April 19, 2024


Step Into The Technology

A Q&A with Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer at Journey

5 min read

About the earlier calendar year, a new variety of CMO has begun to just take maintain in the C-suites of media and tech corporations: the main metaverse officer. Telefónica, the Spanish telecommunications company, employed a main metaverse officer in March Disney tapped a former concept park govt to head up its metaverse division in February and in June, Publicis introduced on a chief metaverse officer of its very own — even though the govt was a virtual avatar, not a serious person.

Regardless of this influx of C-Metaverse-Os, these are even now the early days of the metaverse. Few folks realize what the metaverse really is, and even less are definitely geared up to tackle an government part focused to this new sector. It is quickly getting essential for companies to carry their metaverse knowledge in-property — but it’s nonetheless to be determined whether chief metaverse officers will grow to be widespread or go the way of other since-overlooked buzzword-based C-amount positions of many years past, this kind of as the main social media officer or chief manufacturer protection officer.


CMO should-haves: technical knowledge of enabling technologies and resources, emphasis on company and method, younger perspective Industries investing in this form of CMO: gaming, technological innovation, fashion, style

To investigate the history, responsibilities and probable long run of this new selection of CMO, Digiday spoke with a person of the handful of pros who is unequivocally certified for such a purpose: Cathy Hackl, the co-founder and main metaverse officer at the innovation and design consultancy Journey.

Hackl entered the metaverse business enterprise prolonged prior to the time period entered the zeitgeist previous calendar year. Prior to her time at Journey, she experienced stints as a VR/AR pro and futurist for companies this sort of as HTC, Oculus, Magic Leap and Amazon. But her most convincing qualification for the position could possibly be her bona fide link to metaverse customers: she’s the mom of 3 metaverse-indigenous young ones, including a 10-12 months-previous who runs his own Roblox organization.

This job interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

How did you grow to be the main metaverse officer at Journey?

I have been in metaverse-related industries for around eight many years I labored at HTC Vive as a VR evangelist in the course of the company’s partnership with Spielberg’s adaptation of Ready Participant 1 I went about to Magic Leap and labored there as an organization strategist for two many years. Certainly, the chief futurist at Magic Leap at that time was Neal Stephenson, who coined the time period. Then I went in excess of to Amazon Website Providers, then at some point remaining to produce Futures Intelligence Team, which is a metaverse and Net3 advisory for brands and businesses attempting to enter the space, which was acquired by Journey at the conclusion of previous calendar year.

When I made Futures Intelligence Team, I made the decision, “I’m the CEO, the founder, but what am I seriously doing listed here?” So I selected the title chief metaverse officer. One particular of the causes I use that title is to start off a discussion about who is heading to handle the metaverse — what does it imply? I assume the persons that are heading to take care of metaverse initiatives need to have to have a wide variety of competencies, but what I have witnessed is a ton of debate about it. But I do feel somebody in the C-suite is going to have to deal with this, and I individually imagine that it’s not only a promoting thing. This goes further than that. When I acquired acquired by Journey, I stated that my title was non-negotiable — you’re buying a metaverse firm right here.

Does it have to be named chief metaverse officer? I never know — every organization is likely to find what feels extra comfortable to them.

Cathy Hackl, co-founder and chief metaverse officer, Journey

So you foresee that extra firms will be building this situation, or a person similar to it, in the near potential?

Yeah, and I think you’re previously looking at it. Does it have to be known as chief metaverse officer? I really don’t know — each individual company is heading to find what feels far more relaxed to them. That staying reported, a couple a long time back, if you requested a person about a main digital officer or main material officer, they would have been like, “we don’t have to have that, that’s preposterous.” So I consider matters evolve, but somebody inside of the org will have to handle some of the items that come with the metaverse.

What are the most significant qualifications for a chief metaverse officer?

I’m really technique-driven, pretty organization-centered. That stated, I have huge practical experience in various of the systems: virtual reality, spatial computing, augmented actuality, cloud computing. So I sense that the people that are heading to fill these roles are heading to have, on some level, a technical understanding of the enabling systems. Some are going to be stronger perhaps on the AR and VR side, some are likely to be more robust on the World-wide-web3 side, some might be stronger in gaming, but there does want to be some comprehension of the present-day instruments.

Which sectors do you foresee will seek the services of far more main metaverse officers in these early times?

Trend is where I’m seeing a ton of this begin to transpire. They’re likely to arrive from gaming, they’re heading to arrive from AR and VR, they are likely to appear from Web3. What differentiates somebody that can guide this perform is currently being that connector, that translator of sorts in between the specialized and the enterprise facet.

Will we get started to see Gen Z and Gen Alpha metaverse natives leapfrog the company ladder to occupy this sort of part?

Why not? From time to time, the smartest human being in the room may be the youngest particular person. I’m not heading to say that a 15-12 months-old is going to grow to be a main metaverse officer, but I feel that there are going to be particular factors that the Gen Zs that are coming into the workforce are heading to fully grasp on a pretty diverse degree. My son’s to start with concert was Lil Nas X in Roblox — it was not at a stadium, like you and me. He speaks about that in the 1st individual: “I observed Nas, I was there.” To them, it is not about the bodily world and the digital world. Every little thing is real, it is just various. Gen-Alpha’s reality is really blurry.

I’ve received a Gen Z/Gen Alpha, and then I’ve received two Gen Alphas, and it certainly improvements my standpoint. I see how they engage with these systems, what they’re experiencing, how they’re creating, how they are environment-creating, what gaming implies to them from a social and identification viewpoint. So it informs a whole lot of what I do, and a large amount of what I do is for them due to the fact I want to produce a much better long term for them.


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