‘My title was non-negotiable’: A Q&A with Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer at Journey

About the past calendar year, a new type of CMO has started to just take maintain in the C-suites of media and tech businesses: the main metaverse officer. Telefónica, the Spanish telecommunications corporation, hired a chief metaverse officer in March Disney tapped a former theme park govt to head up its metaverse office in February and in June, Publicis brought on a chief metaverse officer of its have — although the government was a digital avatar, not a serious particular person.

Inspite of this inflow of C-Metaverse-Os, these are still the early days of the metaverse. Handful of people have an understanding of what the metaverse truly is, and even less are definitely outfitted to deal with an govt job focused to this new sector. It is rapidly starting to be imperative for organizations to bring their metaverse expertise in-home — but it is nonetheless to be established irrespective of whether chief metaverse officers will turn out to be common or go the way of other since-neglected buzzword-based C-stage positions of yrs previous, these as the chief social media officer or chief brand security officer.


CMO need to-haves: technical understanding of enabling technologies and resources, concentrate on business and strategy, more youthful point of view Industries investing in this type of CMO: gaming, know-how, fashion, layout

To discover the history, obligations and opportunity future of this new assortment of CMO, Digiday spoke with 1 of the couple specialists who is unequivocally certified for this sort of a function: Cathy Hackl, the co-founder and main metaverse officer at the innovation and structure consultancy Journey.

Hackl entered the metaverse business long in advance of the expression entered the zeitgeist past calendar year. Prior to her time at Journey, she experienced stints as a VR/AR qualified and futurist for providers such as HTC, Oculus, Magic Leap and Amazon. But her most convincing qualification for the job may possibly be her bona fide link to metaverse people: she’s the mother of three metaverse-native young children, together with a 10-12 months-old who runs his possess Roblox business.

This 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-connected industries for more than eight many years I labored at HTC Vive as a VR evangelist all through the company’s partnership with Spielberg’s adaptation of Completely ready Participant A person I went over to Magic Leap and worked there as an organization strategist for two decades. Obviously, the chief futurist at Magic Leap at that time was Neal Stephenson, who coined the time period. Then I went over to Amazon World wide web Providers, then eventually remaining to develop Futures Intelligence Group, which is a metaverse and Web3 advisory for brand names and organizations attempting to enter the house, which was obtained by Journey at the conclude of previous calendar year.

When I developed Futures Intelligence Team, I made a decision, “I’m the CEO, the founder, but what am I actually carrying out in this article?” So I chose the title main metaverse officer. A person of the reasons I use that title is to start off a discussion all over who is heading to take care of the metaverse — what does it suggest? I believe the men and women that are likely to take care of metaverse initiatives need to have to have a wide range of expertise, but what I have witnessed is a large amount of discussion all-around it. But I do think another person in the C-suite is going to have to regulate this, and I personally believe that that it’s not only a marketing issue. This goes over and above that. When I bought acquired by Journey, I said that my title was non-negotiable — you’re obtaining a metaverse company here.

Does it have to be referred to as chief metaverse officer? I really do not know — each and every organization is going to come across what feels more comfy to them.

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

So you foresee that more corporations will be producing this posture, or one particular comparable to it, in the in close proximity to upcoming?

Yeah, and I think you are now observing it. Does it have to be called main metaverse officer? I really do not know — each individual business is heading to come across what feels far more comfortable to them. That becoming explained, a pair a long time back, if you requested an individual about a chief electronic officer or chief information officer, they would have been like, “we really do not will need that, which is ridiculous.” So I believe factors evolve, but another person inside of the org will have to deal with some of the factors that arrive with the metaverse.

What are the most vital skills for a chief metaverse officer?

I’m really method-pushed, extremely business-targeted. That mentioned, I have large knowledge in numerous of the systems: virtual reality, spatial computing, augmented actuality, cloud computing. So I come to feel that the persons that are going to fill these roles are likely to have, on some amount, a specialized being familiar with of the enabling technologies. Some are going to be more robust perhaps on the AR and VR facet, some are going to be more robust on the Net3 facet, some may possibly be stronger in gaming, but there does need to have to be some comprehension of the present-day applications.

Which sectors do you foresee will employ far more main metaverse officers in these early times?

Fashion is the place I’m seeing a ton of this start out to materialize. They’re heading to appear from gaming, they’re likely to appear from AR and VR, they are likely to occur from Net3. What differentiates a person that can direct this functionality is becoming that connector, that translator of sorts concerning the specialized and the business aspect.

Will we start to see Gen Z and Gen Alpha metaverse natives leapfrog the corporate ladder to occupy this style of role?

Why not? In some cases, the smartest man or woman in the home may well be the youngest human being. I’m not likely to say that a 15-calendar year-outdated is likely to become a main metaverse officer, but I assume that there are going to be selected factors that the Gen Zs that are coming into the workforce are likely to have an understanding of on a pretty different degree. My son’s to start with concert was Lil Nas X in Roblox — it wasn’t at a stadium, like you and me. He speaks about that in the initially human being: “I saw Nas, I was there.” To them, it’s not about the actual physical world and the digital environment. Every little thing is genuine, it’s just various. Gen-Alpha’s actuality is extremely blurry.

I’ve acquired a Gen Z/Gen Alpha, and then I’ve received two Gen Alphas, and it absolutely adjustments my perspective. I see how they interact with these systems, what they’re encountering, how they’re creating, how they are planet-setting up, what gaming usually means to them from a social and identity viewpoint. So it informs a lot of what I do, and a whole lot of what I do is for them simply because I want to make a superior long term for them.