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Nothing to See Here

Nothing to See Here
By Keith Teare • Issue #280 • View online
This week Facebook announced the NothingVerse (read it, you’ll see) whereas Sequoia Capital fundamentally changed their organization and venture capital forever. What a contrast.

Zuck in his Metaverse
Zuck in his Metaverse
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.
This was a bold move, but not as bold as when he acquired Instagram for $1bn or Whatsapp for $19bn. These really were game-changing bets on mobile. We might forget but he also tried to release a Facebook smartphone and failed.
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:
  1. all need to wear VR face masks or,
  2. we need to make use of technology that is yet to be realistic - AR glasses. And even then,
  3. 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.
Nothing to See Here
Nothing to See Here
Welcome to Meta
Facebook is now Meta, but it’s not quite a metamorphosis
Mark Zuckerberg on Why He Won’t Step Down as CEO and Facebook’s New Name
Mark Zuckerberg just announced the end of Facebook
Facebook teases 'Project Cambria' high-end VR headset, retires Oculus brand
Meta – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Is this the end of social media?
The End of Venture Capital?
Sequoia is no longer Sequoia
Sequoia Capital just blew up the VC fund model
Why Sequoia is blowing up a 50-year-old financing model | PitchBook
Iconic VC firm Sequoia is breaking from the venture capital model to hold public stocks longer
Sequoia to restructure itself away from traditional VC model | Financial Times
Tiger Global raises $8.8B, while a16z targets $6.5B for new funds | PitchBook
The Rise of the Seed Asset Class
How Seed Funding Has Exploded In The Past 10 Years - Crunchbase News
Best of the Rest
Andreessen Horowitz Values Music Startup UnitedMasters at $550 Million
New York-Based Venture Capital Firm Wagers On Sports Betting Industry
Nvidia’s bold bid for Arm is in big trouble
Crypto lending is taking off. Regulators may not be able to slow it down.
Startup of the Week
Uber will rent up to 50,000 Tesla EVs to drivers
Hertz reportedly orders 100,000 Teslas in the single largest EV purchase ever | Engadget
Tweet of the Week
Fred Wilson
@cdixon have you ever said/written "come for the assets, stay for the experience"?
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Keith Teare, Palo Alto, California