Meet The Disruptors: Brian Shuster Of Utherverse On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Real disruptors don’t often get good advice because they are the ones forging their own path. The best advice is the advice I’ve given to myself– Every idea doesn’t pan out to be good, you have to fail a lot and recognize what’s going to succeed as early as possible. The key is being able to discern an outcome as early as you can and you hone that skill through trying and failing.

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Shuster.

Brian Shuster is a pioneer of the internet and the Founder & CEO of He has developed more than 100 patents and pending patents to core internet technologies and the metaverse.

Shuster is a legacy developer and has committed to creating an online virtual community in the metaverse called Utherverse. As a visionary and lead innovator for the internet since the 90’s, key IP and 17 years in the metaverse, he’s learned from the trials of the early internet and mastered the technology needed to build a thriving metaverse. Shuster’s aspirations for the Utherverse are to help undo the damage done by social media, demonstrate the successful application of methods and metaverse technology, as well as provide an open, safe, welcoming platform to nurture community and the economy of the future. He is truly a disruptor and a Web3 radical.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I was introduced to the internet back in 1994, at the time I was an internationally syndicated newspaper cartoonist and I jumped on the web thinking it’s a great way for people in cities where my comic wasn’t in their paper to access and enjoy my comic on a daily basis. I realized that the internet was a great medium for commercial exploitation so I founded World Wide Internet Network–my first web company — I developed the first banner ads and an aggregation tool to aggregate thousands of small and medium sized websites so that I could have a large enough audience to interest advertisers and get into the market space. We activated the internet and commercialized the web.

With my introduction of banner advertising, many websites went from being loss centers to profit centers. Within 18 months we were generating about 10 million dollars a month –we spent this on expanding and upgrading which had an amplifying effect on the internet. We developed the full foundation for web 1.0 and then started thinking about what’s next, which was social media and web 2.0.

As web 2.0 rolled out we started to think about synchronization of communication which is where web 3.0 comes into the picture–the best of online gaming and the best of the internet to create massive, multi-user online reality for things like concerts, conventions, real estate. These are all things you couldn’t do on the flat web but are becoming a reality through what I call web 3.D.

By 2005 our technology stack was mature enough to be released as Utherverse. Ever since our launch our mission has been to transition the web to web 3.D. As a theoretical physicist, I am solution oriented. My overall career path and goal has been driven by the need to see each other as human beings. I realized more than 20 years ago that we need to use technology to eliminate most people’s motivation for hating other people. We need to use technology to come to the realization that all life is connected, being able to see each other and connect as human beings–with empathy. I want accountability towards each other and for people to view each other in community.

In order to preserve and improve the course of humanity we need to be accountable to each other and in my belief, the way we will achieve this is through seeing and communicating with each other with empathy. When it is thoughtfully implemented, technology can enable people to feel good because they are able to do good things with it–especially if they are in a vibrant, positive online community.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We are taking technology from being this flat, asynchronous communication tool and totally transforming these experiences where you feel like you’re really experiencing things with other people. My work is concerned with an unbounded experience–these new technological experiences can feel genuine and positive. Building a metaverse is disruptive because we can use it to democratize experiences that were once limited to class and geography. It is disruptive because it empowers people and is totally deflationary. You can go shopping without harming the environment, you can attend the very best university through your avatar for pennies instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars, you can experience world-class entertainment as if you were a billionaire from anywhere in the world. It is a great equalizer.

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?

My mistake wasn’t very funny but the lesson that I learned is that you don’t only need to worry about your competition, you need to worry about the people that you think are on your side.

My first internet company grew too fast, we went from a $700 investment to doing $10 Million dollars a month in 18 months. The banks and credit card companies didn’t understand what we were doing, they didn’t understand the internet in those days, so instead of being a supportive part of my company’s infrastructure, they became a major obstacle that got in the way of further success. I brought banner ads to the internet–the first advertising dollars on the internet, this turned into e-commerce. We encountered “friendly fraud” due to the lack of security infrastructure on the cards. We asked for a range of fraud prevention tools but our requests were ignored and, because of the fraud, the credit card companies would subject us to fines and penalties without telling our company.

The lesson I learned from this is that competition is great–it expands the market. There’s always room to make a scenario win-win, even with competitors. It isn’t the competition that you always need to be worried about though. Sometimes those that are an integral part of your business will do you in. You need to watch your core, because when things go wrong they can go really wrong.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

When we were really blowing up I hired this guy Ed Rollins, he was the Chief of Staff for Ronald Regan. He became my CEO coach and he gave me a great piece of advice that has made a huge impact on me. He told me that as the CEO of a company, I’m the visionary — but 50% of my time should be spent by myself, thinking. I always make it a point to ponder in the evening and make sure to take time to think about what happened during the day. I’ll often come to very important conclusions and end up finding ways to make sure my team is efficient.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Change for the sake of change is not good. Disrupting is just a word. When it means making something more efficient, it’s always a positive for the disruptor–market forces will always naturally tend toward more efficiency. Sometimes institutions thrive on a lack of efficiency. Disrupting is good as a long term outcome but creates problems for those that rely on the current structure.

Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

I feel like I’ve been swimming against the current for my entire career. I was pitching the internet to venture capitalists and was told that the internet was a fad–nobody understood it. I am my own best council here.

Real disruptors don’t often get good advice because they are the ones forging their own path. The best advice is the advice I’ve given to myself– Every idea doesn’t pan out to be good, you have to fail a lot and recognize what’s going to succeed as early as possible. The key is being able to discern an outcome as early as you can and you hone that skill through trying and failing.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

I am building a whole new connective interface for the web. I am pretty booked up on that but I am also shaking things up in other ways. I have solved a massive physics equation and am going to release an animated series called “Physics Unraveled,” we are in production right now and at the end of it I will be solving an equation Einstein was working on for his entire life–unifying electromagnetism and gravity. I am also releasing a cannabis accessory that totally transforms the way cannabis is consumed called the Helium Haze. It is massively different from anything that currently exists–it’s in production right now.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

When I was young, I used to be frightened of death and wanted to live for as long as possible. I came to terms with mortality with this book called “Conversations With God” and my takeaway from that book was that when religion says God is everywhere, in a sense that’s really true–in a sense we are God and we are the universe, we are matter and if you consider that all matter is truly the divine, then we are the consciousness of the divine. The universe has come alive through us being self aware. As a collective, the universe continues to exist even if we are only here for a short period of time. This ties back to a lot of my motivations to build out a metaverse where we are all interconnected.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” — John F. Kennedy

Doing things that are easy is living a life of boredom. Doing the hard thing is gratifying and gives your life purpose. I apply that quote to most of the work I do and the solutions I explore.

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. 🙂

The movement I want to inspire is to mobilize good hearted people in the community I have built to be altruistic and empathetic. If you are empathetic and you care about other people–that is the highest calling. If your heart is in the right place you will leverage your intelligence for good. That’s how we build ourselves and gain completeness. I would like to inspire compassion and feel blessed to have an opportunity to improve peoples’ lives.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow my company’s work @utherverse and you can follow me on Twitter @Brian_Shuster

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

Meet The Disruptors: Brian Shuster Of Utherverse On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your… 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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