In our series, “Five Minutes With,” we’ll introduce you to inspiring team members at Facebook and our family of apps and services by sharing their answers to five questions. Today, we’re talking with Joshua M., Product Manager of the Experiences team at Facebook Reality Labs. Learn how he became interested in a career in Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR), his advice for others who are interested in working with the field, and why he’s passionate about building for everyone.
How did you become interested in AR/VR?
I was a product manager for Instagram when I sat down with a couple of my colleagues at Facebook Reality Labs. They gave me a demo of Facebook Spaces, a VR app that lets you interact with your Facebook friends in a fully immersive virtual space. I was blown away. I left the conversation and immediately went to buy my own Oculus Rift.
“ I hadn’t ever considered working on the Facebook Reality Labs team because I assumed they were looking for people with relevant backgrounds such as in hardware or gaming. I’m glad I was wrong!”
My colleagues let me know they were really open to working with people who had different work experiences, and I’ve been on the team ever since. That was two and a half years ago.
What are you working on now?
Today, I work on the Experiences team at Facebook Reality Labs where we build the software that will help people connect through this new technology. With virtual reality, there’s infinite space and interfaces to interact with. We constantly look for ways to empower people to control their experience however they want to. This involves a lot of experimentation, and we work with engineers, designers, and marketers to build the best products possible.
What does innovation mean on your team?
Our mission to bring people closer together drives innovation. We constantly look for new ways to connect people, and we see virtual and augmented reality as another step toward creating safer and more secure communities. Facebook is at the forefront of this cutting-edge technology, and we build both our own software and hardware. In our team, innovation looks like solving hard problems that haven’t been addressed before. Being a part of this team means having the opportunity to be on the ground floor of something that has the potential to transform the way we interact with one another.
What advice do you give to others who are interested in starting a career in AR/VR?
Don’t worry about fitting perfectly into one specific field or mold. We’re building technology for everyone, so we need everyone represented on our team. It’s important to be really passionate about our work to stay ahead of the curve. We’re pioneers of a new form of technology and there’s no concrete playbook for how to do things. It’s uncharted territory, so you have to learn quickly and adapt to the creative process.
What keeps you at Facebook?
It’s through trial and error that we’ve learned the product we build reflects the biases and people working on it. My optimism about the work we’re doing and a strong desire to build things the best we possibly can keep me at Facebook.
“I’m confident that AR/VR will make an impact on the future of social interaction, and I want to be sure that there are people like me in the room while we lay down this foundation.”
Whether it’s making sure the headset we build fits a head like mine or thinking about how we can fine-tune an interface so everyone can understand it, I’m honored by the responsibility we have.