I’m sitting here today reflecting on the news I got last night from Oculus about Smoky Mountain VR, my Launch Pad project. Actually, I don’t even want to call it my Launch Pad project because it is a project that came into existence long before I was accepted into the Launch Pad program. I’m sad to say (well kind of sad, I’ll explain why later) that Oculus will not be helping to fund Smoky Mountain VR.
I’ve known for a couple of weeks now that my project wasn’t a scholarship winner and I had prepared myself mentally for the official email. The Launch Pad participants have been eagerly awaiting to find out who the scholarship winners are since mid-October when we were originally told we were going to find out. Now that it is mid-November we have found out who DIDN’T win. Although Oculus is still being mysterious as to who won the scholarships. Anyone who won a scholarship had to sign a legal agreement stating they wouldn’t announce that they won until Oculus gave them permission.
This is really disappointing to the Launch Pad participants as we have all been in this together since we met in May. We are all really eager to celebrate with the scholarship winners and see their projects.
All of the participants have been invited to reapply for the 2017 Launch Pad program where hopefully they will have all of the bugs worked out from this year. For me, I will not be reapplying. Launch Pad has not been the experience I was expecting and there have been many disappointments and frustrations along the way including issues with the travel stipend, delays in communication from Oculus, delays in announcements and an overall lack of feedback and mentorship that was promised. All of these issues have created a lack of trust in Oculus, which lead me to my previous statement that I’m sad, but not really sad that I’m not one of the scholarship winners.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in this program. And I’m especially thankful for the friendships I have found along the way with fellow developers and content creators. As participants, we realized early on in the scholarship phase that we weren’t going to get the feedback and mentorship we were hoping for from Oculus, so many of us banded together and hosted Google Hangout sessions to discuss our projects and help each other along the way. The community and support we grew from this experience was worth going through the program.
I’m really looking forward to see who of my new friends won scholarships and will keep you all posted on their projects. One thing is for sure. I think most of us have gained a lot of experience and knowledge throughout the past 6 months that have made us stronger developers, content creators and business people. Rather than be disappointed I’m going to focus on the good things that have come my way since Launch Pad and the lessons I’ve learned along the way (both good and bad). No regrets. I’m going to keep moving forward and keep creating!