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The Metaverse is a Branding Statement


Glenn White

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.

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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 matteris 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 meether in a club i met she lived literally across the country and i i met her in a virtual space rightplaying a game and you think about how common that is nowadays you talkabout people who have created relationships online who have never met each other in physical proximity that consider themselves veryvery good friends so in many ways you know you and i have never met in person rob however you andi have had what i consider to be an extraordinarily meaningful conversation that's been very very beneficial to me and i iyou know i think that that is really distilling the relationship down it'snot worrying about the physical presence it's not worrying about our socioeconomic status it's not worryingabout whether i'm sitting in a small room or a large house it's not worrying like itdoesn't matter where i am and so i think in many ways it has equalized a great dealwelcome back to the futurist a show dedicated to exploring the creators thinkersengineers building the future and thinking about the future this week rob tursek and iare interviewing a good long-term friend of mine glenn white glenn has had a ton of experiencein the marketing and advertising arenas he worked we worked together at motor media where he was the vp of operationsfor the asian asian business but comes from a long term commitment tobuilding the technology that's going to power the world of the future indeed has been on the edge of that technologyarena um his entire career glenn white welcome to the show thanks brett uh goodto see you yeah good to meet you glenn so most recently um you've been working you know uh forfor epic and then previously for ea doing stuff on the xbox platform as wellum doing a ton of stuff in gaming and most recently the metaverseum and so i'm sure we're going to get into the the metaverse uh you know stuff todayum but you know you've you've been in the internet business since you know wellmodems modems history obviously is is the first digital advertising ad agencyum and in 1996 you were working on the very first um los angeles olympic games the very firstdigital presence for an olympic games online yeah yep atlanta sorry um and umyou know you you also obviously worked on many firsts in that space as didmodem rightly so you've been on that sort of cutting edge of tech now formost of your career maybe we'll start with that is like you knowwhat are you in in those years that you've been working in in the field um you knowwhat is it that you've you felt has been most material in termsof technology developments that have changed society let's start with something simple soyeah simple um the the thing that i i tend to keep in mindin situations like this is um i i read and have read a lot of ummarshall mcluhan because he i think he's um he's helped shape a lot of how ithink about sort of media in general um and one of the things that he sort of alludes to is the idea that when a newmedium is formed the first thing that people do is they try to replicate the old medium within it right and so exactly umyou 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 understoodprint ads we understood that and so the first thing that we did was we tried to go ahead and throw up print ads onthe internet right and then once we could do video we tried to do tv series right right exactly and soum but you kind of have to do that in order to be able to understand the language ofthe new medium right you you have to understand what the strengths and weaknesses are and you have to understandhow that evolves and so um you know the the idea there is yourealize that what you're actually trying to do is you're trying to replicate some of the old world in the newand so you think about going back to the banner ad thing um you know i helped trafficthe first banners on the internet or the first banner standard for the iab um you realize that you're looking tocreate the equivalent of insertion orders you're looking to create the equivalent of you know whatever the oldmedium was and you realize that there are gaps there huge gaps in some cases or there'slike well wait a second this new medium actually also has this stuff right so how do wehow do we measure that how do we account for that and you start realizing that you you'redeveloping new kpis you're developing new methods of measurement um and you'reapplying to them what you actually think the goals are right you you think about the idea that when you talk about printads print ads are based on circulation right so it's potential readership it isnot even actual readership to to a greater lesser degree you don't know how many people have seen this ad it's howmany people could see this ad and you hope that it's the right audience-ish and so when you get to moving that entireparadigm online you realize that you actually know who's looking at these ads to some degree or you understand exactlyhow many times this has been served and so one of our first sort of key sales points was we know exactly howmany people saw this ad right because we have a server log we have an ad serve log that basically says and back then itwas just a you know a web server log that basically said this image was loaded x number of times therefore thismany people saw this ad or this ad was shown this many times full stop there's there's there's no guessing there and soyou start evolving in that direction you start going oh well that's pretty cool i i now have this um but that's really youknow when you you say what's sort of the guiding the guiding thing is first we start with replicating what we know insort of this new new area this new space um and that requires the building of foundational tech and and other thingswhich really sort of is where i spend most of my time think about that solet'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 howintermittent media started and where it came from um but right now we're at an interesting point becauseuh you've got streaming media which is booming worldwide although maybe the slow growth may beslowing 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 videoservice or ads supported service but the same time you've got live streaming which is completely different you knowit 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-tockwhich don't really fit either category and that's sort of uh booming so it looks like to me that right now themedia landscape is fragmenting and as a person who's focused on marketing marketing tech and gettingconsumers to take an action what do you think of that landscape that fragmenting landscape of media optionsit's a good question um i have a couple of thoughts about it the the first is umyou know we talk about the idea of convergence versus divergence right some people will argue that technologytends to converge and some people will argue that technology tends to diverge um i actually believe both the same timeum you you think about um you know the positive example of convergence isobviously your mobile phone or your your handheld device and the divergence part is thatyou know scanner fax machine printer that no longer sits on anybody's desk rightwhere certain technologies do tend to converge and some tend to diverge in mediait tends to reflect the content that is being consumed right sohowever many different mediums there are that are going to be consumed there is going to be somebody who believesthat putting an ad within that as part of the consumption of that media is a good thing umi actually don't believe that i think that that i think disruptive mediaum or disruptive advertising is kind of on its way out and so all these companies are sort of getting in afterthe the horses fled the barn i i just to be clear what you're meaning is like uhwe're watching a video program and then we interrupt it with a series of ads like an ad pod yeah um that that'sinterstitials and superstitions and yeah i i don't i think if you take a look atthe performance of that media it's plummeting right in terms of the quality of that mediayes it is making people a ton of money there's no question about that but it's not making the brands moneyright so you look at the value chain from brand to consumer you got brand you gotwell i mean dsp exchange ssp ad serve like everything in the middle is makingmoney the consumer isn't making any money there the product and the brand isn't making any money they're the ones thatare feeding the entire ecosystem so why do they do it wellit's the old ibm outage no one ever got fired for hiring ibm nobody ever got hired by buying on google like i i thinki think they're why do people keep doing it because it's it's i won't say it's the only game intown but it's the easiest game in town that is to say um you go to google you have a websiteyou 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 atthe 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 umand that's easy right unfortunately right you're leaking data all over theplace you've got all sorts of challenges regarding who who receives the vast majority of that money right imean you look at the iab studies and they'll tell you anywhere between i mean i i've done this sort of independentlybut the iab will say anywhere between 70 cents and 99 cents goes to ad tech or is non-working mediaand it's that one cent that's your actual working media that's that's giving you any sort of resultright um famous famous statement you know i know 50 of my ad spend isis working for me the problem is i don't know which 50 percent yeah right and soum you've got the same situation here where one percent of your your spend isactually working media the rest of it is going to these ad tech companies and so if you think about it from sortof a an ad tech point of view that means that all of these companies are motivated to be inefficientbecause they extract more money that way okay let's let's talk a little bit about the future how do you see this evolvinggiven the the evolving landscape of media options there's there's more media than there are viewers it seems yeah particularlyparticularly with tech like you know the ar vr worlds you know augmented reality glasses coming at the end of the yearhopefully you know vr already you know here but obviously going to have an increasing role with the miniversewell let's let's start with the idea of what what it will take to make the internetengaging thus what it will take to make the metaverse engaging and that's the creation of content right the internetreally took off when geocities and [Music] myspace and all the other things peoplestarted shoveling content onto the internet that people wanted to engage with right ultimately it's contentthat's going to drive the adoption of whatever this is if and that's true of youtube or twitch orany of these other things it's the content that drives the engagement if that's truethen you have to believe that you need to motivate people to create good contentand so people will create content out of passion sure but that's not enough ithas to be a viable means for to to live it's got it's got to besomething that somebody can can can make money from so if you think of it like thatthen the idea is that we need to go ahead and find a way to compensate content creators and that's that's whatthe ad industry really is for the internet right it's it's a way to justifythe creation of content and you know you can make the argument that it's it's symbiotic in some way right becausewithout all this content the ed industry has no way to make money on the internet right yep and soif you think of it like that then the answer iswhat is really necessary here is brands engaging with content creators it's notthe umpteen ad tech companies in between the middle the middle people that aretaking percentages of spend every step of the way the logical evolution is that brandsdeal directly with content creators at scale right and yeah and then you start getting intoyou know evolving ad tech my my belief is that ad tech should be plumbingor wiring okay that is necessary right instead of trying to provide this value-add service where we'll go aheadand 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 otherstuff like why get out of my way like as far as i'm concerned if i'm a brand iknow my customers i know my customers pretty well for all intents and purposes and when you get to online productsgaming is you know a big one of them but but also a ton of online services as you all know there's no shortage ofinformation that these in these companies have you get into cpg and fmcg and all this other stuff you end up withum you know different challenges and and we can talk about those but net i know my customer and so if youbelieve in relationship marketing and i do it's kind of a religion for me if you believe in thatthen i need to be able to curate the dialogue that i have with my customer or player i tend to use theword player because i've been gaming for so long so if you if you if you know if i know my player i knowwhen 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 aredeciding who sees what ad and when and all this other stuff you're disintermediating the relationship between the brand and the playeryou do that you're no longer curating that journey somebody in the middle is and they're the ones making the decisionright they're violating that relationship so the goal here is for brands and playersto create that relationship again that direct relationship and to be in direct dialogue right so it's not just ablasting out a broadcast ad that's somebody but actually having a conversation i mean look at advertisershave been saying this for 20 30 years how close are we getting to that is that happening because what it sounds likeyou're saying it sounds an awful lot like proctor gamble well company making their own soap operas butit's always honest but it's also um you know like influencer marketing ishas been the early example of this but it's obviously you know when you start talking about content creation in themetaverse then that's a very different skill set from you know influencer-based marketing ontick-tock i mean should but but should it be like i mean over time it won't be right over timeover time you know if we're talking future right ultimately there are going to be organizations and companies thatare 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 websiteand all of a sudden they could build websites and so something exists that will allow something happen in in adeeper scenario you know we can talk about what the metaverse is and isn't butconceptually the idea is that ultimately you're creating additional tools in order to be able to create content in aneasier more accessible way and and that is you know i think thenext step getting back to the ad part of that um ultimatelyyou you raised an interesting png creating soap operas that's not too far from the truth that ultimately isis a sponsorship model but what if it were more than just a sponsorship model what if what if thesebrands were taking active roles in the creation of this content right yeah and this is wherethis is where we talk about getting off that digital couch which i i alluded to in sort of our prepthe idea here is right now there's a whole bunch of people that consume content right and so when you you talkabout the 50s 60s 70s a whole bunch of people watched a ton of television right 80s 90s watch a ton of television all ofa sudden you end up with tick-tock um and and all these other thingsum all they're doing now is they're making their own content right they're making their own television and so what we'rereally talking about here is the idea that these these these passive consumers of content arebecoming active creators of content brands have been doing that by paying other people and so on and so forth butthe idea that in product placement and so forth exactly when we talk about collaboration now all of a suddenyou're allowing a an individual a player or a customer or whomever to engage withbrands that they love in a meaningful and interactive way as opposed to like the amount of sentiment positivesentiment that apple brings and negative sentiment depending on what side of the ad tech industry you're onthe 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 outthere they they shop products constantly like they just love that stuff and god bless but like the idea here is thatpeople will engage with apple as a brand regardless of where they are because of the sentiment that that that brandbrings and that's true of a number of brands right you think about all the lifestyle brands nike and so on peoplelove engaging with those brands and so the idea that nike should and could becreating these interactive experiences in order to get deeper relationships with their customers their their youknow their their people is something that's bound to happen anddoes happen right one of you you know hang on hang on hang on sorry i gottabust 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 thatmanufactures shoes actually they don't even manufacture they design shoes they outsource the manufacturingthey're not going to make media that's not what they do for a living they design shoe productsthey are agencies they hire creative people they aren't digital aren't digital shoes media products like youknow if they deserve to make digital clothes artifacts yeah i mean let's let's let's pause fora second here there's a difference between the brand and the company right a brand is the assembly ofeverybody 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 allthis other stuff it's a brand right it we can talk about the business of a brand but ultimately nike is abrand when you're saying nike doesn't make content that's factually untrue the nike ads that are getting put out on anannual basis are some of the best storytelling ever you think about the michael jackson kennedythat produces that stuff on behalf of who whedon kennedy isn't is ithang on a minute ago you were saying that the future doesn't involve all these intermediaries and the futureinvolves direct dialogue between a content a brand owner and and the person who's buying the product now you'resaying that they actually rely on intermediate community or you know community and grand fulfillment orsomething yeah which one is true which of those stories is the one you want to stand with it's an and situationand the question is it comes down to the control of the brand message right because what youwhat i'm saying is what you've done is you've disintermediated the brand and the individualright wnk is not producing nike ads without nike's consentthey are not putting stuff out there on the internet or in in the easter egg but they're they're an intermediary but youcouldyou know and and like the different like technically the ability i'm going to jump in on glenn's side here technicallythe ability for individuals to create content that is as compelling as an adagency that gap has been closing pretty quickly the last few years look at you know some of the stuff some of thecreators on youtube in terms of um you know like even in the gaming community i you know i play this gamecalled rust and um the the guys that make these movies these feature-lengthmovies of playing these games with all these super cuts and and special effectsand stuff it's super impressive what you know what these small teams of three orfour people can put together sure but but nobody's arguing that individual people have the ability to make greatcompelling content that's clearly true and it's growing i agree with that i'm just trying to understand the point ofwhether brands should be in direct dialogue with their end consumer which i think makes sense i hear that i gave theexample 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 companythey also had a tv production company as part of proctor gamble it wasn't a third party they didn't hire somebody theydidn't vent it out they didn't put it out to bid they did they did the work themselves they hired tv producers theywere a big producer of daytime tv and so that's what i thought we were talking about um well it's an integratednotion right so by that context you would say like you're talking about the metaverse happen but i see that i see thedifference right you know well rob you came from the viacom mtv you know thethe tv production side whereas glenn's largely been on the online media sideand and this is a bit about what he's talking about um you know in that you try to find analogiesfor the the old world in the new system um and but you know what you end updoing as as these uh systems evolve is creating new analogies or or new ways ofthinking about it sure i get the marshmallow reference but is really simple are you saying thatlike a future tech brand is going to be creating its own metaverse that's really what i understand because there's a fairbit i think they're going to be required well let's take alet's breathe for a second here and and we'll say yes they arehow they do that is in partnership right the idea here now is about collaboration right what is the collaboration betweenthese you know you talk about streamers and creators that are making this stuff and the brand stuff that you alluded toearlier they're doing so on behalf they are sponsoring these these creators to dothese things but it's more than that right it wants to be that collaboration youtalk about the trend of more and more brands bringing agency feature functionality in-house right much moread buying much more ad strategy much more analysis is all coming in house i do think they end upwith with production on because i also think that the the as we start moving to online productswhatever the whatever you decide to call those digital you have that a bit you you you do have that ability right theidea of collaborating in such a way creating those assets to make them accessible we can talk about you knowwhat what that ends up being but longer term you talk about nike are they going to rely upon agenciesyeah but what is an agency then you know hiring expertise in areas thatyou might not want to do that isn't profitable for you is outside your expertise it requires niche stuffbut over time as that becomes more normalized those become features that exist within sidethese brands themselves and so listen i can i can support your point uh yeah the reason nike boughtartifact is that they realized that making nfts and digital versions of their sneakers was going to becomeimportant to their customers and so they decided we need this capability and instead of relying on an outside companythey 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 ifyou 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 popularand 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 hasbeen paying ea for decades at this point to put their products inside of fifa like that's not new or you know umdriving simulation games with you know car uh car platforms in there and so forth right hey listen guys we need totake a quick break after the break i'd really like to get into the metaverse because you know we've touched on a fewtimes but we've got to dive right in um because you both are you know big in in that space obviously so you'relistening to the futurists we have glenn white strategic global marketing technologistpreviously with epic games and ea and motor media and a bunch of other creative firms andmyself and rob tursek we'll be right back up to this breakwelcome to breaking banks the number one global fintech radio show and podcasti'm brett king and i'm jason henricks every week since 2013 we explored the personalitiesstartups innovators and industry players driving disruption in financial servicesfrom incumbents to unicorns and from cutting edge technology to the people using it to help create a moreinnovative inclusive and healthy financial future i'm jp nichols and thisis breaking bankshey there welcome back you're listening to the futurists with brett king and myself rob tercik and this week ourguest is glenn white and glenn and i were having a real interesting uh discussion a moment agoabout who owns the brand and who's going to manage the process of explaining that brand or conveying that brand new mediathis is a relevant topic for our listeners because the very near future is going to involve completely differentkinds of media stuff that most of us don't spend time in today but very likely will be in the next five yearsi'm talking specifically about the metaverse we've heard this term so many times lately ever since facebook's bigannouncement 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 ofa metaverse company seems like mass media has been fascinated by this notion of what a metaverse is so glenn do me afavor share with us your your view of what you think the metaverse actually is can you give us a proper definitionwhenever somebody says metaverse i hear internet so you'll forgive me iit's in my in my head it's the evolution of what the internetis um i i think i tend to think of metaverse as a brandplay more than uh more than a practical product play like people talk about being a metaversecompany what does that even mean yeah i i don't like you can't tell me you think it meansyeah 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 usto think of trying to separate your money from your wallet um i i think you're fair i i i itend 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 whensomebody says metaverse what i hear is i hear relationship right like i wantthere there is a relationship between x and y andthat goes down a very very very very very deep rabbit hole right so we were just talking about therelationship between brands and players or brands and consumers or brands and you know aficionados or whatever that isthat relationship is how that relationship takes place and what that meansis sort of the goal of what a metaverse wants to be no different than theinternet in many ways right you think about well okay i i hear you i hear you but the for the folks who are listeningwho 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 thisuh so the metaverse is proposed to be an immersive 3d space some people call it a virtual world or an immersive world butthe 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 arectangle and even today the internet consists mostly of rectangles whether they're rectangles that have video orrectangles that have text pages but the metaverse is meant to be immersive and real-time in 3d meaningyou 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 knowtoday three billion people are playing real-time 3d video games so they're quite familiar with that and by the wayand given that fact that so many people already doing video games on the web seems like a logical extension thatthose worlds those game worlds could also include other things that aren't games entertainment we're starting to see concerts in the metaverse art showssome people are suggesting you can do education there some people say you're gonna be able to work in the metavirusnow glenn when you hear all that i hear you yes of course it's about a relationship right that's what you saywhen you hear matter verse you hear relationship i get that but i think what we're talking about isrelationship between the metaverse platform and the end user and that brings us back to the conceptof intermediation because that platform wants to get between the user and the brand that's that's why that that ireject 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 metaphorssure i mean can they play video games yes and do okay so in the same affordances theremay 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 andand that's kind of what what i'm getting at is i don't you're talking about sort of thethe computer human inter interface that that creates that and my point isthat the the relationships of the data underneath the engagement with the data is reallywhat matters the form that it takes right is less important than therelationship with the data and the interaction with the data so likewhen when you talk about it being an immersive 3d world like okaybut my life is an immersive 3d world what value i have a spreadsheet that's in front of methe value of 3d representations of data aside it's a spreadsheet it doesn't have to be3d and so there's a whole bunch of stuff there that sort of begs the question is what's actually the relationship betweenthe individual and and the the content that they're consuming let's stop using data let's start using content sohow you consume that content if you're focused on the form of how people are consuming that content you'vesort of missed the point right and that's sort of like saying focus people are focused on the radioand not focused on the songs people are focused on the 3d representation of this stuff and not focused on the experienceso so let's let i i want to just dive in to a little bit of that which is something i know you'veworked on from a policy and a platform perspective which is um you know whatthe the economics of the metaverse could be like you know i know we've talkedabout this extensively offline so this this stuff is where i find yourview extremely compelling and very interesting but um to to take the power away from theplatforms like the metas and so forth and to create um you know thesemetaverse 3d internet based environments that are inclusive and you know peoplecan work and live in because you know potentially metaverse will playmore of a role in society in terms of um you know community building umcollaboration things like that um you know as a distraction from inequality and and those sort of things buttell me about how you think um in an ideal world we would develop the metaverse foryou know in terms of economically in terms of rights in respect to contentand data for for individuals and corporations and things like that soyou have to sort of ask and answer the first question is do you believe in intellectual property rights likeyou you start there do you believe that if an individual creates a thing whatever that thing isthey have the right to monetize that you have a right to give it away they have a right to hoard it like do youagree with that and and i don't know that i have a straight clear answer on that one but let's assume that you dobelieve that that is a true statement that is to say i create a new thing i have the right to that thingbecause it is a digital artifact we now know beyond the shadow of a doubt who created that thing we know who owns thatthing we can transfer that thing we can do whatever we want we can license that thing that thing is prettystraightforward and those systems exist like yes there needs to be some evolution ofthose things but ultimately that allows you to sell an assetright and that asset could then be used in somebody else's creation and you can deal with any number of forms ofcompensation regarding the usage of that asset right it that's when we talk about the the we talked about marketing wetalked about it being the the exchange of value all of a sudden we've got someinteresting ideas here because let's say i go ahead and i'm a musical artist i create a song that songi can license that song so that somebody can use it to be a soundtrack in their experience and i can get paid eitherflat out i can get paid per play i can get paid based on whatever i wantbecause it's all trackable or i might pay somebody to put it in a really popular experience to get theexposure i want right the exchange of value is bi-directional there's no situation where i'm just selling stuffwe sell buy sell buy sell buy there's the ability you created a value exchange that allows you to go ahead and transferthose things backwards and forth so all of a sudden the creation of assets and the collaboration of that stuffbecomes interesting because the compensation that normally comes alongside the creation of content can be distributed based on how you contributethat and you can negotiate that on a per asset basis if you want to or if you create a platform that allows forthe creation of these experiences you can take a percentage of that if you so chosethat's you know again there's no shortage of compensation models that that then devolve towards the creationof content and that gets sort of to our earlier nike shoe example right where they're going to go aheadand create content they're going to expect some sort of compensation for it but to to the earlier point they've beenpaying ea for years as has adidas and other companies have been paying these companies for years toput their products for product placement right so it's it's bi-directional they're going to create these assetsmaybe you license the asset from nike in order to be able to put the shoes in your game maybe nike pays you to put theshoes in the game maybe you just agree that it's good for both of you and you don't charge anybody either way likethe exchange of value based on collaboration creation content is is probablywhat about what about monetary exchange in the metaverse what about umyou know digital money and how that might evolve in the metaverse any any ideas on thatyou know the use of wallets and so forth yeah i currency is a thing there needs to becurrency in some form or fashion i we can talk about what that is um this gets into sort ofhow i think about the internet slash metaverse umtopology sort of across across the board they're going to be areas that are controlled by brands or byindividuals these areas are going to have gates between them andother areas moving stuff into and out of those areasis and this gets back to the relationship conversation we had earlier rob which is understanding the relationship betweentwo brands so that that way there's agreed upon portability of stuff betweencurrency is one such thing but it could just as easily be objects or data or anything else moving it from one sucharea to another area requires agreement a relationship an understanding of whatwhat constitutes that stuff we talk about the metaverse we talk about earlier we talked aboutthe idea of requiring compensation in order to be able to create a substantial amount of content that only worksif i can take that that compensation out of the digital ecosystem and put it intomeat space because i can't eat bits like it you ultimately there's food shelterwater 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 thatthat's a thing in the future but in in in the intervening time people need to eat sobeing able to move that currency into and out of the ecosystem is probably necessarylisten i'm hearing the things you're saying and i'm just trying to imagine what our audience is thinking as they listen to thisit sounds like we're talking we have a fairly technical conversation about thecreation and exchange of value in a virtual marketplace and it really doesn't matter and you'reusing these terms interchangeably as to what the content is right so you use the example of a song you use the example ofan advertiser or a brand um and we use that interchangeably and i get that but that's a very technical conversation andit's a little bloodless in a way because i'm curious about what are people actually doing in these virtualworlds these metaverse worlds and the reason i bring that up is that this morning um there was some news about themetaverse which is actually worth paying attention to i think it's quite relevant here i've criticized many of the earlymetaverse launches uh several times on this show and other forums um becausethey 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 youknow 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 countthem and monetize and so forth what they fail to do is focus on building a community in other wordsgiving people a reason to be there in the first place and making it really fun and engaging and giving them fun thingsto do and i'm referring specifically to worlds like decentraland and sandboxand the idea there was if we build a platform we figure out the marketplace and we figure out how values create an exchangeother people will figure out the fun stuff to do and they'll come build those experiences on top of our platform ibring that up because just today in cointelegraph there's an article that says that the the value of real estatein this virtual world sandbox and and decentral land has plummeted on average85 since the beginning of the year good sunday last year it was a little bit of a land grab kind of a gold rushmentality people were rushing out to buy virtual land you know kind of build their homestead on the on the digitalfrontier in the meta reverse some folks were excited because they thought oh boy i can buy land that's near uh you knowsome celebrity snoop dogg had some virtual land great i'll get virtual land next to his it'll be worth something doyou 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 tothese towns now and uh there's there's nobody in them there's nobody in these virtual worlds there's it'll say there'sa 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 ofefforts gone into analyzing the economics of these worlds um not as much analysis has gone intohow do you populate them with people and giving them something fun to do what's your take on thatuh i'm gonna i'm gonna bring out my martial mcluhan quote again the first thing they're doing is they're trying to replicatethe old paradigm in the new and it doesn't fit there's an infinite amount of realestate in the internet there's an infinite amount of real estate in metaverse right andthat means that the scarcity model of real estate is broken from the get-go exactly yeah right so like if that's athat's a scam like if you're trying to create artificial scarcityin a digital realm yeah yeah like like people if anythingthere's community is important but that isn't predicated on what land you ownthat's the relationship we're talking about and that gets back to what i'm talking about what's important here is the relationshipwhat's important here is the the network of relationships between people that are going to do things and collaboratetogether and all this other stuff and creating systems and spaces that allow people to collaborate create contentconsume content collaboratively that's what matters and so when you talk about a 3d shared consensual what likereally like that's what you're focused on you're focused on trying to replicate the old world in the new like sure youcan do that go ahead and do that like people need to do that in order to be able to find their feet right the sharedsporting event or the shared concert those are great experiences and they're fun and they're engaging and immersiveand they bring all sorts of value and they're fantastic right but you think about some of the stuff that'shappening with some of those events which are carrying it far beyond what you can go you can see just by going toa concert by going to a sporting event the idea of seeing the sporting event from every player's point of view is sodifferent than actually just passively watching the sporting event on a on whatevercamera the director decides now we're starting to evolve that into something that's far more interestingand so what you're really talking about when you you talk about real estate or you talk about you know i'm going to regretthis somebody is going to take me to test you talk about nfts or anything that's creating artificialscarcity in a digital landscape is destined to fail has to fail because what it's doing isit's gatekeeping it's being exclusive rather than inclusive which hammers homeyour point rob which is it is about the relationships between people you want to be collaborative you want to be moreinclusive not less inclusive so gatekeeping real estate all the things that are exclusive by naturehave to fail yeah i think i i think ultimately this is like at the heart of the debate ofwhere 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 todeal with um you know over the next 30 years sea level rise food scarcity displacement ofeco refugees um you know access to health care all of those things thisquestion of inclusivity versus um scarcity you know from an economics perspectiveis i think at the heart of human philosophy in terms of where the species goes right you know it's bigger biggerthan the metaverse you know because ultimately you know we have we are going to come to an inflection point or adecision point a fork in the road if you like for the human species over the next 30 yearswhere we have to decide to double down on a system of scarcity based on capitalism that creates massiveinequality and two different classes of people very very rich and extremely poorsubsisting on ubi or we're going to have to rethink the way our economic worksthe economics work for society in terms of inclusivity you know there's nofunctional reason why the economy today for example can't provide access tohousing healthcare education and food for everyone so the question is why don't we do thattoday well that's a this is a an economic or social philosophy that we've developed over thelast few hundred years around capitalism etc right and i think um i i think anadvanced human species in any advanced species will eventually come to the point whereyou don't prioritize economics over human well-being right you don't prioritize the health of the planet overyou 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 itcould take another 50 years to to completely evolve on it but umit just seems to me that the the human species to take it to the next level we have to get rid of thissort of concept of scarcity i mean is that too big picturethe question that it probably is for the scope of the conversation but having said thathaving said that why replicate that in the metaverse right you don't have toright which is what you know to get to your real estate thing rob why would you do thatwhy would you limit the number of things that somebody can enjoy or experience why would you do thatwell you can see what they're doing and it's your memoration about anything they're transposing an existing business model that everyone understandsfrom 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 doit 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 aminute ago um you really wanted to talk about relationships you're less interested in the tech well we have inthe digital world is is digitally mediated relationships for better or for worse you know like right now you and iaren'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 inbetween us but it connects us together even though we're different places so that is you know it's kind of a win weget a benefit there tell me a little bit about how digital technology has changed the way people relationshipswork uh and maybe disrupted the the traditional sense of relationships soi think it's distilled it quite a bit um i think while we've gained we've gained somestuff and we've lost some stuff right the truth of the matter is i met my wife on the internetright 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 livedliterally across the country and i i met her in a virtual space rightplaying a game and you think about how common that is nowadays you talkabout people who have created relationships online who have never met each other in physical proximity that consider themselves veryvery good friends so in many ways you know you and i have never met in person rob however you andi have had what i consider to be an extraordinarily meaningful conversation that's been very very beneficial to me and i iyou know i think that that is really distilling the relationship down it'snot worrying about the physical presence it's not worrying about our socioeconomic status it's not worryingabout whether i'm sitting in a a small room or a large house it's not worrying like it doesn't matter where i amand so i think in many ways it has equalized a great deal now there arecosts right there are costs and there are barriers and and and we want to get to a point whereeverybody has equal access to such things right where people have access to devices and access to internet andaccess to things that allow people to carry on these relationships and conversations and so on and so forth umthere's also been some downside to it right there's been you know obviously the level of harassment and toxicity theidea of of all of these things that physical proximity tends to inhibit youwalking up to somebody and being horrible to them right because yeah people can say things online thatthey would never say to someone's face now you could view that as a good thing and a bad thinglet's right there there is the ability for um a teenager toexplore who they are the ability of people to understand the relationships they have the ability for peopleto experience environments that are not theirs that could be oppressive or otherwiseright the ability to gain knowledge or liberating or liberating exactly and soone of the things we found in online games is that people people love to experiment they you know theythey try different genders different identities and that seems to be not everybody but a pretty significant chunk of the peoplewho 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 forsure yeah and i think that that's what we're talking about i i'm mindful of the fact that we we'rerunning out of time we've got about five minutes left um and you know what i normally like to do at this point of theconversation is is get a bit more you know sci-fi and a bit more futuristicand glenn i know you've read a ton of sci-fi you know and even though you don't consider yourself a futuristyou've always been on this leading edge of technology so i want to project out a little bit um be you know beyond thisconversation around the metaverse and look maybe 30 40 50 years in the future umyou know what is it that excites you about the future what what do you think um what doyou see coming down the line that that you sort of can't wait to see us develop as humans from a technology perspectivethat you think will be um hugely transformative so i'll start with um i'd like to seemuch more accessibility um just sort of in general and i think that that things are slowly moving inthat direction but when i talk about accessibility i am talking about it sort of financially and all these other thingsall the barriers there but i'm also talking about physical accessibility um one of the thingsthat i've been hypothesizing lately um is the ability for colorblind people tocarry their settings i'm going to call them settings for lack of a bit of phrase acrosseverything that they experience right so the idea that one of the things i i've got a number of friends who playa 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 gameevery single time they go to a new game right and everybody's colorblindness is different like that's that's one of thethings that that i sort of learned over the last couple of years and it's different infairly meaningful significant ways but that's true of alldisability and it's true of all accessibility issues and so the ability of an individualto experience things to the level that they want to or you know or choose to do soi think is is super interesting and super exciting to me um and i want to see a lot more of thatum another thing that is is um is removing barriersjust linguistics like all the stuff may seem fairly trivial but just linguistic software that allows people that speakdifferent languages to communicate with each other in much more much easier ways much more meaningfulways um there's um a bunch of stuff that has todo with um identity portability of identity andidentity just sort of in general and i know that this is these are concepts rather thanhard tech and whatever it is but um you know from a concept perspective ilove the idea of people being able to to create relationships sort of aroundthe world without you know without leaving their home if they can't or don't want to or or any ofthose other things so i think those are kind of the the big ones for me i identity umaccessibility what about the idea of creating a relationship with a personality thatdoesn't exist um you know i i've i've made the predictionthat the next five years you'll have a meaningful conversation with a person who does not existthat is to say an artificially generated personality what do you think of that idea in termsof the future of relationships i think that it's inevitableum i i'm not gonna kind of nirvana for brands right like for brands that's what they're aiming for us they have somefull-time digital uh personality working for them hawking their wares well no that's not that's not the theend goal of a brand but putting that aside i think ultimately the the vision isum ultimately the trusted advisor the the person that canprovide um that can meet needs states in a meaningful way like that's where i think the value of that really isright a doctor that really does know every single symptom and all this other stuff isbetter at diagnosis way better at diagnostics and all this other stuff that would be better right um the samething is true of auto mechanics or like people people that can evaluatescenarios and provide good advice is really law yeah yeah taxthese are all things and and you know in the gaming industry i've been like hypothesizing that asnpcs that run alongside you and offer you advice as you're playing like wouldn'tusing you know natural language exactly like you have a golf caddy yeahwhy would you not have one in tiger woods golf like why would you not legends gettyexactly but well or a virtual navy seal when you're playing your first person shooter right whatever that is like justthe idea of actually improving the experience by by tapping into all that knowledge inreal time in natural language to allow people to actually create like that's where i think the value is like you ithink you kind of skewed it in a little different direction but going to home depot and asking how tofix a faucet like you always have your your augmentedreality glasses because home improvement expert there with you showing you whichthings to take and everything yeah that could be really interesting all these things are i like thatlike it's assisted and so in that way i think i think it's inevitable but i also think it's welcome like nowwhether or not i'm going to have a deep meaningful relationship with with an ailike i'm still i'm still noodling on that i don't i'm not going to say no because people will dowhat people do but um you know in terms of uhmiku and uh she's she's been married seventeen hundred times now it's in japanese single japanese men so clearlyyou can have very much like hair right yeah god can have a relationship with a virtual characterwhat does alimony and palamoni look like in that yeah well you know miku is a seven billion dollar brand now so[Music] she's getting more um than her husbandalthough on a distributed basis yeah but uh it's but um you know i i've obviouslyi've been talking about hatsune miku for many years um but um you know we wethere'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 anarticle recently i wrote there's going to be 75 billion virtual humans by 2030that's their estimate there are more than that many bots on the internet today committing ad fraud so i find that to betoo low by far yeah wow yeah but digital digital humans is aninteresting term you know what rights will digital humans have that's that's a topic for another show and uh glennthank you for being on the futurist this week um how can people stay in touch with you and follow your uhyour musings on the future or game with you um in the virtual worldjusticar um j-u-s-t i-c-a-r on uhon twitter and it's my gamer tag on xbox umor you can ping me at marketingtechnerd gmail.comawesome great to meet you great to meet you too rob thank you very much for all the thinkingwell that's it for another week of the futurist so if you like the show don't forget to give us a five star reviewgive us a shout out on social media or in the metaverse i guess we're not in the metaverse yet rob we gotta fix thatgoing to have the first presence in the metavest well we could be yeah umbut uh make sure yeah leave us a review give us some comments give us some feedback that's how people get to knowabout the show um you know please follow us on twitter if you're on that platform and likewise on facebook and linkedinwhere it's the futurist network um but my thanks to kevin hersham who hashelped us in the audio chair this week elizabeth severance uh sylvia and carlo on the social media side and to myco-host robert obviously we will be back with you next week but until thenwe will see you in the future in the future well that's it for the futurist thisweek if you like the show we sure hope you did please subscribe and share it with people in your community and don'tforget to leave us a five star review that really helps other people find the showand you can ping us anytime on instagram and twitter at futurist podcastfor 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'llsee you in the future

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