Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Messages from the archive of Rutherford Hall, critical communications strategist
WhatsApp to Stephen: Clients are asking me about their metaverse strategy. I’d like to build a bit of expertise here. I don’t want to invest too much but I thought of asking Jules to do some thinking on this. She’s under 30, plays video games and showed me how to use the find-my-phone feature, so she’s well placed on all things digital. Also, is Priya still on that project for you? I want some data to wave at clients.
The Monkwell (Meta) Minute
Yes, you need to be thinking about your metaverse strategy. Forward-looking businesses are all buying space there. It’s cutting edge; it’s the future; it’s just not very clear what you are going to do there.
It is way cool. The JPMorgan metaverse site has a tiger walking through the lobby. That’s the beauty of it. People can literally pat a tiger while they visit your bank. Well, not literally, but meta-phorically!! What’s less clear is how many times customers will faff around with headsets just to pat an imaginary tiger when it’s often a lot easier to use the app.
And this is the key point. We all know the metaverse is coming, but few of us know what we’ll do when we get there. You may have seen media coverage of our report showing that 98 per cent of businesses have no plan for the next frontier. There are a lot of bluffers out there. That’s why we’ve set up the Monkwell metaverse unit to research and advise on best practice. It’s time to know your Robox from your Sandblox. You can visit us in our metaverse office, but it’s probably easier to just get in touch through the usual channels.
WhatsApp to Jules: What. Oh damn it. Sandbox and Roblox. OK. If anyone asks just say it was irony. Btw, if the metaverse is so big, why is Meta doing so badly?
Hi Martin. Thanks. We worked hard to get the most advanced digital thinkers. There are a lot of bluffers out there. The simple advice for any CEO is you need to look like a leader with his eye to the future. You don’t want to be that guy still using an Atari Flashback. And no, Meta is not the same as the metaverse. They just want you to think that they are.
But my advice now is, you’re not a content creator so just do enough to look relevant. Create a presence but don’t put in a lot of money till you have a clear use for it. Set up a skunkworks team in your HQ — investors love hearing you’ve got a skunkworks. Mention it in every interview and presentation. Most of their ideas will be rubbish, but it’s a place to start. But get people who know their stuff; don’t just go for the kid who likes TikTok and who showed you how to connect to the printer.
And when you build your avatar, try not to look like Mark Zuckerberg. His looks like a Disney character drawn with Botox. Or should that be Botlox?
We have seen some useful industrial applications, digital twinning, training staff in complex procedures. But till you find a real killer application, think of it as a marketing space and an opportunity to say “yes of course we’re in the metaverse”, but be interesting because who goes to a magical realm to watch adverts for banks? Maybe you can gamify your investment products.
So buy some space and ponder. Stay in the peloton and let others make your mistakes for you. We’ve seen this movie before. Think how much money was wasted on the early web. Remember all those hopeless firms whose only idea was being online.
Find me on Strava, KoM Sydenham Hill, PR London to Brighton: 3h 59m
WhatsApp to Stephen: Great news. DCMS have been on. They saw our survey and want me to join a new working group on business opportunities in the metaverse. I’m really going to have to cram on this. Jules has recommended some novel called Snow Crash and the Metaverse for Dummies. No roadblocks, only Roblox. No bollards, just bollox.
To: client list
Sorry but I can’t resist sharing this news. I’m sure it will offer some fascinating insights to share with you all.
I am thrilled and humbled to be joining the Digital and Culture Secretary’s new high-level panel on how business can exploit the opportunities in the metaverse. Very excited to be playing my part in the creator economy and giving British business the edge in the new reality, be it virtual, augmented or extended. This is now. Don’t let others steal your future. We all need to ask ourselves, what can we do better in the meta?
Member DCMS Panel on Business and the Metaverse
Find me on Strava, KoM Sydenham Hill, PR London to Brighton: 3h 59m. . .
WhatsApp to Stephen: I can’t remember the difference either. The good news is our credentials have been extended and augmented.
Messages recovered by Robert Shrimsley