Metaverses
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Metaverses

Into the Metaverse

Moving on… and coming full circle.

Contemplation © 2021

Today is my last day at Unity. After five and half years I have decided to join the Great Resignation. It’s time to go back into the wild.

I signed on at Unity in 2016 to help accelerate the company’s expansion beyond its core gaming business, powering industries ranging from manufacturing and construction to advertising and e-commerce. These efforts are well underway, and the company continues to be uniquely positioned as the leader in real-time 3D, the next evolution in computing. Throughout my tenure, I traveled the world spreading the good word of immersive technology and got to see some of the coolest new tech. Oh and of course, there were the friends I made along the way.

AWE USA 2021 with creative industry leading lights Catherine Henry and Keith Soljacich.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. Though it’s been a wonderful ride, it’s time to say goodbye to my Unity fam and return to where my tech career kicked into high gear: the Metaverse. The energy and passion happening in this space is impossible to resist, and with my background and bona fides, I may have a thing or two to contribute to this next wave.

The siren calls.

At the same time, I am also being pulled back into a lifelong passion that I have neglected for far too long: music. I have been making music since I could walk — literally. I even chose it as my original course of university study. Midway through a program at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I made the painful decision to switch careers and pursue a more lucrative and less risky route. A few years down the line, I got my computer science degree and began a thirty-year career in software.

During that entire span I never strayed too far from music. I play several instruments, compose, and sing. Since the 90’s, most of that has been for a select group of friends and family, though occasionally I would bust out large-scale projects for big audiences: Jesus Christ Superstar in the desert; David Bowie tributes on San Francisco’s largest stages. At this point, I actually have a substantial body of my own original work that I want to share with the world, including musicals, individual compositions and collections. (Check out the website for my opera, Judgment Day, below.)

I am super excited to reconnect with my music roots and nurture more of my creative side. But that doesn’t mean that I am abandoning tech. For my next act, I will integrate these disparate parts of myself. I believe with every fiber of my being in the idea of an open Metaverse, controlled by no one and for the good of all, and I intend to focus my professional activities in the tech world toward that goal through a combination of thought leadership and consulting with leading companies in technology and media.

An open Metaverse is only as good as what it embodies and who it serves. In my view, it must be creator-driven and value citizens first. Web3 is commanding attention precisely because of the tech overreaches of Web2. Creators worldwide are casting off the shackles of the big platforms, and alongside them are the users of those platforms who no longer want to be tracked, mined for data and manipulated. The very future of information is at stake — if not that of our entire species given the current trajectory. It’s time for massive, systemic change, and it’s happening as we speak. The only way out of this Web2 mess is through, to the Metaverse.

Image: Shubham Dhage

For my part, I could just write about these ideas; but thankfully I am able to do a lot more. I plan to eat my own cooking this time around. I will be focused on helping build technologies, tools, platforms and services that support the creator economy — because now I am the creator economy. I will be releasing music, visual art and interactive content on Web3 marketplaces while keeping a close eye on companies that fundamentally change the creator-consumer value proposition in a way that reestablishes a proper balance.

I’m also putting my money where my mouth is: I have joined ME Ventures, a newly formed early-stage fund, as an advisor and limited partner, to help a new generation of technology innovators change the game for musicians and other creators. It’s pretty obvious that we are in the stone tools phase of Web3 and there is much room for improvement; it will be up to this next crop of entrepreneurs to build a new version of the Web to last.

Unity believes that the world is a better place with more creators in it. It’s the mantra that gets us out of bed every day and keeps us focused on the prize. Well, now the world has one more creator. So while I’m sad to be saying farewell, it’s also time to move on, and go all in… to the Metaverse.

See you there.

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Tony Parisi

Tony Parisi

Metaverse OG. Entrepreneur. Investor. Co-Creator, VRML & glTF. Head of XR Ads/E-Commerce, Unity Technologies. Pre-apocalyptic author. Music. @auradeluxe