This month, we're putting the spotlight on Sam Al-Mutawa, one of the original members of our Customer Experience (CX) team. Sam talks about his role, what he's excited for in 2018, and his favorite buildings and spaces. If you want to read some of Sam's work, check out his blog post on Daylighting Studies in Prospect.
What’s your role at IrisVR?
Before starting work at IrisVR, I studied Advertising and then pursued a Master's degree in Interior Architecture and Design. On the CX team, I deal with all things customer related, and as a relatively early stage startup, we all wear a lot of different hats (some of us more literally than others - I personally really do wear a lot of hats).
What initially drew you to IrisVR, and how has the company changed since then?
The first time I heard about IrisVR or tried Prospect, it was still a beta product. Even then, I instantly knew virtual reality had the power to solve major communication barriers in the AEC space, and even make for better designers as a whole. Basically, in my mind, the products and business made too much sense to not be an integral part of the future of the built environment, and I knew I had to be a part of it.
Our team has doubled in size since I started, and it’s a genuine pleasure to be a part of the team of people making VR easy and accessible to the masses.
What does a typical day look like?
I’d say the baseline is a lot of coffee and emails, but you never know what a day will hold. Some days I’m looking into client files, others I’m traveling for demos. I also get to try out dev kits of unreleased headsets, write documentation/blogs, host webinars, do UX/UI testing, and post to the company Instagram (like I said, we wear a lot of hats).
What is your favorite part of your job?
The team and leadership at IrisVR is hard to beat. The level of dedication, ownership, and pride everyone here takes in their work is inspiring. We have a developer who literally wrote the book on Mastering Oculus Rift Development (shoutout to Jack!). With coworkers like that, you can’t help but bring your best to the table every single day.
What excites you the most about IrisVR?
I’m looking forward to when VR reaches the tipping point and truly becomes the norm.
How much more empowered would you feel as a designer being able to put end users of a project into the virtual model of an unbuilt space? VR gives you the opportunity to readdress various design decisions early on in the design phases - and not rely entirely on post occupancy evaluations or costly mockups.
Ultimately, IrisVR is helping reduce waste and solve problems in industries that are ripe for innovation. Everyone interacts with built environments, and we all share this earth. Whether people are cognizant of it or not, the choices made in constructing those spaces have lasting impacts.
If you could enter any environment in VR, where would you go?
I’m still waiting on a Magic Schoolbus VR experience. I’d like to go on any of those field trips with Ms. Frizzle.
What’s your favorite building/space?
I grew up in Lakeland, FL, which has the largest concentration of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world. The Florida Southern College campus has some really unique buildings and architectural features.
What’s your favorite movie quote?
"Skate better." -Brink (The Disney Channel Original Movie) - or every single line from Cool Runnings or Lords of Dogtown.