Monday, August 13, 2007

Life Update Part 1

Things have been really very busy for me after joining the new company. Literally two days after joining, they sent me to SIGGRAPH where I spent the past week being totally awed by all the latest academic advancements in 3D, and generally getting really stoked about getting into some of that work myself soon.

Now its back to work this week, and the pace is nuts. Not necessarily the good kind. When you're working in a startup, and not necessarily one founded by all your uber-smart computer-geek buddies from college, there are lots of issues as people feel things out, and try their best to make a 5-legged pig fly. But when you try to do that over 3 different languages and at least 3 cultures, it adds an extra dimension. I can easily see our greatest corporate challenge will be communication. I think I'm up for some interesting times.

Maybe for those who haven't followed, I can describe the company I am working for now:
The observant among you will have already discovered that the website is here. However I suspect most of you cannot read the Japanese therein.

Basically the deal is that an incubator company here in Tokyo called NGI Group (formerly NetAge) purchased a company that a friend started, and is helping set it up. The company is about developing technologies for virtual worlds (the most famous being Second Life), with the idea that virtual worlds could be a Next Big Thing, and whoever enters the market early will have first movers advantage.
As anyone who is following the virtual world (Second Life) phenomenon has noticed, there is a certain amount of speculation involved as to whether and whither this thing will go. I myself am not sure, but I think I can enjoy the ride, wherever it takes me.

My own role here is not strictly defined, as one might guess. I am nominally head of the group of programmers improving and developing virtual world clients. Specifically our team will be working on improving the Open Source client for Second Life, but our company is not limited in focus to just Second Life. Indeed our company has strategic relations with the Chinese virtual world company HiPiHi, and is working on developing our own compatible but improved system in the future. However, since we are really lacking experienced engineers, I just don't have anyone under me, so the title is entirely meaningless.

However I do get to have my input on business and strategy matters, which is fun to exercise the non-engineer part of my skill-set. Since I am a native English speaker, I get called in on a number of conferences dealing with non-Japanese and non-Chinese groups.

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