Collaborating in VR | Gabe Paez at The Wild

Even to the non-professional, architectural models have a magical appeal—it’s the presentation of the possible, imagining yourself in a new place, a carefully crafted environment.

Gabe Paez, our guest on this week’s UpTech Report, has developed a unique and marvelous way to bring people into these models. His company, The Wild, offers a Virtual Reality platform that enables anyone with a VR headset, anywhere in the world, to collaborate with others on architectural models, allowing you and your team to actually be in the space you’re designing. It’s wild indeed.

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Gabe Paez works at the intersection of engineering, design, and business. He is the founder and CEO of The Wild, an immersive collaboration platform for teams to work together, from anywhere, in augmented and virtual reality. The Wild enables architecture and environmental design teams to ideate, review, share, and present in cross-platform XR from the same room or across the world.

Gabe has about 15 years of experience leading experiential product teams and has designed immersive software products for a diverse roster of companies, including Google, Samsung, Nike, AT&T, and Verizon.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Gabe Paez 0:00
I think that we, we are right now facing sort of an existential crisis around transportation.

Alexander Ferguson 0:15
Even to the non professional architectural models have a magical appeal, it’s the presentation of the possible, imagining yourself in a new place, a carefully crafted environment. Gabe Paez, our guest on this week’s UpTech Report has developed a unique and marvelous way to bring people into these models. His company, Thewild offers a virtual reality platform that enables anyone with a VR headset, anywhere in the world, to collaborate with others on architectural models, allowing you and your team to actually be in the space you’re designing. It’s wild indeed. Gabe, I’m excited to be with you and hear more about Thewild. To start us off. Can you go ahead and share the concept of Thewild in in five seconds really brief. What is it?

Gabe Paez 0:59
So the wild is an immersive collaboration platform for teams of environmental designers like architects, interior designers, spatial designers to work together in augmented and virtual reality?

Alexander Ferguson 1:14
This This has been about three, three half years since it began started it. Is this your kind of first venture starting on your own? What’s What’s this process been like as you started it?

Gabe Paez 1:26
Well, this has been my first product company, not my first company to run. Prior to founding the wild I built out or I built teams and to build out software for physical spaces, like interactive touch tables for museums and corporate environments, interactive walls, floors, surfaces, I’ve always been obsessed with that sort of intersection of the physical world and the digital world. And so how, and really, that comes to my core love of people and human behavior and how we interact with each other. And I’ve always believed that I want software to live in our world, not us live in a software world. And so, you know, prior prior to virtual and augmented reality being viable technology platforms, I was doing that however I could. But I knew that once. Once VR really came of age, I wanted to form a product company, I wanted to build it around collaboration. And that was really the founding seat of the wild.

Alexander Ferguson 2:33
So interesting. You, you, you you saw the problem, if you were to to truly describe that problem that you saw that now VR has, actually it’s another question, do you feel it’s come of age? How has that solved that problem? Let’s let’s look at the problem first.

Gabe Paez 2:50
Yeah, so the problem is pretty simple. I think that we, we are right now facing sort of an existential crisis around transportation. So with the 20th century, we built incredible machines to move people across the earth, you know, cars, planes, trains, really all of that infrastructure that we built to transport people from place to place and fundamentally make the world smaller and only create one world by moving people more efficiently from place to place. But what did we actually do? Well, we created a system that was an incredible user of natural resources to to make that happen. We redesigned our cities around roads and cars, and created a physical design of our cities that has more division in it, then unification it with the intention of bringing people together. But the result is that we’re just, you know, drawing lines across the city. And, and so I think, at a greater level, that’s the really the problem that I saw, I want to find a way to use software and use not just software but immersive computing this idea of putting the person at the center of the experience rather than the device, not going and sitting down at a desk and typing on the desk or getting my phone and like staring down into the phone screen. But rather just allowing that that virtual experience to live around and among amongst us, as a solution to transport people into a shared experience.

Alexander Ferguson 4:35
If we walked through the potential like flow, then it’s like a an architecture would create a design in a program. Like what?

Gabe Paez 4:45
So Revit and SketchUp are primarily what we’re seeing the workflows originate

Alexander Ferguson 4:50
out of and then they would open that within the wilds and then they can collaborate, bring their their client in there and then they look at it together is that kind of the process they created in one program they pull it in, and then they look at it together.

Gabe Paez 5:02
Yes. So there’s a, it’s not just that they bring it in, there’s a add in for the wild inside of those programs that then they can push their updates to our cloud. And so it’s not a manual process, you just push your content up, and then you enter it into the wild. And whatever’s in the wild is always up to date. It’s always accessible from anywhere on the world on any of our devices that we support. So you can get in there in a virtual reality headset on an augmented reality device, like an iPad or an iPhone, on Mac, in desktop mode, or on windows in desktop mode. So

Alexander Ferguson 5:39
it can still be a 2d experience, if they don’t have a headset, or they don’t want to use their phone, they can still review it together.

Gabe Paez 5:44
Exactly. But even with a 2d experience that everyone has their own point of view in the space and can move through the space freely.

Alexander Ferguson 5:53
Do you feel that virtual reality augmented reality have mature? Or is it still way to go?

Gabe Paez 5:59
Up? Well, it depends on your definition of maturity, for sure they have mature, like the speed of iteration on virtual reality is just insane in the three and a half years, I mean, even before I was working in VR, but you know, in the past five years, I would say it’s just amazing how far we’ve come in terms of the hardware, the capabilities, the speed of the technology, being deployed, features, and just base usability improvements. At this point, you know, a lot of it is driving toward a combination of features and, but more importantly, just usability and stability, we need to be and we are driving toward that point where you just put the headset on and it works like that’s, it seems really quaint to just focus on that. And but deploying, I’m always thrilled any features that are deployed around just putting that headset on and having it work instantly, are terrific for me.

Alexander Ferguson 7:00
What’s your business model? Is it simply like a subscription? SAS monthly model? What’s What does that look like?

Gabe Paez 7:06
Yeah, so we it’s a per seat licensing model. And so you pay, it’s team based. So you have your company team, and there’s a payment method attached to that team. And then you just pay per seat on the team.

Alexander Ferguson 7:21
Gotcha. And then you can invite other guests in to the

Gabe Paez 7:24
exactly, you would you invite guests, you can invite viewers, you can invite other team members, editors, contractors, there are different, there’s a whole content management and sharing part of the wild as well. That often gets less attention. But it’s really crucial to honestly like deploying it over a lot of different projects and the complexities complexities they’re in. But basically, you have a lot of control, sort of like Google Drive, or something where you can selectively share different content with people both inside and external to your organization. And then they come into your team, and they have access to that stuff, whether that’s a space or a collection of products, or doors or whatever.

Alexander Ferguson 8:06
Yeah, so your your growth trajectory, the last three years, you’ve got a base of clients, any metrics you can share on that of how many people are actively using it. And

Gabe Paez 8:16
well, yeah, so we, I will say, over over this past, you know, four months, we’ve we’ve easily been into the, you know, into the 20s 20% month over month growth. And so like the first small team like us, that’s just insane. Yeah. See, I’m on both, I would say on the customer side, it just in terms of sales and getting new teams in, you know, and then we’ve also we’re starting to see that internal growth happen, where we’ve got some teams that adopted the wild in late 20, you know, even mid 2019, in early phase for us, and now they’re starting to just rapidly they maybe adopted like five seats, and they’re starting to expand those out.

Alexander Ferguson 9:04
So great. What’s what’s kind of your plans for the near term next year and long term? 510 years? Do you have any kind of set out of this is our roadmap,

Gabe Paez 9:14
the wild does what we say it does, and does it very well. Like we just, you know, pound that into ourselves. I mean, it’s all about I believe strongly that it’s very easy, especially in XR to just want to post a fancy GIF of something cool in the space, you know, because the things we’re able to do are so cool, and fun, but I really believe that just foundationally chomping down how long does it take from the moment you invite someone to the wild to the moment they’re in the wild? You know that that second person comes into the wild? Like just optimizing that the hell out of that number chopping it down? That stuff to me is its core not just to our success, but to the adoption of of xr across the board for real daily active. And I wouldn’t just say use in the general sense, like consumer use, there’s more tolerance for things breaking. But professional use, like you’re going into a meeting trying to pitch a client, and you need to have a high degree of confidence that the platform you are pitching that inside of is going to not just work not just acceptably work, but work very well. You know? So that that’s really what we’ve been driving toward.

Alexander Ferguson 10:39
Gotcha. And then long term, what’s your plan 510 years from now that you want to get to.

Gabe Paez 10:45
But the wild is an immersive collaboration platform, really, at the core, as I keep saying, it’s a workspace, and you can do many things in that workspace. And so our plan over time is to start chopping down different functionality that’s really going to bring more and more professionals into the wild, to be able to do their work better beyond environmental designers. I think that there’s it, you know, our core mission of really helping teams collaborate together, and, and being that catalyst for, for facilitating the exchange of the best ideas, you know, being the place where that happens, to realize that I think I really want the wild to be capable enough that we can package it in a format that’s going to work for a lot of different people. And in doing so I really do believe we can have a meaningful impact on the way our businesses operate, the way our communities are designed, and the way our the way we think about how professional transportation happens across the world. Because I do not believe we have a strong future when we’re flying across the world for one meeting, and then flying home the next day. That just really makes me feel bad about our future, about what is to come with our environment, with our the quality of our families, with the quality of you know, our economy overall, in the long term viability of it. I want something better, and I want the world to be a part of that.

Alexander Ferguson 12:26
Where can people go to learn more? And what’s a good first step for them to take

Gabe Paez 12:32
thewild calm, super easy. You can go to learn more, we’ve got a ton of resources on there not just to understand the wild, but to look at different use cases. In our blog, we’re always posting about different people, customers utilizing the wild. Also tips for just using virtual reality in your studio. Like as any kind of a professional. What do I need to set up VR at home? You know, for my employees? How what’s best to do that. Go there to learn more we try to keep and then follow us on the wild XR on any of the social medias where we post about that stuff as well.

Alexander Ferguson 13:13
Be sure to check out the second part of my conversation with gape in which he opens up about his struggle of starting a new company with no money and at a time when investors were very reluctant



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