Cliff Plumer: Finding the next big thing
If you’re the man who got to work on Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars, you might not find many other experiences that measure up. But Cliff Plumer says his first experience with a virtual reality startup company in Utah is close.
In 2015, Plumer visited THE VOID on his way to the airport after a trip to Sundance, where he presented a film.
“I was coming from a high point,” he says, “and I always say that I thought I was already working in VR until I experienced THE VOID.”
With his wife in tow—someone Plumer says is a tough sell for a virtual reality experience—both of them experienced THE VOID for the first time. “She hates when I tell this story,” he says. “But she doesn’t really like the stuff I do and she didn’t want to do it—my wife loved it.”
So from there, his career path morphed: He became THE VOID’s CEO during February 2017.
“I’ve always been attracted to the next big thing,” he says. “In my film career I was fortunate to work on milestone Hollywood movies that always required innovation. I see that here.”
This VR company based in Lindon can create any time period or location in the world. Want to visit Egyptian pyramids and feel the warm wind tousle your hair? Done. Want to climb to the base of a waterfall with one of your friends and feel the cool mist? No problem. Maybe visit Mars or land on the moon? Plumer says he’s working on that experience becoming a reality.
“Most people would expect this coming out of Hollywood or Silicon Valley but it’s not,” he says. “So there’s obviously a lot of local pride with the team here that they know they’re building something special for a global market. These people really stuck to their vision and created something unique and special that I don’t think could have been done in Hollywood or Silicon Valley.”
That’s a huge compliment. Both iconic places are known for innovative tech experiences. Now, Lindon has a seat at the table.
“It’s nice that we’re able to do this in Utah,” he says. “Not only to focus on what we’re doing, but I like to think we’re shocking the world a little bit.”
The first time Plumer tried virtual reality, he was in Santa Monica with a friend. His friend wanted to show Plumer his latest tech project. The friend handed Plumer a crazy-looking device that looked like ski goggles with wires hanging out.
“I bought into it right then,” he says. “The first time I tried it, I thought of storytelling.”
You can thank his film background for that. Experiencing places you’ve dreamed about in virtual reality is like living your favorite movie story. You can be surrounded by iconic characters that you’ve only seen on a movie screen. Plumer says he grew up with movies and loved them so much he built a career around it. Now, technology at THE VOID gives the user the chance to live those stories, and share the experience with a friend right next to you.
“There’s nothing like high-fiving someone in virtual reality—it’s awesome,” Plumer says. “You really believe you’re doing what you’ve dreamed about or never thought would be possible.”