Blog and News.
Blog and News.
As digital landscapes continue to evolve, the quest for creating high-impact products and platforms in the metaverse remains a focal point of innovation. Lisa Watts, CEO of OneTwenty1 and an industry leader in the metaverse sphere, addressed some of these implications with an enlightening keynote at this year's Augmented World Expo.
In her keynote titled "Harnessing the Power of Ecosystems for Metaverse Products'”, Watts elucidated on the vital concept of the network effect and emphasized the critical role strategic partnerships play in driving success in the Metaverse space. The notion that these partnerships aren't merely about increasing user numbers was a key takeaway, and Watts demonstrated that integrating products into existing ecosystems, thus tapping into an already established user-base and adding value to partners, is the primary benefit of network effect partnerships.
Watts furthered this point using the example of Instacart's partnership with grocery retailers. This collaboration allowed Instacart to provide an additional convenience to the existing customer base of these stores, while the stores themselves got the opportunity to reach online shoppers without having to create their own digital infrastructure. This created a win-win situation for Instacart, the grocery retailers, and the end customers.
Drawing on symbiotic relationships such as this, Watts emphasized that the key to a successful partnership strategy lies in identifying and aligning with partners who offer complementary services, share a similar vision, and cater to a demographic that aligns with our own. Such a mutual approach, Watts concluded, can drive the network effect, fueling growth and contributing to success in the rapidly evolving metaverse market.
If you missed the live keynote or want to revisit Watts' indispensable insights, you can watch the full video here:
Watts' perspective provides a pivotal lens for understanding and navigating the complexities of the emerging metaverse space. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, her insights during this presentation will continue to guide us in harnessing the power of new ecosystems for creating impactful metaverse products and platforms.
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Here at OneTwenty1, we're big believers in the power of strategic planning. One tool that we find incredibly useful in this process is the Business Model Canvas (BMC). Today, we'd like to share with you the theory behind the BMC, our journey using it, and how it helps us stay focused on our unique value proposition and our customers.
Understanding the Business Model Canvas
First things first, what exactly is a Business Model Canvas? The BMC is a strategic management tool that allows you to describe, design, challenge, and pivot your business model. First proposed by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur in their book "Business Model Generation," the BMC visualizes nine essential components of a business model that show how a company plans to make money. These components are: Value Propositions, Customer Segments, Channels, Customer Relationships, Revenue Streams, Key Activities, Key Resources, Key Partnerships, and Cost Structure.
The strength of the BMC lies in its simplicity and visual nature. It offers a comprehensive yet easily understandable view of the different elements of a business model, revealing potential opportunities and risks, and helping identify areas of alignment and coherence.
Our Journey Using the Business Model Canva
Creating a BMC isn't a solo endeavor; it requires the collective insights of the team. At OneTwenty1, we approached this collaborative process with a spirit of open communication and an eagerness to challenge our current understanding of our business model.
Here's how we did it:
While the process was illuminating, it wasn't always a straight line. We found ourselves circling back to previous components, refining and tweaking as we built a fuller picture of our business.
As you can see from our completed BMC, we provide expert services in product strategy, go-to-market planning, and ecosystem building, leveraging a network of experienced freelancers and technology partners. This exercise has helped us not only to visualize our business model in a coherent way but also to identify areas of opportunity and potential risks.
At OneTwenty1, we see the Business Model Canvas as more than just a one-time exercise. It's a living document that evolves with us. As we continue to grow and adapt to changing market dynamics, we revisit and revise our BMC, ensuring it always provides an accurate snapshot of our business model.
We hope our journey with the Business Model Canvas provides insights into how it can be used to align teams, streamline strategy, and ultimately drive success. We can attest to its power, and we encourage other businesses to leverage this tool as they navigate their unique paths in the business landscape.
In the early 1960s, a young academic named Thomas Kuhn proposed a radical new theory on the nature of scientific progress. Kuhn's ideas contended that scientific progress is not a gradual, linear process. Instead, it is marked by periods of standard science interrupted by paradigm-shifting revolutions. In a similar nature, the internet has undergone several shifts, with the most recent being the transition to Web3. This revolution, encompassing a new decentralized internet, is reshaping the way we interact, transact, and build online communities. As all Web3⁴ projects gain traction, it becomes essential to develop new performance metrics that can adequately measure success in this rapidly changing landscape.
Traditional metrics like page views or bounce rates will no longer suffice. Dr. Trent McConaghy, a computer scientist and expert in decentralized technologies, highlights the importance of measuring user participation and contribution to the network's growth. One key performance indicator (KPI) for Web3 projects is the number of active users within a given ecosystem. Active users are those who regularly engage in the platform's activities, such as making transactions, voting on proposals, or contributing to the project's development. Chris Dixon, a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, supports this notion, stating that "In the Web3 era, networks are defined by their users, and their value is proportional to the size and engagement of their user base".¹
Another KPI is the level of actual decentralization within a Web3 project. Decentralization can be measured in various ways, such as the distribution of token ownership or the number of nodes participating in the network. Dr. Emin Gün Sirer, a computer science professor at Cornell University and founder of the blockchain platform Ava Labs, emphasizes the importance of decentralization: "A truly decentralized network is more resilient, censorship-resistant, and better equipped to adapt to changing market conditions".²
In addition to decentralization, token-based economic models are a crucial aspect of many Web3 projects. Total Value Locked (TVL) represents the total amount of capital committed to a project, such as staking tokens for network security or providing liquidity to decentralized exchanges. This makes TVL in a decentralized platform a vital metric for assessing a project's health.
One broader KPI to be considered is Network effects. This phenomenon, by which a product or service gains additional value as more people use it, also plays a crucial role in the success of Web3 projects. Due to this, measuring the strength and growth of these effects is another vital area of research. As mentioned in an article by Chainlink, "Network effects play a critical role in the spread of ideas and the adoption of new technology, and are one of the key considerations underpinning the success of communication and value networks in Web3."³ Related: Harnessing the Power of the Ecosystem: How to Create a Network Effect Around Your New Metaverse Product
Ultimately, measuring success in Web3 requires a rethinking of traditional KPIs and a deeper understanding of the unique characteristics of decentralized technologies. The decentralized internet revolution is still in its early stages, and the metrics we use today may evolve as the technology matures. Dr. Primavera De Filippi, a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, warns against over-reliance on a single set of metrics and encourages developing a nuanced understanding of each project's particular context and objectives. By focusing on active users, decentralization, total value locked, and network effects, stakeholders and developers alike can better evaluate the performance and long-term potential of their projects, fostering a more innovative and successful decentralized internet ecosystem.
Glossary of Terms
As we head into CES 2023 this week, the metaverse remains a hot topic. There are several tracks dedicated to the topic and there is even a Gaming, Metaverse and XR sector in LVCC Central Hall anchored by the likes of Microsoft and Magic Leap. Back in 2018, a team of innovators got together to show what the future of an event like CES could be by utilizing immersive technology in a way that many had not seen before. The concept of digital twins and VR events now seems commonplace, but when Intel and Sansar created a digital twin of Intel’s CES booth in VR for CES 2018, it was revolutionary.
The CES Booth experience was produced by Lisa M Watts, who headed up Immersive Marketing for Intel at that time. While Watts has since gone on to form her own company, One/Twenty1 Immersive, she remembers the project as one of her favorites in her long tenure at the company. “There was never a question that we would do this project with Sansar at that time. The capabilities of the platform to deliver a visually stunning digital twin of the Intel booth, along with several VR-only extended experiences, and the opportunity to have visitors experience it from all around the world without traveling to Las Vegas was something that I knew we just had to do,” says Watts. “Looking back on the project through the lens of what is happening today, well, it just seems a bit unreal. Clearly, we were leading into the future.”
To create the project, Watts worked closely with the studio team at Sansar, especially the former Sansar studio lead, Jason Gholston, and then Lead Environmental Artist, Mario Wagner. The mission for the project was straightforward… Create a scale version of the Intel Booth within the Sansar environment and represent as many of the demos as possible. Starting with the blueprints and the digital concept art directed by Intel’s visionary event producer, Victor Torregroza, the team painstakingly worked through the recreation. The timeline allowed on the entire project was extremely tight, approximately 8 weeks from start to finish… and it didn’t just include the booth.
While it wasn’t technically possible to replicate all of the interactive demos included in the real world Intel Booth, the VR version provided some interesting opportunities to “extend reality” that the team took advantage of. In the entry to the booth, the team recreated the acrylic transparent vehicle that in the physical booth featured sensors that responded to a visitors presence and showcased the technology used to enable that particular feature. The digitally recreated car features interactive elements that replicated the information in order to convey the same messages.
Another stunning addition is the Intel Processor walkthrough. In this space, the visitor arrives inside a PC and travels through a CPU, encountering all the different components that make it function. Taken from a set of 2D schematics, technical artist Gordon Henson re-imagined the the chip in 3D delivering a unique, “Intel Inside” look at the mysterious brain that powers so many of the world's computers.
2018 was also the year that the Steven Speilberg directed “Ready Player One” movie was released and one of the “easter eggs” in the Intel CES virtual booth is a portal through which visitors are transported into one of the most iconic locations in the Oasis, Aech’s Garage. This part of the project was made possible by HTC and Warner Bros, leveraging the digital movie assets from Industrial Light and Magic. “Optimizing the film assets for Sansar was a fascinating challenge. If the richly detailed visuals of Aech's Garage weren't preserved it would be cut from the Intel virtual booth. Fortunately, the Sansar Studios team did a masterful job. The result provided eager film fans a first-of-its-kind opportunity to freely explore a visually stunning shooting location prior to the release of the film,” says Gholston.
One final detail was developed, exclusively for the CES opening keynote by then Intel CEO, Brian Krazanich. Mr. Krzanich invited Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, to tour the booth during the keynote. In order to make this possible, the Sansar team created custom avatars for Mr. Krzanich and Mr. Shapiro. Don’t take our word for it, watch the replay here! In order to further replicate the in person experience, the Intel team staffed the digital booth with virtual brand ambassadors, powered by Intel employees all over the world. The employees' avatars were dressed in the same clothing that their real life counterparts in Las Vegas were wearing and were available round the clock to meet and greet virtual visitors.
“I predict these types of VR experiences will within the next decade become natural extensions of how we come to know and experience our human existence. VR worlds ignite our imagination and inspire our creativity,” said Frank Soqui, former VP at Intel, in his blog highlighting the project (original post no longer available). Says Watts, “None of us could have had any idea how much the pandemic was going to accelerate interest in immersive tech and the metaverse. But to see the innovation and imagination of the creative and tech communities over the last few years has been so inspiring. What will we be able to bring into existence in 2023 and beyond? All I know is that it will be amazing!”
Harnessing the Power of the Ecosystem: How to Create a Network Effect Around Your New Metaverse Product
Posted by Lisa M Watts
Where are all the metaverse users?
In October of 2022, metaverse pioneers Decentraland and The Sandbox were widely panned by the media for not having very many active users. Around this same time Meta announced earnings were down, the company would be laying off employees but that investment in the metaverse would continue. Headlines screamed about the coming doom: Metaverse Dream Dead in the Water as Facebook Fires 11000 META Employees and Meta’s empty metaverse. In the digital age, the value of a platform or service is measured in the number of participants and the media is clearly skeptical about the value of metaverse related offerings, as was clear in journalist Vince Chadwick's recent tweet.
It can take years to build a loyal user or subscriber base and as the EU learned, it’s not sufficient just to build it. Roblox, which is seen as a shining example of a successful on-ramp to the metaverse, was formed in 2004 and released in 2006, making the game 16 years old. Fortnite, building on Epic Games’s overall success in the gaming industry, was released in 2017. While both of these games have extensive user bases, they have been diligent about growing their ecosystem of partners.
This post focuses on how to leverage a partner ecosystem to increase the value of your metaverse product or platform as a critical component of creating what is generally referred to as the network effect.
What tactics can be employed in order to leverage your partner ecosystem to add value?
"No Man is an Island" - John Donne
Going it alone is certainly doable, if you are very lucky or have unlimited time and money. But for most platforms or products that rely on the number of active users, working with and scaling through partners can drastically improve time to market, create value-add for users and enable you to add capabilities more quickly. As you develop your partner ecosystem strategy, keep the following in mind:
As the metaverse continues to evolve and expand, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to think strategically about how they can create a network effect around their products. By harnessing the power of the ecosystem, you can drive adoption, engagement, and growth, and position your company as a leader in the rapidly-evolving world of metaverse technology. With the right approach and the right partners, you can create a powerful competitive advantage that will help you succeed in this exciting and rapidly-changing market.
"In the Back to the Future franchise, the DeLorean time machine is a time travel device made by retrofitting a DMC DeLorean vehicle with a flux capacitor. The car requires 1.21 gigawatts of power and needs to travel 88 miles per hour (142 km/h) to initiate time travel." Wikipedia
And more recently, the DeLorean made a comeback in the move "Ready Player One" when Parzival acquires one in a Back to the Future quest.
When Lisa was at Intel, her teammates in IT Engineering nicknamed her 1.21 (one point twenty one) in a nod to her last name (Watts) as well as the fact that she was always trying to push the envelope on technology. In the early days of the World Wide Web, she served as one of the first webmasters for the company, taught HTML coding classes during her lunch hours and created the very first web-based application, a monitoring tool for the company's global dial-in remote access infrastructure.
With this history in mind, it just seemed logical to choose One/Twenty1 Immersive as our name. The Back to the Future DeLorean with Doc and his flux capacitor will forever reign as the iconic symbol of innovation and the drive toward the future.
Photo Creduit: By JMortonPhoto.com & OtoGodfrey.com, CC BY-SA 4.0