Michael Bridgman is cofounder of MajorMega, a Lancaster tech company specializing in Virtual Reality experiences. Their new product Hyperland combines VR with wind, smell, touch and motion to create an unparalleled immersive experience.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
I’ve been starting businesses since I was mowing lawns when I was 14. When my parents went to the mall, I would sit on the floor at Border’s books and scribble notes from a programming book. This led to my first web design business when I was 16. And when I realized college wasn’t for me I dropped out to start a string of digital media type businesses, eventually crossing paths with Sean in my late 20’s. It took us awhile to break out of client work and chase our own vision, but better late than never, right?
What is your vision for the future of your company? Of your community?
Sean and I have wanted to bring arcades back for a while. We often waste time scouring craigslist for good deals on vintage arcade cabinets. At one point we heavily considered starting a “barcade” in Lancaster. But when Virtual Reality became mainstream with the Oculus Rift, we knew this was a new medium that could bring about what we started calling the “arcade of the future”. So we spent the past few years living and breathing the fast-evolving VR industry, slowly sculpting our vision for Hyperland. We finally reached a point where we saw the right opportunity at the right time and decided to ditch client work and focus full time on bringing Hyperland to life.
With Hyperland, we’re combining physical forces and environmental effects to achieve a level of immersion that is unparalleled. VR is super cool as-is, indescribable really, but when you add these other stimuli it just gets out of this world. We want to bring experiences that rival or surpass those found at theme parks to every city that has a movie theater.
We’re excited to make Lancaster the home of our flagship location, and we feel there is a great momentum here in the tech community that helps keep us motivated and provides a great network of resources to lean on. We hope to draw even more attention and talent to the growing tech scene here.
What has been the biggest challenge to creating a new venture?
The hardest thing was switching from a service based, client work mindset to a retail-based, product startup. I assumed that all of my skills would transfer over and it would be similar challenges. Turns out it’s a whole new bag of worms! Is that a saying? Can of worms.
But overall I think the hardest thing with any new venture is doubt. Sometimes it's hard to find the energy to keep going when it feels like things are working against you. There are good days and bad. But I've found the best advice is this: anything worth doing is going to create doubt and fear - if it's didn't, it wouldn't be worth doing! That keeps me going on the hard days.
What advice would you give to an earlier version of yourself?
Don’t go into debt for college.
Tell me about your biggest surprise or lesson learned as an entrepreneur?
Burnout is real. It’s a short-term gain for long-term loss.
What question did I miss? What else should I know about you?
Hmmm...even though I’m no longer a developer by day, I moonlight as a video game developer and have been slowly picking away at a squirrel simulation game I’m calling Squirrel? Squirrel!. You psychologically torture dogs as you traverse neighborhoods by pulling off acrobatic squirrel-parkour style running. Based on a true story.
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