An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Leadership — If you are running a company or an employee of one, the key to success is feeling comfortable with yourself when you have leading roles and responsibilities to your people.

The Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality & Mixed Reality Industries are so exciting. What is coming around the corner? How will these improve our lives? What are the concerns we should keep an eye out for? Aside from entertainment, how can VR or AR help work or other parts of life? To address this, we had the pleasure of interviewing Roberto DaCosta — Founder of VR Networking.

Roberto is a 30 year old entrepreneur from NYC on a mission to help business owners all over the world connect, build, and grow in ways never thought of before. He ran his own marketing and branding agency up until the pandemic where he, like many of others, started to struggle. Using what skills he learned from his business, and a new Oculus Quest 2 Headset on hand, he found new hope in building his network with his own business networking community in the Metaverse.

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Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory and how you grew up?

I was born in Brazil and migrated to New York as a child. We were poor, and my parents sacrificed everything for me and my sister, I mean EVERYTHING. It was the right thing to do to help us live a better life. I remember having dreams of America in my sleep and imagining I could have all the toys and games I wanted, also playing in the snow! Being raised in a family that struggled but consistently worked on developing a better future was hands down the best thing for me and molded who I am today. I am forever grateful to my parents and grandparents for their part in making me. Everything I do to become the best person I can be is in reverence and in debt, in a way, for the sacrifice my family made for me.

Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

When I was in my late teens, I read “The Book of Secrets” by Deepak Chopra. I wasn’t heavily religious but I was spiritual and had my personal beliefs on why we are here. This book helped me be more centered in my life. This lead me to a path of self discovery, self compassion, and self mastery. From then on I have worked hard on my self development, that got me to where I am today.

Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in the X Reality industry? We’d love to hear it.

Yes! Believe it or not, as a child still living in Brazil, one of those dreams of having all the toys I wanted was the vision of me playing in virtual reality. I don’t remember the movie I watched but it helped me form these ideas that when I would be older I will be playing in VR. I thought I would have to be rich to own all those futuristic toys. From that belief I had set up in my mind that I needed to be a business owner. Now I am one, and I am living that childhood dream that I had back in Brazil in my sleep.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?

There isn’t one particular story that is the “most” interesting per se. You know, the more I think about it, the more the whole store becomes the most interesting thing. It’s really the sum of many small disconnected sequence of events that people usually just brush off as a “nothing” event, but if you paid close attention, the magic of what we do in VR Networking is to make insignificant meetings and connections that lead to a higher potential. When we think “Oh wow that meeting was amazing! I am so glad I met that person!” we tend to overlook HOW we even got in the same circle of connections to find that awesome opportunity. You knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone that now put you on. It’s all amazing and interesting.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I can tell you, I hate being in the lime light, and starting a community in VR where now I had hundreds of people every week come and listen to me M.C. events was funny to me. I thought many times, how could anyone take me seriously when I fumble so much on a stage, and I sound like a child presenting at a science fair that I had not prepare for. Stage fright was a real big deal to overcome. Being in front of a camera or an audience still scares me. I learned though that even though the fear is the same, I grew larger than the fear. It’s a much smaller animal to me now and I feel really accomplished by that!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

So many people come to mind it’s unfair to pick one. In particular, though, a dear friend and mentor to me that I met through networking in NYC is Joe Rojas. He’s an amazing person and business coach, and over an 8 month period while I was studying with him at Start Grow Manage (his entrepreneur company) he helped me hone in on what I needed to be focusing on throughout my first year in developing VR Networking. I can say, without a doubt, if it wasn’t for Joe, I wouldn’t have been this far ahead. People wouldn’t have believed in me or my vision. We sat down and ran through the entire process on how to stay focused on what’s most important and how to organize each step. Everything was calculated and planned out. I still use all the knowledge and systems that he taught me and will continue to do for the rest of my life. He’s a life changer and that entrepreneur group was a key to my success.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Running business events in virtual reality is a new format for this whole industry, and there is much to learn and much still to be developed. All of our events and new programs are exciting and fun. We have all sorts of engaging events being worked on by a team of 12 people who took on leadership roles in this community. I think that’s the most exciting project, team development with people literally from around the world. We are all working together to create fun, interactive and educational events for business owners to attend, enjoy, and to come together so that they can continue networking in a fundamentally new way.

Ok super. Thank you for all that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. The VR, AR and MR industries seem so exciting right now. What are the 3 things in particular that most excite you about the industry? Can you explain or give an example?

You can bet on one thing, VR is going to completely change how we connect and meet new people. The first thing I will touch on is business connections. VR will allow business owners to meet each other instantly and connect on new partnerships, find clients, build referral systems, and most importantly help each other learn. The power of connection in virtual reality is unreal, and it can only be understood when you jump into a social VR experience yourself.

The second thing is community and events. In VR there is no limit to how many people can be in one space at one time, other than hardware limitation. Once we resolve the hardware problem you can bet there will be concerts and events like TED speakers presenting in front of millions, maybe tens of millions of people at one time, live. With this capability you will see community growth and the power of people with similar interest and goals like never before. Thats what we are focused on in VR Networking, we have the first business community in VR and plan on being the place to go, globally, for your networking and business Metaverse marketing needs.

Lastly would be marketing. In VR you can expect the standard ads on the wall, and video commercials popping into your view while you travel from world to world, or app to app. But the cool thing that most people aren’t seeing is the commoditization of influencer/community marketing. Now more than ever the power of marketing has been transfered into the hands of normal every day people. Brands are partnering up with TikTok users left and right to get their product in front of their followers. This market is only getting stronger, and by the time VR is in every home or 1 or 3 people own a headset, brands will focus less and less on the cost per click and more on the ROI of people within communities that hold some social significance or following.

What are the 3 things that concern you about the VR, AR and MR industries? Can you explain? What can be done to address those concerns?

Lack of content is one major pain point. Social VR has a huge potential to become one of the top mediums where people get their daily dose of content, even now in its inception. People are missing the point that they can organize and monetize in these spaces so they aren’t thinking large enough. So start planning a content strategy and community development strategy.

The lack of tools to market that content out keeps communities spread thin so there isn’t a large push to get more people to adopt the medium. I know for a fact that people will not jump into new tech just for any old reason. We need to have people there to connect with, and content that we can relate to. So my main focus is to share with the world more broadly how VR can help business owners connect and market in VR and we will slowly but surly start a cascade effect by bring more and more businesses into virtual worlds, meetups, conferences and shows we host.

Lastly, the biggest pain point is the size and weight of a VR headset. If we want grandma Sally and the rest of her family to join in on a family hangout session in VR because the family lives far from one another, we will need headsets that feel comfortable, have a lasting battery, look less bulky, and can easily be carried around. I believe these problems all rely on each other to exist, and if we were able to remove one of them, the rest would also vanish soon after.

I think the entertainment aspects of VR, AR and MR are apparent. Can you share with our readers how these industries can help us at work?

Sure, first let’s look at retention rate for a VR event. We have looked at our numbers, and our attendees retention rate is mid 90% for the first 60 minutes. To give some context, the above average quality Youtube channel videos have a retention rate of around 65% on an 11 minute video. That means more than half of people watching leave that video after only about 6 minutes. If you add the fact that learning memory retention rate in VR is 75% compared to a live lecture (5%) and reading (10%) you start to see why hosting business courses and classes in VR could fundamentally change how people learn about business and how quickly they could pick up and use their new found skills. Thats why at the center of VR Networking we wanted to have a core team of business professionals and executive coaches to help our community members make their businesses better from attending our VR Networking events.

Are there other ways that VR, AR and MR can improve our lives? Can you explain?

So many ways… One of the things I am looking forward to is the ability to hang out with my family all while living in different states and countries. Some of my family is in Florida, some in New York, and some in Brazil and Europe. I would love to have time with them “in person” whenever I felt like it. VR and AR is a connection tool. It puts people together in person, on demand.

What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about working in your industry? Can you explain what you mean?

Yes, that VR is for games and children. Both of these are wrong. VR can be a tool for many people to simply have fun and connect with others, or get away from reality for a while. It can and will also be a heavy business communication and marketing tool in the next few years.

What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The VR, AR or MR Industries?”

Creativity — This is a new world and a new medium, the old way of thinking with 2D platforms will become secondary, so you’ll need your grey matter more than before for this.

A Team — Creating a successful community, business, or product for VR is a much heavier lift in general than our current market demands. Having a team of highly effective and skilled people around you is critical to growth in this space.

People Skills — Social VR is all about people getting together for the sole purpose of being around people. You need to know how to navigate a ton of different personalities.

Leadership — If you are running a company or an employee of one, the key to success is feeling comfortable with yourself when you have leading roles and responsibilities to your people.

Mentors — You need a circle of professionals around you who you look up to and who you can count on in giving you the right course corrections when you need it most. Mentors help clear your mind when you are foggy and help you become a better leader.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This idea is deeply rooted in my philosophy for VR Networking. Everything we are has very little to do seeking referrals, finding clients, and making more money. Of course that is what we are all in business for but it is a secondary thought. We focus on one question only which is “how can I help you?”. Our community thrives on this and we plan on fundamentally changing networking by making networking and business events free globally, and producing the largest network group in the world.

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

That could only be Gary Vaynerchuk. He embodies everything we are here doing. Bringing people up by caring for them and doing cool things for our communities at the same time!

Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success on your great work!

Makers of The Metaverse: Roberto DaCosta Of VR Networking Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality Industries was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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