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Interstellar Business Show
Metaverse or Bust: Sam Bel on Web 3.0 and $128 Billion bet by Facebook
This week’s guest: Sam Bel Hyatt – CEO of Vnntr Cybernetics (The Metaverse, Today, Tomorrow and Beyond)
In today’s episode, we’ll look at
- Why Tech CEOs should take the Metaverse seriously
- How to get started with the Metaverse
- Challenges of work-hard/play-hard culture
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More about Sam Bel Hyatt – CEO of Vnntr Cybernetics (The Metaverse, Today, Tomorrow and Beyond)
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Please note, this transcription is autogenerated, so there may be errors.
[00:00:00] Andrew Bull: I bet some of these questions are going through your mind. Should I care about the metaverse. Should I care about virtual reality? Are these things relevant to tech leaders like me? Are they something I need to pay attention to. I confess these questions were going through my mind. As I interviewed today’s guests.
But here’s the thing. Facebook a company worth $128 billion has just placed a huge bet on the metaverse being the next big thing. And with remote working. Looking like it’s here to stay. Perhaps we all need to find better ways to connect with one another. And perhaps the metaverse offers a way of doing that.
In today’s episode, you’ll learn why tech leaders like you need to pay attention to the metaverse and we’ll give you actionable steps for getting started with it in your business. Plus, we’ll talk about the risk of having a work hard, play hard culture within your company.
Now, before we get started and meet our guest. Please make sure you subscribe and follow us wherever you’re listening today. So you never miss an episode again.
MEET THE GUEST
[00:01:52] Andrew Bull: Today. I’m joined by Sam Bel. Welcome to the show Sam.
[00:01:56] Sam Bel: Hey Andrew. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:58] Andrew Bull: So Sam, tell us about yourself. What’s your title? What’s your business.
[00:02:03] Sam Bel: I am the CEO of venture cybernetics and we’re a VR company. We got started about a year ago and it’s me and two other founders based on in Puerto Rico. I’m based out of New York city. And we were quite an interesting team, I’ve been in development my whole life and two other gentlemen, one is a skydiver and the other is an architect.
We started putting our minds together in terms of what can be done in virtual reality. And before you know it , Facebook has made this massive shift into this whole Leb, Metta company. And we’re riding this massive wave at this point. Uh, Yeah that’s essentially the the short story, I guess you’d say about it.
[00:02:35] Andrew Bull: Well, I love how your decision to move towards matters is paying off for you right now with the changes in the marketplace. And everyone’s talking about Metta right now as well. It’s a very hot topic as I’m sure you’re aware of.
So what’s your background? What have you already achieved?
[00:02:54] Sam Bel: I’ve been in development for a very long time. I started my first company when I was 17 in Brooklyn around three years later. And this was the early stages of the internet as well in terms of what can be done with websites. And there was before apps and things like this. At 21, I became a senior interactive designer at a digital marketing agency in the city and rolled out a few apps different types of web apps and things like.
Did some work for guests, jeans, rolled out some some work for Coachella, which is essentially like this art collective and of course they’re known for that large music festival in Califia. Afterwards. Yeah. I started my own agency and just started working with really cool local brands and businesses.
Like these like punk sort of a yoga studios and things like this, and really just trying to tap into the side of business that really resonated with me the most. And that’s essentially what my legacy was. It’s been 400 plus websites that I’ve launched and now being in the VR space I’m turning all that, like us, those static experiences that I’ve created and making it something that people can walk into and step into.
And that’s what essentially what the metaverse is now. Yeah.
[00:03:59] Andrew Bull: And is there a specialist area that you focus on within VR and the metaverse.
[00:04:07] Sam Bel: Uh, essentially we’re a software development company in the metaverse, right now, a lot of the industry is focused on gaming, right? So you see a lot of really interesting different types of gaming experiences being rolled out. We’re focused on the business side of a virtual reality in the metaverse and how I guess professionals can come into the space and, hold different types of, I don’t want to say meetings necessarily, but they’ll have specific toolkits that are aligned with their industry specifically.
For example, our wellness platform will give like a very specific tools in the VR space for wellness professionals and coaches, and for them to be able to hold a very special and an immersive experiences with their clients and their customers. And I guess the other cool part about it is that we’ve got this creator ecosystem we’re trying to build out as well.
The professional will be able to pull. These experiences from, this marketplace of creators that are putting together. Some of them more, I guess you’d say interesting type spaces that people might be interested in and then being able to provide that value back to the customer.
So it’s this VR business ecosystem where we think not only is the future headed, but it’s going to be very, something very special for people in the next few months for them to have. Yeah.
[00:05:22] Andrew Bull: oh I’ll have to definitely stay in touch with you on LinkedIn and I’m sure our listeners will want to do that as well. Let’s move forward into our next segment of the show, which is cool.
[00:05:33] Andrew Bull: in this segment of the show, we ask our guests to share their story or share a courageous secret about themselves.
Sam, what don’t people know about you
[00:05:57] Sam Bel: Yeah. I think it’s something that I like discussing too, of course. But outside of just my affinity for specifically female lead singers in punk bands and things like this I think one thing is that I’ve struggled with sobriety , in my early stages of my career.
And it’s something that I like to talk about because I want people to feel con. To know that it’s still cool to be sober. And I look at the sort of like old rock musicians and stuff that are going through these different stages of their life and how they’re on the same path.
Cause I think for a while there’s not enough there’s not enough people to look up to you, I guess when you’re going through this and you’re trying to clean up your life essentially, it’s, it wasn’t anything too massive, but it was it was me being so normal.
And being so comfortable with it, I guess you’d say, because, like I said earlier, like growing up in the New York city agency life as a, at a very early age your bosses are constantly coming up to you, asking you to go drinking after work for. These parties are these, interactions usually end up going on until three or four in the morning or something like this which is regular for New York life.
And then you’re expected to be at the office at 9:00 AM. So you can imagine how detrimental that is to just your overall mental health and your overall health in general. So it took me a few years of going through this sort of cycle that I realized wow, I really do need to focus and fix myself a bit.
And it wasn’t like it happened overnight, but now I can confidently say that I’ve been, three years sober and it’s all because I just decided to make small changes here and there. So I think that’s something that I like sharing, because I want people to know that it’s okay to talk about this.
And you can, especially in the professional space, like I think sometimes we hide away from it or hide away from discussing it because. We are. So I guess afraid that it might tarnish her image, but I think it’s something different. I think it just shows that we got driving and that we’re willing to do something incredible in our lives.
So I, I enjoy, speaking about this in public, so yeah.
[00:07:49] Andrew Bull: I salute your courage, Sam, in sharing that with us. And I think, yeah, that’s very brave of you to do but I think you’re right. It’s not something we should be ashamed of. I think it just shows how strong a person you are to be open and honest about these things and share them with other people.
You ended up in that position because the kind of work you were doing. I know from my experience in the film industry, where we were working really hard, when we did get time off, we then party really hard. Do you think those two things went hand in hand?
[00:08:24] Sam Bel: yeah, of course. It was a, I don’t want to say a new agency, but the webspace was Jew was booming at the time. It was myself and another developer and we were taking on so much work. At the time you, you really had to be very detailed about what you were doing, but you also have to pull these 8, 8, 9 hour, 10 hour type shifts and stuff.
I think it’s just, you gotta know, it just becomes normal, especially in New York, we’re not necessarily known for our better healthy eating practices or anything like this. This it’s a very go go type excuse me, type of city. So for me, it was almost normal.
You drink a red bull you’d have a cigarette outside, you’d snack on a Snickers bar, on your way to work. And then you would, rinse and repeat, go out drinking with your boss and just con we do it over and over. I think what’s the most interesting part is that we’re still being printed.
So that’s that your brain is, as long as you’re being productive, people see you working and, being successful. I think that they don’t assume anything is necessarily wrong. And that’s when you really have to go into yourself and say, is this something that’s sustainable? And I think that question leads you down a path of bettering yourself.
[00:09:27] Andrew Bull: Yeah, I think that’s a interesting point that you say that you are still being productive because what I found as I’ve got older, it’s harder and harder to be productive. If your health isn’t in a good shape and you’re not getting a good night’s sleep and yeah, you can churn through apps and software and doing something in a tool, but that kind of big picture thinking and maybe having great communication with other people, isn’t as good as you think it might be.
And there is a bit of a payoff. Do you think leaders and CEOs need to be aware of this with their team members and be conscious of this situation of the work-life balance in terms of that work hard, play hard,
[00:10:11] Sam Bel: yeah, 100%. And it’s so interesting that you said two really profound things. Just now it’s like a communication, right? It’s not, you’re not communicating as good as you think you are. And I think that it’s because you’re going through these cycles all the time, your personal life.
And what I mean by that is like family around you, that people that have supported you from day one, You do alienate them a bit, because you are in this go situation and you think that your provider you’re giving them attention and care, but you’re not necessarily right. Because again it’s getting used to your own.
I don’t want to use a term, but it’s just getting used to this like endless cycle of just, churning, being productive partying hard. And by the time you go through the rest of the day, how much more time minister for people, your loved ones around you.
And I think in terms of an employer or leaders, I had a lot of times when I’d go out drinking with the same boss, that would pull me in a room and say, Hey, is everything okay? You’re you know in terms of drinking or something like this. But I’m like, I just took tequila shots with you at this bar a few hours ago, so I think it’s, I think it’s one of those, I feel employees are sometimes pressured into it as well, because they want to climb the corporate ladder. They want to be a team player, so there’s a lot of these pressures that I don’t think we really see.
And I think that it’s important for leaders to realize that it’s probably, it’s a great, team building exercise, but maybe not the best team building exercise possibly, maybe you can do like a work trip or a work hike or something like this, as opposed to four days of nonstop drinking, with your development team, for example, I, I think it’s important for leaders to realize that things change and you, and I know that it’s odd because I’m sure people are like, oh no, I’m doing this too right now.
But it’s I say this because I’ve had discussions with other developers as well, right? Some that are just super incredible individuals, but they also see this That’s why sometimes we might not want to go out drinking all the time with our bosses, and that can be a little detrimental to our career as well, because they think we’re not being a team player.
It’s an it’s an odd and environmental workspace kind of scenario, but it’s something that I think should be discussed. And to add a little bit to it, there are some, I guess you’d say religious factors or spiritual factors in there too. Some people don’t necessarily want to step into that type of environment.
And again, not drinking with your boss who’s the, the woman or the man and, in charge of signing your checks and giving you those raises you can put a little bit of pressure on you as a, as you’re trying to get more successful.
[00:12:37] Andrew Bull: Let me just interject here and actually think about this in a slightly wider way and actually mix up some of the ideas that we’re going to be talking about on the show today. So it’s quite interesting that we have maybe quite a problematic culture in terms of how teams can come together and bond and relax. And often the default mode is to go to the bar and have a drink.
And I get why that is because I like going to the pub and having a drink. However, we work in quite a fragmented way. Now, people aren’t always in the office, people are in different continents and maybe people don’t want to be in a bar for different reasons. Maybe this is where we need to embrace these new things, like VR and the metaverse and try and find these more creative ways for teams to bond and come together.
And I do like the idea of hiking, but then again, I suppose we can’t do hiking if we’re not in the same place together.
[00:13:36] Sam Bel: Yeah. And, that’s something interesting that can be done in the VR space. And I say this because the team got together in VR, I’m based out of the, out of New York the other, the rest of the team is based in Puerto Rico, for example. So we found that difficult to meet up, especially, mid pandemic, right?
Like it wasn’t necessarily something that we were rushing to meet each other, I guess you’d say. Everything happened virtually, right? I was shaking hands, virtually bring in presentations, virtually we have our own boardroom in VR that we can join up and meet in. And I think it’s interesting because some of the team building happened in these VR spaces.
And it’s something where we want it to test it. We’re getting into the space. We wanted to test how immersive can VR actually be, canada team or corporation be built in VR for VR. And we’ve managed to pull it off because again everybody has different lifestyles, every, everybody has different sort of living arrangements, but when you’re in VR, you’re there, you’re, you’re, there’s a certain there’s a shared level of experience there, similar to the way that we have a shared level of experience when we’re at a pub, together, I guess you’d say, or at a bar.
And and that’s something special, right? Especially for team building, I can travel to Tokyo with my team and, we can have that shared experience. And I think that’s something special, especially coming from the static development space, my whole life. And now we’re quite literally building worlds that I can pop up, in a headset and step into, so it’s incredible..
[00:14:59] Andrew Bull: And I suppose one thing that I hadn’t considered before is how VR might enable better listening to others. Because even though we think predominantly as VR as a virtual viewing space, where we look with our eyes and see things, I think in the real world right now, we have so many things grabbing our attention and competing.
We have 20 different apps open on our computer. We’ve got our phone going, we’ve got our kids, we’ve got police cars in the street, all these things competing for our attention. Sometimes it’s just hard to focus on people who are in the room or on the zoom call with us. Cause we’ve got all this other stuff going on.
So maybe there’s something to be said about actually just going into this VR environment where you’re really focused, really listening with your eyes and ears completely to your colleagues and your teammates. And maybe that is a way of connecting with people on a deeper, more focused level. Does that make any sense to you?
[00:16:03] Sam Bel: Yeah, no, it’s cause it’s something interesting. There’s stuff that you don’t necessarily realize when you’re speaking to people. Right now I’m looking towards you, right? Like just the way that my screen is set up. So I’m like, I’m facing through it. Maybe my camera’s angled in a different way, but I’m staring, I’m staring, I’m looking, I’m like making eye contact, but when I’m speaking to someone and I’m showing them a presentation, I don’t just stand forward.
I usually turn to them in VR. And I, that’s such an interesting thing for me because as you’re speaking that you need this sort of risk, you need this response, right? Like you need someone to nod their head or agree that, they’re, they are listening, you need this acknowledgement.
It’s this two way data transfer, I guess you’d say, at a very basic level. That’s one of the reasons why, we’re rolling out this wellness platform Matt XR, and one of the reasons, we were also working on this, we had a wellness coaches and all these people very interested, cause they want to bring their clients into an immersive space. I heard this comedian, his name is Bobby Lee. And of course , they’re based out of Los Angeles, as most comedians in the states are. But he struggled with sobriety for a long time. And he mentioned the, it was a quick, like two, like minute, maybe after the podcast.
But he just explained how zoom calls and stuff. He drove skip would get bored. It didn’t feel real to him. And he would just start chatting with another comedian and then never really get anything out of it. And he was explaining how this was detrimental to his mental health. He was struggling with it.
I think for me that the light went off and I was like, this is the validation that we needed, in terms of like our platform because we know that it can be more real and if we can solve that issue and again, it might be a small problem, right? Being in the founder space you see a lot of pitch decks that give you a three or four, three or four page problem that they’re trying to sell. But I think for us, it’s very simple. It’s can we make wellness or mental health platforms feel more real like that, that itself? I know it’s a very short statement, but it’s something that’s so profound, right? If you can make something feel more genuine just more intimate. I think you’d say, it’s something that’s, I don’t think that we’ve ever been able to pull off before and something that we are quite literally being able to pull off now.
And that is the biggest problem. I think not just in terms of, this mental health space, but also in terms of business and connecting, if I can see you pull up this PDF and I can pass you a PDF, and you can look at it and read it and I can see you nodding and looking at, I can stand next to you and continue explaining it.
And then we can shake hands after that, without having to actually meet up. It’s profound in that sense, and that’s why you can hear it. I get very excited about it because then I start realizing like, oh, this isn’t normal in a sense of there’s still a long way to go, but there’s experiences like this that people still haven’t had.
And, we’re hoping to change that.
[00:18:42] Andrew Bull: I suppose when I think about it, there’s a lot of possibility here when it comes to experiences and really allowing people to connect on a deeper, more focused level, because I do find the internet is promising as it is right now. But when I connect on places like LinkedIn, I might get a conversation with someone, but it only goes so far.
It just feels like we’re sharing a bowl of peanuts and we’d never get in into the main course of having that business relationship really developed that well in these digital technologies, it just feels really shallow. And we’re hitting around the edges or hitting up against the edges of what’s really possible in terms of building relationships at the moment.
So I think we’ve really covered a lot in this first segment called have garbage and thanks for being so honest and open and sharing about your personal challenges. Just want to close out this segment by asking you, do you think what you learn about sobriety and work-life balance and looking after yourself has shaped your vision.
In what you’re doing now, has this impacted your choices may be to be in the welfare space.
[00:19:57] Sam Bel: Yeah, 100%, I think there’s also an aspect of it where I see. It’s not it’s this realization that to be a better leader, be a better business owner to be serving customers. You have to try to work on yourself. And I know a lot of times we don’t really put that, those two, two things together, so yeah.
But there’s also an aspect of community. And that’s really important to us as a, not only as a company, me personally as well. I come from a very diverse background than a lot of the times, especially the older gentlemen and those communities shy away from trying to get access to mental health.
Try to tell you to even go see a therapist is just beyond, what the realm of possibilities are for a lot of these gentlemen, and I think that it’s important for us to try to develop platforms that yeah. Maybe at first they’ll see their kid playing VR and they’re like I don’t know about that yet.
And then, a month in, they’ll put on the headset, oh, this is cool. And then we want to be that platform where we could say just step into the space, you’ll be able to talk to a therapist it’s private. No one knows that you’re actually in there you’re present, but it’s not going to be actually you standing there is a bit of privacy involved as well.
And guess what you might just want to share. What’s been bothering you for the last few years. And I think that if we can do that collectively we can quite literally change a lot of the pain and trauma. That’s kind of re put out into the world. And I think that alone is super important.
So yeah, 100% it’s a personal thing, but there’s also an aspect of community there. And I think that’s what separates us from a lot of other VR companies, because it’s not just community in the sense of I try trying to just a generate revenue from it. It’s a sense of community.
No we should give back, VR can solve these problems and help people, then it should. I can play a first person shooter. Anywhere can I get your grandfather or your father to finally, open up about something that’s been bothering them for the last few years because of VR.
That’s a challenge. And that’s something that we’re that we’re working towards now. So yeah, I’d agree. I’d say yes.
[00:21:52] Andrew Bull: I love that passion and I just love how your story has fused into what you’re doing with your enterprise as well. Let’s move forward into our next segment, which is called
[00:22:05] Andrew Bull: In this segment of the show, our guests share a big idea that will help you the listener grow or elevate your business or improve your team’s performance, or maybe help you think a bit differently about an important idea.
What’s the big idea that you’ve got to share with us today. Sam
[00:22:33] Sam Bel: I do want to discuss web three, and where that is going. But obviously it ties into this whole metaverse concept because I think that now people have a lot of questions. So I’d say that the big idea is just that, the web has evolved, things have changed in the sense, like I’ve been developing static websites, we’ve been playing static games, using static apps on our phones, and now we’ll quite literally be able to walk into these spaces.
So that concept alone, I can’t, I’m trying my best to explain how big of an idea this actually is for business. And that’s the reason why a company like Facebook, for example that just, I think that their net worth is around like 135 billion at last I checked could be off by a few figures, but have changed their entire, the pivoted and changed their entire company, focus into the metaverse.
Because they do see this world of combining this advanced technology and know that there’s so much promise in it. And the, in the sense that e-commerce is going to absolutely change when I can actually physically or, through VR test drive my Harley Davidson and then order it online that becomes like the natural sort of flow similar to the way we go to a mall right now or something like this.
So it’s just, it’s a huge concept to think like how your company will be able to. Have customer service that are run through audit know artificial intelligence, or have a real person that’s, they’re trying to help them, show them items and things like the way that I discussed earlier about meeting my team and right.
[00:24:01] Andrew Bull: What I find interesting here, as you talk about Facebook and maybe as you watch, it says, what I find concerning is the fact that Facebook might be leading this whole initiative. And I understand you need big money to support a lot of the technical backend of these platforms. My cynical brain is saying yeah, of course, Facebook wants us to live inside some virtual world where we can walk along.
And in our minds, we might think optimistically, it’s going to be blue skies and green Meadows and having fun. And frolics with our friends. But I think maybe in Facebook’s mind, they’re thinking every 10 feet, they can put up another advert to sell to me. As long as they keep me occupied by putting me on a jet ski and making it feel like it’s real, they can put more adverts in front of me.
Am I just being really cynical? But I think in that.
[00:25:01] Sam Bel: no actually that is their whole business model, so it’s not being cynical. I think you’re pretty spot on. And I think that, that’s why I feel like there needs to be an alternative right. To Facebook and what they’re doing. And a lot of people are not happy with it. But I sorta want to separate, and this is what they want in a way to right.
Not to speak on entire, conglomerate of a company, but I do think that they’re looking at it in a sense where they know people will start whether it’s in a good or bad way, related. The metaverse or virtual reality with Facebook because we’re doing it, in a way too, right?
So whether it’s good or bad or, they’re embracing it, but there needs to be an alternative in that space, there needs to be platforms that roll out that are actually trying to provide some sort of value for, community is trying to give creators more of a voice, right?
Not necessarily, build an app, make it successful, we’ll buy it out. I think it’s more important to have independent creators have a space in VR as well. And I think that’s where we’re focused on and it’s like a different type of future for virtual reality, as opposed to the other guys, I guess you’d say because of course data is not where we’re trying to go.
Advertisement is not something that really, gets our, gets us going. I think that having. Specific sponsored experiences. It might be cool. Like I love Ray ban. For example, you can tell the type of brands I’ve mentioned Harley Davidson, Ray ban. These are brands that I enjoy, interacting with a new electric motorcycle company based out of like the local area.
This is what we want to see. That yoga studio that I mentioned, that’s really awesome. Like some sort of trap he’s experienced, but we have to set the bar a bit to make it more I guess you say democratic, in a weird way are or lower the bar of entry. And I, that’s where we’re working on the most, that’s, what’s special about what we’re.
[00:26:44] Andrew Bull: So maybe a big ambition or a big idea might be to have eventually some kind of big open platform that isn’t owned by anyone, but people can go into and build on top of, so rather than big companies owning the metaverse, it will be a more free and creative space. Or do you think
[00:27:07] Sam Bel: The ecosystem is what’s free. And I there’s, it exists in web three, right? It’s this idea of the Dow or, decentralized autonomous organizations. I think that’s great for charitable organizations and things like this, but those, I feel like now it’s time for a new type of corporation, right?
That needs to start pulling from these concepts to be able to provide people with as much a voice as possible. So one thing that we’re doing is we’re actually raising funds for our business openly. We’re going to be building post. On clubhouse, like this app that we, we frequent because of the discussion.
So people will be able to actually see us speak with us. I say, see us, but see where our work, collectively join the spaces that we’re building and then give us feedback. Because again, it just proof that it’s not just about us, right? It’s about the other people that we’re serving too.
So I think it’s like bringing in these concepts of web three and how that can be applied to your business. I think that’s something special and that’s why I started that whole, the, my answer with web three because cryptocurrency and these sort of decentralized type of technologies need to be applied at least the concept to do in future business.
And I think it can reshape the way that we do business because of it.
[00:28:18] Andrew Bull: Why is the metaverse happening right now? I know that more people are still acting in a quiet, remote, isolated way, because I certainly am. I’ve not gone back into all my old habits from pre COVID. And I think a lot of people are probably still going to be in that same situation as me. Do you think this is what’s pushing some people to go into the metaverse now they feel like people aren’t connecting so much in the physical world and things have shifted the monopoly board’s been turned upside down.
So there’s an opportunity to do this.
[00:28:58] Sam Bel: You would think that’s like the natural flow of things, right? People are more isolated, they’re more prone to picking up some new tech. I do agree that people are more, they want more community than need more connection. But I think what happened was the new generation just picked up this new tech.
I think that, the Oculus quest to, for example it’s the first headset that’s not attached to a computer. So it’s a standalone headset and for a very long time, I hear a lot of people say oh, but the VR has existed since the eighties. And I said, yeah, it’s existed through a wire connected to between you and your computer.
Yeah. 100%. Has it exists since the eighties now though, in 2021, I can have a boxing class in VR, in my backyard, just running off of my hotspot on my phone. Like that is where the technology is. And that’s why it’s special, I guess you’d say now as opposed to before.
So if I can sum it up, it’s that we’ve unplugged and now we can take this anywhere.
[00:29:54] Andrew Bull: So more freedom is is allowing this opportunity to happen. So let’s look at this from a slightly different perspective. If I’m a business owner, maybe I’ve got a smaller business, maybe a hundred employees and I’m not a high tech, startup kind of business. I’m just more regular business.
Why would I care about the metaverse? It just seems like this abstract idea. And we’ve had VR before we had avatar. And then we went to the cinema and looked at things in 3d glasses for a while, and then the 3d glossies went away. And then we had the law Merman and virtual reality, and we’ve seen all these things come and go.
Why now should people think about investing their time, money, and energy in this
[00:30:45] Sam Bel: It’s just an ecosystem that’s being built out. And once, customers start getting into that, like it happened exactly the same way with the mobile, with mobile phones, for example, for a while people said we have a website, why do we need an app? Why would anyone want to use a specific proprietary type of app on a phone?
And it’s just ease of use a lot of the times or being where your customer is going to be. So we plugged away from our computers at one point and said, you know what? I think our phones have the technological capabilities to pretty much do everything, my computer can’t. So I’m going to be not just, when I leave to go to the grocery store at one point in the late nineties, early two thousands, like you just left, and your phone could maybe make basic phone calls. But now. You’re walking around with your computer right in your pocket. So then businesses want to be there, businesses want to be where their customers are at. And eventually, we’ve already hit 10 million headsets sold in terms of the ecosystem of virtual reality.
So when that hits, 50 million, when that hits a hundred million, what happens then do you just want to leave them without some sort of brand or a flagship in the VR space, where they’re willing to spend money?
They’re willing to I dunno, take in more information, and experiences, and then you just decided you know what? I think we’ll we’ll stop at a mobile phones. I don’t think that businesses can do that. And I know that might sound a bit blunt, but. You I don’t know why Starbucks doesn’t have a VR experience yet.
If I can order, a coffee while I’m doing my workout, I guess you’d say in VR and be able to sync that with my phone and anything else. We can’t look at it as something it’s something incredible and super different, but also rooted in a lot of the basic technology that we already have.
So it’s an evolution of the technology that we love and we use today. Although different in the same family. So I think businesses have to realize that they have to catch up,
[00:32:40] Andrew Bull: This is where I’m at. I’m thinking on one hand. It doesn’t sound like business owners. Or certainly some business owners need to take immediate action on this. It’s something interesting to them and something they should bear in mind. Whereas some other business owners I could see like coaching and wellness, like you say, there could definitely be some benefit from it pretty soon for them but even when I’m being slightly negative, I’m also thinking about things like zoom and how two years ago, not many people are using zoom and now even my mom or our grandparents, all using zoom managed to become very mainstream very quickly.
So I guess that’s the kind of thing that could possibly happen as well with something like VR and the metaverse. It could explode and just to accelerate very quickly.
[00:33:36] Sam Bel: Yeah. And, what’s really happening is the youth is picking this up faster than ever. One of our, one of our founders, he’s an instructor at a stem school. So with one headset, he’s teaching 20 kids, for example. And if you’ve noticed a lot of people that are picking up these headsets it’s in their household already.
That’s I guess what I’m trying to say there, their kids are asking it, this thing for Christmas, right? It’s on Oprah’s like top 20, best gifts for the year. So you’re going to have a super immersive interactive tool. That’s literally sitting in the living rooms of customers.
EDITED TO HERE
[00:34:08] Sam Bel: And to think that maybe you shouldn’t consider what your brand might look like in that space. I feel like if you made them same mistake with mobile apps, then I guess make the same mistake with VR as well. Right. But if you can do something special and even if it’s a small business, because a lot of the times, we’re living in a space where the bar is changing.
Because of platforms like tick-tock right. Some small businesses are getting more attention than the larger corporations. And it’s because the bar has been even now it’s a bitch, it’s a bit more democratic. I keep using that term.
But that’s what it just feels like. It’s, the barrier for entry is much lower in a sense. So if you consider what it looks like, and we’re hoping to roll up platforms that make it much more affordable for small businesses to be able to tap into the metaverse. But if you are a small of vegan shop or for general and then you can, pay a small monthly fee to be able to build your own restaurant in the metaverse and sell NFTs, for example, or speak to a real person there.
Th the ideas are, can be bounced around, but it’s just something so interesting. And I think alters the way that the, again, because small businesses, although they’re local are still global, right? When you post something on Tik TOK or social media, you’re still competing for the same attention, then that a super massive conglomerate is, it’s the same attention span that you’re competing with.
So I, although it’s small in terms of employees, maybe, and revenue, of course I feel like the space is different where everybody is together and, the more open and the more futuristic and future leaning you are the better off you will be. But again, it’s up to the business owner to think about that, we’re very bullish on VR obviously.
And we do think that although Facebook is a bit wild and not the company that we really want to see own the space, it gives us a little bit of validation, this is something real they’ve got the data to back it up. If anything else,
[00:35:53] Andrew Bull: yeah, because they’re taking quite a big bet on that concept. Really? Aren’t they.
[00:35:57] Sam Bel: Probably $135 billion bet. If we really want it to calibrate that. Yeah.
[00:36:02] Andrew Bull: Yeah. So if they’re going big on it, maybe other people should at least start thinking about it. And I suppose you’re right. If you look at people who are having success on Tik TOK, now they’ve gone early and reaping the rewards. Maybe there is some green pastures with the metaverse that can be gone into and you could be in that place to educate people that your competitors haven’t.
Haven’t got the guts to go and be there.
How can CEOs take easy first steps with this big idea?
[00:36:32] Sam Bel: I think honestly, it’s having these discussions. I wouldn’t say just jump into it, right? Like we own. Clubhouse, for example, there’s a lot of discussions taking place, so I think it’s about learning about the most about VR as you possibly can.
I think education is a very first step. And the second step would be obviously reaching out to some sort of company. Like it could be us, but again, it’s just about considering what that looks like for your business. It’s because we’re focused on platforms, so of course we’re working with a few brands and businesses on the backend, but I think it’s important to just have that discussion with your team.
What is web 3.0 look like in our business how can we apply, our next round of funding and bring in the, a few of these concepts from web three in it. We see companies like Nike, that they’ve been working on an NFT concepts for the last three years. Just because they’re not coming out and saying it doesn’t mean that they’re not considering it.
And I think it’s just, we use the term considering as if that’s a very small thing, I guess you’d say. It’s just means let me think about it for a moment, but I think that’s bigger than people realize it. You should think about it for a moment with your team and say what have you heard about NFTs?
And then you can hear about what’s going on in that space. What have you heard about Dows and, they’ll bring up a project that they’re trying to purchase the console, a copy of the constitution back from the large art gallery here in the states. And then they’ll say, what about cryptocurrency?
And they’re like a company based out of Germany just raised their next series a funding through releasing cryptocurrency and being able to sell it. And again, check the Lee ramifications in the U S about stuff like this.
But my point is just just brainstorm cause web three is moving at such a rapid pace. And I think it’s unrealistic to just sit there and be like, we’re fine. Let’s not change lots of. At least consider what this looks like. When, of course, w I don’t want to mention Bitcoin, but, crypto and FTS, Dow is all this is playing in the same space and should be acknowledged, at very least
[00:38:27] Andrew Bull: Who wants to be the next Kodak?
[00:38:28] Sam Bel: Exactly.
Or blockbuster, so it’s yeah, it’s true.
[00:38:33] Andrew Bull: Yeah. So perhaps the thing is to make small tentative moves and be ready and start exploring ideas for how you can make the most of the opportunity and be prepared to be nimble and agile and adapt to those opportunity and such sure some of them might not work out, but it’s likely that some of them will.
Yeah, I think you’ve got a good point there. How does your business help CEOs action? These very big ideas.
[00:39:02] Sam Bel: One thing that we do, like I mentioned education, we hold these massive rooms on clubhouse and of course they’re entirely free. You get, you just sign up and you’ll see us speaking in a panel full of business owners as well. People in the cybersecurity space, people that are in advertising marketing and we like to educate first.
The second thing we do afterwards is consider what a VR space looks like. Again, we’re the VR developers. We’re looking at things way differently. I think then I traditional development, when it comes to spaces and it’s because anything can be done, like in terms of creativity.
And we talk about this a lot. There is a, so what question that we do ask ourselves, right? So when we do roll out these platforms and these concepts, it’s gotta be something massive. It can start off as small as, as just a minor, like a small experience that you might have with a brand character possibly.
And then it can span out into something that can create or generate revenue for your business in the long run. So I say there, you know what I mean by that is like maybe dancing with Mickey mouse in one experience, but then building out a Disney world in a, in another experience. So it’s it’s that sort of th the gravity of like how big these concepts can be are like entirely up to CEOs.
But if they want to apply a lot of web three concepts into their business, we’re there to help and facilitate that, of course, with a specialist, focusing on virtual reality. But I think it’s worth asking yourself if you could have a Disney world without actually having to build the infrastructure out for it, would that work for your business?
And then when that, when you start answering those, when you started hearing the answers back some people do see the magic in that, right? So it’s stuff to think about
[00:40:43] Andrew Bull: Yeah. And even a way of educating people about quite complex, maybe mundane issues or things that are considered mundane, for example, quite a lot of the deeper technology stuff. Isn’t so sexy and attractive and interesting to talk about, but maybe if we can take people for a walk inside a computer. Honey, I shrunk the business owner and put people inside that environment and walked around and show them how, what we’re selling actually works.
Give them a tour. Then maybe things become much more engaging and interesting to learn about
[00:41:19] Sam Bel: We onboard people to virtual reality, so we’re quite literally going to people’s offices and saying, try this out. And everyone just has such an incredible response because they don’t realize how impactful it really is. I remember I had my first experience on VR, in public, it was through on clubhouse.
And I had people from like these Oracle cloud developers, friends of mine that were in this, there, and just sharing this experience with me. And the one thing that really, and again, this might sound off. There were these pillows on the ground in this virtual space that I was in, it was this like large Jurassic park ish type of environment, I you’d say when you first put on the Oculus and the pillows on the ground were so realistic, it just blew my mind. I, I almost like I almost shed a tear that it was, it was just, I couldn’t believe that tech had gotten into this spot, right? Like that, it’s the year 2021.
We just had this massive, this whole pandemic I put on these goggles and I’m transported into a new world and now it’s normal for me. But seeing how people respond to that first interaction is just I knew something was special here. And this was again, like a year back and to see Facebook move into this space, I’m like, okay, now it’s time.
Not only for us to tap into this VR, this whole industry, but also change the way that this looks right. It’s not just a. Rolling out experiences for businesses for the sake of it. It needs to be something that’s going to really be a part of people’s lives. A lot of the brands we interact with are taking up space in people’s lives, so it needs to be providing some sort of value back.
And I think that’s, what’s special. We want something that’s going to be long lasting in the metaverse, to give you an idea.
[00:42:57] Andrew Bull: Wow, such a big vision. Let’s move forward to our penultimate section of the show, which will be a bit of a shorter one, which is called
OWN YOUR FUTURE
[00:43:07] Andrew Bull: So what’s your vision then? For the future, Sam, what we go, what’s the world going to be looking like 10, 20 years from now?
[00:43:28] Sam Bel: We discussed this a lot with a team and, we, we consider ourselves visionaries as well. Cause Someone as I think there was like who’s going to, who’s going to be the builders of the metaverse and there was this, and it will be the visionaries.
So for us we see a mixed reality, a blanket reality, if you want to say where augmented reality and VR live together. And we start limiting the use of a lot of hard technology. So I could step into that awesome theater, for example, I watched interstellar, the movie in VR.
So I was able to just have that personal experience. And again, that movie hasn’t been in, in movie theaters for years, it’s I think I released 2014. for me to sit in a movie theater and watch this right, and be able to invite friends into this space, again, is something that can be done in VR just like right now, yeah, I think it’s just like where we’re going.
We’re going to have a virtual reality becomes part of our everyday life. You’ll be able to work in VR in the metaverse you’ll shop in the metaverse different brands will have their presence in the metaverse. But all of those things, all those experiences will have utilities attached to it.
Not only will you be able to step into the it’s a bit late, let’s just say the H and R block, T which is the tax company and be able to actually do your taxes with someone, that are the present, but again, being immersive, but but not necessarily having to be there.
So I think every brand will have their metaverse, build out with a utility attached to it so that you can do everything you need to, in one day, just by stepping into the metaverse essentially. And then taking off those heads, taking off that headset, or maybe you’re not taking off that.
But then being able to drive in your car and this your speedometer is on a display, right? Removing the need for a lot of, too many screens, competing for our attention at once. And I feel like it’s just going to be a much more smooth way of life and the tension and the sort of there is a bit of friction, I guess you’d say, and we might not see it because we’re, we just want to embrace the most tech, but we remove that friction.
So it will be a frictionless interaction with technology, at its highest capability in the future and VR and AR again will have a huge part to play on this.
[00:45:36] Andrew Bull: I think that’s a very big and bold vision of the future and his interest in what you say about how. Removing some screens by having just one screen to have everything channeled through. That’s a very interesting concept. I just want to jump sideways now and talk about your future and how you’re owning your future.
How do you personally stay on track empowered and positive?
[00:46:04] Sam Bel: Honestly, I think that it’s important to be around people that care about you. And then be able to provide that same care back. And I think it’s about those small relationships, with people in your community. With people you care about, but it’s also this aspect of giving, without necessarily with wanting something back. And I know this might sound very spiritual or basic, I guess you’d say, but those small things really keep you going in terms of the bigger picture, right? Because if you can be nice to a neighbor, you can be nice to your employee. And if you’re nice to your employee, then you can be nice to your co-founders.
And if you’re nice to your co-founders, you can be nice to your wife, and then I think that it continues on and on. So it’s just about having like patients. I do a lot of like meditation when I can going on walks with family members throughout the, throughout the day. And it’s trying to just, I think realizing that we are working from home.
But our families are working around this as well. So when you can, adapt and leave that, make some food and leave them some fruits so that when they come out of their, makeshift office, they can have that. It’s just trying to be the. Citizen, I guess you’d say as you can possibly be a global citizen, but I don’t mean that in a sense of a massive concert or donating a ton of money to a charity, I think that it’s that’s important, but it’s also important to donate that time and that effort and that love to people in your community.
And then they’ll give you the support when you need it. Cause as CEOs and as people that are in the business space, it’s not that we always need that support, but when we do need it, it’s really crucial, because the highs are very high and the lows can be pretty low sometimes. So when you build the infrastructure and then people need to be there for you, they will be.
And I think that’s the best way that I can explain to just stay positive and just know that things will work out, things are working out and although business is such a turbulent space I think we’re all doing it for the right reasons. And we’re hoping to do something and build something greater than ourselves.
As long as we keep that like good intention. I think everything will work out in the, on, so that should be a a source for that positive energy in the outlook. In the future.
[00:48:11] Andrew Bull: I love that. And I love your focus on the social contribution as well and giving to the community and how, there’s a real backwards and forwards of energy between. You the entrepreneur and leader and the community, you can both flourish off each other’s energy, and thrive in each other’s presence.
Let’s move forward into our final segment of the show. As we wrap things up called
[00:48:37] Andrew Bull: So we’ve covered so much today, Sam, it was really interesting and so engaging and I’m sure our listeners will have loved this episode, but I just want to remind people about. Bigger ideas that we’ve covered because we’ve covered plenty.
What’s the big result that leaders can get. If they start getting on board with web 3.0.
[00:49:03] Sam Bel: The big result that they’ll get is just being at the forefront of where their customers are going to be. And where, even family smaller family economies will be right. So it’s just about being being there when they’re ready to interact with your brand. And I think the big result that they’ll get is just continuing on their brand in the metaverse and having a staple there. So what that means for everybody’s company can change, right? Cause their values and their sort of goals can change, but it’ll amplify those goals and amplify those values. And that’s, what’s really special about this. So that’s why they should at least consider what that looks like.
[00:49:38] Andrew Bull: And if people want your help getting this big result, where can they go and learn more? Do you have a website? They can be.
[00:49:45] Sam Bel: Yeah it’s vntr.com. So it’s V N T R a bit of an unconventional spelling there. And what they can also do is reach out to me directly, right? sambel@vntr .com, and I’ll answer those questions. And if you still are curious about the VR space we are speaking on panels on clubhouse constantly.
Join up and just hear a speak and we can have these discussions. You can ask questions in real time. I think that’s the most profound way to like really get information.
[00:50:12] Andrew Bull: Thank you for being such an awesome guest today, Sam, this was a brilliant episode and I’m sure people are going to love it. So thanks for your time and all your amazing ideas and insight.
[00:50:23] Sam Bel: Now. Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate it. I honestly it’s been a great conversation then. I really liked where it went and yeah, just excited to share this concept with the people and yeah. Thank you for having me on. I appreciate it.
[00:50:34] Andrew Bull: My thanks to Sam for being an excellent guest on the show today. I admit that I was really in two minds when I started my conversation with Sam. Perhaps you were too. On one hand, I’m a creative person who’s interested in using technology like virtual reality to tell stories and engage with people.
And then on the other hand, I was like, well, does this really matter? Should the metaverse really be a priority for tech leaders who aren’t in the VR space already. Is this something they need to invest in.
And this is what happened. As I spoke to Sam. I started to realize actually, yes. Leaders do need to invest their attention in it. The metaverse could be the next great way that millions and possibly billions of people connect with each other. It could be the next mobile phone or the next WhatsApp.
And possibly it could be even bigger than that. It could be the next revolution in the way that people live, work and socialize. As leaders, we need to ask ourselves important questions. Like what would our next sales pitch look like if it was a mixture of virtual and real world? How might our teams better communicate if they could sit next to each other.
Whilst in different countries. How might the metaverse changed the way we serve our customers. There’s a lot of food for thought here. I’m certainly going to be investing more of my attention in VR and the metaverse, it’s something I’ve explored in the past. And my conversation with Sam has definitely made me want to go.
Deep into it.
In fact, I’ve got an exciting metaverse related project. That I’ll be sharing with you in the new year. If you’ve got any exciting projects going on, then please share those with me. Perhaps we can feature you as a guest. You could email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas. Now if you haven’t already done so hit that subscribe or follow button wherever you’re listening today.
And all I’ve got left to say is thanks for being here. Have courage. Own your future. Take action.