10 Questions with Jason Odom


It’s hard to think of someone in the HoloLens developer community more prolific than Jason Odom. Besides working regularly as a HoloLens freelance developer, he also writes for the Next Reality  news site about mixed reality, authored the HoloLens Beginner’s Guide, was technical reviewer for Dennis Vroegop’s Microsoft HoloLens Developer’s Guide, won the third HoloLens Challenge (Wizard Battle), won the Atlanta HoloHack, and manages to be an all around decent human being. (He’ll also be appearing with me on a HoloLens + Mixed Reality panel in September at Dragon*Con 2017.)


What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
I was a television and movie buff for most of my life until the last few years I have completely lost interest in them. There are many films that could be said to have had a lasting impression on me, but the most recent one that left me dazed and mentally energized was Exit Through The Gift Shop. A layered documentary/film that leaves you wondering if any of it is real or a complete work of fiction.

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
Combat on the Atari 2600—my uncle got one when I was 7 or 8 and that was the beginning of the end.

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
For all of the good and bad, I think it would be disingenuous to blame anyone other than my parents for the person I am today. Though there is a series of musicians, authors, and directors that get to take some blame as well.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
About 15 seconds ago … no it was definitely 24 seconds ago.

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
That because I can program one thing, I understand what it all means. I am a very focused developer and do not step far out of the augmented and mixed reality space. My game development days had a little scripting, but I was a level designer and project director, not a programmer. Every single day I learn something new and welcome it gladly.

What inspires you to learn?
The excitement of being better tomorrow than I am today. The idea that maybe I will eventually be to the point that I can create whatever I imagine, be it a mixed reality experience, music, or art, with little effort, time and possibly even minimal planning. Being able to use my various skills together in an improvisational form really pushes me.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
That what I am doing, with the time I am putting in, and the friends and family I am putting off, in order to work and learn more will lead to the explosion I expect and that I will be standing at ground zero. That I can make the experiences that excite people into being part of that explosion.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
I would not say I can’t defend, but really don’t want to defend would be more accurate. With so many in the mixed reality world, focused on enterprise software and minimal effort being put into quality entertainment and consumer uses (use-case demos aside) there is a chance that consumers never buy into MR, until actual holograms float around them. Of course with what it brings to the workplace, we will be working with MR for the rest of human existence.

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
As I have said many times on Next Reality, it wont be a single app. I will be a collection of apps or the underlying system, bringing various forms of data and control at once from multiple sources.  Once you can play a holographic game in your living room with the kids and the holographic virtual house management system Fredrick, walks into the room to let you know the pizza delivery vehicle just pulled up, we will be getting close. The key is that everyone can see most or all of these various holograms. The shared element is what will push it over the top eventually.

What book have you recommended the most?
A series by Daniel Suarez – Daemon and Freedom(TM). My two favorite books. 10 years or so ago they opened my eyes to what augmented reality could possibly be one day. At which point I began my very impassioned journey to this point. Of course the works of William Gibson and Neil Stephenson are pretty close behind.

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