Makers of The Metaverse: Steve Stein Of XMANNA On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality Industries
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Knowledge — an interesting aspect we are seeing today is that in addition to formal education, new technologies are actually based on a lot of self education and accumulating knowledge. Do you use these technologies? Do you understand what they can offer? With creating new technologies and innovation, constantly learning is key.
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 Steve Stein.
Steve has over 20 years of experience in leading companies in Finance, Tech, Real-estate and now Blockchain. With a unique expertise in commodities and currencies, and a passion for helping sales organizations to overachieve, Steve has been able to push for collaborations with organizations such as Inter Miami CF, foreseeing the potential for sports in the Metaverse.
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 initially grew up in a very supportive home, with strong messages of perseverance and hard work. I was taught by my father to always aim higher than what you think you’re capable of achieving. Growing up in an environment where I learned that anything is possible through hard work, perseverance, kindness and passion was incredibly foundational to me. So I try to embody these messages into everything that I do in my life.
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?
I would say my parents have had the most significant impact on my life and ethos over any book or piece of media, to be honest. Watching my parents show so much kindness to strangers and friends, helping out in our community and providing financial aid to strangers impacted me a lot. From them, I learned that the most important thing in life is the people around you, both family and community, so I would say they were the most impactful to me.
Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in the X Reality industry? We’d love to hear it.
There isn’t a particularly specific story, but I think that understanding a decentralized ecosystem and the benefits of a business model that is conducive to community-building has led me to this path. I’m really fascinated by the future of the internet and understanding what that could look like in terms of experiences and how people interact with it, that inspired me to be part of that change.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?
I would have to say the first call we ever had with our lead advisor from GD10. We conducted a 40-minute call showcasing our product and fielding questions with the investor. At the end of the call, he gives us a mile-long list of tasks, changes, and restructures for us to implement and hangs up the phone without another word. Safe to say we were a bit taken aback with the very blunt feedback, and questioned whether we wanted to have the investor on board with the project. But we re-evaluated what he proposed, and the changes did make sense so we implemented them right away. On a follow-up call a few days later, he was blown away when we revealed that we had already implemented his suggestions in such a quick turnaround, and his surprise turned into millions for us. What we thought was a very different and blunt meeting turned out to give us support from our most incredible investors, and we showed that we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty when it comes to addressing issues in the company.
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?
The funniest mistake was when I called a sports club, and for preparation purposes, I researched their gate numbers to see their game attendance. When I got on the call with the club, I politely pointed out these figures thinking they realized their attendance was not as high as they wanted and how we could help with that. Long story short, they did not particularly appreciate the feedback and thought I was insulting their business, so you can imagine how the rest of the call went. While it was an embarrassing moment, especially as my team heard this verbal lashing on speakerphone, we are actually now in partnership negotiations with the same team three years later.
The fact is, a person’s success is not determined by their wins, but by how they handle failures. Making mistakes will always happen in business, but learning from them is how you succeed in the long-term. While the moment with the team was embarrassing, it allowed me to re-evaluate our approach and our services when partnering with teams, which ultimately made us into a better company.
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?
I can’t name everyone, but I’m incredibly grateful for all our employees and developers behind the scenes that are building this project from the ground-up. But two key people I can name would be my mother, first and foremost, for always being there and her incredible support. The other person I’m very grateful for would be my partner Gabi, who has always trusted me, listened to me and has got us where we need to be since the beginning. There are lots of particular stories that I could share and I will share them one day.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, The MannaVerse, where our business model is based on an ownership economy by rewarding those that contribute value into the ecosystem. XMANNA sees themselves as the Intel Chip inside a computer that helps make it better, faster and stronger — the essence is creating the underlying infrastructure that powers mega-content metaverse that is powered by amazing partners, who help bring in the critical elements of premium live events to the virtual world with venues, artists and more.
The plan is to continue and spread across the sports network worldwide and to provide products that enhance the sports experience for fans, while continuing to build the Mannaverse and making continuous partnerships to fuel content within it. Our goal is to simply make our token very useful and beneficial for gaming and enhancement of XMANNA products with access, discounts and even the opportunity to help support ecosystem projects before they are released.
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?
The three most exciting things that excite me in these industries are NFTs, which have evolved beyond just collectibles. NFTs can make a real impact in mixed realities and augmented reality in addition to the ownership economy. I think that they are key in the future of the internet in terms of experience, and can signify both physical and virtual products while users experience an all-encompassing digital world. In terms of the ownership economy, it allows regular people to create value from revenues generated from a company, generating passive income for potentially millions of people. Bringing all these components to market with technology that is truly immersive would be an incredible step for spearheading the next phase of the internet. Additionally, I also think gamification is vital in these industries, particularly with engaging users and earning rewards. People have a preconceived notion about advertising and that they will pay not to see it. I think that utilizing gamification can bridge that gap in getting users over the entry barrier of advertising in order to use services, and in turn, making it more effective. Adding in the possibilities of gamification provides a way for both users and companies to see rewards through interactive advertising.
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?
VR, AR and MR technologies are changing our world. As they become more powerful, coupled with better software and development, there will be more and more use cases for these immersive technologies. As the awareness of AR and MR apps increases, there is a growing demand for companies that provide these services.and I think that the biggest challenge will be the actual migration from 2 dimensions into the web3.0. It will be a whole new ecosystem that will be to be built from scratch and can not be migrated, any business that fails to spot this shift on time is risking becoming the next blockbuster.
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?
AR, VR and MR are relatively new technologies as far as their practical application and utility is concerned. Many industries and companies, especially the small to mid-sized companies, do not have the technical expertise or the proper SDK / software to develop AR / MR applications.
But we are already seeing first signs of adoption in a few industries: automobile, manufacturing, aerospace and of course, retail. Furniture shops allow you to virtually choose the furniture you like and visualize how they will look in your home settings, you can shift objects to different locations and purchase them instantaneously. Some fashion houses allow you to virtually try on a dress without having to go to the dressing room. This is a real use of the technology at work, and it’s only the beginning.
Are there other ways that VR, AR and MR can improve our lives? Can you explain?
While AR and VR have been around for a number of years, mixed reality is relatively new.
Mixed Reality (MR) interfaces combine real and virtual settings in various ways to enable psychological immersion in a setting that blends physical and digital phenomena. For example, an outdoor augmented reality (AR) experience using mobile devices can superimpose information, simulations, and videos through the camera lens view to create natural phenomena effect. This interaction between the interactive world and the physical world is what we call mixed reality (MR). Most businesses these days are exploring, piloting, or deploying mixed reality, and I personally believe that mixed reality is crucial in achieving those strategic goals. By creating a new and improved experience in all aspects of our lives, from shopping and entertainment to medicine and well being we will all find a way to improve our lives using this technology.
Just imagine a world where all of the value that you create in society would be recognized and rewarded for your contribution. From buying groceries to paying your electricity bill or buying an upgrade on your game or even attending live events. People are not attached to the value they create in society and using these new technologies, people can begin to attach themselves to the value they create.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about working in your industry? Can you explain what you mean?
We don’t believe in funny money, we believe in building technology first and tokenizing after to create a true utility.
The other element I would like to dispel is the concept of an NFT. Most people see an NFT and think of a digital collectible, but the potential for them is so much greater than that. When I hear NFT, I think of house keys or proof of citizenship, among other things that can be securely digitized. NFTs give people the ability to utilize them in a brand new way when they have utility attached to them.
What are your “5 Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Career In The VR, AR or MR Industries?”
1. Passion — being excited about creating the future is a basic element. Do you think the metaverse is the next greatest development being created? Do you believe that VR and AR can bring value? Do you have a passion to be involved in creating innovation in these fields? — then you are on the right track.
2. Knowledge — an interesting aspect we are seeing today is that in addition to formal education, new technologies are actually based on a lot of self education and accumulating knowledge. Do you use these technologies? Do you understand what they can offer? With creating new technologies and innovation, constantly learning is key.
3. Integrity — in any career actually, your ability to bring real value is crucial. First of all, being a person with a strong moral compass is crucial.
4. The ability to deliver on time — because the world is developing so fast, and so is the competition, the need to deliver high quality products, on a timely basis is key. In addition to having great ideas, the need to implement and deliver is critical.
5. Originality — when creating innovation and the future, in a fast shifting reality, you need to be able to think outside the box — create original solutions, find better ways to do things, connect in new ways with your users and partners. We want the future to be better — so creating solutions that haven’t been implemented before is key.
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. 🙂
I think if I can inspire anybody to do something it would be to show kindness to another person. Not because someone is watching, not for financial gain, but because in that moment you recognize another human being in need. I think that if people just take a minute to show kindness to another person, the world can be a much better place. Kindness doesn’t cost you anything except for some energy and heart, but the impact of it is contagious and extends beyond one person.
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 🙂
I’m going to go with a historical figure here and say Abraham Lincoln, one of my personal heroes. He believed in our God-given rights, our freedoms, and how these freedoms must be protected while creating a better environment for all. This is really what XMANNA stands for in creating an environment that’s beneficial for everyone.
Thank you so much for these excellent stories and insights. We wish you continued success on your great work!
Makers of The Metaverse: Steve Stein Of XMANNA On The Future Of The VR, AR & Mixed Reality… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.