Citizens of the Metaverse with Gaby Goldberg, investor at Bessemer
+ Shriya Nevatia from On Deck Catalyst joins us as a guest co-host!
The Deep End is a podcast where visionary builders, creators, and experts discuss world-changing ideas. We skip the surface level and go in-depth into ideas that matter.
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Gaby Goldberg is an investor at Bessemer and explorer of the metaverse. We’re also joined by a very special co-host: Shriya Nevatia, Program Director of On Deck Catalyst.
What is the/a metaverse?
A metaverse is a fully realized virtual world with social and economic structures spanning physical and digital spaces. It describes a new social experience that increasingly straddles the online and offline worlds.
In some ways, parts of the metaverse already exist. People make friends on Twitter, Roblox, and Fortnite every day that transpose into real-life relationships. Those relationships can lead to tangible actions and outcomes in the real world. Two Reddit users who meet on a subreddit can start a company together (it happened with Coinbase!)—the same can happen via a digital On Deck fellowship (Stir and Levels, to name just two that have been guests on The Deep End). The line between IRL and URL is thinning & blurring with each passing moment.
Already here, or still evolving?
The sheer potential scale of the metaverse is difficult for us to imagine at this point. Most folks think of it as akin to an amusement park-style VR game, as seen in Ready Player One or Tron.
Despite our best efforts, we will likely fail to anticipate how technologies will evolve to take this transcendent physical-online manifestation to the next level and drive mass adoption. Developments in crypto, governance, Web 3.0, the creator economy, and more will have vast, unpredictable, and mutually reinforcing second-order effects with hard-to-imagine consequences for a still-forming ecosystem. Today's Deep End guest, Gaby Goldberg, serves as our guide into this budding digital terra nova.
As Gaby or others will tell you, even the language in the metaverse is still developing. Futurists and essayists emphasize the difference between a single metaverse ("the" metaverse) or a series of interconnected worlds ("a" metaverse). This is because some platforms may be "open" as decentralized platforms, while others could be "closed" worlds operated by a single individual or company.
Regardless of whether any particular metaverse is open or closed, you can expect it to have the following properties (Much of this early understanding is credited to venture capitalist Matthew Ball's primer on the metaverse):
The metaverse has no timeout—it is always on, and players can always be active in it.
There isn't a limit to the number of users able to participate in the metaverse.
It is ripe with content and experiences with which citizens can interact.
The digital assets in the metaverse will be traded and exchanged with extreme ease.
The metaverse permeates both physical and digital spaces and therefore produces a real value others recognize.
Playing the great online game.
Something that much of the On Deck community has in common is that we aren't waiting for some universally recognized authority figure to put a stamp on the metaverse and say, "It has arrived!" We're laying the train tracks in front of the metaverse train as it steams forward with us on it. We are ushering the metaverse in faster by participating in existing structures while building even newer ones.
Today, our conversation represents that spirit as Marshall, Gaby, and Shriya explore and explain the many components that might eventually inform a global metaverse.
Mentioned in this Episode
Gaby defines a metaverse via frameworks from Matthew Ball's "Metaverse" primer
Gaby's internet friends essay
Mirror has emerged as a decentralized publishing platform to rival Medium.
Coil allows for web browsing monetization
Crypto Venetians are an interesting example of NFTs that have a basis in the physical world.
Gaby expressed enthusiasm for Together Casa
A tweet about how staying at a large company longer might actually make you a worse candidate on the startup job market.
That’s all for now! If you haven’t yet, subscribe to get future issues in your inbox every Wednesday.
See you next week!