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"Of all the branches of men in the forces there is none which shows more devotion and faces grimmer perils than the submariners."

-Winston Churchill


Since childhood, WWII submarines have captivated my interest, sparked by the gripping film "Das Boot." Witnessing the bravery of men venturing into the depths of murky ocean waters aboard what veterans described as  “a tin can" was profoundly inspiring. I set out to craft a VR experience centered around this subject that not only engaged and informed, but also paid tribute to the courageous submarine crews of WWII and beyond, offering an immersive journey through history.


In 2017, Virtual Reality was beginning to make a splash. Multiple headsets were out in the market, including headsets that allowed the user to clip in their phone to access content.  Leading content providers like Youtube, Discovery Channel, and the New York Times were releasing content channels. Educational apps like the Anne Frank VR & Apollo 15 Moon Landing VR were getting rave reviews.




Founder & Product Manager



 Run Silent VR was going to feature the following:


  • 2 mini games that allowed players to perform tasks submarine crew members did:  Targeting and torpedo launch.

  • Interactive walkthrough of 3d WWII American submarines.

  • A miniseries filmed in an actual GATO Class submarine in 360 Video with professional actors along the lines of Band of Brothers.

  • Interviews with World War II submarine crew members telling their stories firsthand in 360 video.

  • Interactive Photos, Maps, and 3d Mode breakaways of WWII Submarines

  • Website that will contain a WWII submarine podcast, crowdsourced articles and photos of veteran families


The proceeds of this would then lead to additional content, charity donations to sub vets, and if successful a larger scale game simulation where players would be able to be part of a submarine crew and run historic missions.





Sony VR, Google Store, Oculus Store,  Steam, touring VR installations for museums.




The Mill- Leading VFX Studio for film and commercials

Quriosity Productions- Production company

Central Region District of Submarine Veterans

Los Angeles film crew that had worked on films for Disney, Warner Bros, and Paramount Pictures.




VR was expected to be a $30 Billion industry at the point I was promoting this product. Games and VR films being the largest markets.  The HTC Vive was very popular, Sony had just released its PSVR, and Samsung and Google had begun shipping headsets that compatible phones could clip in to play VR games. 






Both the Headset sales of the HTC Vive and PSVR combined and Samsung VR had each broke the million mark. Things seemed to be moving in a great direction and I thought to get a small percentage of sales along with ads would allow me the opportunity to continue to deliver content beyond the first offering keeping users engaged and I could supplement with the sales of ads within the content.




The targeted user of Run Silent VR would have to have the following qualities:


  • VR headset owner- own a compatible phone or headset.

  • Passionate about history.

  • Interested in the immersive qualities of VR.

  • Have a keen interest in WWII Submarines and crews for personal or educational reasons.

  • Technologically literate enough to understand the VR distribution apps.



The revenue streams were anticipated to originate from various sources, including sales of the Run Silent App, advertising within the app, merchandise sales, and an extra fee for accessing exclusive behind-the-scenes content. Additionally, plans were in place to negotiate exclusive rights with hardware and app store owners.


It would require an initial investment of about $850k to cover production, tech build out, and marketing. I then did several financial models of low (2% adoption), medium (5%), and high growth (10%) and based on the projected growth of VR it seemed to be a viable product that could produce revenue within 1-3 years. With all of the team in place and financials worked out I pitched to VCs and private investors.



So, what was the outcome? I had secured roughly half of the required funding for production within a year, with numerous others expressing ongoing interest in the project. Furthermore, Sundance had expressed interest in featuring it in its “New Frontiers” program, a boundary-pushing section dedicated to showcasing experimental new works in storytelling. However, by 2018, the VR landscape hadn't demonstrated sufficient return on investment (ROI), leading to waning enthusiasm among investors in the industry. There was a noticeable shift towards augmented reality (AR), driven by the growing momentum of practical business applications in that realm.






  • The project ignited the imagination of VR's potential for revolutionary education. Providing a first-person perspective of history not only educates but also fosters empathy.

  •  I found great fulfillment in cultivating connections with investors, artists, and engineers within the tech community. However, the most rewarding aspect was engaging with submarine veterans, who eagerly shared their stories and passion for the project.

  • Delving into research and analysis of emerging technologies and their potential applications marked the initial phase of my venture into my passion for product marketing and management.


  •  In the volatile landscape of new technology markets, the initial buzz and excitement can swiftly dissipate, necessitating flexibility in product design to accommodate potential shifts. It's crucial not to tether a product to a specific hardware platform unless a proven market for it exists across multiple channels.

  •  Despite capturing people's imagination, VR has struggled to deliver quick success due to ongoing challenges with ROI. The absence of a "Killer App" has hindered its widespread adoption.

  •  The cost of creating VR content often outweighed its value, raising questions about the market demand for 360-degree videos and whether consumers would be willing to pay for such content.

  •  Consumers' willingness to pay for content typically comes with an expectation of an ad-free experience, highlighting the importance of considering monetization strategies carefully.

  •  In hindsight I should have focused on a simpler product, such as a smaller-scale game accompanied by short documentaries. Success with this streamlined product could have provided a foundation for future growth and expansion.




We're at the threshold of an exciting revolution in education, where immersive and interactive technologies like VR and AR are poised to redefine how we teach future generations. These cutting-edge tools aren't just educational; they're empathy-builders. Picture this: instead of merely viewing photos or videos of historic events, individuals can step into the scene, interact with it, and truly feel its significance. It's like having a front-row seat to history, thanks to innovative products that bring the past to life in ways we've never imagined before.

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