Beyond goggles and games: The collaborative metaverse

collaborative metaverse
collaborative metaverse

Recently, Figma, a collaborative web application for interface design, was purchased by Adobe for $20 billion. It’s worth thinking about why Figma has been so successful and why Adobe was willing to pay so much for it.

Since the beginning, Figma has been about collaboration. Yes, it was a great design tool. Yes, it ran completely in the browser; no downloads or installation required. But more than anything else, Figma was a tool for collaboration. That was a goal from the beginning. Collaboration wasn’t an afterthought; it was baked in.

My thesis about the metaverse is that it is, above all, about enabling collaboration. VR goggles and AR glasses? Fine, but the metaverse will fail if it only works for those who want to wear a headset. Crypto? I strongly object to the idea that everything needs to be owned — and that every transaction needs to pay a tax to anonymous middlemen (whether they’re called miners or stakers). Finally, I think that Facebook/Meta, Microsoft and others who say that the metaverse is about “better meetings” are just plain headed in the wrong direction. I can tell you — anyone in this industry can tell you — that we don’t need better meetings; we need fewer meetings.

But we still need people working together, particularly as more and more of us are working remotely. So the real question facing us is: How do we minimize meetings while enabling people to work together? Meetings are, after all, a tool for coordinating people, for transferring information in groups, for circulating ideas outside of one-to-one conversations. They’re a tool for collaboration.

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