things were a little bit harder because you have to manipulate it and in 3D so you can, you know, rotate it, you can expand it, you can, you know, make it smaller. So those things were a little bit harder and it wasn’t intuitive. You know, you’re not able to clone an element inside of the world. So you know, to get multiple things of the same size, you have to really pay attention to those details.

It was intuitive for adding people into the space. It wasn’t intuitive for them to find the space and join it. So we had to create a link, which was easy to do, but then we had to find a way to get it out of the VR headset, because we had no way to copy the link and then share it outside, so that that was quite difficult. We had to log on to the desktop application in order to generate the link, and to be able to copy and paste it into our slack group.

So there’s some of these finer details that you wouldn’t normally think about. So for them, the positives were they got a chance to not have to have their cameras on, but to have an avatar that you can customize so you can put different clothes on different colors, skin and hair and, you know, things like that. So for them, they liked it because you could get a sense of like the person’s personality without them needing to say anything. You could just see, oh, you know, this person’s got blue skin.

So I, I’ve chosen to have blue skin and a blue mohawk. So like, you know, they get a sense of my personality, even though it’s not what I look like in the real world. So it’s not you know, with zoom, you’re kind of stuck in this 2D screen, but inside of this other environment, you can literally move around the screen, you can move around the world, and as you move around, the spatial audio kicks in.

So if you move away from a group of people, you can’t hear them anymore. Or if the people are talking and they’re towards your left side, you’ll be able to hear them better on the left side than the right side of your headphones, things like that. So for them, it was a really interactive, engaging experience. It was very positive. They look forward to doing it again. We’ve taught them how to favorite the world so that they can just pop in whatever they want. And hopefully we can do something every week where we can say, hey guys, like, I’m feeling stressed. I want to go play virtual reality basketball in our world. Like, let’s just pop over there.

If anyone wants to join me, you’re welcome to go. So like not forcing anyone to go, but inviting people to go back to this world multiple times over and over again to chill out. Kind of like a break room experience. So altogether, I love the experience. They loved the experience. Virtual reality is something that can be amazing for the future. There’s other games I’ve I’ve mentioned like mini golf and table tennis where my CTO has table tennis.

So maybe in the future, you know, if he’s really angry with me, let’s go play table tennis and blow off some steam and then we’ll be good, you know, or mini golf were like, oh, you know, I’m just I’m feeling quite stressed. I’m going to go hit some balls around. So virtual reality on a 1 to 1 as well as to a group and even on your own. There’s tremendous value, I feel, in using virtual reality, for engagement, for relaxation, for stress relief, you know, for team bonding. And there’s so many things that are going to come out as time goes on as more people buy headsets.

But what’s the greatest thing about alt space? VR in particular, is that because they have a desktop application and a VR application, your team doesn’t need a VR headset to interact with each other in this three dimensions. That’s what I really appreciate about it. And, you know, I wish that my team could afford to have VR headsets. I know not everyone is able to. And, you know, hopefully in the future the company will be able to afford to subsidize or to gift them to them as like a bonus.

All in all, positive, you know, great experience and I hope it’s something that you all think about for 2022 and beyond. How you can be engaging your team, how you can raise the bar, be more innovative, and do things that get people not only to want to join your team, but want to stay on your team and want to keep producing for your team.

Thank you very much for listening to this episode. If you found any value in it, look forward to the content we have going forward and tell others about what you know I’m talking about, because I’m looking for ways to improve what you do on a daily basis so that you can be a better entrepreneur and a better leader, and have a team that thrives throughout anything that could potentially happen.

So thanks again and have a great week ahead.