From obsessed to success

Founder of Oculus discusses his journey.

By Olivia Dudley

brendaniribepictureBrendan Iribe and Olivia Dudley at the groundbreaking of the Iribe Center

As college students, we often find ourselves thinking about our future. Although we plan our lives, things don’t always turn out as expected.But we keep striving and believing. If we give up, nothing is going to happen. 

“I wasn’t thinking about the success when I dropped out.” Oculus CEO, Brendan Iribe, told me when I questioned if he ever believed he would be as successful as he was today after dropping out of the University of Maryland, College Park. “Really, we were just excited about making this user interface tech for games…. We fantasized about where it might go one day and it went in a different direction that, I think, we are even more excited about now than we ever were.” Iribe told me this on April 30, 2016; the day of the groundbreaking for his new building at College Park, The Iribe Center. “I wasn’t thinking that I’d ever be back here with this opportunity.” He carried on with a gleam of pride in his eyes.

Think about that: coming back to your university to have a building erected in your name. Your ambitious hobby of dabbling in computer science with a couple of friends became something outstandingly beautiful. “I wouldn’t change any of that, because along the way that path connected these dots that ultimately led to Oculus and starting Oculus … So I wouldn’t change any of it.”

Of course, here at UB we find ourselves leaning towards fields involving things like law, criminal justice, and, of course, business. Oculus started off like all businesses do: as an idea; an idea that, with the right team, grew to become one of the most popular virtual reality gaming systems. I asked Iribe what advice he would offer to students attempting to start their own business: “Find great partners, build a great team, stay as focused as you can, make sure you have the necessary funding to achieve your vision. Also, don’t go create the product with all the features; try to create a simple version first. Get something running quickly, don’t work on a project for five years without shipping anything. Ship fast, get something out, get feedback from people. That will help shape the final product wherever you go. The sooner you can get to market the better.”

Iribe’s emphasis on “focus” when it comes to discussing his line of work prompted me to question if he would consider himself a workaholic. He smiled and explained “If you become really obsessed with what you do, and its work, then some people look at it as you becoming a workaholic. I look at it as just being inspired and excited about my job as a hobby and I get to do what I love, and I get to wake up every day and run and do it and I get to have a hard time falling asleep at night cause I’m still thinking about it…I really look at it as what I love to do.” He later explained his obsession and love with building and creating things which add to creating a hobby out of his work.

As we venture off on our own paths, it is important to remember that our futures do not have to consist of a nine to five job where we work just to get by in our money oriented world. We can have fun careers; we can have jobs that we love. We should bring passion to everything we do, even if it takes us awhile to actually make something of it. When we make mistakes, we learn from them and leave them in the past. Don’t hold yourself back by dwelling on something that cannot be undone.

When you start working on something, focus on it and come up with something that can be presented as soon as it can be. Do something that you love, or can at least grow to love. We should live everyday feeling inspired by something, we should inspire other people. Keep yourself motivated and use every mistake as a reason to do things better.

The best way to get through life is to inspire and be inspired, do something you love so you can wake up every day and run and do it.   

Photo Courtesy of Olivia Dudley

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