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A Week in 03/08/2023

Feeling rested? Heart rate normal? Blood pressure somewhere in the middle? Great! Because it’s time to get back into the metaverse driving seat and make some sense of the flotsam and jetsam of floating crap polluting our devices (and our minds!) I’ve had a really fun time working on some cool stuff for the metaverse whilst you’ve been sunning yourselves, you’ve probably seen some of it out there; and like you, I’m thinking, when is the metaverse going to feel as settled, normal and somewhere in the middle as we are after a summer holiday? Answers on a postcard please….

Dark forest and a purple sky

🎨 Rich People Stuff

Iconic artist, Vera Molnar, saw her NFT collection reach an incredible $1.2 million at Sotheby’s. A fusion of traditional art and digital innovation, these NFTs are taking the art world by storm, apparently. I’ve always been of the mind that art is for everyone. If we elitise (if that even a word?) NFTs or art for that matter, no one gets to be a part of anything except for rich people. Whilst I’m super happy that NFTs are the new digital asset class for ownership or investment, I can’t take my reasoning away from these auction houses and artists doing what they’ve always done. Is it time for a revolution in this space? Why are we so enthralled by things that are out of our reach? Why don’t we instead support artists such as JAC from The Core or Krista Kim? I guess we’ll never know.

🏛 Screaming into the (Historical) Void

I love the people who make The Sandbox, but again, I’m at a total loss to understand what in the name of the Parthenon Marbles is the point in brand activations on a platform no one actually uses. It feels elitist. Ah well. It’s probably me. The British Museum is making its grand entrance into the metaverse through The Sandbox, so what? There’s no one there. Exploring ancient artefacts and historical wonders in this immersive digital space is a total boon to both museums and to the immersive art sector, but what’s the point if no one is logging in? I have spoken to a gazillion people who are well versed in the ways of The Sandbox, but ask them the last time they logged in? They can’t tell you because they never did. They know who they are. My advice? Stop building brand activations and start doing some weapons-grade user acquisition activities instead. Find a way to keep this alive and make this a legacy: that’s what history is made of.

🤑 Deals or No Deal

Deals is the new thing from OpenSea, the supposed NFT distribution platform, aka the Facebook of NFTs (a third party provider of social networking). It’s a mixed bag of confusion and joy for everyone I’m sure. This is how I feel about making a multi-million dollar company even richer by trading NFTs through some form of brokerage. “As with anything involving NFTs and money, it is best to do your own research before using a feature. However, given that it is an official feature from OpenSea, it is likely much safer than off the table transactions.” In the words of emo titans Taking Back Tuesday: I got a bad feeling about this. Secondary markets, trading and derivatives should offer a solid and secure middleman service - I dunno, some kind of escrow. Again, not an expert here but I know enough about NFTs to know there’s more scrapin’ going on than a front room wall on a bank holiday Monday.

🎮 It’s Esports, Jim, but not as we know it

Esports pros are venturing into the exciting world of web3 and blockchain gaming—wait, what? Yes, Dota 2 and Rocket League stars are embracing the metaverse by exploring new possibilities in gaming and NFTs—wow, really? No. Not really. It's just that Esports are currently rubbish. This non-story from CoinTelegraph surrounds a bunch of Esports players who, having only won a toilet from a16z’s 9ct gold bathroom, are waxing lyrical about a genre that they know nothing about and never will. Quote “while he’s already looked into blockchain-based games, he has never tried them personally. However, the gamer said that he’ll start to get into it once the busy competitive gaming season ends.” No he won’t. Dota 2 and Rocket League get the merest of mentions because this story is all about the headline: NEXT!

💼 Meta's Mixed Results in the Metaverse

Pfftt! I won’t put the oof into Mark Zuckerberg's Meta this time because I am concerned by the lack of basic sense in everyone from the Guardian to Business Insider. Let me say this one more time: THE METAVERSE IS NOT A DESTINATION, it’s a journey. The Neal Stephensons and the William Gibsons and other entitled soothsayers might proclaim the opposite, but technology is about evolution. Sure Meta faces a mixed bag of results in the metaverse but faint heart never won a fair maiden. Financial challenges and market struggles are testing the tech giant's mettle and you know what? That’s way more healthy than getting a $50-odd million investment that spaffs out of a sewage pipe and into nowhere after a year, don’t you think? Meta, for all its unfortunateness, is an unquestionable advertising platform to serve the metaverse, or layer software (à la X) that the metaverse is built on. You choose. I never thought I would defend Meta’s right to do anything but with their vast technology expertise, they remain the only decision makers in shaping their version of the future—can we just get rid of Nick Clegg?

🌌 The Usual Suspects

Step into the future with Passage's AI-driven virtual world builder, or don’t, because this looks like everything else you will see this year: a rapper, a mediocre brand, a tech bro and a hippy with a guitar. Based in the British Virgin Islands (make your own minds up) this alleged “groundbreaking venture” has raised $6 million to revolutionise virtual experiences as part of a wider AI tool network. The metaverse is about to get a whole lot more generic!

Do Something Less Boring

Love AI but don’t know where to start? Start off by being lazy and it will all just fall into place. For example:

  1. I can’t be bothered making websites, can you? Go out into the garden and do something else. It’s much nicer out there.

  2. Getting your first rung on the arms folded tech bro CEO image ladder is a tough game. Make it waaaay easier with AI. And er, sit back and watch the dollars roll in*

  3. Analyse this! Put your spreadsheets in and get the questions out. It’s like the hokey cokey but without the fuss. Wow what’s that? That big glowing ball in the sky? It’s so warm!

  4. I could really do with a huge strawberry sundae but I’ve got this pitch deck to finish off. If only AI could…. YES. And put a cherry on top!

  5. The airport novel, an institution, but now with added Snoop Dogg.**

*Dollars not guaranteed **Gwyneth Paltrow is also available for more than just airport novels


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