10 Questions with Michael Hoffman


Someone has to be first. In the world of independent mixed reality development, that honor goes to Michael Hoffman. In the summer of 2015, Michael left his development job with the Microsoft HoloLens team and partnered with Raven Zachery to found Object Theory, the first boutique agency to specialize in HoloLens design and development. Besides doing some of the most beautiful work today in mixed reality, Michael has also pioneered the field of MR collaboration and avatar representation in augmented reality spaces. For many of us currently working with mixed reality, it was Michael who first gave us the idea that we could actually make a living doing this thing.


What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
Schindler’s List.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
Space invaders (1979). I often hung out at our small town greyhound bus station slash greasy spoon as a 17 year old after high school playing space invaders for hours. Although not a video game, for what it’s worth, the first actual computer game I played was my own implementation of blackjack that supported all rules of the game including doubling down, splitting pairs and insurance betting, that I wrote on a Data General Eclipse in 1974 when I was eleven.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
Steve Jobs

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
Trivial? All the time. I’m an options guy. Important: Microsoft. Satya has transformed the company and it is emerging as a true innovator and market leader (again).

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
Commenting code. I make sure my code is readable without comments using well organized objects, clear interface contracts, highly descriptive method and variable names and consistency.

What inspires you to learn?
Thirst to know how the world works. Almost became a physicist.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
That I’m making a difference, learning, connecting with people, and changing the world in some way.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
That my combination of ADHD, intelligence, compassion and generally being an unstructured, “messy” human being compared to societal norms has advantages and is what makes me a valuable contributor.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
Unobtrusively annotating my world with only the metaverse information that is truly relevant to me via intelligent agents. Example: I love history of architecture. Make it possible and easy to experience what the history is of every historic building I walk by.

What book have you recommended the most?
Lean Startup by Eric Ries.

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