Where Founders, VCs, Creators, and Journalists Collide

In Toronto’s Distillery District

In my last post, I offered some personal observations and select conversations from several media panels at the 2022 Collision Conference, which just concluded in Toronto. Here I’d like to share some memorable moments, which included taking the ContentMakers Stage alongside three path-breaking entrepreneurs who built their companies by helping gamers and influencers monetize their pastimes/passions.

“Play to Earn” w/ Himler, Kom, Chen and Ing (l. to r.)
Full House at the ContentMakers Stage

The above video captures the session I moderated titled “Play-to-Earn: Creative Ways to Make Money.” It featured Carina Kom of MixMob who’s “been in the gaming industry for about 15 years,” Nick Chen, co-founder and CEO of Pico, and Peter Ing, founder of BlockchainSpace.

The conversation ran the gamut from:

  • What societal good does the gaming industry provide?
  • Is being an “influencer” a noble profession to aspire to?
  • Will TikTok put Insty or Facebook out of business?
  • How can gaming platforms reduce female-directed toxicity?
  • Please define the metaverse.
  • Has the recent downturn in the value of cryptocurrency affected your business?
  • Is Asia ahead of the curve when it comes to trends in the metaverse?

I also had a chance to sit down with another forward-thinker, who’s actually paid for being one. Edwin Wong is senior vice president of Insights and Innovation for Vox Media. Below he is introducing the “2022 Breakthrough Brands” — Arcadia and Park — on Collision’s Panda Stage. Alongside Mr. Wong was Naeri Zargarian, Brand Strategy Director at Interbrand.

On the big screen: Wong and Zargarian

Edwin and I had a fabulous conversation, which I captured on video from a private room in Collision’s exceedingly noisy Speaker’s Lounge. We talked about fragmented media, paywalled media, the success of Vox Media where others have struggled including Edwin’s former employers Buzzfeed and HuffingtonPost, why he’s based in L.A. and not NYC, and Kara Swisher‘s recent decision to leave The New York Times and put more of her eggs in Jim Bankoff’s basket at Vox.

We also talked about a recent study on the metaverse that Vox co-commissioned with UTA in which it was learned that:

  • The metaverse is an “ideal way” for franchises to engage with fans.
  • Legacy Hollywood studios and other entertainment players are exploring Web3 opportunities.
  • Nearly nine out of 10 people polled said they’d visit a metaverse centered on a favorite celebrity.

More in this (paywalled) Insider piece.

Sounds good, right? Well, not exactly. The sound on our video repartée didn’t make the cut. Next time I’ll be sure to bring my Blue Yeti microphone to the party! Thanks, Edwin, for taking the time. I’ll be keeping an eye on Vox’s robust media portfolio and your work there.

Finally, what would the Collision Conference (or Web Summit) be without the private, invite-only evening gatherings for speakers and media? I did attend one where I caught up with Recode Media’s Peter Kafka, USA Today’s Rob Pergoraro, MIT Technology Review’s editorial director for audio/live events Jennifer Strong, and NYTimes’s fabled, beret-wearing tech contributor Don Clark.

I also enjoyed chatting up BLM activist Deray McKesson at the bar aI also enjoyed chatting up BLM activist Deray McKesson at the bar and meeting Carolyn Childers and Lindsay Kaplan, co-founders of Chief, the private network for executive women that offers resources and support to advance their careers. Of course, this old guy benefitted from such largesse by accepting their offer of an Uber ride back to the hotel.

Next up: Web Summit in November.

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