Hello Metaverse podcast

Phillip Wang: Making the Metaverse Open and Accessible

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People often conflate the idea of the Metaverse with VR experiences, and while VR can be one medium in which people experience the Metaverse, it is merely a subset. The work that Phillip Wang and team is doing on their virtual social platform called Gather helps demyth this common misunderstanding. 

For Phillip, the CEO and Co-Founder of Gather, the Metaverse is about creating a strong sense of connection, presence, and place no matter where you are. The vision then, is for the Metaverse is to provide people with easier access to opportunities anywhere, whether it’s the ability to work, learn or socialize. 

To accelerate this vision, Phillip focuses on solving the problem of accessibility and cultural acceptance of the Metaverse. Instead of seeing the barrier to mainstream adoption as a technological problem, he instead sees it as a societal acceptance gap. He cites people’s frequent association to gaming and VR experiences as the Metaverse as a deterrent for them to participate, because they don’t identify or are not familiar with these platforms. 

To overcome this gap, Gather was inspired by the open nature of the internet. They built the platform as a 2D format in the browser, so that anyone who has access to the internet web browser can immediately jump into a virtual experience on Gather. As a result, the platform has seen organic creations of virtual workplaces, academic conferences, brand launch parties, housewarming parties and even weddings take place. They have successfully demythed the assumption that Metaverse experiences have to be immersive and 3D, and really opened new doors for new types of people to participate.

Phillip Wang is the CEO and Co-Founder of Gather. Prior, he spent time building technologies to support more fulfilling relationships across distances at The Siempre Collective, ranging from wearables, audio/video apps, to VR. Before that, he spent time at Facebook, Cruise, Microsoft, and as a researcher in deep learning at CMU. Phillip graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a degree in Computer Science.


[2:45] Gather’s evolution from app, to VR, to web 

[5:15] How people work, learn and play on Gather

[10:15] Importance of Metaverse products being accessible

[11:45] Open source creation tools

[13:35] Open Metaverse philosophy

[22:45] Open marketplaces and trade across platforms

[26:35] The Metaverse is not VR

[28:55] Zoom fatigue and the future of work

[31:55] AI’s role in building the Metaverse

[36:20] Mechanisms and interactions post Skeuomorphisms

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