Five things on Friday #334
Things of note for the week ending Sunday July 31, 2022
There wasn’t going to be a newsletter this week.
It’s 1030am on Sunday morning as I fire up Substack. Today is the first day since Monday I’ve woken up feeling human after suffering a good six days with my second bout of Covid. It has not been fun.
But today? Today I definitely feel better. The family are playing Minecraft together (the youngest is teaching Mumma how to play - and it’s going well) and I’ve probably got an hour or so to see if I can knock out a quick newsletter. What do you think? Can we do it? Worth a try, right?
I know there’s a a decent selection of links saved in the #5things bookmarks so let’s knuckle down and see what we can see.
Maybe we can crank out a swift one before anyone notices.
Our secret, OK?
LET’S GET TO IT.
1. YOUR WEEKLY METAVERSE BS
Believe it or not, I am loathe to keep regular themes in this newsletter. Preferring instead to switch up the topics as and when but honestly, every time I think I can put this particular hot potato down for a bit, something makes it bubble right back up again.
The ‘Metaverse? What Metaverse?’ talk is is coming up on 6k views and the public and private notes of endorsement keep growing. Thank you to everyone who has written in. I set out to make it useful, to help equip you with better questions to ask when faced with metaverse presentations and pitches, and by and large, from what I’m hearing this has achieved that goal 😊
Let’s have a look at the latest metaverse news/data you should be across:
The VMAs search for relevancy continues with a newly announced ‘Best Metaverse Performance’ category. Upon closer inspection of the nominees, these are all, of course all video games.
“The Metaverse Will Be at Least 30% Of Every Creative Agency’s Business in the Next Few Years” - no evidence at all to support this laughable, unproven horse manure that went completely unchallenged. Jokers.
Investors can’t afford to see the world through rose-tinted VR goggles.
Metaverse jobs are disappearing as hiring slows. Bloomberg reporting the dropoff coincides with broader hiring slowdown in tech and employers recalibrating hiring needs based on incoming recession concerns. The article illustrates this point with this perfect chart:
In FB/Meta news.
First FB/Meta put up the price of its two-year old headset, the Meta Quest II, by £100/$100 (citing component costs). Same hardware, new expensive price. What.
Then the FTC blocked FB/Meta’s purchase of a VR company (Within). The agency argues the deal would put Facebook’s parent company one step closer "to its ultimate goal of owning the entire ‘Metaverse’”. I mean, aside from this being really odd generally (feels small fry tbh - the FTC clutching at straws perhaps), this is yet another nail in FB/M’s ‘innovate or buy’ strategy.
Then FB/Meta posted its first ever quarterly sales decline.
And in that earnings report, it revealed FB/Meta’s VR division, Reality Labs (remember them?), reported a loss of $2.81b.
So let’s review:
If your Meta rep has asked you to pop ‘round to ‘share their vision of the metaverse’ anytime soon, please please please keep this stuff in your back pocket.
There’s no value in brand investment in this space right now. None. And if you are investing - specifically in Meta’s vision for the space - then there’s a good chance you’re propping up their losses (with your own).
Eyes open, folks.
Finally on this section, I know my output on this topic comes across as being a nay-sayer. I get that. And I can see why you might land there. Personally, I prefer the label researcher. I like data. I like human behaviour. When it comes to data points, I prefer millions vs hundreds.
And as I said last week: this isn’t rocket science, this is reading.
So the next time you’re faced with a ridiculous metaverse number (be that users, or predicted spend or whatever) do yourself a favour and go the extra click.
Don’t just accept it at face value. Look at the source, check the methodology, do the due diligence - and really challenge yourself to try and see what’s really going on.
That is all.
2. GOOD SHOUT
You may remember my friend and TikTok muse Amy Kean used to run a thing called Practice Makes Unperfect. Back then, PMU was about getting more women speaking at conferences and events. And after literally hundreds of people going through the course, Amy made the decision to wind it down (you can read more about that decision here).
In its place, and with a refreshed team and vision, the amazing GOOD SHOUT has been born.
GOOD SHOUT, in Amy’s words, is a new training programme that helps people experiment with their voice, their talent & their thinking, through social learning.
Covering topics such as:
- how to use your voice
- presentation skills
- how to be more creative
- how to get better chemistry in your working relationships
- how to listen
- how to have a 'realer' culture
- how to write better at work
- AND (Amy's favourite) how to be WEIRDER.
Private courses have been running already and the first publicly available course is being run in September. If this is something you’re interested in, or if you know someone who could learn or benefit from it, then get in touch via the detals below.
Amy is great. Her team is fantastic. I can’t recommend this enough.
3. THIS WEEK IN… GAMING
I’ve been sick this week so I’ve been gaming. A LOT.
GAMES I’VE PLAYED THIS WEEK
I picked up, played, and finished STRAY (aka ‘the cat game’ - pictured at the top of this newsletter). It is charming and only really a 7hr playthrough. It’s free as part of PlayStation Plus Extra (mid-tier plus) or £25 from the store. Worth a go - moreso if you love cats.
No Man’s Sky dropped a new update ‘Endurance’, along with a new expedition, ‘Polestar’. I updated to the former and played through the latter. Expeditions are a great way to get back into NMS. If you’re an OG player, boot it up and start a new save with an expedition - they’re really good.
What Remains of Edith Finch. Annapurna Interactive (also the publisher of Stray) dropped a free next-gen update to this earlier in the week and I used that as an excuse to finally give this a playthrough. You can do it in a couple of hours and if you haven’t, then you absolutely should play this absolute pinnacle piece of gaming-as-a-storytelling-artform.
Gaming news worth knowing about:
For those that do, the next wave of Mario Kart 8 DLC drops on Thursday August 4th. Here’s a trailer.
Maker of Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar, has ‘cleaned up’ its frat-boy culture and with it, Grand Theft Auto too (apparently). If this is true, then GTA6 might be the first GTA I play (I’ve never liked or enjoyed the series’ depiction of women - so this change is welcome, if belated).
An early look at the user experience for PSVR2 (this is a day one purchase for me).
How streaming stars pay the price of fame (hard reading).
This is a little old but coming from a highly inclusive and toxic-free clan myself, I can really get onboard with the idea of ‘low sodium gaming’.
This is a VERY GOOD thread from Ukie’s comms lead on video games and well-being. A worthwhile read.
Got anything gaming in your head?
Wanna chat about it?
Hit that reply button.
PS. Gamescom diary is filling up. Going? Give me a nudge.
4. THE BROKEN PROMISES OF UTOPIA AND THE RELENTLESSLY OPTIMISTIC NIHILISM OF MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
I bet you didn’t wake up this morning thinking you’d need this presentation about dystopia, resilience, feminism, mythology, and optimistic nihilism (but most importantly, high-octane car chases in a post-apocalyptic wasteland) in your life did you?
Well, you do.
If you enjoy it, then head to Twitter and say thank you to the outrageously smart Jenny Chang, for generously sharing the contents of her head once again.
5. ‘PLEASE FORGET YOUR SCARF IN MY LIFE…’
I love this.
-via the must follow Nikita Gill.
THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY.
Here’s 8mins and 24s of that Joni Mitchell surprise appearance that was all over the feeds last week. I can’t watch this and not cry. Incredible. More here. And more.
OH MY GOD these TMNT Pixel 6 skins are awesome.
I was reminded this week of the time I had some digital art exhibiting at the Saatchi Gallery (and not a single NFT in sight).
If you liked Obi-Wan Kenobi, you might be interested in the backstory to the film/series.
Watch The OA. Also, #SaveTheOA.
Also of note: Edelman banging on about LGBTQIA+ and then winning Saudi Arabia as a client (the embedded tweets here say it all).
Revelation vs Insight (Richard Huntingdon on excellent form, as standard)
THE LINE. Real life, not a dystopian sci-fi series Netflix pitch.
Advertising makes us unhappy. Correlation or causation?
Marques Brownlee wants to help you create viral videos (this is a great read, I really like MKBHD - and this piece shows why he’s one of the best).
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
Everyone keeps asking me if I’ve read Matthew Ball’s new book ‘The Metaverse’. I haven’t. I am going to. However someone also asked me what I thought of Snowcrash last week and I realised I hadn’t read that either. Oops.
So I bought Snowcrash, which I’m reading now. And then I’ll move onto Ball.
(Have you read them? What did you think? Hit reply and tell me)
In the meantime, it’s 13:35. Bacon sandwiches have been consumed and the rest of the day beckons. I hope you’ve had a restful weekend and let’s catch up soon. The summer is here and it’s time to get outside and see people - maybe you included.
Whatley out x
And speaking of Pixel 6 skins, https://dbrand.com/ "Something". Especially amusing to US folk as we are not getting nothing. (the phone).