Thanks to everyone for your wonderfully thoughtful comments over the last few days in response to my posts about the Oculus Rift. I’ve really learned a lot from reading them.
Yesterday evening I got a very nice email from Palmer Luckey, who laid out for me the chronology of his involvement with this technology. It is now clear to me that, independent of whatever Mark Bolas had been doing, by the time they first met Palmer had already been thinking about achieving wide angle stereo VR by placing cheap plastic lenses in front of a single SmartPhone screen and de-warping the resulting distorted view.
Then, coincidentally, I had a long chat this morning with an old friend who spent several years as a venture capitalist, focusing on funding Silicon Valley tech start-ups. He had an interesting take on the whole thing.
My friend said that VCs don’t really care who came up with something first — as long as nobody is suing anybody for IP theft. VCs are focused only on execution. In other words, the most original idea in the world will fail in the marketplace if badly executed, whereas a very unoriginal idea can be wildly successful if brought to market well.
And so my thinking about this whole space has evolved in the last few days. It could be argued that, as proud as he is of having come up with the Oculus tech, Palmer’s real triumph has been of a different nature.