Magic Leap Assembles Special Events Team

 Source: Linkedin

Source: Linkedin

In September and August of this year, Magic Leap began looking to fill positions for a new Special Events team, and this month two key hires were made, bringing Magic Leap closer to a public showcase of their technology. As the company itself writes, “The Special Events team produces creative and turnkey internal and external-facing events, meetings and conferences on various levels and scale”. Brooke Aguirre and Derek Dow started at the company earlier this month, and though no public announcement has ben made regarding this, the job listings for their positions paint a clear picture of the company’s desire to finally lift the curtains on their augmented reality platform.  

The timing of these hires is notable for the fact that just last month Gizmodo revealed a leaked pitch document for an event that was supposed to have taken place November 15th via livestream . Magic Leap denied that any such event was going to take place, and since then that date has passed with barely a peep. Though the livestream never happened, it indicated (along with recent reports that the device would be releasing relatively soon) that the company is indeed at a stage where they’re figuring out just how to reveal what they’ve been working on for the past several years under a veil of incredible secrecy. The marketing team behind the pitch never denied making it, and Magic Leap also declined to confirm or deny its authenticity. Likely, it was one of several pitches that just didn’t make the cut.

 Source: Linkedin

Source: Linkedin

Whereas the livestream pitch would have consisted of an interactive tour of Magic Leap’s headquarters, riddled with clues that when solved would result in a reveal of the mysterious device via text message, the Special Events team appears to have a more traditional goal in mind when it comes to facing the public. According to the job description, “Event productions may include hosted industry conferences, global town hall company meetings, employee programs and press events, trade shows, and other public as well as internal facing special events.”

Currently, Magic Leap has only attended trade shows, usually with a small hiring booth and an employee to speak generally about computer vision or game development. But the point of the Special Events team is to curate Magic Leap’s own events at private venues, much like the one Oculus VR held in 2015 to reveal the Rift. Magic Leap’s new senior manager would oversee the following: “Produce and manage a variety of special events and productions throughout the year, from soup to nuts, that include program development, creative and scenic design, event strategy, thematic development, event planning and production, general session production, run of shows and presentation management, visual support (graphic and video elements), entertainment, general meeting planning, site selection & venue management, event survey and evaluation, food and beverage management, complete staging technical design / production, budget management, and all event operational logistics.”

Rumors have surfaced that a reveal would be happening in December, but like the non-existent livestream, such tight-lipped events are not bound to anything other than the beck and call of shareholders. And unlike many other startups, Magic Leap doesn’t appear to be hurting for funds to stay afloat. In October they raised another five hundred million dollars. Additionally, while they’ve been on a hiring frenzy filling positions across the globe from Mexico to Switzerland, according to statements from CEO Rony Abovitz their burn rate isn’t as crazy as one might think. "We still have a lot of our B round that was slated to get us to product development," he said last February. October was their series D round, bringing their total to nearly two billion dollars.

The Special Events team hires are certainly a sign that the gears are turning in a different direction for Magic Leap, but as any event planner can attest, show-time could be months or even a year away. Many are quick to point out that without a public SDK or dev kit, Magic Leap is unlikely to announce a consumer product first. But, it appears that a big push for developer outreach started this past summer. In June, they opened a private developer portal following a call to developers in May. Other new hires such as a Developer Support Manager in June support this idea as well as Abovitz’s comment just last week that they are “tuning the platform and our tools so creators and devs can explore their own visions and ideas”. In June of 2016 he said that devs would be able to come work on projects at their labs in San Francisco before launch, similar to what Apple did with developers for the Watch. How long developers will need to deliver polished demos before a launch is the big question, and is likely contingent on availability of hardware, the state of which is unclear.