10 Questions with Chad Carter


Chad is a kindred spirit. Like me, when he saw the early demos for the HoloLens he decided that that was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He purchased a HoloLens with his own money, learned to develop on it and then started mentoring others to create their own HoloLens products and services, building on his background as a game developer.

You can see his articles, tutorials, and code samples on the website chadcarter.net. He also runs a mixed reality master class series at learnhololens.com where he provides group and individualized lessons. I also highly recommend his HoloPaintball app. You can learn a lot just by downloading the source code and working your way through it. 

I ran into Chad at a Holo-hackathon a few months back and, in a moment of exhaustion and depression after 24 hours of being awake, asked him what he thought was keeping the AR and VR industries from taking off. He considered my question for a beat, then looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “James, we need to build better apps.” Maybe it was the tiredness, but it hit me like an ask what you can do for your country moment. It’s a piece of advice I’ve kept close ever since.


What movie has left the most lasting impression on you?
The 13th Floor – the synopsis is “A computer scientist running a virtual reality simulation of 1937 becomes the primary suspect when his colleague and mentor is murdered.”

I almost chose the Matrix, but I actually saw this one first and it blew me away. (They both came out in 1999.)

I don’t want to spoil it, but it sort of goes along the lines of Elon Musk thinking we could actually be in a simulation ourselves…

What is the earliest video game you remember playing?
This one is hard … it would have to have been on the Atari 2600. Probably was Combat or Pong. My favorite was Circus Atari though. I played pinball machines before then, but that’s not exactly a video game.

The one that made the biggest difference though was Police Quest from Sierra. I made a post where I talked about it the game I was thankful for because it was when I figured out that you could type commands into a computer and it would do what you asked. This was my introduction to programming – even though it wasn’t exactly programming…

I really loved all of Sierra’s “Quest” games…

Who is the person who has most influenced the way you think?
What a difficult question… several come to mind, but I’ll have to go with my parents. In particular, my dad and his work ethic is something that influenced me greatly.

When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
About 3 questions ago…

What’s a programming skill people assume you have but that you are terrible at?
Advanced math. I should have this skill, but I let the engines do the heavy lifting for me…

What inspires you to learn?
Input… More Input…

I never liked reading when I was a kid. In fact, I don’t think I really could read very well until middle school. It was the Infocom games like Deadline and Witness that really helped me with reading comprehension.

Being in the technology field has just fueled the desire to learn with the ever-changing landscape.

I made the mistake of thinking that Windows 3.1 was a fad.

“Why would anyone want to use a mouse?”

When Windows 95 came out, I had a lot of catching up to do. The Windows message pump was a beast for me to understand originally. After being that far behind, I decided I wouldn’t do that again.

Of course, that has resulted in learning a lot of things that didn’t last very long. (I’m looking at you Zune…)

But it is also one of the reasons why I jumped onto the HoloLens journey as soon as it was announced.

And it is because of it that I’ve been able to teach other developers as they are moving along their own HoloLens development journey.

What do you need to believe in order to get through the day?
I don’t have a problem making it through the day. I’m unsure which one of my world views has made it that way, but I’ll go with a core belief that affects all of my other ones. That is the belief that the Bible is true.

What’s a view that you hold but can’t defend?
Windows Phone / Windows Mobile is a superior product over the other phones…

I can’t defend it because of … apps … but I really do love the OS. I also really liked the Zune too…

What will the future killer Mixed Reality app do?
If I knew this, I’d create it. 🙂

I think that before too terribly long we will be able to use these devices in such a way that monitors will become a thing of the past. When we use these devices like we do our smart phones where it is always with us and we use it for everything, monitors will become obsolete for the most part.

It is really crazy to think about how much computing will change in the very near future.

Although, I’m a little concerned about AI to be honest. I mean, I, Robot.

What book have you recommended the most?
That would have to be John Sonmez’s Soft Skills book. There are so many topics in the book and he has several chapters devoted to learning, productivity and even finances.

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