Last December, Johnny Chung Lee, then a doctoral candidate, posted a five-minute video on YouTube that became an Internet sensation.
The video showed, in a few easy steps, how the Nintendo Wii remote controller – known as a Wiimote – could transform a normal video screen into a virtual reality display, with graphics that seemed to burst into the living room. So far, the video has been viewed more than six million times…
When he completed his degree this year at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute of Carnegie Mellon, he received “lots of offers from all the big places,” said Paul Dietz, who persuaded Lee to join him in the applied sciences group of Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division. “When we told Bill Gates we were trying to recruit Johnny, he already knew about his work and was anxious to bring him to Microsoft,” said Dietz, a research and development program manager.
Contrast this with what might have followed from other options Lee considered for communicating his ideas. He might have published a paper that only a few dozen specialists would have read. A talk at a conference would have brought a slightly larger audience. In either case, it would have taken months for his ideas to reach others.
After writing a paper on his invention, Dietz wanted to test the concept in the market. His first step? He posted a video on YouTube.
The power of internet communications is amazing. Hopefully, the quality and relevance of the message is what sticks.