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Virtual reality is coming.

It’s not just for video games. It’s not just science fiction. We already live in virtual worlds. Look around you. Everyone has their face buried in their phone screen.

What will simply happen is the screen will no longer be something you hold in your hands. The awkward straps and head gear you see with early virtual reality devices is not how it’s always going to be.

Computers used to be the size of a city block. People thought a computer would never, ever fit inside a home.

The inevitability is that virtual reality will become more seamless, effortless to use, prevalent, and get closer and closer to looking like real life.

It doesn’t matter whether you like the idea of it or not. This is the future you will live in. And it’s not something you can put off thinking about.

You need to be preparing right now. If you want to succeed in an increasingly digital world, there are things you need to be doing right now to prepare.

You need to be able to interact with humans and do it well. You need to be able to present yourself with confidence and speak fluently. All technology does is make human interactions more seamless. The eventuality is that online human conversations will become indistinguishable from face-to-face interaction.

In this episode, we paint a picture of the future you’ll live in and give you some practical things you can, and should, be doing today if you want to succeed.

Highlights, Takeaways, Quick Wins
  • Virtual reality is going to strip away everything that allows you to hide.
  • The virtual world is going to get more and more seamless.
  • As time goes by, virtual reality will get closer and closer to resembling real life.
  • The opportunity to put yourself out there is going to become very real with virtual reality.
  • Get comfortable on video now or you will not be relevant.
  • Don’t just understand the technology—you need to get comfortable being in front of people.
  • The virtual reality future is just the same world we have now with more convenience.
  • Virtual reality will amplify who you already are in person now.
  • When the virtual reality world comes, the vast majority of people will still be consumers.
Show Notes
  • 03:10 Sean: This is kind of like virtual reality. People are watching us as if they’re in this room here, and they’re all across the world.
  • 03:18 Ben: I would say that it’s not virtual reality until they can experience the show as if they’re sitting in the seat that Cory is sitting in, looking around and stuff. The 360 camera is getting there. It’s close.
  • 03:49 Sean: I’m thinking that the future can’t be a camera. It has to be rendered. If you want to be able to walk around the room, unless you have a robot or something moving a camera in a room physically, you can’t do that. I want to make this episode really practical—preparing you for the virtual reality future, and why you’re going to be affected whether you like it or not. Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t care about that. Isn’t that where they put those weird visors on, they look like a weirdo, and they play video games or something?” It’s not going to be like that.
  • 04:39 It’s going to be seamless. Right now, the way you’re thinking, is like back in the 70s or the 80s, when a computer took up a city block. That wasn’t that long ago. People said, “How could someone have a computer in their home? Why would you want to have a portable computer device? Just check your email when you get home like a normal person. Why would you ever want to bring your computer with you when you go out to watch a movie?” Everything seems so foreign, but right now, we’re not far from virtual reality. People constantly are looking at their phones, and that’s not to say that we’re that different than we were 50 or 60 years ago.
  • 05:32 People were just doing it with newspapers. They’re always immersed in their own world, it just becomes more and more real. Right now, we have our faces in our phones. Soon, we’ll be looking up, and then you just remove the device. That sounds very weird. If you went back 30 years and told someone everything that this phone can do would look like this, they wouldn’t have been able to imagine it. When we talk about virtual reality, you think it’s a big, bulky visor in front of your head. It’s not going to be like that. It could be a contact lens.

We don’t know what virtual reality is going to be like, but we do know that everything is going to be minimized and stripped down in ways we can’t even imagine.

  • 06:34 Ben: One helpful way to think about it is not necessarily what virtual reality is today and it’s limitations, but the other peripheral technologies virtual reality can use to become smaller and more practical. When you think about it that way, you think about fields like nanotechnology. The direction these fields are going in and how they can influence virtual reality is where I get caught down the rabbit hole and I start going nuts.

What Is Virtual Reality?

  • 07:11 Sean: I’ll admit, even a year ago, I didn’t think anything about virtual reality. I thought, “Whatever. That’s where people put some big bulky thing on and they play games or something. I don’t have time for that. I’m in the real world.” And then I go back on my computer. It’s whatever the current normal is for you. All I do is sit in front of screens for ten hours a day. That’s what we do. Why is it so far-fetched to you that, eventually, you’re not going to have to sit in front of it or pull it out of your pocket? Again, I want to keep this practical for you. You need to keep these things in mind and see where things are going so you understand why it’s important.

Virtual reality is going to strip back a lot of what stands between humans connecting.

  • 08:05 It’s not Snapchat. It’s not Oculus Rift. Strip away all the names and realize what this is. It’s making human-to-human connection or, in some cases, simulated human-to-human connection, more seamless. Right now, you want to talk to someone. What can you do? You can send snail mail. You can write with your hand, using a pen and ink on a piece of paper, fold it up, seal it in an envelope, lick it, put a stamp on it, and wait for a few days or weeks, depending on where in the world you both are, for that other person to receive your letter. Or, you can send them an electronic message, also known as email.
  • 08:48 They can get your message much sooner. You can send them a text message, an audio recording, or a video. You could talk with them over video. That’s about the closest we can get. You and I, Ben, could grab our phones right now, and we could text each other, about six or eight feet away. What if Ben and I were here as our virtual selves? Ben’s really at his house. I’m traveling, let’s say. This room has been rendered, or we have a virtual studio space that looks way cooler than this one. Ben and I are both here, and we can actually see each other behind the mics.
  • 09:41 A lot of other things would make that kind of silly. We probably wouldn’t need to render the mics—you wouldn’t need them—but for the sake of the argument, Ben and I could be in the same space, rendered. We would be able to look around and possibly even move around and interact with each other in a virtual space. When Ben talks to me, he doesn’t have to fix his hair, because he’s using his virtual avatar, which looks good. It doesn’t necessarily have to be live video of his face. Maybe that’s replicated. There are a lot of nuances to it.

The Extent of Virtual Reality

  • 10:40 Sean: The point is, Ben and I will be in the same space—it doesn’t matter if it’s virtual or physical—and we will need to represent ourselves personally. Ben and I will have a conversation. We will talk. Ben will notice my body language, how I sound, whether I sound nervous or not, whether I stumble over my words, what words I say, what filler words I use, and whether I say “um” and “like” a lot. How personal am I being? How do I respond in an instant to a question Ben has? It’s one thing when someone tweets you and you can sit there for 16 minutes and think about the perfect response, but when you’re right there, having coffee with someone, and they ask you a question, you can’t just sit there with a blank look on your face. That is when it’s real.

Virtual reality is going to strip away everything that allows you to hide.

  • 11:37 You can continue to hide. You don’t have to go to these places. There are things called WebVR, and this is a relatively recent project. I know Mozilla is involved. The web will support virtual reality. You don’t even have to buy the console or the headset—all of this will be open source. Virtual reality will be a thing. You will go to a website, and you will enter a digital space. It will seem like a physical space, but it’s all virtual. You’ll enter a world, a store, or whatever, and there you are. Facebook will have the same thing, except that they’ll have a city with tall buildings. I’m not saying that you have to walk a bunch of city blocks. You can teleport.
  • 12:33 You can say, “I want to go to this place,” and boom, you’re there. You will be able to go into places that are real with other real people, represented virtually, and Facebook will own it. They’ll say, “Hey, you can be on our platform for free. You don’t have to build your own virtual reality place.” Squarespace will have their own virtual reality thing where you can build your own space, and you don’t have to know anyone. This is where it gets interesting. There will be increased need and desire for architects, interior designers, and 3D designers.
  • 13:16 Think about the big, serious players. Just like with websites, you can get a template website, a Squarespace. You can just use a Facebook page as your main place. I don’t recommend that you don’t build your own platform, because Facebook will change the rules on you. If you’re serious, just like with web design, you would hire someone to develop your own custom presence.
  • 13:40 Ben: Let me make it really practical for you. If you’ve ever been to an Apple Store, for example, or to a Starbucks, you walk in, and they use interior designers and architects to shape the space in such a way that makes their business work very efficiently. It puts the emphasis on things you might want to purchase. It’s very similar to how web design works. You get a really good, effective design, and it’s more likely that people will purchase something from you. It’s more likely that they’ll purchase the smaller item that they may not have purchased, because it’s got the right kind of design.
  • 14:33 You’re talking about a virtual space, but you’re treating it kind of like a physical space, because we’re used to having that kind of interaction. Now, all of a sudden, it’s really important for somebody to know how to design that virtual space in a way that makes the experience with your brand the most effective.
  • 14:56 Sean: I see an increase in demand for architects and interior designers. Again, just like with websites, you spend $8 a month, but other people spend $50 million on website design because it’s more valuable to them. They want something custom. They want to create a unique experience. When I think of Starbucks, each store is specially designed. When I mentally map out this city and all of the Starbucks that I know, I can picture each one. It’s unique, so I remember my experiences there. Businesses are going to want those unique experiences.

The virtual world is going to get more and more seamless.

  • 15:45 Look at what’s happened with screens, computers, phones, and watches. It just becomes more and more accessible. First, you had to go to an office to use a computer. Then the computer is in your house. You go into your office in your house. Then it’s a laptop, and you can have it on your lap, on your couch or in bed. Then it’s a phone, and no matter where you are, you pull it out of your pocket. Now it’s a wearable. I don’t have to have my phone. It can be in my pocket, and I just raise my wrist and look. You’ve got Google Glass, which some have argued is a failed experiment.
  • 16:19 With every industry, there are players that come a little bit too soon. Apple wasn’t the first with a phone or with an MP3 player. Timing is very important. In 15 to 20 years, this will start being serious. In 30 years, this will probably be pretty mainstream, a real part of people’s lives. It’s going to affect the culture pretty significantly, but it’s going to be like boiling a frog. You’re not going to have people saying, “Do you want to continue? Left or right? Do you want to enter a virtual world or stay in the physical world?” It’s going to be very gradual. Understand that it’s going to be more and more seamless.

Imagine the Possibilities

  • 17:12 Ben: I take this in a lot of different directions. I go the sci-fi thriller route with some of my thoughts. There are some things I’m really excited about. I want to encourage you to dwell on the possibilities. Don’t just think about it in terms of virtual reality, but let your mind branch out to other technologies that are coming up, too, and how those could influence not just virtual reality, but your business and the way you interact with people. A fun example is the Community. We’ve got these screens, and these avatars of people that represent real people that are sitting or standing in front of their computers right now, listening to this show, talking to other people in the chat.
  • 18:01 This is super cool. I couldn’t even have imagined this kind of experience years ago, when we were sitting in front of these big boxy computers. Now, I see the possibilities. What if this show was Sean and I virtually sitting in a room together having a conversation, and we have a virtual audience sitting over there? They can raise their hand, and we have a Q & A time. That’s just my imagination, but where do you think the future and these technologies come from? They come from the imagination. Let your imagination run wild with it a little bit. Think about the possibilities.
  • 18:44 Sean: Also, know what the future will inevitably be. As time goes by, virtual reality will get closer and closer to real life. Look at real life, and understand that the future is going to be that, anywhere, at any time, almost exactly as real. That’s what we’re talking about here. Everything applies. The principles are not different. This is where you need to prepare yourself.

If you want to win, you need to be in the forefront of people’s minds.

Create products and services that help people solve problems and add value to their life.

  • 19:36 You also need to sell those things. To sell things, you need to speak to people in one way or another. All these are very basic concepts. The more people you get in front of and the more conversations you have, the more you will sell. You don’t have to go out into these virtual worlds. You can stay home or do whatever you want. We talked in the last episode about how most people don’t put themselves out there. Don’t feel like, “I don’t want to be there. I don’t like this.” That’s fine. You don’t have to. The point is, the opportunity to put yourself out there is going to become very real, and you can do it as much as you want.

Get Good on Video

  • 20:21 If you want to win, you need to be comfortable being in front people, talking with them, having conversations with them, and selling. As a practical takeaway from this episode, you need to start getting comfortable on video now. If you are not comfortable on video now, you will not be relevant, plain and simple. You need to be comfortable conducting yourself in front of another person, selling in front of another person, or public speaking. All of these skills will be huge.
  • 21:06 Ben: This helps me take the focus off of the virtual reality thing for a minute. It really comes back to people. Sean posted an article from Seth Godin last week, and it was a really short article about removing vocal tics, ums, and uhs. I’m not going to be able to do that here, but the basic idea was that with all of these technological advances in the ability to reach and talk to people, it’s going to be very important for you to be able to communicate clearly.

The people who have an advantage in the future are not just those who understand the technology—they’re the people who are comfortable being in front of people.

  • 22:01 I would almost rather you forget about the technology for a little while and learn about how to have a one-on-one conversation, emotional intelligence, and understanding people’s body language. Read books like Influence by Robert Cialdini or Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone. That’s a great one. Understand how sales is a part of everyday life and get comfortable with those things. Focus on sharpening those skills, because they’re going to serve you no matter what the technology is. In the end, it all comes back to people.
  • 22:47 Sean: You’ve got to be practicing now. Put yourself out there on video, on a podcast, however you can. Practice! Take on a public speaking opportunity. Ask if you can speak at a local event. Take on these opportunities and practice them. All of the inhibitions are removed. The virtual reality future is just the same world we have now with more convenience. Imagine an office building brought all the way to your house like it’s across the street. You bring your trash bags out the street and you look at your neighbor’s house and it’s just a big office building, a skyscraper. It’s right there. At any point, you can walk across and do business with people.
  • 23:36 You can have conversations with people. Non-stop, all day and all night, there are people going in and out of there, working, talking, and doing business. Imagine any conference you’ve wanted to go to but you haven’t because it’s in the United States and you live in France. It’s too costly. Now, it’s across the street. Guess what? It’s not once a year. It’s non-stop, all the time. Any kind of person you want to talk to is there. The Community is just there.
  • 24:11 Ben: Maybe there’s an auditorium, and there are multiple people going to the same auditorium, at the same time, watching a different conference. Because of the capabilities of virtual reality and the immersiveness of being in your own space, you’re sitting there experiencing a conference with a bunch of other people from all around the world. You’re experiencing the same thing, but the people who are in the same physical space with you could be experiencing something else.
  • 24:46 Sean: Technologically, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. The reality of it will be very similar to what it is now. I’m just telling you how to win. It’s the same way to win right now.

Put yourself out there and get comfortable talking with people, selling to people, and speaking if you want to win.

Preparing for a Virtual Reality Future

  • 25:06 Sean: That’s very simply it. Even in the virtual world, not everyone is going to be creators. It will be very similar. You think, “Once everyone has those capabilities, everyone is going to be a speaker, business owner, or a person with a show…” They’re not. It’s going to look exactly like it looks now, because look at history. Throughout history, who are the greats, the people who are known, who stood the test of time? What are the works of art that they created? Look how few it is. It’s just so small. Most people go about their life. They consume, do their work, sleep, eat, and that’s it. They’re not producing.
  • 25:57 They’re not putting things out in the world that other people experience. They’re not making great works that stand the test of time. You say, “It must just be difficult for them.” It used to be difficult. It used to be that you had to rely on the middleman, the distributor, the record company or the TV network. If you wanted distribution, you had to rely on these middlemen. Now, there’s no inhibition. It’s right here. Instead of you having to go to some studio where they broadcast across the world, and that’s the only way to reach people, across the radio waves, now all of that infrastructure is removed. The internet is brought right up to your cable modem.
  • 26:41 It’s right here. There are people right on the other side. You don’t have your own audio studio or a place where you can record? Let’s give you everything you could want in a physical space in virtual plugins. You don’t have a guitar? Don’t worry. Use a keyboard, and we’ll make it sound like a guitar for you. We have all of the tools in the world to do anything you could ever want to do, and people still don’t do anything.

When the virtual reality world comes, the vast majority of people will still be consumers.

  • 27:15 There are going to be virtual auditoriums where people can speak at any point, and most people will be in the audience.
  • 27:26 Ben: It’s crazy to think about those possibilities. It seems really cool and you may not know what to do with it now, but what’s exciting is that there are things you can be doing right now to prepare yourself. Hopefully, you’re already doing some of them by putting yourself out there and having one-on-one interactions with people, like we talked about in our previous episode. That’s exciting and encouraging to me. Not only are there things I can do, but there are already things I have done that prepare me for what is coming in the future.

Virtual reality is a tool that will amplify who you already are now.

  • 28:24 Cory: Just like how money is an amplifier of who you already are. For a time, this may be a headset, and then it might look different. We don’t know, but it’s an amplifier of who you are now. I’m not going to be a better speaker unless I practice it now. They’re just tools.
  • 28:57 Sean: It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of the details. It can be kind of scary, because it’s unknown, strange, and foreign. I hope I made it practical enough to show you that there’s going to be an in-between time, but eventually it will mirror real life. The same things that apply to winning in real life will apply in virtual reality. Like Cory said, it’s an amplification. The things you can do now are to start putting yourself out there and getting comfortable being in front of people.
  • 29:32 You will always be able to hide. Right now, you hide behind the fact that Twitter doesn’t require you to respond immediately, in real time, or with a video camera. That’s why I want people to embrace things like Snapchat, things that allow people, with a tap on a screen, to be live on video with someone. How do you feel about that? 99% of you feel really scared, and that’s a problem. You have to get comfortable with it.