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

Maryland Basketball Triumphant in Return to Baltimore

Diamond Stone Baltimore
Diamond Stone, #33

The last time the Maryland Terrapins played a game at what was then known as First Mariner Arena in downtown Baltimore, they defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 84-65 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. That was on Nov. 30, 1999. Maryland was also looking for déjà vu against Princeton, beating the Tigers 81-58 at First Mariner on Dec. 19, 1998, one of five wins by the Terrapins over the Tigers.

Sixth-ranked Maryland started out by trying to establish the three-pointer early, with seniors Jake Layman hitting two of his first four three-point attempts, and Rasheed Sulaimon knocking down one of his own. Princeton responded with two three-pointers and eight points from its top player, Henry Caruso. Maryland went cold from beyond the arc, and the Tigers pulled out to a 14-13 lead when media timeouts were called with 13:25 and 11:38 left in the first half. Princeton pulled out to a 25-19 lead on another Caruso three-pointer with six and a half minutes left in the first half, prompting Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon to call a 30-second timeout. That timeout seemed to spark Maryland.

Coming out of the timeout, Maryland went on a 16-6 run for the rest of the first half to take a 35-31 lead at halftime. Jake Layman had a three-point play, Robert Carter, Jr. made a pair of free throws, and Jared Nickens and Trimble hit three-pointers. A floater by Trimble and a three by Layman gave Maryland a 35-27 lead, and Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson had to call two timeouts in less than 15 seconds as the nearly entirely red-clad crowd rose for standing ovations with just over three minutes left. Layman finished the half with 12 points and five rebounds, while Trimble had five points and five assists. Freshman Diamond Stone scored six points off the bench, but Maryland went scoreless for the final 3:10 of the first half. Caruso led the Tigers with 11 points.

Maryland started with possession in the second half, and used some crisp ball movement to get the ball to Carter, who found Damonte Dodd with a bounce bass that Dodd finished with a dunk. Carter followed with a jump shot, and Layman answered a Caruso three-pointer with a three of his own to give the Terrapins a 42-34 lead two minutes into the second half. At one point, Carter scored three straight baskets to give Maryland a 48-38 lead with 15 and a half minutes left.

The Terrapins started to pull away as Nickens hit a three with the shot clock winding down, and on the next possession Layman slammed home a long alley-oop from Sulaimon to extend the lead to 53-39 with just under 14 minutes left. Princeton pulled to within eight on threes by Devin Cannady and Spencer Weisz, but Stone made a short jumper, was fouled and completed the three-point play to stretch the led back out to 11 with 12 minutes left. After Princeton cut the lead back under 10 with a steal and dunk by Caruso, Maryland went on a 13-2 run over the next three and a half minutes, featuring a combined three three-pointers from Sulaimon and Jaylen Brantley to give Maryland a 20-point lead with  just under seven minutes left. Brantley scored 10 out of the 13 points during that run. The Terrapins cruised from there on the way to an 82-61 win before a crowd of 11,076 at Royal Farms Arena. Layman finished with 19 points. Trimble dished out at least 10 assists for the second time this season. Brantley scored all 14 of his points out of Maryland’s final 20 over the final 11 minutes. Maryland (10-1) extended its winning streak to four games, improved to 6-3 all-time against Princeton (6-3) and 10-2 all-time when they play in Baltimore, including six straight wins.

Turgeon said his team struggled with Princeton’s zone defense in the first half, and his players too often settled for three-pointers.

“Princeton came out in a 3-2 zone; they haven’t shown it all year. We didn’t prepare for it; we weren’t prepared for the 3-2 zone at all, and it showed a little bit,” Turgeon said. “Jake got us going, making some shots, and Diamond gave us energy off the bench, did a terrific job.” Turgeon said his team played up to its potential in the second half, shooting 65.5 percent overall, including 54.5 percent from three-point range after halftime. Maryland held Princeton to just 38.5 percent shooting in the second half. Turgeon says the Terrapins try to base their offense out of the lane, but were rattled by the 3-2 zone.

“Our whole offensive strategy was play in the paint, and then they show a 3-2 zone, and I thought we shot too many jumpers at the start,” Turgeon said, explaining that the team really got going in the second half, thanks to better player and ball movement.

“We weren’t really ready for it, so we kind of got caught off guard a little bit, so Coach Turgeon called a timeout, and we just ran a play,” Stone said, referring to the timeout Turgeon called with the Terrapins trailing 25-19, followed by Layman’s three-point play. Stone said the team went into its zone offense, and started getting the ball into the paint. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

“Like Diamond said, I think this is the first time they’ve run that all year, so we definitely weren’t expecting it. I think once we got the ball inside, we kind of calmed down a little bit, and then things started going our way,” said Layman, who went four of eight from the three-point line, and also grabbed eight rebounds.

Turgeon spoke about how the city of Baltimore embraced his team, and how he spoke with a couple of fans before the game who said they got tickets to see the Terrapins in Baltimore because they couldn’t get tickets to see them at the Xfinity Center in College Park. He said a trip up to Baltimore is something the team has wanted to do for a while, and would like to make happen on a more regular basis, especially if it can be beneficial for the men’s basketball program.

Maryland’s final nonconference game will be on Dec. 27 against Marshall at Xfinity Center. The Terrapins will open its Big Ten schedule on Dec. 30 at home against Penn State.

Terps’ Wells Out With Broken Bone in Wrist

The Maryland Terrapins may have won the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, but they’ve lost one of their leaders for possibly the rest of their non-conference schedule.

Senior guard Dez Wells suffered a broken bone in his right wrist during Maryland’s 72-63 win over number 13 Iowa State in the CBE Classic championship game on Nov. 25. He had surgery to repair the fracture three days later in Baltimore, and is expected to miss at least four weeks.

Wells was leading the Terrapins in scoring at 16.2 points a game in Maryland’s first five games. Maryland held off Monmouth 61-56 in College Park in its first game without Wells. Freshman guard Melo Trimble led the way with 24 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Terrapins.

Turnovers and inconsistent offense continue to hurt Terrapins

After getting blown out by #20 Ohio State and a Wisconsin team that’s now ranked in the top 15, the Maryland Terrapins were looking to bounce back with a statement win in Big Ten play. They got it in Happy Valley, but appear to be reverting back to their old ways.

After Melvin Gordon ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Badgers to a 52-7 win in Madison on Oct. 25, Maryland went to Penn State with a chip on its shoulder. A scuffle broke out during pregame warmups, with star receiver Stefon Diggs in the middle of the action. After order was restored, Diggs and the other two Maryland captains refused to shake hands with the Penn State captains at the opening coin toss, drawing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Maryland had the last laugh at the end as the defense held the Nittany Lions to 42 yards rushing, and Brad Craddock kicked a 43-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter to give the Terrapins a 20-19 win. However, after the game, the Big Ten fined Maryland $10,000, and suspended Diggs for the Terrapins’ next game against Michigan State.

Two weeks later, the 12th-ranked Spartans came to College Park looking to bounce back from a loss at home to Ohio State. They were welcomed by a Terps team and a Byrd Stadium crowd that was dressed in black for a cold nighttime matchup. Maryland, playing without Diggs, went three-and-out on two out of first three possessions, and C.J. Brown threw an interception, but the defense was able to hold Michigan State to three field goals. After Michael Geiger gave Michigan State a 9-0 lead with 10:33 left in the first half, Will Likely returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards to the Spartans’ 41-yard line. Five plays and 1:52 later, Brown connected with Daniel Adams for a 20-yard touchdown pass to pull Maryland to within 9-7. However, Jeremy Langford seized the momentum back for Michigan State with an eight-yard touchdown run to make it 16-7 at halftime.

The Spartans would start to pull away in the second half. With 1:14 left in the third quarter, R.J. Williamson picked off a Brown pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown to give Michigan State a 23-7 lead. In the fourth quarter, after Maryland was unable to put a drive together after getting the ball at its own 48 and had to punt, Spartans quarterback Connor Cook engineered an eight-play, 77-yard drive that ended when Langford scored his second touchdown of the night on a 25-yard run with just over seven minutes left. Three minutes later, Brown hit receiver Juwan Winfree for a 31-yard touchdown pass, and then found freshman tight end Derrick Hayward for the two- point conversion to pull Maryland within two scores at 30-15. Less than a minute later, Spartans running back Nick Hill scored on a 33-yard run to close out the scoring in a 37-15 win for Michigan State (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten). The Spartans held the Terrapins to just six yards rushing, and Brown had three interceptions in another game where he struggled with consistency throwing the ball. Likely had 228 return yards for Maryland (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten).

Maryland will close out the season at a struggling Michigan Wolverines team at The Big House in Ann Arbor on Nov. 22, followed by the regular season finale at home against Rutgers on Nov. 29.

Maryland Hires Gary Williams For Senior Role in Athletics Department

Gary Williams brought the University of Maryland into the national spotlight with a successful 22-year run as the Terrapins’ men’s basketball coach, including a national championship in 2002. After retiring, Williams took a job as a college basketball analyst on Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic, where he’d offer his insight on games as well as the annual selection of the brackets for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Now, Williams is back as an employee of the Athletics Department in College Park.

On Sept. 10, Williams, a Naismith Memorial and College Basketball Hall of Fame coach, was named the Senior Managing Director for Alumni Relations and Athletic Development. He’ll have a leardership role in the Division of University Relations, and will oversee fundraising for the University of Maryland Athletic Department. According to the Athletic Department, Williams will be in charge of a fundraising operation that raises more than $8 million for athletic scholarships. He’ll also be in charge of the Terrapin Club Scholarship Fund, which has more than 8,000 donors. The university says Williams will be focusing on raising money to renovate current athletic facilities and build new ones. Williams feels that his new job is about building up “Maryland Pride.”

“Our move to the Big Ten, the research that we do here, the students that study here, there’s a lot to be proud of,” Williams said in the statement released by the Athletic Department. As part of his new job, the university says Williams will be working to increase engagement and donations from more than 320,000 University of Maryland alumni, as well as alumni outreach on campus. He’ll also help manage the university’s new regional development plans in New York, Baltimore, South Florida and Los Angeles. Williams will also serve as the spokesman for the Alumni Association’s 25th Anniversary Celebration.

University of Maryland President Wallace Loh called the announcement of Williams’ new role an exciting moment in school history, and described it as not being much different than his previous job of coaching basketball.

“I like to think of Gary Williams as our new head coach of athletic fundraising and alumni outreach,” Loh said, adding that he feels Williams will be just as successful off the court as he was on it. Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson feels that Williams is the best person to represent the University of Maryland, and jumped at the opportunity to add him to the department’s leadership.

“When the opportunity presented itself to add Gary to our leadership team, we were eager to offer him this position to spearhead our fundraising efforts for scholarships and capital improvements,” Anderson said. He cited Williams’ time as a player, coach and ambassador for the university over the past 50 years.

“Gary represents our ‘Proud Past,’ and will be instrumental as we welcome the new ‘Fearless Future’ era at the University of Maryland,” Anderson said.

This won’t be Williams’ first time being in charge of fundraising for the university. He was a co-chair of the school’s $1 billion “Great Expectations” capital campaign.

Alyssa Thomas Begins WNBA Career

After a record-setting career at the University of Maryland, the next chapter in the basketball life of former Lady Terrapins star forward Alyssa Thomas has begun.

After setting the all-time scoring mark for both men’s and women’s basketball in College Park, Thomas was selected by the New York Liberty with the fourth overall pick in the WNBA draft on April 14. In a draft night trade, the Liberty sent Thomas to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for Tina Charles, who was named the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2012. The Sun also got center Kelsey Bone and New York’s first-round pick in next year’s draft as part of the trade. As a result, Thomas is teaming up with forward Chiney Ogwumike, who was the number one overall pick from Stanford University.

The Sun’s first game was against the Liberty on May 16. In her WNBA debut, Thomas had seven points, four rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes. So far this season, Thomas has appeared in nine games, and is averaging 8.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game. She’s shooting just over 44 percent from the floor and 69 percent from the free throw line. Her best performance so far was on May 30, when she scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 101-82 loss at the Chicago Sky.

Thomas will be coming back to the Washington, DC, area to play later this season. The Sun will be playing the Washington Mystics at the Verizon Center on June 27, and again in an 11:30 matinee on July 23.