What The Zuck – A Web3 Metaverse Roadmap

I was fascinated by the concept of the metaverse when I first read Neal Stephenson Snowfall back in the 90s. At the time, I was the CEO of The Imagination Network, the first online social game company, with a remarkable team that, inspired by the book, built one of the first virtual worlds in 3D, a metaverse called CyberPark.

CyberPark had most of the components that are currently emerging on the market: fun environments with avatars, currencies and goods. In my last Web3/Meta keynote, I have a slide comparing what we built decades ago and what companies, like Facebook, Roblox and many others, are prototyping now. Whether it’s at a public lecture or a large internal corporate event, the audience looks at the slide from yesterday and today and says, “I don’t see much difference…visually.” Even industry leaders who can make a difference will admit that the march towards building consumer 3D virtual worlds has been long and slow, and still consists of lucrative niche markets.

All of that is about to change, as we experience a perfect storm of enabling technologies and platforms being embraced and fueled by the next generation of Web3 people and organizations. It will take longer than expected, will not look like the promo-reels, and will go through several phases of development over the next 10 years. As organizations large and small begin to place their bets, knowing when to invest is as important as where. What I’m most often asked is: what should my business do now. Let’s call it the NOWverse to-do list.

What the Zuck is the Metaverse

People get excited about new technologies that are often hyped up in advance, but not ready for mass consumption. Meta + Verse (of the Universe) = Metaverse, is just next.

If you google it, hundreds of definitions come up, most of which find confusing or dictate an unachievable perfect world. There are a lot of misconceptions about what you need to experience it properly, like VR/AR headsets, or massive screens, etc. You don’t, it should be device independent.

As an insider, I like Matthew Ball’s definition, as he digs into the critical components required for Web3 + Metaverse: “A massively scaled, interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, rights, objects, communications and payments.”

Too long? Try this: It’s the next evolution of the Internet to immersion.

Who is Web3?

You are. To understand the enabling fundamentals of the metaverse, let’s look at how the internet can evolve.

Internet 1.0, the first iteration of the Internet that continues to be the foundation of what we use today. It was mostly read-only static content and with old media business models. At launch, it was coined as The information highway. What I said back then about the first iteration of the Internet can also be used to describe Web3 – Metaverse:

“The future vision of what technology could feasible provide, which will continue to change in size, scope and promise, as more and more viable emerging capabilities based on human demand and desire.’

Web 2.0 consolidated power with centralized owners and business models that monetize the masses with more platforms for social sharing, creation and activation.

Internet 3.0 promises to bring us to a democratized phase of Internet creator/ownership, where power shifts from large technological oligopolies to individuals. Rather than using platforms in exchange for data, users should have full power, governance and control over assets, where they can be participants, owners and shareholders, with peer-to-peer transactions.

The capabilities and timing of a Web3 world are as uncertain as the scramble for the original lands of the Wild West, with thousands of companies developing enablers of a multi-layered ecosystem. From big Web2 tech players, like Google and Apple, who don’t want to lose control in a Web3 transition, to innovators like coto by Eve and dentity, the market for enabling platforms is changing rapidly.

PLANNING: The 6 Ps

When leaders ask me if we should hire a Chief Metaverse Officer, I usually say no. But, depending on the industry and company, most will be best served by building it into the core capabilities of the CMO or CDO, then hiring and investing accordingly.

Before jumping on the Metaverse wagon, organizations from McDonald’s and Starbucks to CVS and Unilever are stepping back and planning what’s best to do now, while brands like Nike – which will soon have generated more than 200 million dollars of revenue in the category – claim it as a more important part of optimizing their future business model.

To help organizations prepare, let’s look at the NOWverse 6P this can help plan and invest in a more robust Web3 digital strategy and Metaverse evolution.

First, To prepare and develop long-term location plans for next-generation platforms and partnerships, and understand the range of different business models. You should also consider Protect your assets, data and information. The metaverse creates new scenarios to anticipate and mitigate the risks around; and not only secure, but proactively expand your patents, brands, IP, services, products and businesses.

Organizations can Produce IDTswhat I call (Iconic Digital Twins) or NTF for existing and future products and services, while working to improve your brand Positioning, by providing OBEs – (brand experiences) for in-person, online and virtual environments. Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach; align with your brand promise and maintain a relevant, realistic and trustworthy experience. When considering marketing, you need to Promote and sync targeted brand experiences with meta-phases, get Characterl, and take advantage of technologies.

CUSTOMIZATION: The 5 Es

With all the Web2 solutions available, it’s the challenge to offer customers personalization Whether it’s online or IRL, consider the 5E to start. Businesses have deployed some of these in old and new media, but they must now be at the heart of any digital transformation strategy.

Traditional and new media advertising (and e-commerce) business models need a reboot. Besides selling something, there are smarter opportunities to connect with Web2 and Web3 consumers. You can To entertain and Educate, providing them with simple and fun gamification to watch, play and experience, while providing useful and relevant content. Helps build credibility and brand loyalty when supplying Engaging brand experiences and conversions that engage customers and Excite their by providing useful and actionable assets unique to your brand. Lately, e-comm. To entice consumers to buy, it helps to personalize and provide meaningful experiences at every stage of their journey, which often facilitates the transaction and subsequent loyalty.

Make Web3-3D movements in a Web2-2D world

Smart organizations separate the hype from the roadmap and plan around the fact that the mass market will live in a Web2-2D world for some time to come. As a user and teacher of technology transformation and trends at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, I like how Gartner details evolution with a ten-year roadmap, but there will be other predictions. Additionally, Revieve has published a Metaverse Playbook, with details on what companies can consider doing now and next – you can get it here.

As organizations navigate to Web3 – while operating in a Web2 world – and test platforms and technologies that are part of consumer journeys in the metaverse, they will learn to meet the mass audience, and more often niche, where they are along the way.


About Jimmie T.

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