Makers of The Metaverse: Keith Rumjahn Of OliveX On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality Industries

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Talk to your customers: Traditionally, people made products in stealth and then launched when it’s ready. We learned that there’s a huge risk in developing something people don’t want. Releasing the product early and getting customer feedback early has been instrumental.

The Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality Industries are so exciting. What is coming around the corner? How will these improve our lives? What are the concerns we should keep an eye out for? Aside from entertainment, how can VR or AR help work or other parts of life? To address this, we had the pleasure of interviewing Keith Rumjahn.

Keith Rumjahn is the Founder and CEO of OliveX Holdings Limited (NSX: OLX, “OliveX”), a digital health and fitness company delivering unique user experiences through fitness gamification, augmented reality, and move-to-earn experiences.Rumjahn is responsible for OliveX’s driving vision, growth strategy, and fundraising. His vision led to the creation of the OliveX Fitness Metaverse and the development of OliveX’s revolutionary Dustland series. Under his leadership, the company is developing an interoperable ecosystem of fitness, combining the Dustland series, DOSE (an ERC-20 Fungible Token of purchase, utility, and action) and the Fitness Metaverse to make real-world rewards a utility in the digital world. Rumjahn, his partner Gigi Cheng, their two children, Tyler and Hunter, and their dog, Satoshi, currently call Hong Kong home.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you grew up?

I grew up in Hong Kong and studied computer science at Queen’s university in Canada. The best thing I got out of university was meeting my wife, the mother of my sons, Tyler and Hunter. I worked as a software engineer out of college but I developed a sports app on the side for fun. That app became the no.1 sports app on the app stores and I quit my job to become an entrepreneur. I later got investments from Nike and Techstars and eventually sold that business to Animoca brands. Fast forward to today, OliveX is building a fitness metaverse with multiple game titles for running, cycling and HIIT workouts. I’ve been in the business of fitness and sports for the last 10 years of my career and I love it.

Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Lateral thinking by Edward De Bono. It’s about how to systematically come up with creative solutions for anything. At OliveX we’re building fitness games on the blockchain, there are no rules. We were one of the first companies to combine gaming, blockchain and fitness by launching our DOSE token to reward people for getting fit. Moving forward, we continue to break new grounds on new game economies and tokenomics on fitness gameplay.

Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in the X Reality industry? We’d love to hear it.

When Sandbox launched their Snoop Dogg experience, it blew my mind. The Snoop Dogg NFT’s sold out in minutes for over $10M in revenue. Fans of Snoop Dogg wanted a digital representation of themselves inside the metaverse. They also wanted to listen to a Snoop Dogg concert inside the Sandbox. This was the tipping point for me to realize that the metaverse was real.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?

I have two memorable moments. When we IPO’ed and when we launched our DOSE token. Especially when we launched our token, we hit a market cap of $1B in value. We’ve since built a community of 50K fans and over 10K daily active users, which is the fastest accumulation of users I’ve ever seen.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I made was making a game called Garfield Fit. It was a game similar to Pokemon except with the lazy fat cat Garfield. It really didn’t make sense to run with Garfield so the game failed. I learned that in gaming, the context of the IP must match your game play.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’ve had an incredible pleasure of having Yat Siu as a mentor and investor. Yat Siu is the chairman of Animoca Brands, the leading blockchain game company in the world. I remember listening to him present about the open metaverse in 2017 and how it all came true in retrospect. His ability to see into the future and be right is extraordinary.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes. We are launching Dustland Runner and Dustland Rider. Both games are based on the story of our Dustland world. One is a running game and the other a cycling game. Players will get to have fun working out and also earn some NFT’s doing so. We hope to motivate 1 billion people to move.

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. The VR, AR and MR industries seem so exciting right now. What are the 3 things in particular that most excite you about the industry? Can you explain or give an example?

Sure.I’m excited about the metaverse and the underlying 3 things that make a metaverse:

  • Digital ownership: The users of the metaverse will be owners of the metaverse.
  • Digital interoperability: All the metaverses should connect to one another seamlessly.
  • Decentralization: Everybody has different tastes. We don’t want a single metaverse. We want many different ones to suit different people’s needs.

What are the 3 things that concern you about the VR, AR and MR industries? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?

I’d say the three things I’m concerned about are the same three things I’m excited about. Right now, the VR metaverse is owned by a few large companies. The current social networks are all wall gardens. This makes it hard for others to play nice. It presents both challenges and opportunities.

I think the entertainment aspects of VR, AR and MR are apparent. Can you share with our readers how these industries can help us at work?

As we’ve seen in fitness, the world has moved to a hybrid model. Gym membership is at an all time high but attendance is at an all time low. I’d expect the same with work, people want the flexibility of working from home but also having an office. Just like virtual concerts, I believe VR, AR and MR can provide that immersive experience for work. This is required for deep collaboration.

Are there other ways that VR, AR and MR can improve our lives? Can you explain?

Right now, the best use case for VR, AR and MR in fitness is for physical and mental health. Long term, I believe that if the hardware improves to become lighter then it could become the main way to do fitness.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about working in your industry? Can you explain what you mean?

The biggest myth is that blockchain destroys the environment by consuming a lot of electricity. Actually, a lot of technology has been developed since bitcoin that does not require a proof of work. There are other proof systems that use 1/1000 of the electricity required before.

What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The VR, AR or MR Industries?”

  • Live in the future: The industry moves so fast, you need to learn by experience. A Lot of our games were inspired by other games that I’ve played that are new. For example, our Dustland runner game is largely inspired by Death Stranding which is about delivering items in a dangerous world.
  • Connect the dots: Innovation is often just the combination of existing ideas in new ways. Our move to earn games are a combination of gaming, blockchain and fitness.
  • Break the rules: What got you here may not get you there. The things that worked before may not work in new industries. We tried porting existing game designs to our AR games but VR, AR and MR requires different game mechanics.
  • Talk to your customers: Traditionally, people made products in stealth and then launched when it’s ready. We learned that there’s a huge risk in developing something people don’t want. Releasing the product early and getting customer feedback early has been instrumental.
  • Find comfort in ambiguity: Remember that this is all new, you’re only limited by your imagination. We learned that we can solve any problem by being creative. In most cases, there’s nothing for us to reference.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The treadmill was a machine designed to torture prisoners. No wonder people associate fitness to pain and torture!

Fitness should be fun. I want everyone in the world to feel like they can get active, at all levels by playing our games. Fitness can be FUN! That’s the movement we want to inspire.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

The leader I’d most like to speak to in the USA would be the CEO of Disney, Bob Chapek.

Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success in your great work!

Makers of The Metaverse: Keith Rumjahn Of OliveX On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Recommended Posts