Jared Leto: The unsung hero of cloud computing?

Opinion Maggie Holland Dec 31, 2012

An unlikely cloud hero emerged at this year's Boxworks event in San Francisco in the form of VyRT founder, musician and actor Jared Leto

Sometimes people say things to you and it takes a while to sink in. Granted, several months is a long time and then some. But it's only now as I look back over my favourite cloud moments of 2012 - as we stare 2013 in the face -  that have I realised insight often comes from unexpected sources. 

Jared Leto is a well-known authority on many things. Pick anything from modelling to acting, his band 30 Seconds to Mars and anything in between and he's probably got a lot of really credible things to say. He was an unexpected but welcome guest speaker at Box's Boxworks conference in San Francisco earlier this year.

The panel was entitled 'The cloud - Hollywood's newest star.' It was moderated by Chris Kantrowitz, founder and CEO of Gobbler and Leto was joined on the panel by Josh Kline, head of online services at Final Draft and D.A Wallach of Indie pop band Chester French. The aim of the discussion was to debate the cloud's increasing influence on Tinseltown's entertainment industry. 

"The balance of power has shifted down from the old gatekeeper to the audience. This has revolutionised our business and allowed me to do things I hadn't dreamed before," Leto said. 

"...Final Draft is a great example of how technology can empower people. Technology gives opportunities and there is a lot of opportunity." 

Rather than try and paraphrase what he said post the panel session, here's our mini Q&A. We only had five minutes with the man himself, but it was enough to ensure his passion for sharing his crafts and utilising what the cloud has to offer shone through. 

During your panel session, you talked a lot about sharing things with people and solving problems. That leads us to VyRT and what you're trying to do with that. Would you be able to expand on what you said earlier about creating opportunities? And how it empowers people and allows you as an artist to do the things you got into this industry to do?

Right now, if you wanted to create a live experience online and share that with people you really have limited choices. You can cobble together some form of corporate sponsorship and broadcast using a third party platform that is generally filled with a lot of other clutter and hope that you get the biggest, broadest audience and that your advertisers were happy with what you did... At the end of it I think you would be largely going through this process and the hopes you were doing it as a promotional effort. 

What VyRT aims to do is give people the ability to create live experiences and then monetise those experiences without corporate sponsorship, without advertising, by selling directly to consumers. It's kind of a big deal because there isn't really a turn key solution out there for this. But there is a lot of live content that is created. I'm not just talking music, there's education, other forms of entertainment, conferences, psychotherapy. 

There are a lot of applications out there right now for VyRT but right now we're focusing on music first because that's what we know best. I think there are a lot of audiences and fans around the world that would love to participate and see their favourite band in a specific venue, playing a specific show or creating an event from scratch - maybe an event that's really intimate that you can't get in a physical location. Maybe there's no physical audience at all and it's all digital. We do know there is a desire for that both from the artists' side and from the audience side as well, but there really isn't a fluid solution, so we're aiming to provide that. 

You've shared some frustrations with how the industry has worked historically, was VyRT borne out of that frustration as well as a desire to share and let people get value out of new experiences?

I wouldn't like to say frustration but it was borne out of the fact that there wasn't a solution. So I decided to create one and that's what VyRT is for. It's, I hope, an answer for one problem out there. I also think it doesn't just serve artists who could actually generate revenue, maybe have a livelihood for themselves and their families, it gives them the opportunity to continue to create live experiences, to re-think what a concert is - maybe it's not just directly singing at somebody, maybe there's a two-way conversation that happens with groups of people.

VyRT is great because you don't have to have millions and millions of people watching, you can actually exist with a much smaller group of people and therefore have a much higher quality social experience. And a better quality broadcast. There always will be the free content out there and the commercially sponsored content, but this allows us to take a different approach. 

You're very busy! You have VyRT, The Hive, the band, the acting... How do you prioritise?

I love what I do. So I don't mind working weekends. I love to work late. My favourite day of the week to work is a Saturday. I've learned to really prioritise my time. It takes practice but I'm getting better and better at that. You also have to learn to say 'no' so you can focus on what's important. And then you build great teams who can execute and help bring vision and ideas to life. 

So when you're not around you have good people at VyRT et al [looking after things]?

I'm always around! But I do have good people as well. We're watching each other. We don't have a hierarchal network. We have a very open conversation. 

  

 


Maggie Holland

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Maggie has been a journalist since 1999. She started her career as editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. After several years on the magazine, she moved to 'the other side of the fence' to work as a copywriter for a marketing agency, writing case studies and working on ad and website copy for companies such as eBay, Dell, Microsoft and more.

In 2006, just weeks before IT Pro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of IT Pro, she was appointed group editor of Cloud Pro and IT Pro in April 2012. Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and evironmental issues and careers to name but a few.