2015 - Present
Our goal with Vicarious is to use emerging 360° and VR tech to revolutionize the way people connect. Vicarious, a platform for 360° social media stories, lets users live each others' experiences from any angle, as a regular mobile app or in a VR headset. People can follow one another, celebrities, musicians and more, or chronicle their own lives using 360° images, videos, music and text. Through experiences that are more genuine and empathetic, Vicarious appeals to the next generation's urge to share with the world in a whole new way. As co-founder and head of product, I was in charge of all product related tasks, including product design, strategy and roadmap, team management, as well as pitching investors and presenting at conferences and meetups.
If you're an investor take a look at our pitch deck for a quick summary (contact us for the password).
Short format Personal Stories
Goal & Strategy
Use new technology to improve empathy in social media experiences
Eliminate barriers to entry
Leverage existing behaviors
Change the VR demographic
Blend 360°tech with familiar social media behaviors/expectations to create a format that is accessible and relevant, while slowly introducing people to mobile VR.
Low $ investment with Mobile VR
360°analog of Insta/Snap stories
Speed vs quality compromise
Grow via influencer & student advocates
Success relies on staying true to the goal not the work. Iterate and fail as quickly and cheaply as possible. Nothing is too precious to scrap in service of a positive user experience.
A - Analyze state of app and category
B - Question and test assumptions
C - Adjust goals, strategy, and roadmap
D - Design, develop, test, and deliver quickly
360 media value study
Working Wireframes built in Unity
Building a platform for everyday users was and continues to be a big challenge. There was a great deal of churn that included: scrapping a fully completed version of the app, switching VR platforms, and eventually acknowledging that in-headset-VR is not yet as valuable as we assumed. However, staying true to our goal, led to a new format of 360 user generated content that is both accessible and, more importantly, relevant. VR is a real passion of mine, but serving the actual needs of the user is the most important measure of a good designer.
The next big challenge is growing a strong community. Social features, deeplink sharing, and creator/advocate programs have paved the way for growth, but we still need to complete that growth-feedback-loop. Push notifications will keep users coming back and a comment system will better engage non-creators. Partnerships with celebrities and camera manufacturers will improve our content pool, and a strong advertising campaign is needed to solidify our brand. With these initiatives Vicarious will continue to grow and provide an ever-improving social experience.
JM Yujuico: Founder, CEO
Three-time entrepreneur and former Chief of Strategy, Carto Meridian Development Corporation – Orchestrated a 2.8M Sq/Ft mixed use real estate development joint venture with Double Dragon Properties Corp in Entertainment City, Philippines. Scheduled completion 2020.
Alex Chu: Co-founder, Head of Product
Former Design Lead, Samsung R&D Dallas – Original developer of Gear VR and Lead designer for Milk VR (now Samsung VR). Former UX Designer/Product Owner, Halliburton Technical Software – Developed multiple in-house service and performance apps