The Metaverse is a Branding Statement

with Glen White

The Metaverse is a Branding Statement

with Glen White

TF guests Glen white GTA BW glow style

In the digital domain, marketing is technology. Glenn White builds advertising systems for brand managers inside game worlds.  In this episode of The Futurists, Glenn explains the complex strategic decisions that govern how brand advertising will evolve in the Metaverse.  Follow @justicar 

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This week on the futurists we’ve gained some stuff and we’ve lost some stuff right the truth of the matter is i met my wife on the internet right i didn’t meet her in a bar i didn’t meet her at a party i didn’t meet her in a club i met she lived literally across the country and i i met her in a virtual space right playing a game and you think about how common that is nowadays you talk about people who have created relationships online who have never met each other in physical proximity that consider themselves very very good friends so in many ways you know you and i have never met in person rob however you and i have had what i consider to be an extraordinarily meaningful conversation that’s been very very beneficial to me and i i you know i think that that is really distilling the relationship down it’s not worrying about the physical presence it’s not worrying about our socioeconomic status it’s not worrying about whether i’m sitting in a small room or a large house it’s not worrying like it doesn’t matter where i am and so i think in many ways it has equalized a great deal

welcome back to the futurist a show dedicated to exploring the creators thinkers engineers building the future and thinking about the future this week rob tursek and i are interviewing a good long-term friend of mine glenn white glenn has had a ton of experience in the marketing and advertising arenas he worked we worked together at motor media where he was the vp of operations for the asian asian business but comes from a long term commitment to building the technology that’s going to power the world of the future indeed has been on the edge of that technology arena um his entire career glenn white welcome to the show thanks brett uh good to see you yeah good to meet you glenn so most recently um you’ve been working you know uh for for epic and then previously for ea doing stuff on the xbox platform as well um doing a ton of stuff in gaming and most recently the metaverse um and so i’m sure we’re going to get into the the metaverse uh you know stuff today um but you know you’ve you’ve been in the internet business since you know well modems modems history obviously is is the first digital advertising ad agency um and in 1996 you were working on the very first um los angeles olympic games the very first digital presence for an olympic games online yeah yep atlanta sorry um and um you know you you also obviously worked on many firsts in that space as did modem rightly so you’ve been on that sort of cutting edge of tech now for most of your career maybe we’ll start with that is like you know what are you in in those years that you’ve been working in in the field um you know what is it that you’ve you felt has been most material in terms of technology developments that have changed society let’s start with something simple so yeah simple um the the thing that i i tend to keep in mind in situations like this is um i i read and have read a lot of um marshall mcluhan because he i think he’s um he’s helped shape a lot of how i think about sort of media in general um and one of the things that he sort of alludes to is the idea that when a new medium is formed the first thing that people do is they try to replicate the old medium within it right and so exactly um you take a look at banner ads and you realize that banner ads are just billboards on the internet right because it’s what we understood we understood print ads we understood that and so the first thing that we did was we tried to go ahead and throw up print ads on the internet right and then once we could do video we tried to do tv series right right exactly and so um but you kind of have to do that in order to be able to understand the language of the new medium right you you have to understand what the strengths and weaknesses are and you have to understand how that evolves and so um you know the the idea there is you realize that what you’re actually trying to do is you’re trying to replicate some of the old world in the new and so you think about going back to the banner ad thing um you know i helped traffic the first banners on the internet or the first banner standard for the iab um you realize that you’re looking to create the equivalent of insertion orders you’re looking to create the equivalent of you know whatever the old medium was and you realize that there are gaps there huge gaps in some cases or there’s like well wait a second this new medium actually also has this stuff right so how do we how do we measure that how do we account for that and you start realizing that you you’re developing new kpis you’re developing new methods of measurement um and you’re applying to them what you actually think the goals are right you you think about the idea that when you talk about print ads print ads are based on circulation right so it’s potential readership it is not even actual readership to to a greater lesser degree you don’t know how many people have seen this ad it’s how many people could see this ad and you hope that it’s the right audience-ish and so when you get to moving that entire paradigm online you realize that you actually know who’s looking at these ads to some degree or you understand exactly how many times this has been served and so one of our first sort of key sales points was we know exactly how many people saw this ad right because we have a server log we have an ad serve log that basically says and back then it was just a you know a web server log that basically said this image was loaded x number of times therefore this many people saw this ad or this ad was shown this many times full stop there’s there’s there’s no guessing there and so you start evolving in that direction you start going oh well that’s pretty cool i i now have this um but that’s really you know when you you say what’s sort of the guiding the guiding thing is first we start with replicating what we know in sort of this new new area this new space um and that requires the building of foundational tech and and other things which really sort of is where i spend most of my time think about that so let’s let’s think let’s expand on that a little bit because i was sort of a look back at where uh internet media how intermittent media started and where it came from um but right now we’re at an interesting point because uh you’ve got streaming media which is booming worldwide although maybe the slow growth may be slowing down a little bit but there’s sure a lot of companies piling in the streaming media every major media company is launching their own ott video service or ads supported service but the same time you’ve got live streaming which is completely different you know it sounds like it’s the same technology but it’s different technology and it’s a completely different experience then you’ve got these services like tick-tock which don’t really fit either category and that’s sort of uh booming so it looks like to me that right now the media landscape is fragmenting and as a person who’s focused on marketing marketing tech and getting consumers to take an action what do you think of that landscape that fragmenting landscape of media options it’s a good question um i have a couple of thoughts about it the the first is um you know we talk about the idea of convergence versus divergence right some people will argue that technology tends to converge and some people will argue that technology tends to diverge um i actually believe both the same time um you you think about um you know the positive example of convergence is obviously your mobile phone or your your handheld device and the divergence part is that you know scanner fax machine printer that no longer sits on anybody’s desk right where certain technologies do tend to converge and some tend to diverge in media it tends to reflect the content that is being consumed right so however many different mediums there are that are going to be consumed there is going to be somebody who believes that putting an ad within that as part of the consumption of that media is a good thing um i actually don’t believe that i think that that i think disruptive media um or disruptive advertising is kind of on its way out and so all these companies are sort of getting in after the the horses fled the barn i i just to be clear what you’re meaning is like uh we’re watching a video program and then we interrupt it with a series of ads like an ad pod yeah um that that’s interstitials and superstitions and yeah i i don’t i think if you take a look at the performance of that media it’s plummeting right in terms of the quality of that media yes it is making people a ton of money there’s no question about that but it’s not making the brands money right so you look at the value chain from brand to consumer you got brand you got well i mean dsp exchange ssp ad serve like everything in the middle is making money the consumer isn’t making any money there the product and the brand isn’t making any money they’re the ones that are feeding the entire ecosystem so why do they do it well it’s the old ibm outage no one ever got fired for hiring ibm nobody ever got hired by buying on google like i i think i think they’re why do people keep doing it because it’s it’s i won’t say it’s the only game in town but it’s the easiest game in town that is to say um you go to google you have a website you have content and google says we’ll monetize that for you you go ahead and you put this code snippet on your content and we’ll send you a check at the end of the month you don’t have to think about it you don’t have to do anything they’ll just take care of everything for you um and that’s easy right unfortunately right you’re leaking data all over the place you’ve got all sorts of challenges regarding who who receives the vast majority of that money right i mean you look at the iab studies and they’ll tell you anywhere between i mean i i’ve done this sort of independently but the iab will say anywhere between 70 cents and 99 cents goes to ad tech or is non-working media and it’s that one cent that’s your actual working media that’s that’s giving you any sort of result right um famous famous statement you know i know 50 of my ad spend is is working for me the problem is i don’t know which 50 percent yeah right and so um you’ve got the same situation here where one percent of your your spend is actually working media the rest of it is going to these ad tech companies and so if you think about it from sort of a an ad tech point of view that means that all of these companies are motivated to be inefficient

because they extract more money that way okay let’s let’s talk a little bit about the future how do you see this evolving given the the evolving landscape of media options there’s there’s more media than there are viewers it seems yeah particularly particularly with tech like you know the ar vr worlds you know augmented reality glasses coming at the end of the year hopefully you know vr already you know here but obviously going to have an increasing role with the miniverse well let’s let’s start with the idea of what what it will take to make the internet engaging thus what it will take to make the metaverse engaging and that’s the creation of content right the internet really took off when geocities and myspace and all the other things people started shoveling content onto the internet that people wanted to engage with right ultimately it’s content that’s going to drive the adoption of whatever this is if and that’s true of youtube or twitch or any of these other things it’s the content that drives the engagement if that’s true then you have to believe that you need to motivate people to create good content and so people will create content out of passion sure but that’s not enough it has to be a viable means for to to live it’s got it’s got to be something that somebody can can can make money from so if you think of it like that then the idea is that we need to go ahead and find a way to compensate content creators and that’s that’s what the ad industry really is for the internet right it’s it’s a way to justify the creation of content and you know you can make the argument that it’s it’s symbiotic in some way right because without all this content the ed industry has no way to make money on the internet right yep and so if you think of it like that then the answer is what is really necessary here is brands engaging with content creators it’s not the umpteen ad tech companies in between the middle the middle people that are taking percentages of spend every step of the way the logical evolution is that brands deal directly with content creators at scale right and yeah and then you start getting into you know evolving ad tech my my belief is that ad tech should be plumbing or wiring okay that is necessary right instead of trying to provide this value-add service where we’ll go ahead and find you these you know they tell brands that they’ll find you all these customers and you’ll make a ton of money all those other stuff like why get out of my way like as far as i’m concerned if i’m a brand i know my customers i know my customers pretty well for all intents and purposes and when you get to online products gaming is you know a big one of them but but also a ton of online services as you all know there’s no shortage of information that these in these companies have you get into cpg and fmcg and all this other stuff you end up with um you know different challenges and and we can talk about those but net i know my customer and so if you believe in relationship marketing and i do it’s kind of a religion for me if you believe in that then i need to be able to curate the dialogue that i have with my customer or player i tend to use the word player because i’ve been gaming for so long so if you if you if you know if i know my player i know when i need to engage with them i know how to engage with them i know what i want to say if you have all these intermediaries in there that are deciding who sees what ad and when and all this other stuff you’re disintermediating the relationship between the brand and the player you do that you’re no longer curating that journey somebody in the middle is and they’re the ones making the decision right they’re violating that relationship so the goal here is for brands and players to create that relationship again that direct relationship and to be in direct dialogue right so it’s not just a blasting out a broadcast ad that’s somebody but actually having a conversation i mean look at advertisers have been saying this for 20 30 years how close are we getting to that is that happening because what it sounds like you’re saying it sounds an awful lot like proctor gamble well company making their own soap operas but it’s always honest but it’s also um you know like influencer marketing is has been the early example of this but it’s obviously you know when you start talking about content creation in the metaverse then that’s a very different skill set from you know influencer-based marketing on tick-tock i mean should but but should it be like i mean over time it won’t be right over time over time you know if we’re talking future right ultimately there are going to be organizations and companies that are going to be building tools that make content creation on the metaverse just like on the internet right geocities existed people couldn’t build a website and all of a sudden they could build websites and so something exists that will allow something happen in in a deeper scenario you know we can talk about what the metaverse is and isn’t but conceptually the idea is that ultimately you’re creating additional tools in order to be able to create content in an easier more accessible way and and that is you know i think the next step getting back to the ad part of that um ultimately you you raised an interesting png creating soap operas that’s not too far from the truth that ultimately is is a sponsorship model but what if it were more than just a sponsorship model what if what if these brands were taking active roles in the creation of this content right yeah and this is where this is where we talk about getting off that digital couch which i i alluded to in sort of our prep the idea here is right now there’s a whole bunch of people that consume content right and so when you you talk about the 50s 60s 70s a whole bunch of people watched a ton of television right 80s 90s watch a ton of television all of a sudden you end up with tick-tock um and and all these other things um all they’re doing now is they’re making their own content right they’re making their own television and so what we’re really talking about here is the idea that these these these passive consumers of content are becoming active creators of content brands have been doing that by paying other people and so on and so forth but the idea that in product placement and so forth exactly when we talk about collaboration now all of a sudden you’re allowing a an individual a player or a customer or whomever to engage with brands that they love in a meaningful and interactive way as opposed to like the amount of sentiment positive sentiment that apple brings and negative sentiment depending on what side of the ad tech industry you’re on the amount of positive sentiment that apple brings people love engaging with apple they they just think it’s great they go to genius bars they hang out there they they shop products constantly like they just love that stuff and god bless but like the idea here is that people will engage with apple as a brand regardless of where they are because of the sentiment that that that brand brings and that’s true of a number of brands right you think about all the lifestyle brands nike and so on people love engaging with those brands and so the idea that nike should and could be creating these interactive experiences in order to get deeper relationships with their customers their their you know their their people is something that’s bound to happen and does happen right one of you you know hang on hang on hang on sorry i gotta bust in here a little bit because because i don’t think we can just skate right over that point you’re just making you’re saying that nike a company that manufactures shoes actually they don’t even manufacture they design shoes they outsource the manufacturing they’re not going to make media that’s not what they do for a living they design shoe products they are agencies they hire creative people they aren’t digital aren’t digital shoes media products like you know if they deserve to make digital clothes artifacts yeah i mean let’s let’s let’s pause for a second here there’s a difference between the brand and the company right a brand is the assembly of everybody who goes ahead and pushes that brand including all the affiliated agencies all the people they’re paying to go ahead and push their brand and all this other stuff it’s a brand right it we can talk about the business of a brand but ultimately nike is a brand when you’re saying nike doesn’t make content that’s factually untrue the nike ads that are getting put out on an annual basis are some of the best storytelling ever you think about the michael jackson kennedy that produces that stuff on behalf of who whedon kennedy isn’t is it hang on a minute ago you were saying that the future doesn’t involve all these intermediaries and the future involves direct dialogue between a content a brand owner and and the person who’s buying the product now you’re saying that they actually rely on intermediate community or you know community and grand fulfillment or something yeah which one is true which of those stories is the one you want to stand with it’s an and situation and the question is it comes down to the control of the brand message right because what you what i’m saying is what you’ve done is you’ve disintermediated the brand and the individual right wnk is not producing nike ads without nike’s consent they are not putting stuff out there on the internet or in in the easter egg but they’re they’re an intermediary but you could

you know and and like the different like technically the ability i’m going to jump in on glenn’s side here technically the ability for individuals to create content that is as compelling as an ad agency that gap has been closing pretty quickly the last few years look at you know some of the stuff some of the creators on youtube in terms of um you know like even in the gaming community i you know i play this game called rust and um the the guys that make these movies these feature-length movies of playing these games with all these super cuts and and special effects and stuff it’s super impressive what you know what these small teams of three or four people can put together sure but but nobody’s arguing that individual people have the ability to make great compelling content that’s clearly true and it’s growing i agree with that i’m just trying to understand the point of whether brands should be in direct dialogue with their end consumer which i think makes sense i hear that i gave the example of procter gamble which you know back in the day they were one of the largest producers of daytime tv even though they were soap company they also had a tv production company as part of proctor gamble it wasn’t a third party they didn’t hire somebody they didn’t vent it out they didn’t put it out to bid they did they did the work themselves they hired tv producers they were a big producer of daytime tv and so that’s what i thought we were talking about um well it’s an integrated notion right so by that context you would say like you’re talking about the metaverse happen but i see that i see the difference right you know well rob you came from the viacom mtv you know the the tv production side whereas glenn’s largely been on the online media side and and this is a bit about what he’s talking about um you know in that you try to find analogies for the the old world in the new system um and but you know what you end up doing as as these uh systems evolve is creating new analogies or or new ways of thinking about it sure i get the marshmallow reference but is really simple are you saying that like a future tech brand is going to be creating its own metaverse that’s really what i understand because there’s a fair bit i think they’re going to be required well

let’s take a let’s breathe for a second here and and we’ll say yes they are how they do that is in partnership right the idea here now is about collaboration right what is the collaboration between these you know you talk about streamers and creators that are making this stuff and the brand stuff that you alluded to earlier they’re doing so on behalf they are sponsoring these these creators to do these things but it’s more than that right it wants to be that collaboration you talk about the trend of more and more brands bringing agency feature functionality in-house right much more ad buying much more ad strategy much more analysis is all coming in house i do think they end up with with production on because i also think that the the as we start moving to online products whatever the whatever you decide to call those digital you have that a bit you you you do have that ability right the idea of collaborating in such a way creating those assets to make them accessible we can talk about you know what what that ends up being but longer term you talk about nike are they going to rely upon agencies yeah but what is an agency then you know hiring expertise in areas that you might not want to do that isn’t profitable for you is outside your expertise it requires niche stuff but over time as that becomes more normalized those become features that exist within side these brands themselves and so listen i can i can support your point uh yeah the reason nike bought artifact is that they realized that making nfts and digital versions of their sneakers was going to become important to their customers and so they decided we need this capability and instead of relying on an outside company they said let’s just buy the leading company in the category so artifact at the time was the leading creator of nft’s shoes you know virtual shoes if you will uh as nuts as that might sound to some of the people who are listening it turns out it’s a thing that’s quite popular and people are paying thousands of dollars for sneakers he’s been doing the nike bought the company but ea’s been doing that for 20 years right adidas has been paying ea for decades at this point to put their products inside of fifa like that’s not new or you know um driving simulation games with you know car uh car platforms in there and so forth right hey listen guys we need to take a quick break after the break i’d really like to get into the metaverse because you know we’ve touched on a few times but we’ve got to dive right in um because you both are you know big in in that space obviously so you’re listening to the futurists we have glenn white strategic global marketing technologist previously with epic games and ea and motor media and a bunch of other creative firms and myself and rob tursek we’ll be right back up to this break

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hey there welcome back you’re listening to the futurists with brett king and myself rob tercik and this week our guest is glenn white and glenn and i were having a real interesting uh discussion a moment ago about who owns the brand and who’s going to manage the process of explaining that brand or conveying that brand new media this is a relevant topic for our listeners because the very near future is going to involve completely different kinds of media stuff that most of us don’t spend time in today but very likely will be in the next five years i’m talking specifically about the metaverse we’ve heard this term so many times lately ever since facebook’s big announcement that they’re changing the name of the company to meta and they’re going to focus on being less of a social network company and more of a metaverse company seems like mass media has been fascinated by this notion of what a metaverse is so glenn do me a favor share with us your your view of what you think the metaverse actually is can you give us a proper definition whenever somebody says metaverse i hear internet so you’ll forgive me i it’s in my in my head it’s the evolution of what the internet is um i i think i tend to think of metaverse as a brand play more than uh more than a practical product play like people talk about being a metaverse company what does that even mean yeah i i don’t like you can’t tell me you think it means yeah what do you think it means because it’s such an undefined term so when someone says think of it as a metaverse company what are they trying to get us to think of trying to separate your money from your wallet um i i think you’re fair i i i i tend to if you’re talking about practical problems like i tend to think of things in terms of practical problems right like i i tend to think of when somebody says metaverse what i hear is i hear relationship right like i want there there is a relationship between x and y and that goes down a very very very very very deep rabbit hole right so we were just talking about the relationship between brands and players or brands and consumers or brands and you know aficionados or whatever that is that relationship is how that relationship takes place and what that means is sort of the goal of what a metaverse wants to be no different than the internet in many ways right you think about well okay i i hear you i hear you but the for the folks who are listening who are still a little bit puzzled because we haven’t ever actually given a satisfactory definition of the internet i sorry the metaverse let me offer this uh so the metaverse is proposed to be an immersive 3d space some people call it a virtual world or an immersive world but the idea is it’s all around you so unlike the internet which we look at on the screens so it’s you know internet’s typically contained inside of a rectangle and even today the internet consists mostly of rectangles whether they’re rectangles that have video or rectangles that have text pages but the metaverse is meant to be immersive and real-time in 3d meaning you can move through it it’s above you it’s below you around you it’s a space you can move through and you might think of that as like a video game uh you know today three billion people are playing real-time 3d video games so they’re quite familiar with that and by the way and given that fact that so many people already doing video games on the web seems like a logical extension that those worlds those game worlds could also include other things that aren’t games entertainment we’re starting to see concerts in the metaverse art shows some people are suggesting you can do education there some people say you’re gonna be able to work in the metavirus now glenn when you hear all that i hear you yes of course it’s about a relationship right that’s what you say when you hear matter verse you hear relationship i get that but i think what we’re talking about is relationship between the metaverse platform and the end user and that brings us back to the concept of intermediation because that platform wants to get between the user and the brand that’s that’s why that that i reject that definition for a couple of reasons one are you telling me that blind people are not going to be able to take part in the metaphors

sure i mean can they play video games yes and do okay so in the same affordances there may make it possible for blind people to play video games they’ll probably exist for the metaverse wouldn’t they well i mean it it would depend right and and that’s kind of what what i’m getting at is i don’t you’re talking about sort of the the computer human inter interface that that creates that and my point is that the the relationships of the data underneath the engagement with the data is really what matters the form that it takes right is less important than the relationship with the data and the interaction with the data so like when when you talk about it being an immersive 3d world like okay but my life is an immersive 3d world what value i have a spreadsheet that’s in front of me the value of 3d representations of data aside it’s a spreadsheet it doesn’t have to be 3d and so there’s a whole bunch of stuff there that sort of begs the question is what’s actually the relationship between the individual and and the the content that they’re consuming let’s stop using data let’s start using content so how you consume that content if you’re focused on the form of how people are consuming that content you’ve sort of missed the point right and that’s sort of like saying focus people are focused on the radio and not focused on the songs people are focused on the 3d representation of this stuff and not focused on the experience so so let’s let i i want to just dive in to a little bit of that which is something i know you’ve worked on from a policy and a platform perspective which is um you know what the the economics of the metaverse could be like you know i know we’ve talked about this extensively offline so this this stuff is where i find your view extremely compelling and very interesting but um to to take the power away from the platforms like the metas and so forth and to create um you know these metaverse 3d internet based environments that are inclusive and you know people can work and live in because you know potentially metaverse will play more of a role in society in terms of um you know community building um collaboration things like that um you know as a distraction from inequality and and those sort of things but tell me about how you think um in an ideal world we would develop the metaverse for you know in terms of economically in terms of rights in respect to content and data for for individuals and corporations and things like that so you have to sort of ask and answer the first question is do you believe in intellectual property rights like you you start there do you believe that if an individual creates a thing whatever that thing is they have the right to monetize that you have a right to give it away they have a right to hoard it like do you agree with that and and i don’t know that i have a straight clear answer on that one but let’s assume that you do believe that that is a true statement that is to say i create a new thing i have the right to that thing because it is a digital artifact we now know beyond the shadow of a doubt who created that thing we know who owns that thing we can transfer that thing we can do whatever we want we can license that thing that thing is pretty straightforward and those systems exist like yes there needs to be some evolution of those things but ultimately that allows you to sell an asset right and that asset could then be used in somebody else’s creation and you can deal with any number of forms of compensation regarding the usage of that asset right it that’s when we talk about the the we talked about marketing we talked about it being the the exchange of value all of a sudden we’ve got some interesting ideas here because let’s say i go ahead and i’m a musical artist i create a song that song i can license that song so that somebody can use it to be a soundtrack in their experience and i can get paid either flat out i can get paid per play i can get paid based on whatever i want because it’s all trackable or i might pay somebody to put it in a really popular experience to get the exposure i want right the exchange of value is bi-directional there’s no situation where i’m just selling stuff we sell buy sell buy sell buy there’s the ability you created a value exchange that allows you to go ahead and transfer those things backwards and forth so all of a sudden the creation of assets and the collaboration of that stuff becomes interesting because the compensation that normally comes alongside the creation of content can be distributed based on how you contribute that and you can negotiate that on a per asset basis if you want to or if you create a platform that allows for the creation of these experiences you can take a percentage of that if you so chose that’s you know again there’s no shortage of compensation models that that then devolve towards the creation of content and that gets sort of to our earlier nike shoe example right where they’re going to go ahead and create content they’re going to expect some sort of compensation for it but to to the earlier point they’ve been paying ea for years as has adidas and other companies have been paying these companies for years to put their products for product placement right so it’s it’s bi-directional they’re going to create these assets maybe you license the asset from nike in order to be able to put the shoes in your game maybe nike pays you to put the shoes in the game maybe you just agree that it’s good for both of you and you don’t charge anybody either way like the exchange of value based on collaboration creation content is is probably what about what about monetary exchange in the metaverse what about um you know digital money and how that might evolve in the metaverse any any ideas on that you know the use of wallets and so forth yeah i currency is a thing there needs to be currency in some form or fashion i we can talk about what that is um this gets into sort of how i think about the internet slash metaverse um topology sort of across across the board they’re going to be areas that are controlled by brands or by individuals these areas are going to have gates between them and other areas

moving stuff into and out of those areas is and this gets back to the relationship conversation we had earlier rob which is understanding the relationship between two brands so that that way there’s agreed upon portability of stuff between currency is one such thing but it could just as easily be objects or data or anything else moving it from one such area to another area requires agreement a relationship an understanding of what what constitutes that stuff we talk about the metaverse we talk about earlier we talked about the idea of requiring compensation in order to be able to create a substantial amount of content that only works if i can take that that compensation out of the digital ecosystem and put it into meat space because i can’t eat bits like it you ultimately there’s food shelter water all this other stuff don’t want to get into the idea of ultimately all that stuff becomes free and like i i i want to believe that that’s a thing in the future but in in in the intervening time people need to eat so being able to move that currency into and out of the ecosystem is probably necessary listen i’m hearing the things you’re saying and i’m just trying to imagine what our audience is thinking as they listen to this it sounds like we’re talking we have a fairly technical conversation about the creation and exchange of value in a virtual marketplace and it really doesn’t matter and you’re using these terms interchangeably as to what the content is right so you use the example of a song you use the example of an advertiser or a brand um and we use that interchangeably and i get that but that’s a very technical conversation and it’s a little bloodless in a way because i’m curious about what are people actually doing in these virtual worlds these metaverse worlds and the reason i bring that up is that this morning um there was some news about the metaverse which is actually worth paying attention to i think it’s quite relevant here i’ve criticized many of the early metaverse launches uh several times on this show and other forums um because they focused on business model first and in other words they focused on exactly the kinds of technical discussions you folks are having right now which is you know how is value created how’s it exchanged who’s going to control it who’s going to own the customer who’s going to own the impressions and count them and monetize and so forth what they fail to do is focus on building a community in other words giving people a reason to be there in the first place and making it really fun and engaging and giving them fun things to do and i’m referring specifically to worlds like decentraland and sandbox and the idea there was if we build a platform we figure out the marketplace and we figure out how values create an exchange other people will figure out the fun stuff to do and they’ll come build those experiences on top of our platform i bring that up because just today in cointelegraph there’s an article that says that the the value of real estate in this virtual world sandbox and and decentral land has plummeted on average 85 since the beginning of the year good sunday last year it was a little bit of a land grab kind of a gold rush mentality people were rushing out to buy virtual land you know kind of build their homestead on the on the digital frontier in the meta reverse some folks were excited because they thought oh boy i can buy land that’s near uh you know some celebrity snoop dogg had some virtual land great i’ll get virtual land next to his it’ll be worth something do you really want him as a neighbor i wonder if he’s growing virtually that is virtually exactly it was all kind of hyped up the problem is you come to these towns now and uh there’s there’s nobody in them there’s nobody in these virtual worlds there’s it’ll say there’s a thousand people on the server but when you show up you can’t see anybody in sight and so my sense is that a lot of efforts gone into analyzing the economics of these worlds um not as much analysis has gone into how do you populate them with people and giving them something fun to do what’s your take on that uh i’m gonna i’m gonna bring out my martial mcluhan quote again the first thing they’re doing is they’re trying to replicate the old paradigm in the new and it doesn’t fit there’s an infinite amount of real estate in the internet there’s an infinite amount of real estate in metaverse right and that means that the scarcity model of real estate is broken from the get-go exactly yeah right so like if that’s a that’s a scam like if you’re trying to create artificial scarcity in a digital realm yeah yeah like like people if anything

there’s community is important but that isn’t predicated on what land you own that’s the relationship we’re talking about and that gets back to what i’m talking about what’s important here is the relationship what’s important here is the the network of relationships between people that are going to do things and collaborate together and all this other stuff and creating systems and spaces that allow people to collaborate create content consume content collaboratively that’s what matters and so when you talk about a 3d shared consensual what like really like that’s what you’re focused on you’re focused on trying to replicate the old world in the new like sure you can do that go ahead and do that like people need to do that in order to be able to find their feet right the shared sporting event or the shared concert those are great experiences and they’re fun and they’re engaging and immersive and they bring all sorts of value and they’re fantastic right but you think about some of the stuff that’s happening with some of those events which are carrying it far beyond what you can go you can see just by going to a concert by going to a sporting event the idea of seeing the sporting event from every player’s point of view is so different than actually just passively watching the sporting event on a on whatever camera the director decides now we’re starting to evolve that into something that’s far more interesting and so what you’re really talking about when you you talk about real estate or you talk about you know i’m going to regret this somebody is going to take me to test you talk about nfts or anything that’s creating artificial scarcity in a digital landscape is destined to fail has to fail because what it’s doing is it’s gatekeeping it’s being exclusive rather than inclusive which hammers home your point rob which is it is about the relationships between people you want to be collaborative you want to be more inclusive not less inclusive so gatekeeping real estate all the things that are exclusive by nature have to fail yeah i think i i think ultimately this is like at the heart of the debate of where we go as a society you know it’s not just metaverse i mean if you look at the problems that we’re going to have to deal with um you know over the next 30 years sea level rise food scarcity displacement of eco refugees um you know access to health care all of those things this question of inclusivity versus um scarcity you know from an economics perspective is i think at the heart of human philosophy in terms of where the species goes right you know it’s bigger bigger than the metaverse you know because ultimately you know we have we are going to come to an inflection point or a decision point a fork in the road if you like for the human species over the next 30 years where we have to decide to double down on a system of scarcity based on capitalism that creates massive inequality and two different classes of people very very rich and extremely poor subsisting on ubi or we’re going to have to rethink the way our economic works the economics work for society in terms of inclusivity you know there’s no functional reason why the economy today for example can’t provide access to housing healthcare education and food for everyone so the question is why don’t we do that today well that’s a this is a an economic or social philosophy that we’ve developed over the last few hundred years around capitalism etc right and i think um i i think an advanced human species in any advanced species will eventually come to the point where you don’t prioritize economics over human well-being right you don’t prioritize the health of the planet over you know making money but that’s where we’re at today and i think this is we’re we’re in the last gasps of the system it could take another 50 years to to completely evolve on it but um it just seems to me that the the human species to take it to the next level we have to get rid of this sort of concept of scarcity i mean is that too big picture the question that it probably is for the scope of the conversation but having said that having said that why replicate that in the metaverse right you don’t have to right which is what you know to get to your real estate thing rob why would you do that why would you limit the number of things that somebody can enjoy or experience why would you do that well you can see what they’re doing and it’s your memoration about anything they’re transposing an existing business model that everyone understands from the real world into a virtual environment but but you’re quite right it’s not a good transposition like it doesn’t actually make economic sense do it that way but what you’re driving at is interesting to me and it kind of goes back to the point that brit was making a minute ago um you really wanted to talk about relationships you’re less interested in the tech well we have in the digital world is is digitally mediated relationships for better or for worse you know like right now you and i aren’t sitting in a room talking that’d be one thing we’re not doing that we have zoom going on so we have zoom in between us but it connects us together even though we’re different places so that is you know it’s kind of a win we get a benefit there tell me a little bit about how digital technology has changed the way people relationships work uh and maybe disrupted the the traditional sense of relationships so i think it’s distilled it quite a bit um i think while we’ve gained we’ve gained some stuff and we’ve lost some stuff right the truth of the matter is i met my wife on the internet right i didn’t meet her in a bar i didn’t meet her at a party i didn’t meet her in a club i met she lived literally across the country and i i met her in a virtual space right playing a game and you think about how common that is nowadays you talk about people who have created relationships online who have never met each other in physical proximity that consider themselves very very good friends so in many ways you know you and i have never met in person rob however you and i have had what i consider to be an extraordinarily meaningful conversation that’s been very very beneficial to me and i i you know i think that that is really distilling the relationship down it’s not worrying about the physical presence it’s not worrying about our socioeconomic status it’s not worrying about whether i’m sitting in a a small room or a large house it’s not worrying like it doesn’t matter where i am and so i think in many ways it has equalized a great deal now there are costs right there are costs and there are barriers and and and we want to get to a point where everybody has equal access to such things right where people have access to devices and access to internet and access to things that allow people to carry on these relationships and conversations and so on and so forth um there’s also been some downside to it right there’s been you know obviously the level of harassment and toxicity the idea of of all of these things that physical proximity tends to inhibit you walking up to somebody and being horrible to them right because yeah people can say things online that they would never say to someone’s face now you could view that as a good thing and a bad thing let’s right there there is the ability for um a teenager to explore who they are the ability of people to understand the relationships they have the ability for people to experience environments that are not theirs that could be oppressive or otherwise right the ability to gain knowledge or liberating or liberating exactly and so one of the things we found in online games is that people people love to experiment they you know they they try different genders different identities and that seems to be not everybody but a pretty significant chunk of the people who are playing games they want to explore different aspects of their personality i think that’s a cool thing so it’s liberating for some folks for sure yeah and i think that that’s what we’re talking about i i’m mindful of the fact that we we’re running out of time we’ve got about five minutes left um and you know what i normally like to do at this point of the conversation is is get a bit more you know sci-fi and a bit more futuristic and glenn i know you’ve read a ton of sci-fi you know and even though you don’t consider yourself a futurist you’ve always been on this leading edge of technology so i want to project out a little bit um be you know beyond this conversation around the metaverse and look maybe 30 40 50 years in the future um you know what is it that excites you about the future what what do you think um what do you see coming down the line that that you sort of can’t wait to see us develop as humans from a technology perspective that you think will be um hugely transformative so i’ll start with um i’d like to see much more accessibility um just sort of in general and i think that that things are slowly moving in that direction but when i talk about accessibility i am talking about it sort of financially and all these other things all the barriers there but i’m also talking about physical accessibility um one of the things that i’ve been hypothesizing lately um is the ability for colorblind people to carry their settings i’m going to call them settings for lack of a bit of phrase across everything that they experience right so the idea that one of the things i i’ve got a number of friends who play a lot of video games with me and a couple of them are colorblind and one of the things that drives them absolutely crazy is having to configure the game every single time they go to a new game right and everybody’s colorblindness is different like that’s that’s one of the things that that i sort of learned over the last couple of years and it’s different in fairly meaningful significant ways but that’s true of all disability and it’s true of all accessibility issues and so the ability of an individual to experience things to the level that they want to or you know or choose to do so i think is is super interesting and super exciting to me um and i want to see a lot more of that um another thing that is is um is removing barriers just linguistics like all the stuff may seem fairly trivial but just linguistic software that allows people that speak different languages to communicate with each other in much more much easier ways much more meaningful ways um there’s um a bunch of stuff that has to do with um identity portability of identity and identity just sort of in general and i know that this is these are concepts rather than hard tech and whatever it is but um you know from a concept perspective i love the idea of people being able to to create relationships sort of around the world without you know without leaving their home if they can’t or don’t want to or or any of those other things so i think those are kind of the the big ones for me i identity um accessibility what about the idea of creating a relationship with a personality that doesn’t exist um

you know i i’ve i’ve made the prediction that the next five years you’ll have a meaningful conversation with a person who does not exist that is to say an artificially generated personality what do you think of that idea in terms of the future of relationships i think that it’s inevitable um i i’m not gonna kind of nirvana for brands right like for brands that’s what they’re aiming for us they have some full-time digital uh personality working for them hawking their wares well no that’s not that’s not the the end goal of a brand but putting that aside i think ultimately the the vision is um ultimately the trusted advisor the the person that can provide um that can meet needs states in a meaningful way like that’s where i think the value of that really is right a doctor that really does know every single symptom and all this other stuff is better at diagnosis way better at diagnostics and all this other stuff that would be better right um the same thing is true of auto mechanics or like people people that can evaluate scenarios and provide good advice is really law yeah yeah tax these are all things and and you know in the gaming industry i’ve been like hypothesizing that as npcs that run alongside you and offer you advice as you’re playing like wouldn’t using you know natural language exactly like you have a golf caddy yeah why would you not have one in tiger woods golf like why would you not legends getty exactly but well or a virtual navy seal when you’re playing your first person shooter right whatever that is like just the idea of actually improving the experience by by tapping into all that knowledge in real time in natural language to allow people to actually create like that’s where i think the value is like you i think you kind of skewed it in a little different direction but going to home depot and asking how to fix a faucet like you always have your your augmented reality glasses because home improvement expert there with you showing you which things to take and everything yeah that could be really interesting all these things are i like that like it’s assisted and so in that way i think i think it’s inevitable but i also think it’s welcome like now whether or not i’m going to have a deep meaningful relationship with with an ai like i’m still i’m still noodling on that i don’t i’m not going to say no because people will do what people do but um you know in terms of uh

miku and uh she’s she’s been married seventeen hundred times now it’s in japanese single japanese men so clearly you can have very much like hair right yeah god can have a relationship with a virtual character what does alimony and palamoni look like in that yeah well you know miku is a seven billion dollar brand now so

she’s getting more um than her husband although on a distributed basis yeah but uh it’s but um you know i i’ve obviously i’ve been talking about hatsune miku for many years um but um you know we we there’s um an estimate that came out from huawei a few weeks ago i don’t know if you guys saw but i i put in an article recently i wrote there’s going to be 75 billion virtual humans by 2030 that’s their estimate there are more than that many bots on the internet today committing ad fraud so i find that to be too low by far yeah wow yeah but digital digital humans is an interesting term you know what rights will digital humans have that’s that’s a topic for another show and uh glenn thank you for being on the futurist this week um how can people stay in touch with you and follow your uh your musings on the future or game with you um in the virtual world justicar um j-u-s-t i-c-a-r on uh on twitter and it’s my gamer tag on xbox um or you can ping me at marketingtechnerd gmail.com awesome great to meet you great to meet you too rob thank you very much for all the thinking well that’s it for another week of the futurist so if you like the show don’t forget to give us a five star review give us a shout out on social media or in the metaverse i guess we’re not in the metaverse yet rob we gotta fix that going to have the first presence in the metavest well we could be yeah um but uh make sure yeah leave us a review give us some comments give us some feedback that’s how people get to know about the show um you know please follow us on twitter if you’re on that platform and likewise on facebook and linkedin where it’s the futurist network um but my thanks to kevin hersham who has helped us in the audio chair this week elizabeth severance uh sylvia and carlo on the social media side and to my co-host robert obviously we will be back with you next week but until then we will see you in the future in the future well that’s it for the futurist this week if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don’t forget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the show and you can ping us anytime on instagram and twitter at futurist podcast for the folks that you’d like to see on the show or the questions you’d like us to ask thanks for joining and as always we’ll see you in the future

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