• alexandraruhl25

When should you abandon an idea for a VR project?

Hello, friend, and welcome back to episode number 25 of my 31 day challenge where every single day I'm answering your questions about creating a career or business that you love. And in today's episode, we're talking about, when should you abandon an idea? So we'll be diving into that.


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This is a full transcription for the podcast episode. Instead, find the episode here and listen:

Okay, so when should you abandon idea? So this the context of this question is that, this person wants to build a product or a game or something like VR or AR related, something that's their own. So not a client commission project, but an idea that they've come up with themselves? And the question is, when should they abandon the idea? So this is, this is a really tricky one, I think it really depends why you're doing the idea in the first place, if you're building something, because you're super passionate about it, and the inspiration for the idea was born out of some kind of artistic desire to communicate a message to the world. Or if the idea is something that you have...is because you've been affected by something in your life, and you just, you're building something as a solution to that problem, then maybe,

maybe I would question... why is it that you feel like you want to abandon it? Is it because you're hitting like a burnout wall? Is it because you've worked on it for too long by yourself? And you need to get someone else involved? Is it because you've actually started showing people the project, but they're, they're kind of like, I think it really depends on all of those things, right? I mean, the number one thing I would say is, if you've been building an idea, whether that be like a 360 film, or a VR experience, or game or product, if you've not shown it to anyone else, that's the first step. So many people

protect their idea, they think that their ideas are gold but ideas are worth shit. It's all about the execution and I can say this from experience, because I've had several ideas that I've kind of sat on for ages and then I finally kind of acted on them and the execution is just wrong. Actually, it didn't work the kind of way that I thought it would in my head but actually, the key was getting it out of my head and just executing on it just doing it. So it really depends on where you are in that stage with your idea.


Have you tried to build something? Are you getting frustrated, because it doesn't quite fit with your vision of how you see it, in which case, maybe you need to look for someone else who is doing something similar, and ask them to come on board or find a way to collaborate with that person, because maybe that person is more adequate? More adequate in kind of bringing your idea to life like that was one of the hardest things I think, for me to realise is sometimes, like so for example, and the press release has got out officially for the fact that I am working on a voice interactive VR drama called Bad News. It is the first project to receive funding from is the first VR project sorry, to receive funding from the BFI network, the British Film Institute is a massive deal. It's very, very exciting. I'm super, super excited about it and that idea lived in my head and in my notes on my iPhone for about a year and a half and it wasn't until I started talking to a friend about it. And I was like, I've had this idea for like a year. and it keeps coming back to me and I keep like adding notes to my phone about it. And I get like, I sometimes wake up at night and I like have this idea of like a particular shot that I want to happen in the film or I've got you know, I almost like can I hear a bit of music and I see like a scene play out in front of me and it's an idea that just hasn't gone away and she was like me that's like that's a really cool idea. You need to do this, you need to like just step on it and do it and I don't know where to start. I feel like overwhelmed because it's live. This idea has been in my head for so long. I just have paralysed by not knowing what the next step should be, and she was like, let's get a pizza, let's get some beers and let's just write this script. And so I sat down with my friend and we basically just bashed out the first draft of the Bad News script together in like a day and then from there, it was like real, it was tangible. It was an idea that then I can actually go out and talk to people about see what the interest would be see if it was if I was onto something. And this is where I ended up having a conversation with the BFI about it, who up until that point hadn't funded any VR projects, because they've kind of shied away from investing in VR, because they don't necessarily in England anyway, they see it very much as that's more of like an arts thing. If it's not gaming, then it's an arts thing. It's not really like a film thing. Whereas now, thankfully, I've managed to, I guess, open their eyes to the possibilities of this as a new storytelling medium and, again, they read the script, I sat down, had a chat with one of the exec producers about my vision for it. But it wasn't just my vision, it was the fact that on on cold, hard paper, I had this idea, the execution of it, I'd started that ball rolling. And then that allowed her to be like, yeah, this is really interesting. We're interested in this and so it was it was taking the idea out of my head. And actually, and again, I'm not taking credit for that all that, is absolutely my friend Rebecca is like doing because I'm not, I'm not sure I would have ever maybe committed to bringing the idea to life, if she hadn't said, this is a really good idea. You just need to act on it and stop overthinking it, which is one of the biggest pieces of advice that everyone gives me in my life and I'm only now just starting to try and live by it, which is, and it's the advice that I've passed on to you in previous episodes. And I'll pass on again here is just don't overthink things.


So when it comes to like, when should you about abandon the idea? So I think there's a few things. Firstly, if you've not shown it to anyone, or if you've not talked to someone else about it, then that is absolutely the first step. Now, if it's an idea where you're hoping to be kind of commercially, it, you're hoping it becomes like a commercial entity. So it's like a product that you're hoping to sell to

clients or even necessarily like with with bad news, it's like, well, the reality is I want people to see it. So I need to make sure that my target audience who I be going after, I want to make sure that they're actually interested in the idea and it seems like something so I've like since since kind of getting the commission and doing several versions of the script now getting ready to go into pre production. I've sent the script to loads of different people in my life, some from the industry, some not from the industry, just to get a general feel about you know whether or not this is something that people are like - yeah, actually this yeah, I really vibe with this, like with this character, or, oh god that the technology used in this way is so cool. Like, can't wait to see that come to life and just getting that kind of validation, get that feedback, like get it out of your head, go and get some validating evidence that your idea is actually good because this came up I think I can't remember which number episode it was but it was the one where we were talking about when should you kind of like pivot an idea, or fight making sure that you've got the right clients for it if you've made a product, or like, if you've got an idea that is good, and will sell and someone will take note of it, then you should be solving a problem, essentially. Now with obviously the entertainment side of things, the problem that you're solving is slightly different because it's more of like a curiosity. It's more of an escapism problem that you're solving. It's like for me personally, I find that the kind of the content in the market currently in VR, there's nothing quite like what I've tried to do with Bad News, which is essentially like a dystopian graphic novel come to life that you're like living through the character, the first person character. So it's kind of like it is I'm trying to do something new to have to kind of find like areas in the market that need fulfilling Because ultimately, I want to get to new audiences and I want to also see the kind of content that I wish was out there that I wish I could consume on a VR headset. So that's the problem I'm solving and I value I'm not just validating that with myself, I'm going out and validating that with others.

So with your idea, you need to validate it and if your idea is to make money with it, you need very quickly without spending loads of time and money on building the product, you need to first make sure that the kind of client that you're going to go after actually wants that product. So if you're spending ages building like an AR, and let's say like an AR history game and your idea is that you're going to sell it into schools, then you need to be having conversations very early on, but maybe do some concept art, maybe if it won't take you that long, do a bit of a sprint and get a bit of a prototype together. But very quickly, you need to be validating that idea with education, because very often, they might be like - oh, I love this idea, but actually, what's the feasibility of being able to roll it out across the school? Like, how much does it cost? What's the infrastructure? How much resource? Will I need staff that will need to have that specialist knowledge? Or will it be able to work on our iPads that are like phones that we already have in school that everyone can kind of use, actually, super user friendly, so the kids will be able to like, use it without much kind of thinking, like, there's all this like, kind of stuff that you need to validate first. Now, there will come a time, where if you've built a product or an idea, and you've put it out into the world, and people aren't paying attention, or people aren't buying it, then it becomes the question of Okay, have you done everything that you can? Have you kind of like, a bit like, again, what I was saying to the other person's question, when they were asking about whether they should pivot on one of my big piece of advice to them, which if you haven't listened to the episode, a very roundabout thing was, essentially, they were going after the wrong clients. They were they were, they thought that their client was new home builders, but actually, where the market is right now, and with what they want to do with the company, which is scale, rather than do bespoke services, actually, their client should have probably been like, the architects that work with those new home builders, or should have been like, existing kind of estate agents, or, you know, it was like, are you going after the right client? So that's number one - are you actually going after the right audience? Or do you need to slightly pivot that audience? And it's okay to like think that you're going after one particular audience? And then say - actually, no, I was wrong, like, this is the audience actually. And sometimes it will take ages to find that and so the practicalities of when should you abandon idea?


Well, number one, if it's impacting your mental health, or if it's impacting your life at large, so often people romanticise the idea of like the starving artist, or they romanticise the idea of being a startup and living in a garage with four mates and just like bootstrapping, and like living on super noodles, and you know, all of that student like behaviour, because they're like, we're just going to grind and grind. And we're going to build this next big thing, and then we're all going to be millionaires and it's like, well, when should you abandon idea, like, if it's impacting your mental health? Or if it's getting to the point where you can't afford rent, or you can't afford food, it's affecting your relationships in your life, like, you should probably abandon the idea or at least step away from the idea.


And that's another big thing as well is like, don't be scared to take breaks from a project, especially one that you've got quite a big vision for. There is absolutely a time to hustle and hustle hard and grind and get something off the ground. I'm a big believer in that. Although, obviously, we're pushing now, especially during COVID, we're pushing this idea of like a work life balance and I think that's absolutely right and you should absolutely put your mental health first. There is something to be said about having like a period where you are just obsessive and grinding and just running down that runway until you take flight and then you can be a little bit more chill. So there's absolutely a space for doing a sprint, getting to the point where you can validate that idea with whoever it is like, do you want to validate it with but at some level, if you've been trying and trying and trying and you're still not having any luck? You're either going after the wrong clients, or it's the wrong kind of product. There's too many barriers for that ideal client who does want it to adopt it. Maybe it's too expensive? Maybe it's just not the right time for it?

I mean, how many times have you heard the story that someone started an app that was very similar to like, Uber or whatever, and then they went bust and then three years later, like, for example, Airbnb, I'm fairly certain. I heard in a podcast that they tried to start Airbnb quite early on, they almost went bust. And then three years later, there was like this resurgence in the need for the product and that it was just all about timing. So some of it, is also look, but when should you abandon idea ultimately what that comes down to is when it gets to the point where it is more negatively affecting your life than it is positively. Because even if you build an idea that you love, and no one likes it, and no one wants to buy it, no one even sees it other than you, but if it gives you like passion, or if it's something that then is just becomes like a portfolio piece that you can show people that demonstrate certain skills like but you just really love doing it, then do it, just do it just don't have those expectations that idea needs to necessarily then cash flow or bring in anything else to your life. Because sometimes doing it for the passion of it can be as rewarding and there is a time and a place for those kind of ideas.


So I hope this helps. This is the kind of question where maybe moving into a...I'm on the phone with someone listening to the question, so I can get a bit more context might be useful. And let me know, if you would like that for my going forward. Obviously, we're day 25, now with my 31 Day Challenge, and I'm starting to think about what August looks like. Absolutely, I will continue to be doing some thing, and I will continue to build on the podcast. But I might change the format, and I might drop the consistency. I'm not sure yet. But I would love to hear from you like what do you want from this podcast? I would love to hear from you.


But I can't tell you how much I'm loving this just purely from all the interaction I'm having with you guys like hearing you. You're listening to the episode and then you're gaining something from it or even just like even just accompanying you, on your morning walk or during your day or washing your dishes or whatever you're doing right now and you're listening to this. It means the world and I we're building this together so I'm totally open and fluid for where this goes going forward. So let me know what you would like what would you get the most value out of ultimately? What I want is for this to be the springboard the inspiration, the practical advice for you to be able to run with and create a career or a business that you love. So let's do this thing.

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