Marc Grabanski, CEO & UI Developer of Frontend Masters

2020: 🥽 Going Remote and Diving into Virtual Reality

January 02, 2021

Here’s a 2020 recap, but first Happy New Year! 🥳

My Family 2020

Going Remote (and Recording Remote)

In March, the whole world changed. Everything became uncertain as we had to pivot to going remote as a company. We managed through it amazingly well as a team and did incredible things pushing our abilities forward.

We rebuilt our entire recording process from scratch and created a remote video kit we can ship to instructor’s homes or set up in remote locations:

Frontend Masters Remote Instruction Kit in Action

We used this kit to set up in Denver and San Francisco. It’s so cool to have a toolkit to set up anywhere! 🏔🏙

It’s clear we’re not going to work in-person anytime soon, so we have to adapt and learn how to hire remotely as well. I can’t believe we’re growing through this period, but we have overcome challenges and continue to grow. Thanks to Aisha, Joumana, Brent, Krista, Lanie, Tanner, Jon, and Ken. I’m super proud of what we’ve accomplished together as a team! 🤩

🏃‍♂️ Running More Over the Summer

Along with going remote, I realized I’d be spending a ton of time around my house. At the beginning of the summer, I was running 4 miles regularly – managed to clock in nearly 300 miles ran throughout the summer.

🥽 Finding Virtual Reality

But I knew winter was (eventually) coming and needed something to do indoors. Last winter, I used an exercise bike, but upon browsing around, I found streamers on Twitch and YouTubers sharing their Virtual Reality workouts and getting up to high BPMs.

See this video, for example, where she gets up over 160bpm playing a videogame:

It was time to buy a super-fast computer and a Valve Index and go all in! Pistol Whip turned out to be the game that rocked my world (shown in the video). I could play a game while sweating and getting a great work out in shooting and dodging bullets! SO, so fun. 🥳

Mixed Reality Videos on YouTube

If you watched the video I linked to above, you’d see the real camera footage puts you inside the videogame. The first time I saw this, it blew my mind! 🤯 I grew up watching “Nickelodean Arcade,” where people were put in a videogame in a rudimentary way and thought it was the coolest thing ever. We can now put ourselves in a videogame, and I believe it is the coolest thing ever!

Here’s the mixed reality studio I built for it:

Mixed Reality Studio

I’ve been making videos and learning a ton through it. Everything from capture with LIV software to equipment and video editing. Now have a whole channel of videos shot in Mixed Reality on Pistol Whip VR:

CodeWhip YouTube Channel

Here’s an example of my latest video:

I had to learn all sorts of skills to combine educational stand-ups with gameplay footage. Super fun. I’m learning a lot and having a TON of fun with it!

Setting World Records in Pistol Whip VR

Not only was I having fun with Pistol Whip, but I realized I was getting good at the game. Very good. To the point where I ended up getting all the world records on Hard in Pistol Whip as of December 17th:

Pistol Whip World Records

I’m having to defend my title with people challenging me and beating my records occasionally, and so far, I’ve held them off. But we’ll see with a busy work and family life if on nights and weekends I can keep squeezing enough time to keep them all! 😉

Streaming on Twitch

After setting up the studio and making YouTube videos, I realized many top players in various games tend to stream their attempts on Twitch. A lot of people into the game like watching others play to pick up and share tips. Or just for entertainment. I started trying my hand at Twitch and talking through gameplay as I game.

Streaming on Twitch

Experimenting with Twitch this last few weeks has been a blast! Quite a few people have shown up to watch me play videogames, and I just got the email to be a “Twitch Affiliate,” which is crossing some metrics. The last time streaming was so much fun, so I’m going to try to stream at least once per week if I can find the time.

Onto 2021!

Reviewing my goals from last year’s Turning 35 post still holds. One of my goals from last year was to find an active hobby. VR was a big ✅ success on that one!

I want my family to learn the skills to pursue their dreams, continue growing the business, and continue reconnecting with my parents and extended family.

PS It’s super sad, but my nephew got in a horrific accident earlier in the year that ended his life (he was just 16). I tried to write about this, but I don’t have the words. Michelle, Dustin, and Morgan, if you are reading this, I think about you all and Dylan often. RIP Dylan Falling… ❤️😢

Marc Grabanski, CEO & UI Developer of Frontend Masters

Career Journal on Web Dev, Business, & Life

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