WHO WE ARE
Variable Labs started in 2015, and we've been heads down building cutting-edge training tools and experiences ever since. Our team has decades of combined experience creating customized software tools and award-winning experiences. Our content has garnered millions of views globally and we are leveraging our expertise to improve enterprise learning. We are entrepreneurs, award winning producers, and a former NASA engineer dedicated to the intersection of storytelling, technology, and design.
A NEW LANGUAGE OF STORYTELLING
The roots of our storytelling chops can be found in late 1990's Los Angeles during the renaissance of independent cinema. Filmmakers were reinventing the medium with stripped down narratives, driving their stories forward with raw dialogue and human emotion. Digital cameras and editing tools emerged that allowed anyone with an idea and willing to work hard could experiment with micro-budget productions. A new language for storytelling was developed as filmmakers became creatively innovative.
A decade later, we found ourselves as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal. With a Bolex camera and a motorcycle, we began discovering the power of documentary filmmaking to highlight overlooked stories and draw attention to worthy causes. Here, a lifelong commitment to using media for good was born.
MEDIA + DATA ANALYTICS
As bandwidth on computers broadened and digital media platforms emerged, so did opportunities to understand a far wider audience. But it would require a re-imagining of a medium. Video required design that not only could be distributed via the platforms, but also keep the attention of the new digital audience.
User data became available which allowed us to begin experimenting with content to grow the digital audience. The results of these experiments resulted in over 1 billion views per year while running original digital programming at Discovery Communications.
Consulting for the United Nations, we were introduced to another new medium: 360 video and virtual reality. With a 15 minute crash course on how to operate an array of hacked together GoPros, we traveled to Jordan to tell the story of Sidra, a 12 year old girl living in a Syrian refugee camp. We immediately saw the potential of VR and its ability to put someone in the middle of a story. Clouds Over Sidra went on to international acclaim and helped spark a nascent industry.
Our enthusiasm for the medium led us back to Discovery, where we helped launch Discovery VR. We traveled to the North Pole where the world’s seeds are stored in case of disaster. We visited the rising African middle class in Tanzania. And we taught people how to surf with a professional big wave rider in Santa Cruz, California, as we experimented with a new style of storytelling.
THE FUTURE OF WORK + CLOSING THE SKILLS GAP
As we explored the many applications of AR and VR, we saw simulation learning as a powerful use case for the technology. We started to imagine a world where women could practice negotiating their salaries and eliminate the gender pay gap. Returning citizens being released from prison could simulate a job interview to increase their chances of employment. Police officers could learn better techniques for interviewing sexual assault victims so justice doesn't slip away. We teamed up with a former NASA engineer and learned that VR and simulation learning has been employed to train astronauts for the past 40 years. So these methods of education have already been proven to be highly effective, but new immersive technologies will make it more accessible. We founded Variable Labs as a means of pushing immersive mediums, both in terms of content and technology, and helping people become who they aspire to be.
OUR DESIGN MANIFESTO
If you lose the trust of the User, you will lose that User forever.
Know the differences and embrace them.
A musician listens to music. A writer reads books. A creator of immersive experiences needs to experience immersion.
don’t use AR/VR.
Understand immersive technologies are evolving.
the real world better.
and must never impose themselves upon the experience