10 Best Quotes from The Economist Metaverse Summit

The Economist Metaverse Summit took place in Silicon Valley to talk about all things metaverse. After attending, if I had to sum up the state of the metaverse in one sentence, it would be:

The state of the metaverse is in flux.

We’re trying to design it with the problems of Web2 in mind. But how we solve those problems is up for debate.

10 Quotes from the Metaverse Summit

On empowering people to invest in the metaverse

“The internet wasn’t meant to be a small handful of companies.”

Bernard Perez, Web3 Foundation

This reminded me of the quote from Jason Lanier that we’re doing it all wrong. The quote comes from Lanier talking about virtual reality, but I think it can apply to the internet too. The Internet used to seem so big. Now it seems to be controlled by a few companies. I’m glad we’re thinking about this as we design the metaverse – with creators and openness in mind.

On the metamorphosis of the metaverse

“The term ‘metaverse’ has been bastardized… it will create a better future, not one we’re escaping from.”

Alvin Graylin, President, HTC China

Will the metaverse evolve like the lotus or the butterfly? Alvin Graylin showed us the route he believed the metaverse needs to take in order to evolve like the butterfly. It needs to be open, no one company can be the metaverse, and it depends on countries working together for one, connected metaverse.

8 actions for a more open / safe metaverse by Alvin Graylin
8 Actions for a more Open/Safe Metaverse by Alvin Graylin

On guiding metaverse growth

“Test, learn, innovate so you don’t become a Blockbuster in this space.”

Joanna Popper, Chief Metaverse Officer CAA

This is a time of budget cuts and innovation. Popper said, “the model is the companies who started after the Dot Com bust.” There is a lot of hype around the metaverse. Only a few activations have staying power. But by experimenting and trying things out, you can learn what works for your company and customers in the metaverse.

Joanna Popper & Jeannie Weaver

On what the metaverse means for working and play

Interactive, embodied, social – you need two out of the three [to be a metaverse].”

Joanna Popper, Chief Metaverse Officer, CAA

I talk to brands all the time that want a metaverse strategy. I think Joanna Popper, who learned from Christina Heller, that a metaverse strategy needs at least two of these three elements: interactive, embodied, or social.

Building something for the metaverse or in the metaverse is completely different than the websites and social media we’re familiar with today. You need to imagine your brand as alive and in 3D. Personify your brand and think about what it’s like to hang out with it.

On the gales of creative destruction

“We don’t want to be the ones to build everything ourselves.”

Edward Bowler, Global director of public policy, Meta Financial Technologies

I’m glad creator tools got coverage at the event. As someone who isn’t well-versed in Unity and is not a strong coder, I’m always looking for no code tools to make things. Because I still consider myself a maker! Both Bowler and Graylin spoke to the metaverse needing creator tools for everyone, not just people who know Unity and Unreal.

I’m glad Meta is building creator tools but if they mention “guardrails” for the metaverse one more time… 🙄 Yet, we should pay attention to what Meta says about “guardrails” because they’re the biggest consumer VR headset out there.

Bowler mentioned of Meta:

  • Web of rules, standards, guardrails
  • Safer rules in Horizon Worlds
  • Private in other parts of the metaverse? How do we do that?
  • “We cannot think about governance in the same way on social media,” Bowler said. I agree with that but that governance looks like is what concerns me – especially from Meta.

“I know there are some people who don’t want Meta to exist,” Bowler said. At least they’re self-aware.

On an open and safe metaverse

“[There’s a] philisophical difference between openness and saftey.”

Anne McElvoy

Right here is the debate from the conference. Companies who ask for regulation and want to build in control vs. those who understand the metaverse is a decentralized, interoperable ecosystem. There are always going to be people that break the rules. I’m on team freedom.

On the metaverse

“It’s weird to write letters on a word processor and see it all over a confreence 30 years later.”

Neal Stephenson, Author Snow Crash

Kicking myself for not bringing my copy of Snow Crash for an autograph.

Neal Stephenson and me (Lily)

Is the metaverse important?

“The term isn’t imporant.”

Matthew Ball, Managing partner, EpyllionCo

Matthew Ball was more interested in the metaverse economy than in defining the word itself.

Matthew Ball speaking at a metaverse event in 2021

More on the openess of the metaverse

“Words matter. The way we talk about things matter.”

Tony Parisi, Metaverse pioneer and chief product officer, Lamina1

On the other hand, Tony Parisi thought that it mattered a lot to define the word metaverse.

On building a values-based business

“It’s lazy to rely on data the way that we do. Our reliance on data is what needs it change. It’s not creative.”

Adi Abii, Head of Metaverse, ABIn Bev

Is data and the customer the same thing? Or is there a way to know your customer without collecting millions of data points on them? Adi Abii believes the way we rely on data today is lazy. I think she’s right. I can’t wait to see how advertising changes in the metaverse.

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