In fall 2013, Sébastien Motte left Microsoft after working at the tech giant for 19 years, where he turned the original Xbox into the powerhouse console it is today.
The shake-up didn’t stop there. In the same month, the former head of business development for the Xbox moved out of his Seattle, Washington, apartment and into a 1,200-square-foot houseboat.
Motte calls it one of the best decisions of his life.
Motte bought the houseboat three years ago in an effort to return to his roots. The native Frenchman grew up on a farm outside Paris, France, and missed feeling close to nature.
'I completely fell in love with this way of life,' says Motte, who now runs LOOOK, a mixed-reality design and development studio that makes content for the Microsoft HoloLens.
Now when he wakes up in the morning, he sees sweeping views of Lake Union and downtown Seattle from his bed. He meditates from inside the three-bedroom home.
The dock is located half a mile from Amazon, Google, and Facebook offices and 10 miles from Microsoft and game developers Valve, Oculus, and Bungie.
The gaming guru's houseboat was probably no more affordable than a traditional home in the Emerald City. There's a limited number of houseboats, which drives up their cost.
Houseboats are not immune to the housing market bubble.
The Cooper Jacobs Real Estate Group lists houseboats on Lake Union under 1,000 square feet for sale in the mid-six figures. On the high end, the houseboat used in the movie 'Sleepless in Seattle' one of the city' most iconic properties, sold for more than $2 million in 2014.
Motte has some interesting neighbours, though he wouldn't name names. He describes a 'secret society' of Seattle's houseboat owners that has barbecues and board meetings.
Working from home isn't as glamorous as you might think. Massive glass windows and small spaces make it a challenge to develop holograms for his business, Motte says.
In the light, the 3D images are difficult to place and see. Still, his kids watch television on an invisible screen using a Microsoft HoloLens developer kit in their bedrooms.
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