What's Working in Marketing™: What The Metaverse Means for Marketers with Tom Dickens, CMO and Marketing Advisor for Web3 Brands

Web3
Metaverse
October 18, 2022
Marketing & Advertising

What's Working in Marketing™ is a podcast where we uncover what’s working across the digital landscape by tapping into the world’s best data-backed research and through candid conversations with industry experts. Join us if you're ready to learn what's working when it comes to your marketing efforts.

On this episode, we spoke with Tom Dickens, a fractional CMO advising several gaming and blockchain projects. He got his start in digital working for Red Bull in Austria with me back in the day and went on to work in the startup space to expand his knowledge. He’s always been a marketer that’s at the forefront of growth and that’s because he knows where innovation is headed. There’s a secret to that and it’s called following the money as he explained. When he saw investment capital shifting to web3 and metaverse projects, he knew that would be his next chapter, and Tom has been able to bring a lot of the project management skills and media rigor from his background at Red Bull. He full acknowledges though, that some things don’t work like they did in web2 and he’s forced to learn new things every day. We talk all about what the metaverse means for marketers and how to think about this shift to decentralization. Is anyone else a little confused by NFTs these days? Listen to get clear on the intersection between commerce, activations, and web3.

You can listen to What's Working in Marketing™ – A Podcast by RightMetric wherever you get your podcasts — including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Tune In, iHeartRadio, and Pocket Casts.

Here’s a full transcript of our conversation with Tom:

Charlie Grinnell: Welcome to What's Working in Marketing, a podcast for marketers that uncovers what's working across the digital landscape by tapping into the world's best data-backed research and through candid conversations with industry experts. I'm your host, Charlie Grinnell. On this episode, I'm joined by good friend, Tom Dickens. Tom, thank you very much for joining me today.

Tom Dickens: It's a pleasure. Thanks for having me on.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, I'm excited to chat about this. You and I were just talking about the topic of today's episode, what the Metaverse means for marketers, and so we're obviously going to get into a lot of that stuff in our conversation today. But I always start this episode by going back to the beginning. And so I'd love to just get an idea of how did you get your start in marketing and how has it progressed to where you're at today?

Tom Dickens: Yeah, of course. So it feels like a very long time ago now after university, in fact, during university I did a placement year with Xerox. That was my first role within analytical marketing and when I finished university I was quite happy to join an AMB, quite keen to be involved and experience the whole kind of marketing mix across sales as well. But ultimately I had the opportunity to join Red Bull, which is where we met, of course. The role I was applying for was actually in the market, but the international brand marketing headquarters is in Austria as you're aware. So it been five years I think of my career in Salzburg, Austria. It was definitely some of the most formative of my career. I had that great experience of being able to work with some of the greatest marketers I've ever worked with, but also be able to work with really influential brand, which was an interesting experience, both from being able to use something that's already very powerful in marketing, but also in the way that we would negotiate with partners and agencies like yourself.

After Red Bull, I wanted to move on to the world of startup, so I wanted to make sure that rather than being a cog in the machine, I could actually change things myself and work across things like strategy, fundraising. Afterward well I wanted to move into the world of startups. I wanted to be able to make some change myself, work on the fundraising, the strategy, the marketing, and sometimes even being involved in the product. Following on from that one, I thought the most innovative space was the Web3 space. There was so much innovation and so much investment into this space that it seemed very obvious that that's where the growth was going to come from. That's where, as a marketer, it's interesting to follow the money because that really dictates ad spend really as a really good determinant of where innovation's going to come to. So I really wanted to move into this space.

I had a bit of understanding of cryptocurrency as an investor and the NFT space wasn't particularly popular back then and I'd experienced a few wins and a few losses, but I decided to make the jump and offer my services to a cryptocurrency fund, working from those guys full time to help them to bring the kind of marketing and project management rigor that was taught to all of us at Red Bull at that period is an interesting experience to come into such a growth sector with a lot of people trying to work out where this space is going as well as how to do things correctly and bring my own view of the way that people should do it, and obviously bringing some experience from those brands and those tech startups, but also being humbled about how those things may and may not work in this new kind of field. And that's what brings me to today really. So I'm working for a number of Web3 businesses across gaming, across digital fashion, and all of these businesses are kind of, I said, "Hey, I don't know where I'm going."

Charlie Grinnell: Maybe I guess what we could dig into there is just level setting with everybody listening. So as we talk about the Metaverse, Web3, and what this next development or phase of the internet means for marketers, can you just start out by explaining the fundamental concept of decentralization and how that plays into the difference between Web2 and Web3 And maybe if there is something, what drew you to it besides it being innovative? Was there a specific use case where you were like, "Oh, that really struck a chord with me and I wanted to follow that and go into that"?

Tom Dickens: Sure. So I think part of the appeal of decentralization is the innovation itself. One of the most appealing things I think for some people is that it's an idealistic and a philosophical approach to how systems should work. Decentralization is about the control being moved away from a central entity to a network of entities. When people are talking about decentralization, it's very much implied that they're talking about privacy, security, and governance. It's very important to different communities on the internet. For us as marketers, it's particularly interesting I think because Web2 is very much characterized by the tools that we are very comfortable with, which are the social networks. Most of our time on the internet is spent either on a read environment or a read write environment. And these social networks, they've created a platform that's essentially vying for consumers' content engagement and attention.

But where this very much is centralized is that the platform is owning the content. They own the data and they monetize it essentially at your expense. It's the old adage, if a product or service is free that you are the product. That embodies what Web2 is all about. And as a marketer and as a consumer, I think decentralization and the shift to Web3 is particularly positive, but it will also be quite tricky for US marketers. For a long time it's been quite easy. We've been able to pay Google and Facebook and other platforms to serve specific target audiences with specific messages and that won't be possible anymore. Things won't be running through their centralized databases and we won't have the opportunity to serve those people with ads. We won't have the data, we won't have the permission to do so.

So in Web3, it's the users themselves that have the right to monetize their own data. And so you need to have a direct dialogue with those users or use platforms people are signing into that are more Web3 focused. In the Web3 economy, if market is the kind of social platforms that we can use as things like Brave, which is a browser. Browsers are rewarded with basic attention token for watching ads, much the same as generate ads from our friend Sam Jens. And these are based on permission and agreement from the user to monetize their own time and data. And this is a far better value exchange because the platform is sharing that value with the users, the advertisers and these kind of platforms are technically the future in some ways. But it'd be very interesting to see what platforms people on Facebook do in order to either limit their ability to do business or whether or not they just end up acquiring them and then making them centralized, the real challenges for Web3.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. I've always wondered that with those browser specifically talking about Brave or if there's a Chrome plugin, there's Generate and I believe I guess Generate is making their own browser and maybe they also have plugins, but I've seen a few other brands in the space, like hey, it's a Chrome plugin that looks at your browsing history and rewards you for that. Yeah, I've just wondered, is that a fight that we think we're going to be able to win? I say we like us versus the big duopoly. So I think about if we look at probably browser usage, I would imagine, I don't have the data right in front of me, but I feel pretty confident saying it's probably a Chrome and Safari duopoly. Sure, you'd have Firefox in there and you'd have some of these other ones, but getting people to shift from a browser is a really tough thing to do I feel like.

The analogy that I use is it's getting someone to switch banks. Once they've chosen their browser, they're pretty much dug in and they're sticking with that. So where my brain goes is I'm like, yes, this could be amazing where it's like, can we get to a point where there's a browser that, and I think the key here is both on desktop and mobile, having a great experience across both that's natively built into things. And I think that's going to be another hurdle of can you set Brave or something else as a mobile app as the default browser on your smartphone? Don't know if Apple or Android will allow that to happen. So yeah, I don't know, that's where my brain just starts to churn. 'Cause I'm like, yes, the intent is there, but I just wonder if it was me running those types of businesses being like, "I'm going to build a browser that rewards people for their browsing," I'd want to go out and raise a shit ton of cash so that I could basically withstand probably the full assault that would come from the bigger platforms.

Tom Dickens: Yeah. And I think that's why when it's come to the feature based product, so where it's about privacy and security, it's never quite going to be enough. So the reward based approach is obviously a far easier sell. One way you incentivize referral, that makes a lot of sense. But I wonder whether on the road to solving a Web2 problem, you end up being seduced by the appeal of selling the business to a Web2 business.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, I think about that all the time. And I've actually just started using, I use a browser called Mighty, which is, it's basically a version of Chrome. It just looks like Chrome or Chromium. I'm going to butcher that. But what it is actually is it's streaming a browser from a really fast computer. And so it has all these security things built in, plus it's just really, really fast. So if you're using a lot of tabs, this is sounding like an ad for Mighty, but I just found that Chrome was pretty slow for me. It was just not operating it the way I wanted to. So I started to look at other alternatives. I looked at Brave, I looked at Safari.

There's another one called Arc that has popped up that I think a lot of people are using. So yeah, I don't know, it's the first time in a while where choosing your browser or the browser being open for change in debate. If you had asked me four years ago what browser use, I'd be like, "Chrome, duh," 'cause that's just how I rolled. But yeah, it's going to be interesting to see how Metaverse, Web3 these types of foundational principles or concepts are built into browsers and then what kind of scale can those things get with people around the world and how is that going to change the way that we interact with the internet?

Tom Dickens: Yeah, for sure.

Charlie Grinnell: So I want to switch gears a little bit here. What have you seen about around the types of audiences that are really focused on Web3 or the Metaverse? Have you seen any core values that connect them together? Is it a certain type of person that is leaning into Web3 versus Web2 or Metaverse?

Tom Dickens: Yeah. I think because it's still such early days for Web3 and Metaverse, one thing everyone has in common is that they are innovative. And so that means they share quite a few values. It also means that a lot of them are a Gen Z. So the physical indexing for this group, we see quite a lot of traits in common. Luckily for us, they welcome new technology, they adopt them more easily than prior groups. Self-expression is particularly important as well as authenticity. And more and more they're radically inclusive and they tend to have some kind of progressive and eco-conscious traits. This is interesting when it comes to NST and crypto communities because there's a real community centricity there, just the way that they've been built over time. And it includes this an expectation of fairness, which is part of this governance and privacy, which is the way that decentralization has built up.

And then I see the other main thing when it comes to the Web3 communities, or at least Metaverse is the gaming has always been at the forefront. When it comes to bringing on loads of people into the Metaverse, I think the gaming sector, the gaming segment is going to be one of the key drivers. And so when we think about the values of these guys, I mean they're obviously motivated by fun, competition, rewards. Social features are massively important for them. One of the main or more recent changes when it comes to these values is that whether awards are intrinsic or extrinsic, there was this move around play to own games recently, which I think some people see as maybe something a bit negative in the space, but actually has a lot of similarities with the prize pools that you might see in eSports competitions.

I think it's just not been done at such a premium level. And then I think because of the way the gamers have historically customized their profiles, their buyers, their avatars, there's a lot in there about self-expression and virtual identity. I think that's going to be one of the battlegrounds essentially, especially when you look at Meta's virtual world and how some of the avatars and landscapes don't look very realistic. And whether or not that's the representation you want of yourself in this virtual world or whether you want a bit more realistic, I think that's going to be quite a key determinant the kind of people that show up in different places.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, that's interesting. Where my brain goes hearing you talk about that is obviously we have the virtual world, whether you're playing on a console or even your Instagram account, what is your piece of digital real estate and how are you customizing it? And so as you were speaking, I was thinking about some people who changed the fonts on their Instagram profile, that's them putting their stamp on it and showing that like, "Ooh, I'm a bit more advanced and I know how to change my font type," kind of like that. And yeah, I wonder to your point about Meta's interpretation of it being not real looking.

I feel like just that digital real estate on Instagram, when you go to your Instagram page or my Instagram page, we have photos from the real world there that give people an idea of who we are, what we're interested in, a visual representation of that. Now whether that's good or bad. And if life is a highlight reel, we'll park that on the side 'cause I don't think that's the topic of the episode, but I think about that whereas I'm going, okay, I haven't necessarily made that jump to having digital things as in like, oh, an NFT. That's my equivalent of having a nice painting hung on the wall in my home. Whereas what I have is here's a photo of me at an epic location, and you can tell it's a pretty nicely taken photo. "Oh, maybe that guy knows how to use a camera."

It's going to be interesting to see how people like me who have that sort of thing, and I'm not saying just about me, but I'm sure there's a lot of people out there who are going to have to bridge this gap and go, "Oh yeah, cool. That's interesting." What are the things that are available now for me that I can show off in a way that I view as valuable, socially relevant, whatever the thing is, right? Because yeah, a lot of people on those platforms are trying to make their digital home on the internet and have it act as a reflection of them.

Tom Dickens: Yeah. I think this role of fantasy is a lot more expansive in those worlds. On Instagram, you've got a, in the Metaverse, you can be whatever you want to be. You be a dragon if you want to be. So yeah.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, I wonder how that's going to progress. That's going to be interesting. I want to talk a little bit about just an investment in this space. We've seen brands like Nike acquiring Artifact, they're placing a big emphasis and importance on things like virtual worlds, wearables, augmented reality. Do you have any examples from Metaverse concepts, whether it's on the brand side, big or small? And can you explain why that's such an important thing for the future?

Tom Dickens: Yeah, I think two examples that jumped out, but more because of the way that they could integrate Web3 and NFT specifically with different consumer groups. The first one that jumped out for me here is Reddit. This is their own internal investment, although I think it's a partnership with FTX if I'm not mistaken. This one always felt like it's such an obvious one, even know the Reddit community is sometimes quite anti Web3 and NFTs. But the basis of having these very engaged and self-governing communities on Reddit with a very much inbuilt, gamification, self-governed, gamification, trophies, up votes, it felt like it was already getting itself prepared organically to NFTS.

And if you think about the way the Reddit community are creating a lot of their own unique content, and it's full of creators that don't really have a way of monetizing it because some of their content is just humorous comments, it's them actually coming together as a community to come up with this incredible ongoing dialogue about these topics that plugging and achievement seems like such a good play. I'm not sure what their rollout plan is, but as long as you are selective about the subreddits that you choose to engage with, the communities that make sense to do that, feels like a very obvious play to me.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, that's interesting. I wouldn't have pegged Reddit as anti Web3 or anti NFT, and she's not saying that maybe they're anti that. But I guess now again, thinking through that as you were explaining it, they are the Web2 original gangsters. So they're like, "Hey, the whole reason this thing exists is because we've had this platform forum," all that sort of stuff. And they're like, "Nope, this is amazing. We don't want it to change and we love being on the forum." So that's interesting to hear that they have to your point, building in rewards, gamification, whatever that is. But the community is still by and large, maybe a bit resistant to it.

Tom Dickens: Yeah, well I think that's just a lot of purists on the community. They see things in a very idealistic way and the nature, the way they train them without voting and this gamification, it really encourages a pylon for good or bad. I think it really is an echo chamber. A lot of the pressure is on those guys to ensure that they can onboard effectively in a sensitive way.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, interesting. And then did you have another example?

Tom Dickens: Yeah, the other one that really interested me, basically it's very NFT focused, but it was eBay's acquisition of the NFT marketplace, known origin. It just felt so on brand that they're coming from a place of physical collectables requiring something for digital collectables. And if you think about a lot of the high value items you might have on eBay, could be baseball cards, it could be antiques. So just the way that they've integrated across Web2 and Web3, but in terms of the messaging, they're really owning this secondary market, which is obviously a massive part of the NFT space. It just felt like a really nice and logical move for a business to cement its position in the market. And I think I wanted to make sure we were thinking about both organic and acquisition based investments.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. Strategically that makes a lot of sense in terms of like, "Hey, what is your core business?" And then eBay being a marketplace. And then I was like, okay, cool. If we're going to get into Web3, Metaverse, NFT, then yes, we should be still playing in the marketplace space and not deviating too far from our core values, principles, objectives, competencies, whatever you want to call it. How do you think marketing will be different inside the Metaverse in the future? If you could take a trip to a Nike store, what are some of the activations that you'd expect to see in the future? Is there anything where you're like, "Hey, this is something that I think is going to come down the line." I'm like, no wrong answers 'cause I feel like the prediction business is easy to obviously get one wrong, but I don't know if there's anything cooking inside your brain where you're like, "This could happen."

Tom Dickens: Sure. Well, I mean there's such innovation happening right now that I think there are already some pretty powerful examples that I don't even yet understand the implication of those. So I think  19:14] in Roblox is a particularly interesting example because it's breaking new grounds for brands. This is actually, Roblox is so massive that it's already so established. The scale of the platform means that people are spending over 50 billion dollars a year on virtual goods, even though the platform itself is synonymous with younger users, the average age is rising. And Roblox, for example, is really trying to address this young user issue it's got. I think over the next few days they're talking about what the plan is to commercialize the business and some of it is going to be about how they can safeguard the younger community, separate the product, and then commercialize in a way that they can bring on creators and advertisers and still have this, which feels like a brilliant idea.

And you've still got this product to bring people on to onboard them to the Metaverse, and then they get there, you can onboard them to the premium or the more commercialized product, but at the same time, it's keeping them safe and keeping the purity of that initial space. I've seen people speculating that as people get older, the appeal of actually socializing and spending time in these Metaverses goes down. But I think that's more at its core because the social features just aren't quite there yet. They're not comfortable in the hardware on their side as much as the interfaces in there just don't particularly work as they should. What's interesting with something like is they've created a space in the Metaverse that operates the same way as a community might work in Discord. So they've created mini games in there, they allow people to create their own content and essentially they're awarding the community for taking part in those leaderboards.

And it's very much a Metaverse activation for something that's already happening in Web3 communities. And it's a really nice way to make sure that you are evaluating the engagement of your audience. You can segment the people that care most about your brand. You can make them jump through hoops to make sure they the product. And that means that when you're sampling or when you're deciding who to invite to these immersive experiences, you know the people that get it, you know the people that care, and you're putting these experiences in the hands of the products, in the hands of the people that are great advocates for you, and historically, this would be a first come, first serve offering. It would benefit scalpers and resellers, but this model you've got an opportunity to form an emotional bond with these people over time and find those people that care the most, which I think is pretty compelling.

I think your question was also very much about actually marketing from a campaign perspective in the Metaverse. Is that right? One of the challenges we are dealing with at the moment is promoting some of our activations in the Metaverse to other Metaverse users. And some people have already innovated some traditional marketing, so you can put our out of home billboards essentially in the Metaverse, which is fun. Strangely, the attribution you get on that, it's terrible, but it's still very nascent. But it's funny that traditional marketing is now in the Metaverse, but people are still trying to innovate and try new things and people are using advocates and influencers, or I'm sure you can use bots as non playable characters to promote different activities, events, as well as obviously offline advertising to make sure you're pushing people in, but also encouraging people with incentives to promote you in the Metaverse.

All of these kind of things exist, but more and more there are some more high tech advertising solutions in the Metaverse, but at the moment it's still quite disparate. And historically, a lot of the people have been onboarded around specific events. Obviously everybody's seen these large scale live music events. And those posts probably the most interesting marketing opportunity, at least for Gorilla Marketing, because we can speculate that these people are fans of this person. They're more likely to be this kind of segment, they're from this place, but that kind of data isn't available to marketers yet in the Metaverse. So it's all about making sure that you can tailor your messaging and the timing of it around these events to people on their way. I think that's probably the simplest strategy that probably exists at the moment until the data catches up.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, 'cause I guess I always go back to the fishing analogy, like fish where the fish are, how many people were there to begin with? Does it make sense to spin up something there? But at the same time, going in there, running test campaigns, learning so that trying to predict where's the ball going to be, right? Or where's the puck going to be? And skating to where the puck's going to be instead of where it's at. So it's balancing that testing things and building that muscle and learning. So that if and when that happens, cool, we already have a bunch of learnings and we can hit the ground running, whereas a lot of other businesses could be, "Well, hey, we don't know anything about this, and so we just got to test and catch up."

Tom Dickens: Yeah, exactly. And I think it's been a very sexy feel for people to invest in and market in, which tends to attract people that want to be the first, but not the best and campaigns. But now it's a bit more established. There's pressure to actually make sure that your Metaverse campaign has got an IRL pop up and you are really actually blurring this digital concept. And so more recently, so this year we started to see some more compelling campaigns around that, but a lot of it was around making noise in press and cons or something.

Charlie Grinnell: As opposed to delivering a cool omni experience for a potential customer.

Tom Dickens: Yeah, exactly.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, interesting. I want to touch back on something that you said a little earlier. You were talking about gaming has obviously been a big piece of Web3, Metaverse. Do you think Metaverse and NFTs in Web3 will positively or negatively impact gaming? I know it's like a random question, but gaming has been so entrenched in the core of this from the beginning and now is that going to be a net positive or is that going to be a net negative? Yeah, what are your thoughts on that?

Tom Dickens: Sure. I think I'm obviously very biased, but from my perspective, I really see that it can only really be incremental growth. I mean, we've been very conscious when we've been working on blockchain games, but we know that some mainstream gamers are quite reticent, or even worse, maybe outspoken and resist to the concept of it. But from having spent time actually developing games, for example, with NFT utility, it actually unlocks things that otherwise wouldn't be possible. And actually, if we could work out the positioning and the messaging, they are appealing benefits to these users. Ownership should be important to everybody. Being rewarded for your time should be important to everybody. But I think the problem is the blockchain game, and maybe even the Web3 space has been negatively impacted by this reputation, has been hurt by some of the players in the field, and especially in blockchain gaming, there was this gold rush as there often is towards play to earn.

And also maybe this relevance is about the landfill rush as well, which this ends up with people profiteering developing things in order to monetize, but not to add value. And those things obviously only work when the market's on the way up, the way the market is at the moment, those players don't work. And I think maybe the market correction has been positive, and that is cleared out a lot of the brands and projects that don't reflect well on the space and don't actually embody the idealism of what we're trying to do in Web3. I think there's only positive growth to be had, but people do need to be careful by the way that they're messaging the benefits to the right audiences.

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah. And I want to talk a little bit about commerce. So we've talked a lot about Metaverse experiences, NFTs, that sort of thing, but how do you see the future of commerce integrating into the Metaverse? And so where my brain goes is everyone talks about, oh, well you can try on clothes. So oh, you want to buy a hat, you can try on a hat without actually having to be there. Is that kind of it? Or is there more?

Tom Dickens: Yeah, so I think there's a lot to it in that the social commerce is supposed to be a very pioneering stage in commerce, but essentially, I think it just pushed people an ability to learn more, or by, at this point of consideration or awareness, it was very good at understanding or being ubiquitous of people's lives, but it wasn't able to elevate this product experience in a meaningful way. It wasn't properly educational or instructive, whereas the opportunities for showcasing products in the Metaverse are dramatic.

So it could be that you are just showing what an item would look on you, but it could be that you take it the other way into fantasy, which is like, this is how it looks if you are in space in zero gravity, you're on fire, you can put yourself, this is how you would look if you were featuring in this film, the main person. So the possibilities really are endless. I think a really good example of that, I guess, is that this year in Metaverse Fashion Week, there were 70 brands showcased. I think kind of represented and brought them together, and there are 180,000 visitors and many of which were in their own digital avatars with digital outfits on and it was the first time where it was really used as a way to showcase it to people.

One, bringing people in who were already in the Metaverse but also bringing new people in and first stage of bringing luxury brands all together in one space I really think that shows the power of how you can showcase different products. I wouldn't say it's very easy to imagine how that would be, but imagine how it could be for other innovative products or different categories, the immersive nature of the tech. And if you think about the future of Metaverse and the hard way you might have at home to imagine the touch, the smell, those kind of things, then you can have some really amazing experiences. Not to mention if you are engaging with the Metaverse, not at home, but in one of these amazing popups, got all the text.

Charlie Grinnell: You actually just reminded me, I wanted to ask about what do you think about the hardware to access the Metaverse? That's obviously a big thing. I feel like from a software side of things, we can get there no problem. There's amazing experiences to be created. Technology is evolving faster and faster, whereas I feel like the barrier for most people is going to be on the hardware side. So sure, we have Apple just released some gorgeous new iPhones. Meta is working with RayBan on whatever the glasses are. You have Snapchat with their spectacles, Apple's reportedly working on something. You have Oculus, you have all these different players. There's a prediction also that I want to say from someone, but then I'd love to get your take on this.

So the last one that I heard that was really interesting was Scott Galloway on the Pivot podcast was talking about how AirPods could be an amazing gateway to the Metaverse and his whole thing was, if you look at AirPods as a business, they're huge. In terms of owning the rails, that is a massive thing where people have these white pieces of plastic in their ear and they're wearing them no matter what. Could that be used to be the gateway to the Metaverse or allow people to lower the barrier for entry? Because some people might not want to put glasses on. And so I've racked my brain. I'm like, "What is it going to be? Is it going to be glasses? Is it going to be a phone?" I don't think it's going to be an Oculus set, just saying that's maybe just me, but I don't know what's curious as to what your take is?

Tom Dickens: Yeah, I mean, I'm a big fan of the, but I haven't heard what he was saying about the AirPods being the gateway to the Metaverse, find that really quite hard to conceptualize that. That definitely doesn't rule anything out. But any innovations recently that's been that way, it does definitely feel that at least in maybe our generation, it might need to be something more ocular because otherwise we might be quite resistant to that change. I definitely don't think it would be an Oculus itself, I think it's super clunky, and honestly, I don't think you feel safe, which I think is incredibly important, which is why when it comes to the way that you visually engage with it, there's something very appealing about augmented reality where you often engage with your day to day life. You can maybe seamlessly switch it on and off, so people do not know whether you're in the room or in the Metaverse, which is quite important for safety if you're on the bus for example. That's what I'm thinking about. But also I wonder whether I'm being unimaginative, to be honest.

Charlie Grinnell: I mean, fair. I think, yeah, where my brain goes is, I guess I think about it as who's going to be able to crack that code? And I think about it almost from a company perspective. So I'm like, do I think Meta and RayBan are going to crack it? I don't know. Do I think Snap is going to crack it? Maybe. They're pretty early, but they don't necessarily have the scale. Do I think Apple has the hardware capacity to crack it? I do, because they've come out of nowhere with huge products, whether it's watches or whatever, and they've truly taken over categories. But what I wonder about is it going to stick? So that's where my brain goes is just like, oh, who is the horse that's going to lead? And then, yeah, what's going to follow after that?

Tom Dickens: Yeah, it's hard to imagine anyone that Apple getting there. I do hope that Snapchat can regain their phone a bit now, highlight their innovation in the space. But...

Charlie Grinnell: Yeah, I think Snap, they're so creative and I do like a lot of their design stuff, it's just are they going to be able to withstand the Meta, the Google trying to kill them every day?

Tom Dickens: Mm-hmm. But I mean equally when it comes to the Metaverse, for example, I feel even with the Meta scale, I think their reputation and their relationship with all of those users actually maybe is more of a negative than some people consider. Mainly they've burnt enough bridges already. But I suppose memory is short when somebody provides you with a really cool product.

Charlie Grinnell: That's right. I think how many people were hashtag delete Facebook two years ago and now here they are on Instagram or whatever. I'm like, people talk a big game, but then it's all about what they do. As we start to wind down the episode here, there's no shortage of information about Web3, but it's kind of hard to follow. It's kind of fragmented. And so who are you following? What are you reading? What are you listening to? How do you stay on top of this stuff?

Tom Dickens: Sure. I guess a lot of where I go for information, this is across LinkedIn and Twitter, depending on the mood I'm in and what kind of content I want to be consuming. But when it comes to Web3 there's a couple of Catholics, I think. So Kathy Hackle, she's been breaking news about partnerships, investments, acquisitions in the space and faster than most people. She's very active in a lot of places, but I normally engage with her on LinkedIn. There's PTN who was product at Reddit, and now he works for Odyssey Dow. He's on Twitter and LinkedIn. I think he's brilliant. And, she's working on some interesting projects and is a bit of a thought leader in the space. I engage with her on LinkedIn as well. And then there's on Twitter I follow. And then a lot of the breaking news is coming on dark socials.

So the WhatsApp mean groups are a great source of very much unverified and biased information, but it's sometimes the quickest way to find out about something, but obviously you need to validate it before you share it with anybody. And then it's just easy to fall down the well on crypto Twitter. So these guys, they've got a vested interest even if you don't necessarily know what it is. And so they are incentivized to share their views or ostensibly their views on projects. And sometimes that's where if you're willing to go into the dumpster fire, you can end up getting some interesting information. But sometimes when the market is not looking so good, then it's a good time to-

Charlie Grinnell: Turn it off. Fair enough. Well Tom, I really appreciate you taking the time. I'm sure there's probably going to be lots of questions for this or for you from this. Where's the best place for people to get ahold of you online?

Tom Dickens: Sure. So I'm not as active on there as I used to be, but I think LinkedIn's probably the best place. I've got one of those personalized URLs. I managed to get Web3 CMO first, so quite easy to find on there. And normally I'm pretty responsive to my messages as well.

Charlie Grinnell: Awesome. Well, Tom, yeah, thank you very much again. It's always great to chat with you and we'll have to have you on again at some point in the future.

Tom Dickens: Wonderful. Thanks Charlie.

Charlie Grinnell: For show notes, other episodes and more content, check out rightmetrics.co. If you enjoy the show, please subscribe and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thanks for listening.

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