Virtually Yours, Edward Rashid LaHood

Chicago Magazine (July, 1992) described him as a “future shocker, one of ten Chicagoans changing the way we work and think.” Classmates at Notre Dame described him as a “total party monster.” When asked to describe himself, this young computer expert said “I’m a hard-working, hard playing guy. I got the work ethic from my parents. The play thing just came naturally.”

My purpose in interviewing Edward Rashid LaHood, son of good friends Ed and Emily LaHood of Peoria, was to find out how the boy we watched grow up turned into a computer expert that the whole world has its eye on.

At the age of 2, Edward’s favorite toy was not a Tonka truck but a Gilbert Erector set. By the age of 9 he had read everything he could get his hands on about computers. Finally, when he was in the 8th grade, Edward went shopping with his dad and got one of the early Apples. He immediately began to teach himself to program it and remembers the excitement of recreating the Starship Enterprise in color.

At Notre Dame, the school of his dreams, Edward majored in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. During the summers he created and sold software under the Brown Bag label. It was about this time that he saw a mini-revolution taking place in the industry. “Spreadsheet” and “desktop publishing” were becoming household words. Edward felt he wanted to come up with the next big thing. A couple of articles on virtual reality led him to believe that this area was about to explode. Virtual reality allows a user to create 3-D interactive environments. These can be used instead of expensive simulators to move around inside a virtual space such as a theater set, space module, or the human heart. Edward felt that his niche would be in bringing virtual reality to the mass market.

In 1990-’91 Edward created Vream, Inc. and worked around the clock out of his apartment in Chicago. His big break came when he exhibited his virtual reality software at the Meckler Show in ‘91 and found tremendous interest in his product. He began selling in ‘92, still out of his apartment. In ‘93 he rented office space and hired a documentation writer and marketing/sales person. The Web added a whole new dimension in ‘95. People could now download a virtual reality environment from the Internet. Here was the channel to the mass market that he had been looking for.

Edward recently sold his company to Platinum Technologies. The infusion of dollars will allow him to create a new product and show the industry what he, along with Platinum, can really do.

Rounding out Edward’s dream is his recent marriage to Carrie. When I asked how she felt about the hours he put into his work, he said “We started dating in 1991, so she pretty much knows all about me.” We wish this beautiful couple all of God’s blessings and good luck in their life ahead as Mr. and Mrs. Edward LaHood.