But, before we get into that, let’s rewind just a bit. Metaverse is a term that was first used by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel, Snow Crash. It describes a virtual world where people represented by “avatars” – another term he coined – can work, play, shop and live. His ideas have gone on to become hugely influential in Silicon Valley, where he’s revered as some sort of Nostradamus of the tech world.
So, while Web3 (as outlined in a recent issue of The Suite) is mainly about who will own and control tomorrow’s internet, the Metaverse centres on how users will experience it. Defined loosely, it’s an all-digital layer of reality that floats above, around, and throughout the features of the real world. In the words of Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, “The Metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room.”
It exists right now in a series of digital spaces, such as Facebook’s Horizon, Epic Games’ Fortnite, and Roblox’s digital space for gaming and game creation. There’s also the blockchain-based digital world Decentraland, where the world’s first Metaverse Fashion Week took place last month. Brands like Etro, Tommy Hilfiger and Dolce & Gabbana all showcased their digital wares.
Along with luxury fashion brands, big tech companies are also hiring the best talent to build their Metaverse platforms. But while companies hire engineers to work on virtual reality, they’ll need someone in a leadership position to oversee it.
DEFINING A CHIEF METAVERSE OFFICER
Enter the Chief Metaverse Officer. Part-marketing manager, part-future strategist, this is “someone who intrinsically understands the culture of the Web3 ecosystem, and can implement holistic strategies surrounding a brand’s presence, equity and community engagement in the Metaverse,” explains Sami Tauber, Founder, Artist and Chief Metaverse Officer at VNCCII.
“They also need to be an expert in strategic foresight, communication, blockchain, virtual avatars, virtual goods and collectibles, virtual real estate, cryptocurrency, youth culture (ie. Gen Z), cloud computing, 3D artistry, NFTs, as well as gaming engines,” says Tauber.
“Overall, it’s the Chief Metaverse Officer’s role to lead a team to create an authentic brand presence and mission in Web3. It’s a paradigm shift in marketing, where you’re no longer ‘selling’ a product to a consumer, but rather developing a community around the brand where there’s a real-time joint-value creation.”
THE FUTURE OF THE CHIEF METAVERSE OFFICER
Some argue that in a decade, the CEO role will be no more, replaced with more specialised leadership roles like the Chief Data Officer, Chief Technology Officer or, indeed, the Chief Metaverse Officer. In fact, everyone will be an expert in this realm, as the word ‘Metaverse’ itself will take on a meaning akin to ‘digital’, with far-reaching implications across all business functions.
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