Member Spotlight: Robby Appleton

Robby Appleton is a Service Manager at local IT company CCSI. When he's not troubleshooting your software problems or experimenting with photo/video projects, Appleton can be found spending time with friends or indulging in his vintage jazz vinyl collection. Read a little more about some of the projects he is working on at theCO!

Can you tell me about how you got to where you are now? I work full-time in IT, as the service manager for a company that provides IT services to small businesses. I didn’t go to school for it, I just got offered a job I definitely wasn’t qualified for ten years ago and I’ve been learning on the job ever since. Growing up I was always interested in technology, but not in any useful way until that first employer took a chance on me.

Is there anything that you're working on currently that has you excited?  I’m excited about virtual reality, and about using my own skills to contribute to it. I’m not a programmer or a game designer, but I am a photographer, so I’ve recently started learning to create 3D models from pictures. The process is called photogrammetry. It can take hundreds of images to create a model, and it’s very time-intensive, but the results can be amazing. The video gaming applications of VR are obvious, but I’m interested to see how the technology can be used for tourism, or education, or even nostalgia. We’re not long from being able to put on a headset and look around a city on the other side of the world without feeling like it’s on the other side of a screen. That technological advancement is very exciting to me, and if I can be a part of it in some way that’s even better.

So cool! It's amazing how quickly VR is advancing. Do you think that theCO has had an effect on you there, on your creative ideas?  theCO has given me a place to work on anything I feel inclined to work on. Sometimes it’s my place to sit and write for a few hours, sometimes it’s my place to edit photos or videos, and sometimes it’s my place to build something. Even better, there’s almost always someone around I can use as a sounding board for an idea, or who’s inspiring me with their own ideas and projects. I never had a place like that before theCO, and it’s constantly motivating me to try to push my own creative pursuits further. 

Now that we're almost halfway through 2016, is there anything you want to try your hand at before the year is up?  I think 2016 might be a good year for me to start focusing on consistency in the things I’m doing already, rather than trying anything else new right now. I have a tendency to get distracted easily by new interests, rather than giving my current interests the time and attention they deserve.

On the other hand, drone photography looks like fun.

Does living in Jackson effect how you engage your interests at all?  For the most part, living in Jackson is good for the things I’m interested in. There’s a good community developing here, and I’ve been building relationships with some of these people my entire adult life. It doesn’t matter if your town has nothing to do or everything, without a good community you might as well stay home. These past few years, thanks in part to theCO, I’ve been finding that community in Jackson.

Interview and Transcription by Joseph Smith.