To Be or Not To Be
In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Tech News Briefing Podcast released last week on YouTube as part of a Tech Live conference, Phil Libin, Co-founder and CEO of startups All Turtles and Mmhmm, and Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable Worlds, sat down with host Zoe Thomas to debate the prospects of the Metaverse really taking off.
“In terms of what Facebook [Meta] is doing wrong,” Narula began, “it’s far from me to be able to criticize and preach about what a corporation like that should do. What I would say is that there are a lot of lessons we can already see from the computer games industry. There’s a reason why Blizzard and other companies don’t announce titles before they’ve found product market fit — and essentially Horizon Worlds is a video game.”
Narula added that it’s more like a game than any idea of the Metaverse that he recognizes, which doesn’t reflect well on Zuckerberg’s overall strategy.
“I think hailing an unfinished game,” Narula added, “as the future of a multi-billion user corporation, is a really difficult thing to see working out successfully.”
“I don’t think I’m a skeptic,” answered Libin, off host Zoe Thomas’ question as to him being against it and the Metaverse built for fashion brands and events, “I think I’m more of a Metaverse hater. It’s pointless betting against the broader technology. Obviously, at some point, somebody is going to make something that succeeds and tie it back to the Metaverse.”
It Makes Me Sad
Libin, who served as CEO of the Silicon Valley-based software company Evernote from 2007 to 2015, then confessed that long-term he is usually bullish about all technology, though he said that Facebook’s vision of the Metaverse is “so stupid it makes him sad”.
Comedic interpretation aside, Libin continued with his tirade:
“It accomplishes nothing… What are we talking about again?” said Libin. “What is this thing again? That’s okay for like an hour, for a day, but if you find yourself a week in and you’re still not sure, chances are you’re not sure because it’s dumb and really nothing. Sometimes the emperor really does have no clothes.”
With both men aligned that Meta’s overall strategy is a bad one, especially as we see Web3 and crypto investors scared to act at the moment, are these two individuals’ opinions based on logic or more emotional at source?
Presently, the Metaverse has failed to live up to the hype. Yet the future is unknown. And their opinions, though respected, should be taken with a pinch of salt.