Interviews, Virtual Reality (VR)

Will VR Be the Next Big Thing in Computing? An Interview With Murray Newlands

VRW: If there is one thing that startups should look into when designing their marketing campaigns, what would it be?

MN: In my new book, How to get PR for Your Startup: Traction, I go into dealing with telling your story to your customers. Investors want to see customer take-up. You need to know who your customers are and what they want, as well as how to tell your story so that they become fans and buy your products.

VRW: Do you agree with the strategy taken by many startup firms that involve growing and gaining traction first and then monetizing later? Or should one have a business model from the start?

MN: Increasingly, investors want to see a business model. MySpace had lots of users and little revenue. Having tens of thousands of users is a great sign, but not does not necessarily mean profitability. For instance, Twitter’s problem is how to monitize its user base effectively. If you give away free beer, people will come, but how does your business pay the wages?

VRW: Mobile devices, connected devices, and wearables are increasingly making a play for the consumers’ pocket, home, automobile, clothing, and life in general. What does this mean for those in the application development business? How about those who build content?

MN: Having an app was cool in 2011; now people want the app to do something that changes their lives. The connection of apps to hardware also brings together different skill sets and challenges. If a game breaks, that is one thing. But if you blow up someone’s house by overheating the boiler, that is another problem altogether.


VRW: What are the most important things that can make or break a startup company?

MN: You have to have the right team with the right vision. The team also has to have the recognition that they are in a startup and things may change very rapidly as the company evolves. Many startups start off in one direction and end up being a completely different company.

VRW: How do you feel about crowdfunding as a means of raising funds? Is it a viable method of bootstrapping or raising angel investment, or does the value lie more in marketing?