Ep. 4 of This Week in Local Examines the ‘Metaverse of Unicorns’ and Other 2022 Hot Topics

Episode 4 of Localogy’s “This Week in Local” podcast examines some widely covered topics of 2022. Co-host Mike Boland talks about “Metaverse Mania” and says it will be years before reality matches hype. Co-host Charlie Laughlin asks if the term “Unicorn” needs to be retired and if 2023 will begin a new golden age for startups.

TWIL is Localogy’s weekly podcast featuring brief (sub 30 minute) but “lively conversations on the local digital ecosystem.” We hope you have enjoyed the podcast so far. And please subscribe to TWIL on Apple Podcasts, Google PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0TbxB0CR3nKYsGkrDilEQK?si=37Nm1YKrRWa0gUMXCQzfCQ

This short episode begins with Mike talking about the “metaverse madness” that he covered during the year. 

Mike argued that the Metaverse that most people imagine (if they imagine anything) — essentially an immersive 3D Internet — is years if not decades away from realization.

“That metaverse is so far away that I was actually surprised that the word ‘metaverse’ was shoved into every headline this year,” Mike said on the episode.

The two hosts pointed to what QSRs like Wendy’s are doing in the metaverse as examples of brands leveraging the medium effectively. At least to the degree that is possible now.

New Opportunities and Unicorns

Two other big topics of 2022 were batted around on this episode. And both inspired articles on Localogy Insider last week.

One was the ongoing utility of the term “Unicorn”. In this context, that means a startup with a billion-dollar pre-IPO valuation. Charlie raised the issue, arguing the term became “banal” in 2022 as so many companies claimed they had achieved the milestone. Then as valuations came crashing down amid the VC winter that arrived last year, the term seemed to lose all meaning.

Mike agreed. But he also argued (on the podcast and in this article) that “Unicorn” or some new term that replaces it, may regain relevance this year. This is may happen as new fast-growing startups emerge and existing companies try to rebuild and achieve higher valuations.

https://www.localogy.com/2022/12/2023-the-return-of-the-startup-unicorn/

Charlie also asked, given Mike’s comment earlier in the episode that we are facing an economic downturn, if 2023 might not mark the beginning of a new “Golden Age of Startups”. The reference point for this question is the Great Recession of 2007-2010. That era produced the likes of Uber, Airbnb, and others. And it has been generally accepted that iconic tech companies tend to be created during economic downturns.

These startup cycles tend to happen because talented young people leave big companies (often due to layoffs) in large numbers. They may leave with stock or generous severance and then look for new opportunities. Often they just start companies and create their own opportunities. Or they go to work for someone who has.

Charlie explored this question further in this Insider article.

https://www.localogy.com/2022/12/will-2023-be-a-big-year-for-startups/

Mike noted that if we are on the cusp of such a cycle, it may represent a “silver lining” to what might otherwise be a challenging year.

You can also find this “Metaverse of Unicorns” episode (and all others) on Localogy’s YouTube channel. Please subscribe to this channel if you prefer to get your content on YouTube. 

https://youtu.be/i4FuhK4s7Qc

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