Alex Hern-CEO of Tsunami XR

Alex Hern has been an entrepreneur for more than 25 years. During his career, he has focused on early stage companies and on the incubation of technology companies. Mr. Hern co-founded and served as a Director of Inktomi Goldman Sachs-led IPO (INKT), which powered and was the search technology for MSN, Yahoo and AOL.

Alex Hern CEO of Tsunami XR
  1. Tell us a bit about your career and any key professional milestones.

I am a serial entrepreneur that has specialized in early stage development of technology and life science companies. My focus has generally been in the incubation stage of startups. I co-founded and served as director of Inktomi, the technology that powered search engines for MSN, Yahoo and AOL. I also co-founded and served as director of the email marketing and web directory system Yesmail, which sold for $650 million to ModusLink Global within a year of founding. After co-founding and serving as director for a number of businesses, I’ve most recently started up Tsunami VR, a venture that relates to a long passion of mine: virtual reality.

  1. What are some of the important factors that led to where you are today?

Tsunami came about as I began to really consider the shift from CPU to GPU computing, and how that could revolutionize the spatial computing era. Researching the GPU processing, I identified new ways to leverage capabilities only recently made possible by graphics processing advancements. I’ve always been focused on strong beginnings and believe to this day that they are crucial to a business’s sustained success. If you study the market, VR was roughly valued at $6 billion just two years ago, whereas now market experts are predicting that the industry reaches over $200 billion by 2022, just four years away.

 

  1. What’s are a few of your passions?

I love mentoring others and writing. I’m very focus-oriented, which is surprisingly difficult but ultimately necessary and very rewarding. It’s impossible to multitask efficiently, but we all still attempt it every day. Writing proves the value of linear concentration and allows me to directly facilitate a focused mindset.

 

  1. What are your keys to making yourself a strong leader?

Be honest with yourself. Don’t be afraid to fail. Make time to develop and maintain relationships. I keep myself as distraction-free as possible while staying available to my associates and friends. Focus is ultimately about applied awareness and that’s allowed me to embrace challenges and identify areas in need of improvement. A leader should be the first one aware of these things as they’ll be the first and last person looked to.

  1. What are your short-term and long-term goals?

My short term goals are always to further my long-term goals. I’m always reminding myself that business is a marathon, not a sprint. Decisions are multi-faceted things that require time. Consumer requirements, partnerships and employees are all considerations, so you’ll always reap the benefits in the short-term from the time you took weeks or months or even years prior in your decision making.

 

  1. What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

Preparation is more important than multitasking, which is inefficient if at all possible. If you strive to stay prepared, you’ll be honest with your shortcomings and needs, and you’ll always be ready to adapt and advance. This goes back to long-term decision-making: preparing for big decisions limits the stress of taking necessary risks.

 

  1. What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Do what you love to do and do whatever you need to make it your career. Figure out a consistent time and place where you can return to escape any and all distractions. Sticking to a routine will give you organic moments to pursue business needs as well as personal goals.

  1. What are your favorite activities to do outside of work?

Balancing work and life is always a challenge for tech entrepreneurs, but making sure you allocate quality time to spend with friends and family is one of the best things you can do for yourself. This career is only as worthwhile as your health and happiness.

 

  1. What are a few industry blogs/websites you keep up with that you’d recommend to others?

I follow CB Insights, Crunchbase and Pitchbook. I like staying up to date on the technology driving our industry and those sites are some of the best out there for anyone interested in the AI or VR field.

 

  1. What are some common misconceptions about your industry?

That everyone succeeds. Startups are hard and very few make it. Building great teams, staying patient and focused; these are all essential. But luck and timing don’t hurt either. Stay focused so you don’t miss out on an opportunity. Most opportunities worth pursuing are time-sensitive.

  1. What predictions do you have for your industry over the next 5-10 years?

XR or cross-reality is something that I want to explore and be at the forefront of in the near future. Advancements in AI and machine learning in general are really paving the way for what’s to come over the next decade. I think the next big leap forward will be cloud-computing for graphics-intensive software and applications.

 

  1. How will your company remain at the forefront of your industry?

People. You prioritize recruiting and training and the rest is hard work. The industry is only as good as your best, most dedicated workers make it.

 

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