What is The Metaverse?

Danielle Newnham
14 min readOct 1, 2022
Imagine Possible with Ericsson, Santa Clara 18–19 Oct

“I always think it’s important that people understand what something is. And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.”

Tim Cook, Apple

This week, I wanted to try something different with the newsletter.* I wanted to theme it and I decided upon “The Metaverse” simply because I think it is hugely misunderstood and something we can dive deeper into, together.

Whilst I don’t claim to be an expert in this area, I am extraordinarily curious about new technology and have seen first-hand the push back given to new tech before it becomes mainstream, and I find the dichotomy really interesting. (I can still remember the reaction when the world went online for the first tine and I saw first-hand the smartphone revolution as part of a mobile startup that was founded months before the dawn of the smartphone revolution).

I have also interviewed hundreds of tech founders and innovators including several in this space which I have learned so much from — Philip Rosedale, Rony Abovitz and Mary Lou Jepsen to name just a few.

So let’s discuss the metaverse.

Background

In 1992 American writer Neal Stephenson published his science fiction novel, Snow Crash, within which he coined the term “Metaverse” — where humans, as programmable avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world.

Mark Zuckerberg announced Meta’s Metaverse in 2021, and in changing Facebook’s name to Meta seemingly cemented his charge in this new technological sphere. This is the moment when everyone started to sit up and listen.

But whether Meta will actually lead the way or whether “the metaverse” will be led by many, as I suspect, remains to be seen.

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Danielle Newnham

Host of Danielle Newnham Podcast — interviews with tech founders and innovators. Writer. Author. Recovering Founder.