While the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated certain industries like tourism and retail, other entirely new industries have emerged. Two years ago the concept of a “metaverse” was practically unknown. Today the term is all the rage online, and new companies and funds are added every week – billions of dollars have already been poured into the industry. Just last week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would become a Metaverse company.
Meanwhile, few “metaverse” companies have any real size or customers, making it easy for viewers to dismiss this as a trend that could burn out. We warn against this.
The last time we saw such a boom was in crypto in the mid-2010s. People who jumped on the crypto bandwagon in those early days – think Mike Novogratz, Joseph Lubin, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, and Anthony Pompliano – are now considered true experts in the field. They also made a tremendous fortune by acting quickly when they first discovered the opportunity.
That’s because new industries can uncover tremendous opportunities for people creative and agile enough to identify new niches and reinvent themselves. They also create opportunities for the underrepresented, as traditional hiring requirements for previous relevant work experience fall out of the window when no one in the world has truly relevant work experience. This brings back the old saying of the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is king”. If no one is an expert, then everyone has a chance to become one.
Related: The Metaverse: Mark Zuckerberg’s Brave New World
Time for the metaverse
Now is the time for the adventurous and ambitious to plant a flag on the plots of the burgeoning Metaverse industry, as today’s Metaverse startups will be some of tomorrow’s Fortune 500 companies. While that may sound a bit far-fetched, keep in mind that Coinbase – now valued at more than $ 54 billion – was founded in 2012 when 1 bitcoin (BTC) was sold for about $ 12 and hackers fiddled around in their dormitories.
This is where an industry takes shape – like the original mud – the odds are greatest, not just for economic gain, but for building personal brands as well. If you join a company in a new industry at an early stage, you will not only become a company co-founder, but also an industry pioneer. These early employees lay the foundation for the entire industry, shape their path, and set the ethos and ground rules. A new generation of executives will emerge around the Metaverse. It’s an exciting time to think about becoming one of them.
Metaverse jobs range from blockchain and gaming programmers to animators, designers, marketers to accountants, recruiters and lawyers. Small businesses in the real world could become large businesses in the Metaverse, where business owners are not burdened by the dangers of brick and mortar retail. Amazon stores and Etsy shops can become metaverse gold mines where, thanks to the usefulness of blockchain technology, customers can interact with products in 3D and transact seamlessly.
Related: Stories from 2050: A Glimpse into a World Based on NFTs
Tremendous opportunities for women
Despite all of this industry growth, as two women working in the Metaverse industry, we are often the only women dominated by men. When we first discussed the new possibilities these unknown waters offer months ago, we had a conversation that went something like this:
Julia: Do you think the metaverse industry will look different than the crypto industry, with more women in leadership positions?
Janine: Well, I have to dig a little deeper into my career history to make that connection. In my early twenties while working in the private equity space in New York City, I was recruited for a job in Las Vegas where I worked for a casino game company. Back then, Vegas was experiencing its own gold rush, and they had to hire local talent clever enough to handle the extreme growth, so they recruited from the coasts. When I went to Las Vegas for interviews, I met a lot of women in very senior positions – which felt very different from the male-dominated jobs I knew in New York City.
Julia: What does this have to do with job opportunities for women?
Janine: Booming times lead to talent drought, which means hiring managers need to think creatively about how to fill vacancies. All of this unconscious (and conscious) bias that often keeps women away from the first places is pushed aside just to do the job that needs to be done. And the result is that the women who show up on these rare occasions are often in the right place at the right time. They deserve seniority and experience that make them invaluable. This is exactly what is happening in the Metaverse today.
Simply put, there are tremendous opportunities for women in the Metaverse industry today. A simple search for the word “metaverse” on LinkedIn job pages shows only a few jobs other than Roblox. But at the current pace, there will be thousands of Metaverse jobs in the near future. With our current low unemployment rates, the options will be plentiful.
Scientific evidence suggests that women are more risk averse than men, which (among many, many other reasons) may explain why women are underrepresented on boardrooms, executive floors, and other positions of power. A large part of this discrepancy in risk behavior between men and women can, however, be attributed more to “upbringing” and social norms than to “nature”. Risk tolerances and attitudes are not completely immutable, and the metaverse provides an opportunity to rewrite history and build a more equitable (albeit virtual) society.
Web 3.0 is here, and virtual worlds are a blank slate – an opportunity for women, not just men, to get in early and leave their mark on the Metaverse. (Note that earlier in this article we mentioned pioneers who immersed themselves in crypto in the mid-2010s, almost all of them men.) History has a tendency to repeat itself.
But this time it can be different. Here’s what we know:
- The metaverse is just beginning.
- Early days mean high risk.
- High risk can mean high reward.
The core of the idea of the Metaverse is that everyone is an avatar. In the Metaverse, talent trumps any bias, including physical appearance. The Metaverse opens up an entirely new parallel economy for participants willing to immerse themselves in the global communities they are building. Now is the time for women to take risks and get in.
This article was co-authored by Janine Yorio and Julia Schwartz.
This article does not provide investment advice or recommendations. Every step of investing and trading involves risk, and readers should do their own research when making a decision. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Janine Yorio is co-head of Republic Realm, a Metaverse / NFT innovation and investment platform. She was previously the CEO of Compound. Janine holds a BA from Yale University.
Julia Schwartz is the director of Republic Realm, a Metaverse / NFT innovation and investment platform. Before that, she was Head of Investor Relations at Neuberger Berman Private Equity. Julia holds a BA from Georgetown University.