Campfire 84: Metaverse, Schmetaverse! Embrace The Multiverse…

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Our Experience Economy Godfather himself, Joe Pine, lit up the WXO Campfire by guiding us through the Multiverse model from his book Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier.

Taking place on the 30th anniversary of the book’s publication, his talk was a reminder that while the metaverse might feel like an overwhelming new dimension, it actually exists within a framework that goes back to the very beginning of humanity.

The full write-up will be coming soon – but for now, here are a few top takeaways, links and questions that emerged.

We also want to hear from you – what were your top takeaways? How might you borrow, or are already borrowing, techniques from other areas of experience design in your work? What questions did it provoke? Add your comments below!

  • In the “new economy” (i.e. the Experience Economy) the individual customer is king.

  • “Customer” means “individual” rather than market, segment or demographic, whether they are a person or a corporate entity.

  • Technology is bringing down the cost of mass customization.
  • The metaverse isn’t an end in itself, it’s yet another way that we can fuse the real and the virtual to create new possibilities.
  • The known universe is made up of three fundamental dimensions: Time, Space, and Matter. All of our experiences happen within these dimensions, and therefore these are the three variables we have available as experience designers to play with when creating our experiences.

  • By extending all three of the fundamental dimensions of the known universe outwards, we enhance its possibilities and enter the Multiverse.

  • The opposite of Matter becomes No-Matter: digital substances that can be used to enhance and create new experiences. Augmented reality is one version of this, as it adds No-Matter onto a reality-based experience.

  • The opposite of Space is No-Space: virtual places that occur anywhere you have a screen, whether this be a smartphone, VR goggles or perhaps eventually digital contact lenses. These virtual places allow us to do things that are impossible in reality and bring our imaginations into being.

  • The opposite of Time is No-Time: autonomous events which unlike actual events, which unspool moment by moment, allow us to explore time in a different way by envisaging the future, exploring the past, or exploring ideas in a non-linear way.

  • When it comes to designing experiences, the most interesting experiments are those that happen somewhere in the middle, not at the end points of these dimensions, fusing both the “real” and “virtual” worlds.

Some follow-up questions to ask yourself:

  1. What's the screen experience that fires your soul? 

  2. What's the IRL, no-digital-technology-whatsoever experience that makes you feel the most alive?

  3. How might you bring these together?
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