I wish I could have found a picture of Mark Zuckerberg naked because I do believe that the emperor has no clothes this morning as I write this editorial. Instead, I have placed the image of Zuckerberg inside an empty MetaVerse. Alone with his logo. That seems apt for what was announced yesterday. I didn’t count how many times he said it, but a recurring sentence was “of course this is a ways out”. He was talking about real innovation not yet in place that will be required to build his vision. And he was talking decades not years. He was honest about that. Yet, yet, he changed the company name to Meta, and put his assets - Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and so on - under the Meta brand.
If you want to grasp what Meta is, it is an acknowledgment of failure. Failure by Facebook’s standards. The bar is high.
Facebook wants to be the container for all content, and the place you go to get it. It wants its own Internet, with you inside. It builds wonderful features to attract you, and get your attention. But that container is increasingly your smartphone, owned by Apple and Google. And the smartphone universe is punishing social media’s privacy invasions and impacting its revenues. Zuckerberg needs a new container, and new canvas, that he can own. The MetaVerse is just that. An all-encompassing canvas owned and run by Meta, containing the entire world. If it works the smartphone will be rendered way less meaningful.
There is one very large problem. For the MetaVerse to exist we:
- all need to wear VR face masks or,
- we need to make use of technology that is yet to be realistic - AR glasses. And even then,
- we have to want to do so.
At its root, this is an enormous problem. We do not want to do 1 in large enough numbers. 2 is not real yet, and likely will not be for decades. And most of us will not want to use these technologies. So the MetaVerse is reduced to a small side play for gamers and others. It is not a lot better than Second Life was back in the day. I think it is dead on arrival.
That makes Apple and Google still in the driving seat, and the smartphone still the primary container for content. Sorry, Mark.
That said. Sequoia Capital also made huge changes to its organization this week. Roelof Botha, Doug Leone were both featured talking about Sequoia abandoning the Venture Capital model and replacing it with a more traditional company structure, similar to an asset owner or manager. There are lots below, but be assured, venture capital has changed forever. If you don’t yet realize it you are the likely victim. It doesn’t mean that there is less room for venture players. Gené Teare’s piece on the explosion of seed investing shows that. But how to play the game is evolving faster than at any point I can remember. SignalRank Corp
is betting on that. More in the week’s video.