CEO Today Magazine - October 2022

October 2022

@ceotodaymag @ceotodaymag CEO Today Magazine /ceo-today f t y l n Connect with the Powerful and In uential. Follow uson social media to receive the latest updates, news and online features on the go. EO T O D A Y

C EO T O D A Y For more information, contact Jacob Mallinder 0044 (0) 1543 255 537 CEO Today Magazine is a premium aspirational lifestyle and business magazine. We seek to inspire, motivate and inform the world’s most successful business leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs through our content. Our magazine provides news, interviews and features about the most inuential leaders in the business world and beyond, focusing on topical stories, exclusive content and indepth articles that motivate our readers. Subscribe to receive a monthly hard copy. Price on application for subcriptions outside of the UK £395 *+ VAT if applicable *includes postage & packaging

EDITOR’S NOTE STAY CONNECTED! Follow us on: EDITOR’S NOTE UN I V E R S A L ME D I A Katina Male Editor All of this and so much more - I hope you enjoy the content in CEO Today’s October 2022 edition! Make sure you check out the full list of features and exclusive interviews over the next pages. If you want to stay connected with us until our next edition, visit our website for more, join the conversation on our Twitter (@CEOTodayMag) and follow our LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram pages. Best wishes, KATINA MALE Editor CEO TODAY Copyright 2022 Circulation details can be found at The views expressed in the articles within CEO Today are the contributors’ own, nothing within the announcements or articles should be construed as a profit forecast. All rights reserved. Material contained within this publication is not to be reproduced in whole or part without the prior permission of CEO Today. Disclaimer: Images used in this edition have been done so under the creative commons licenses. For details, see links below. by-sa/3.0/legalcode by-sa/2.0/legalcode by-sa/4.0/legalcode Hello and welcome to the October 2022 edition of CEO Today! After a month marked by increasing recession fears and the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, I present you CEO Today’s October collection of inspiration from some of the world’s most successful leaders, as well as our monthly dose of travel & lifestyle content. Here are some of our favourite stories from this month’s issue: ConservatoriumHotel Experience Amsterdam in Style 12. 54. 76. 60. 5 Leadership Lessons from Queen Elizabeth II The World of ‘Made in Italy’ Metaverse Special 5

CON METAVERSE SPECIAL 12. New Age Industrialist Max Kantelia on the World of Metaverse and web3 18. Building in the Winter 22. All Systems Go: Amplifying Diversity in Web3 26. The Future of Web3 in Dubai 30. Here’s Why Out–of–Office is Key to Unleashing Creativity 34. Say Cheeze! 38. 10. THE CEO INTERVIEW 40. The Future of Banking 44. Mastering the Art of Negotiation in Real Estate with Confidence & a Little Charm 50. If you Want the Moon, Ask Mooney for it 54. The World of ’Made in Italy’ 44. 12.

NTENTS 58. 74. 64. THE DISRUPTORS 60. 5 Leadership Lessons from Queen Elizabeth II VISION & STRATEGY 66. Can Businesses Changing their Marketing Approach Help in the Cost-of-Living Crisis? 70. Greenwashing Risks More than the Court of Public Opinion TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE 76. Conservatorium Hotel Experience Amsterdam in Style 86. Leonardo Royal Hotel London City Luxury in the Heart of the Capital 60. 76.

8 MONTHLY ROUND - UP NEWS Patagonia is NowOwned by the Planet Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has transferred ownership of the company to two new entities set up to use its $100 million in annual profits to fight climate change. “Earth is now our only shareholder”, now states the website of Patagonia. “I never wanted to be a businessman,” said the billionaire founder of the company. “I started as a craftsman, making climbing gear for my friends and myself, then got into apparel. As we began to witness the extent of global warming and ecological destruction, and our own contribution to it, Patagonia committed to using our company to change the way business was done. If we could do the right thing while making enough to pay the bills, we could influence customers and other businesses, and maybe change the system along the way.” In his open letter, Yvon Chouinard promises that any profit not reinvested in the business would go towards the fight against climate change. He claims that profits to be donated to climate causes will amount to around $100 million a year, depending on the company’s performance and health. “Despite its immensity, the Earth’s resources are not infinite, and it’s clear we’ve exceeded its limits,” Chouinard said of his decision to give up ownership of the brand. Founded in 1973, Patagonia’s sales were worth around $1.5 billion this year, while its founder’s net worth is thought to be $1.2 billion. Kim Kardashian to Launch a Private Equity Firm Kim Kardashian has announced the launch of her own private equity firm called SKKY Partners. She co-founded the company with Jay Sammons, private equity veteran and ex-partner at Carlyle Group. The Stories Everyone’s been Talking about

MONTHLY ROUND - UP S Kardashian’s PEfirmwill focus on investments in consumer andmedia business, she announced on Twitter. SKKY Partners will be run by Kardashian as a co-founder and co-managing partner and Jay Sammons who will be responsible for the day-to-day operations. Kim’s ‘momager’ Kris Jenner will be a partner at the firm. “Together we hope to leverage our complementary expertise to build the next generation Consumer & Media private equity firm”, said the reality star turned entrepreneur. She is one of the latest celebrities to dip their toe into founding their own private equity and venture capital investment firms, following Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow. Microsoft Says Workers Do Less fromHome A major recent survey from Microsoft shows that managers and employees fundamentally disagree on productivity when working from home. Managers are increasingly worried about whether employees are as productive when working from home as they are when they’re in the office. The survey, which questionedmore than 20,000 staff across 11 countries, showed that 87% of workers feel that they work as, or more, efficiently from home, while 80% of bosses disagree. “We have to get past what we describe as ‘productivity paranoia’ because all of the data we have that shows that 80% plus of the individual people feel they’re very productive – except their management thinks that they’re not productive,” says Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “That means there is a real disconnect in terms of the expectations and what they feel.” 9


12 metaverse special on the World of Metaverse and web3 New Age Industrialist Max Kantelia Max Kantelia is Chairman and Co-Founder at Metapolis, Co-Founder at Zilliqa, Co-Founder at XCAD and Co-Founder at TokenTraxx; a ground-breaking new web3 music venture. We caught up with him to talk about all things Metaverse and web3.

13 metaverse special

Can you tell us a little bit about your life and the key moments that brought you to where you are today? I was born in Kenya and grew up in England where my school years, at an English public school noted for grooming top rugby players, cricketers and rowers were particularly formative for the person I have become today. Learning to play rugby in mid-winter showed me that my lighter frame gave me speed on the pitch that was complementary to the strength of the giants around me; those brutal afternoons on the battlepitch nurtured a brave, fighting spirit together with total respect for the power of teamwork. In the classroom, I loved both the sciences and the arts but chose to pursue a degree in Engineering; this gave me a discipline that has become part of my personal DNA as I firmly believe that the finest products combine beautiful design with precision engineering at their core. Following graduation, I worked as an embedded systems engineer on radar systems for fighter aircraft and realised within a few years that my calling was not to be in corporate life as I found the bureaucratic environment to be stifling. Still, in my twenties, I decided to embark on an entrepreneurial journey as a founder of a startup that was focused on providing technology products, management consultancy and executive search into the London and New York financial markets. My first business venture was the equivalent of a practical MBA (disclaimer: although I was a part of the London Business School Enterprise 100, I do not have an MBA) and I adored every single minute of the experience. Having spent three decades building brave ventures, my greatest learning is that creating early-stage companies is like a team sport, requiring a fundamental understanding of people and their behaviours; my recipe for success is based upon building highperformance, high-stamina teams that can lead, inspire and forge longstanding relationships. My greatest inspirer was my beloved late father who instilled in me a passion for cars, music, tailored clothes, collecting memorabilia and of course, business. The mantra that best defines my life is ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’. What have you learned from the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain industries? I first realised that blockchain technology would become relevant for the future of the internet in 2014. In 2015 I started a venture builder which launched several deep tech ventures. This included Zilliqa, the high throughput, low-cost layer 1 blockchain. I have learned that the blockchain-based world, and my vision for it, is still in the nascent stage akin to the internet in 1993. In these early stages, it has felt like a solution seeking a problem with too many pilot projects now lying in the graveyard. Projects have raised capital through token launches but have delivered little product and have survived through speculation on their tokens and hype-driven marketing. On the positive side of this innovation, I believe that token launches offer metaverse special 14 a paradigm shift in how entrepreneurs can raise non-dilutive capital and then raise long term growth capital through long duration institutional stakeholders. A good balance between the equity and token-based business models is however still rare. If the space is to grow and power web 3.0, layer 1 blockchains need to be reliable and robust, useability needs to increase for mainstream adoption and the nurture of communities who can bring support and ideas to projects is vital. What is web3 and why is it so important that there is now a bridge for technology firms to cross from web2 to web3? Web 1.0 laid the grounds for the information economy, made the internet more usable and gave us the ability to ‘read’. Web 2.0 led to the creation of the ‘frontend’ platform economy and allowed apps to provide ‘read and write’ capabilities. Web 3.0 is the ‘backend’ token economy is powered by smart contracts and the blockchain with applications connected to users’ wallets. Applications in the Web 2.0 world rely on some form of a centralised database to deliver data and help to enable functionality. In Web 3.0 applications make use of a decentralised blockchain. With blockchain, the basic idea is that we replace a central authority with consensus whereby we allow anyone to participate in the verification of transactions and be compensated through a network token. Emerging governance within the blockchain and Web 3.0 community is the concept of a Decentralised Autonomous Goldman Sachs predicts that the metaverse is an $8 trillion opportunity in terms of monetisation and revenue generation and I firmly believe in the scale of the marketplace, give or take a trillion. “ “ metaverse special 15

metaverse special Organisation (DAO). Instead of having a centralised authority that governs the operations of a platform, by using a DAO, Web 3.0 technologies and communities provide a form of self-governance. TheWeb 3.0 economy fundamentally works with cryptocurrencies. The ability to pay for goods and services with a decentralised form of payment is enabled across Web 3.0 with the use of tokens, which are all built and enabled on top of blockchain technology. Web 3.0 enables a growing number of different types of new applications and services to power the new digital economy including Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs), decentralised finance (DeFi), decentralised applications (dApps) and bridges that enable interoperability between different blockchain platforms. Why is the metaverse such a big draw and what are your hopes for it? The metaverse is The Next Internet. Combining web 3.0 with the power of the metaverse will bring monumental change to how we work, play, socialise, watch, and learn. The concept of the metaverse is not new and we can trace its origins back to the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash which was authored by Neal Stephenson and is a must-read. In fact, gamers have been interacting with each other on gaming and social gaming platforms within animated worlds where users represent themselves through an avatar. The metaverse is an always-on, 3-dimensional virtual world for immersive multi-sensory experiences where users and their avatars can explore a vast number of experiences in real-time irrespective of their physical location. Goldman Sachs predicts that the metaverse is an $8 trillion opportunity in terms of monetisation and revenue generation and I firmly believe in the scale of the marketplace, give or take a trillion. Although I am certain that the metaverse and web 3.0 will take time to mature and gain mainstream traction, there is already evidence of major brands such as Nike and Gucci starting to experiment with the sale of NFTs in collaboration with major social gaming platforms. My hope is that we see exciting new companies being born within the metaverse that will become the new unicorns within the next 5 years and I sincerely hope that Metapolis is in this group. What excites you most about web3, the metaverse and the potential of Metapolis? Firstly, I must tell you that we must stop speaking about metaverses; this is not a plural space in my opinion. Different players will build different venues within one single metaverse (note: singular) as individuals and companies build the equivalent of immersive websites which utilise the power of web 3.0 infrastructure. At Metaverse, we call these venues ‘cities and domes’ and are working with emerging and established brands to provide a service whereby we build these venues with cuttingedge technology, beautiful design and useable back-end services that are enabled by the underlying blockchain. Our business model is best described as Metaverse-as-aService or MaaS. I am currently working with luxury brands across the fashion, automobile, wine and jewellery sectors to experiment with venues designed by Metapolis through the creation of multi-sensory experiences hosted within the metaverse where we can bridge between digital and physical experiences for the consumer. Our proprietary technology allows for the creation of life-like 3-dimensional spaces where a user’s avatar can interact with other avatars, across the globe, in real-time to experience events that showcase a brand’s products in an engaging way that is not possible in Web 2.0. Unlike most metaverse companies, we are not merely selling digital real estate. Rather we are building an interoperable standard for metaverse onboarding, the avatar linked to identity, MaaS for ease of onboarding for brands to not be left behind with all the tech knowledge required. My vision, which has evolved in a linear fashion, is for a world where I can join up the ventures which I have created in order to create an entire ecosystem of industries that also work with other ecosystems openly and transparently. What are the most important lessons your career and work have taught you? I do hope to write a book on this specific question at some point in the future when I eventually 16

metaverse special move down a gear or two. The most important lesson for me is that to be successful in most professions and especially in entrepreneurship requires a combination of curiosity, drive, bravery, efficiency, resilience, and emotional intelligence. Perhaps the most important lesson, and which I apply every single day in my work, is that EQ trumps IQ. Every single time. I pay a huge amount of attention to the recruitment process, closely followed by the retention and development processes. I urge my colleagues across the ventures that I have built to select highperformance people that possess the highest level of capability for a role (skill) together with behaviours that fit the culture of a team (behaviour); when we compromise on any of these components, we often create toxicity and mediocrity which are my least favourite words. Secondly, I have learned that output is a more important measure of high-performance individuals and teams than input. I have never been impressed by individuals that try and impress me by the number of hours that they spend at work. I like working with people that are action leaders and in fact, this is a title we use at Metapolis, to describe those that ‘do’ and not just ‘talk’. Finally, I adore humility in any human being and not just in the workplace; one’s success should never affect this quality. In the words of the legendary soul band Sounds of Blackness, ‘be optimistic’ (1991). What do you hope your legacy to be? My greatest wish is to create long-duration companies that can bring change to people’s lives across the planet, bring delightful experiences to the masses and that create world-class future entrepreneurs that are brave enough to launch their own ventures and that bring delight to the masses. I do hope that one day I can truly be thought of as a blockchain-age industrialist who brought the very best people and infrastructure together to create amazing experiences and products in the areas that have shaped me. 17 ABOUT MAXKANTELIA Max is a serial entrepreneur who has been described as a ‘new age industrialist’ with over 25 years of experience in the startup and rev-up of fast-growth companies in London, New York, and Singapore. He has been focused on building an entire blockchain-based ecosystem since 2015 which started with the launch of Zilliqa, the Layer 1 protocol, one of the most advanced technology platforms for decentralised applications offering fast transaction processing, low fees, high security and very low energy consumption. Since the launch of Zilliqa, Max has been focused on investing in and guiding founders who can bring the benefits of Web 3.0 and blockchain technology to vertical markets with large user bases. In 2021, he co-founded XCAD; a hyper-growth social media venture which allows content creators to create NFTs to get better engagement with their followers and TokenTraxx; a ground-breaking new web3 music venture In 2021, Max helped to launch Metapolis, the first Metaverse as a Service platform which can help established and rising brands to rapidly build a presence in the metaverse to create hybrid digital and physical products which can provide access to new markets. With a burning drive to prove that blockchain technology can become a weapon against illicit trade in the luxury goods marketplace and that the metaverse, as powered by Metapolis, will become The Next Internet, Max is now exploring the application of these technologies together with brands across the fashion, automobile, jewellery, and entertainment industries. Max is a highly experienced public speaker and regularly speaks about blockchain at family offices and luxury industry events. He holds a degree in Engineering Science and was part of the London Business School Enterprise 100. He is an avid collector and enjoys fine wine, jazz, and all things automotive.

18 metaverse special

19 metaverse special Building in the Winter Tim Gentry, CEO of TokenTraxx on the joys of launching a web3 music company in a pandemic and building it in cryptowinter

Outside of work, one of my hobbies is cycling. There is a saying in cycling that there are two types of cyclists - those that have just had an accident, and those that are just about to have one. Anyone who has watched cycling at any level from the Tour de France to their local criteriums will see where this truism comes from. Many of us running companies through the unexpected challenges of recent years may feel there’s a parallel in business. We’ve lurched from pandemic to energy crisis to conflicts and the impact on all markets - macro and micro, traded or trading - has been beautifully described to me as ‘absolute carnage’. It is only human to long for ‘the good times’ - but is it realistic? I don’t think so. “Pressure makes diamonds.” The joy of building a business in tough times is that one knows that if you can create a modicum of success in tough environments, when more pleasant times come around, you can expect to reap rewards. In 2001 when the dot-com bubble burst, Amazon suffered as well - revenues stayed in the $2bn-$3bn range for a few years, staffing levels reduced and losses were for a brief time over $1.4bn p.a. Since then, by deploying expertise honed in a few verticals to many, and owning the underlying infrastructure of much of web2 with AWS, it brilliantly created two decades of 10x growth in revenues and profit and become a business with market capitalisation of over $1trn. The Facebook story began at a similar time, back in 2003, but it was not until 2009 - in the aftermath of the financial crisis, that Facebook landed on a monetisation strategy and then became cash flow positive. Facebook’s valuation went from $5bn in August 2008 to $11.5bn in June 2010 and then $50bn by January 2011. The takeaway from these stories is that brilliant work delivers results in what Dickens described as ‘the best of times, and the worst of times.’ TokenTraxx, the web3 music company I am co-founder of, was conceived in the pandemic and launched in the midst of the current cryptowinter of March 2022, compounded by the latest crypto ‘correction’ in May of this year. When the business was conceived in early 2021, it seemed one could simply say the word “NFT”, sneeze, and quickly make a few hundred ETH (or many hundreds of thousand dollars). Hundreds of projects saw the opportunity to bring the benefits of web3 to the music industry. What the challenging environment of 2022 has forced TokenTraxx to do, is focus hard on the problem that needs solving for these metaverse special 20

dreams to become reality. One of them is “the adoption problem”. As grammy award winning songwriter & producer @genzomusic said recently: “NFTs are going to change the landscape for musicians worldwide — but for this to occur, mainstream adoption needs to happen. The reality is it’s going to take people who both understand the traditional music business and who are putting in the time to build in the Web3 space, and who have the access and ability to bridge those worlds.TommyD and the TokenTraxx team are poised to be that company that cracks the code.” . We see the following issues. Firstly, creators and curators need support and incentive to conceive and execute web3 projects that deliver value to their communities. They are nascent in their understanding and adoption and sometimes awash with other opportunities of making money. Secondly, collectors (music fans) are slow to visit, engage with, and overcome web3 UX challenges. The solution TokenTraxx has is to have three core pillars to our business. A web3 advisory that develops web3 strategies for creators and curators that connect with brands, grow communities and create value. A marketplace which is a vehicle for creators, curators and collectors to connect and transact on a TokenTraxx owned and operated platform. Lastly, but not in the least, our TRAXX Protocol where TokenTraxx ‘decentralised’ brings our technology to communities. They connect closely but have noncorrelated revenue streams. Our advisory service gives us deep insights into the needs of the creator economy we are here to serve. Our marketplace connects us directly with collectors and provides a sandbox to deploy and develop our technology in, and then our secret weapon, TRAXX protocol, brings depth and breadth of scale by deploying that technology in music communities and beyond to music and entertainment based enterprises, helping them transform from web2 to web3. This model is going to get us further, faster, and build a platform for growth in the years beyond the current crises. However, we would never have reached this point if the clement conditions of summer 2021 had prevailed. It would have been all too easy to build a house on sand. Instead we’ve learned to build on the rock. metaverse special 21


23 metaverse special All Systems Go: When you build your roadmap around making an important impact, there’s little time to talk, you just start hammering – creating, building, promoting, and investing in opportunities that help others join the change. We speak to Catie-Romero Finger, co-founder and CEO of BABs Labs, a full-service Web3 communication and marketing agency, who’s on a mission to drive diversity and inclusion in the nascent sector. Catie-Romero Finger, Co-founder & CEO of BABs Labs How would you boil down BABs Labs to a one-word brand story? Intention. That’s the one word that touches on everything that we do at BABs, telling you exactly how we do what we do. How we came up with Unsung Heroes was very intentional – putting a spotlight not on famous women, but on those not yet seen. The way we choose our name was very intentional. BABs is short for Bad Ass Bitches – because that is what we are, unapologetic about being strong women. Intention tells the story of how we started BABs Labs – to search for those women and those diverse projects that need to come to light. If we are not intentional about diversity in Web3, it will never happen! With intention is how we are building websh3. Who we have there and what they represent is all done with intention. We hire with intention. We look for knowledgeable but diverse candidates, because as we say: “Diversity Breeds Creativity.” You mentioned that it all started with Unsung Heroes. In December of 2021, BABs cofounder Nastya Adamova and I came upwith an idea for awomenled NFT project. At the time, there were several women-focused NFT projects coming out, but we felt that for the most part they were all offering the same thing – a small give-back mission and generative art that had something to do with women. We wanted our mission to be deeper, something that would move the dial. Created by artists from all around the globe, the art-forward NFTs celebrate stories of women throughout history who made massive contributions in their field but were not recognised. The intention behind Unsung Heroes Amplifying Diversity in Web3

was to create a platform for highlighting the potential of those who have to climb unjust barriers to find recognition, which, as history teaches us, rarely happens. The art was to be bold, different, and not generative. When we started to do artist outreach, we were flooded with women from all over the world who wanted to participate. It seemed like such a simple mission yet so many women connected to it because they had never been given a platform to share their art and their story. One artist was selling out her collections, yet she didn’t have enough money to do any community building because she was putting it all back into her project. No one saw her and said – “your art is amazing, let me invest and help you build this!” It seemed crazy to us. All of this amazing potential yet no one had thought to try and tap into it. Is that when you decided to start your own agency? Yes. During this process, it became abundantly clear to us that there was a massive hole in the market for Web3 marketers who actually understood the space and who could give real business advice to help this untapped potential grow. Ultimately, Unsung Heroes was put on pause and BABS was born. It just felt urgent to us to support this onboarding and help bring more amazing women into Web3. What does BABs’ client roster look like? We are dedicated to helping projects that are going to truly change the landscape of Web3 with founders who connect with that mission. We help them stand out in the market and make their mark. Until now, unfortunately, we have had very few women-led projects that came to us. My belief is that this is a chain reaction. Due to the fact that significantly less funding is put into women-led projects, many are without resources to put towards outside counsel for strategy and growth. What’s the intention behind websh3? Since our core mission is to get more women who are truly building into Web3 and since we know that if you don’t take action nothing will happen, we have built yet another brand. websh3 is a community and IRL event series that is focused on highlighting diversity – both projects that are about moving the needle as well as projects that have diverse leaders. A friend once said that in order for us to get more women into Web3, we literally have to give them a place to speak and share their experiences and insights. Otherwise, it is just talk and no action. This is what BABs is doing with websh3 – intentionally creating action. Does this also help women-led projects to find funding? Yes, but still only to a certain extent, and we want to do more. Our next step, hopefully by the end of the year, is to start a VC fund that makes the mission holistic. Websh3 creates the platform, the VC gives the funding and BABs promotes the project. There is a lot of discussions that surround supporting women in Web3, but talking won’t get us where we need to be. We have to have actionable items that will actually get women in. And it is not only about the same profile of women. We need to look to emerging markets, where the promise of Web3 is something that can truly alter the life of a woman and her family. That’s why we are intentionally looking to partner with other women in the space that are dedicating their time to these communities to bring about change. metaverse special 24

Speaking of emerging markets, which role is BABs playing there? BABs has a special place for Latam, as I am half Colombian. Due to strong historic and economic barriers in these cultures, your opportunities there are limited by where and in which family you were born. This traditional struggle to move between classes is breeding a natural fighting spirit for change. Latam has dealt with economic instability for years, banks are not trusted by most people and the population is ripe for change. Web3 promises this with no conditions attached. Once this is realised by large populations mass adoption is inevitable. Our role as women leaders in this space is to make sure that we are moving forward with a mission that is going to support what Web3 is meant to do – change how people can participate in the world economy. Since we intentionally chose this role for BABs, it’s all systems go! Whether we are doing that by pushing our clients to consider emerging markets instead of APAC, looking for more amazing women to join our websh3 panels and meet-ups to share their knowledge, actively helping fund projects that are in their unique way helping propel inclusion in the space, or purposely searching for diverse profiles as we build our team – we must practice what we preach and make it intentional and actionable. Otherwise, we’re not creating any movement – it’s all just talk. metaverse special 25


27 metaverse special The Future of Web3 in Dubai Adnan Al Noorani

Why do you feel it is so important for you to support getting more women involved in web3 and subsequently, creating more diversity? I believe that men and women have different visions of things. Women are usually more creative and have a different angle of understanding things in various spheres of our lives, including business and technology. I see a lot of new ideas, solutions, and products that will improve human lives in the future, and a lot of them were invented by women. And I am quite sure that we, as men, should support and encourage women in all aspects of life. How do you think women’s leadership has changed in Dubai and the UAE during the last few years? Oh, it has grown significantly and the growth is still going on. I am extremely proud and excited to see more and more Emirati women become scientists, engineers, social influencers and so much more! It is great to see the improvement of women’s leadership in the UAE. Do you think more women are taking more leadership roles? I would say a lot of wonderful and talented women are taking leadership roles and we must support every woman on their way to a great and bright future. What kind of things have you done to support these initiatives? One of the initiatives is the Future Innovation Summit, founded in August 2021. Since then, we are trying to support women's leadership and women's empowerment. We have many great women experts and visionaries at our summit and always trying to do our best to encourage their path. How do you think technology has helped to bring more women into leadership roles? As I mentioned earlier, men and women see our world differently. And the technological boom that is taking place for the past decades opens a lot of opportunities for women to share their ideas, vision, and expertise with everyone. I believe that a lot of technologies that we have right now have got into our lives thanks to women’s leadership What more do you think should or needs to be done to improve diversity? First and foremost, we need to give full support to women no matter what. We must encourage them on their way to success. We should open the doors for them and open our minds and ears to their ideas. Believe me, that is going to change the world. What kind of partnerships have you formed to help grow your women initiatives within the Future Innovation Summit? For example, the partnership you have with BABS Labs to let them host websh3 as part of the Innovation Summit, are there any others and why do you feel websh3 was a good partner? Yes, we have got several strong partnerships as of now. For instance, we are partnering right now with International Women Association to support all its members. We have several business partnerships in healthcare, education, and sustainability. And thanks to BABS, right now are ready to collaborate with great women experts in the Web3 industry. And we’re so excited to see what will happen in the future. What noticeable and tangible changes would you like to see implemented by 2027? What targets need to be met? Franky speaking, there are a lot of significant changes that have been already implemented thanks to the vision of our great leaders, and more are yet to come. The United Arab Emirates has amazing strategies that are coming up soon. And you will see a lot of wonderful changes not only in the UAE but also all over the world. How do you think tech will play a part in the growth of Dubai and where do you see women playing a larger part in this growth? Dubai has become the number one city in terms of technology. Not only Dubai but the entire UAE. We have the best technologies, education, healthcare, security & safety, sustainability, and so on. The UAE is a country of world record, tolerance, and peace. We are always proud to welcome and support the brightest masterminds from all over the world. And I am sure that women will take a significant part of outstanding experts in the UAE. What legacy would you like to leave behind? I believe that the young generation is our future and this is our duty to guide them in the right direction. Nowadays, the youth is often getting distracted and it’s a must for all of us to educate them and explain what is good and what is bad. I want to share my vision with all people so that one day we will see the world without struggle, hunger, or pain. 28

metaverse special 29

30 metaverse special Here’s Why Out–of–Office is Key to Unleashing Creativity The secret of unleashed creativity is out – and it’s remote work, according to Canary Islands’ gaming company Triple O Games. Isidro Quintana, CEO of Triple O Games

31 metaverse special

Although ‘Triple O’ reflects the outof-office identity, diving into deeper conversations with the team reveals an overarching freedom mindset which is ingrained in every aspect of the company’s lore. The blockchain-enabled gaming start-up, headquartered on the paradise island of Tenerife located off the coast of Africa, is about to change how people interact with video games. Triple O’s first title, Battle Derby, is a multiplayer mobile game that will allow players to choose how they want to play. They choose between free-to-play and play-to-earn models. Similarly, the team of 20, led by CEO Isidro Quintana, foster the same freedom of choice mentality when it comes to working. The rise of remote working has emerged as one of the biggest shifts in the workplace over the past few years, and the current generation of startup founders seem keen to continue this trend, which has gained momentum post-pandemic. Proponents of the out-of-office workstyle argue that giving people the choice to work from wherever they want, when they want, and with whom they want has many advantages. One of the most cited benefits is an improved work-life balance, which, many believe leads to a higher level of employee engagement and effectiveness – driving productivity among teams. “I have always thought it was the best way to work (remotely). This job has a lot of inspiration, it is not about clocking in and out, you have to get the job done and make good use of the time, that freedom to organize yourself I think is very positive, both for the worker and for the final product. Also, I am a supporter of small teams in which everyone is immersed and aligned in the production, something that is lost in large companies where sometimes you don’t even know where you will go, and what you are doing and you get dizzy with a lot of bureaucracy, ending up disconnecting yourself from the project,” says Moisés Ríos, Senior VFX Artist at Triple O Games. By incentivising players’ skill, loyalty, and commitment, Triple O is ushering in an innovative economic concept that involves sharing profits within the player base – allowing players to become a part of the game’s success. Similar to playing, when it comes to working, there are a few things more motivating than knowing you are a part of a smash hit. “I have seen 90% of NFT projects that have come out to date and without a doubt, this one has something different, it is more serious, the team is 100% verified and can be contrasted on our own website to give more credibility to the project. I like the good atmosphere that the company has and it is a very good opportunity to be part of a winning project for several reasons, one of them can be economic, no doubt – because if the game is known – the token can be a good extra. And then, to be one of the workers/creators of a great game, which makes us have a very good curriculum for the future,” says Daniel Salvador (Vegeta), Crypto Economy Designer at Triple O Games. Creating an inclusive and welcoming environment where all voices matter is another major aspect of any creative powerhouse. This is something that Quintana – armed with 15 years of experience in the technological and audiovisual innovation industry, where he workedwith some of the best entertainment companies like Disney, Warner, Marvel, DC and Mattel – knows very well. “I decided to join Triple O Games mainly because of their work philosophy – a perfect philosophy for any junior who wants to start in the gaming world. By this, I mean that despite being a junior, in Triple O, they give you the opportunity to have a voice and vote and sometimes to lead tasks despite the little experience. On the other hand, the choice of this company is due to the confidence that the CEO transmits to each of the employees, their transparency in difficult times and above all, the closeness to its employees. In other places, the relationship between the CEO and employees is usually quite distant. Another reason why I joined this company was the desire to learn, to be able to be selftaught (with schedules and tasks in the project) and above all the desire to immerse myself in the crypto world,” says Alex González, 3D Artist at Triple O Games. Out-of-office workstyle is having a major impact on allowing diversity, which is desperately lacking across tech sectors, to grow. Diversityrich environments foster creativity, amplify learning and enhance communication – where a sense of community can develop organically. “To be working with people who may be in other parts of the world is awesome and gives us the possibility, like me, to be alone with my thoughts or if necessary to have the whole team in less than a minute, it’s rewarding and reassuring. Triple O Games has a spirit of unity, we care about each member. We could be a family, or in our case, a tribe,” says Yeray Del Pino, 3D Lead Artist at Triple O Games. Such freedomdemands aheightened sense of responsibility. However, if you have successfully nurtured your team into becoming a tribe, you have created an environment in which self-management skills can flourish. metaverse special 32

“Triple O Games was one of the pioneer companies in Spain and the Canary Islands to implement the remote work philosophy before the pandemic and even more within the video game sector. It is true that the company must trust and rely on responsible people, but it is the best way to balance personal and professional life. If I can, I would never go back to work in a company that was not remote,” says Raquel Castro-Estévez, Marketing and Communication at Triple O Games. The last word comes from the CEO himself, Isidro Quintana: “Companies have always tried to have a high level of control over their employees to ensure that they did the tasks they were given. We are seeing a new model of business, where if the individual’s purpose is aligned with that of the company there is a much higher degree of commitment and productivity. Then add in intrinsic motivation incentive policies, which are aligned to individual freedom such as days off, flexible hours, remote work, asynchronous communication and fewer meetings, family reconciliation, together with fair and reasonable extrinsic incentives including salaries, economic bonuses, shares and tokens. The result is that you get not only highly productive people, but happy people who see their work as a part of them, like any founding partner. Gone are the company-worker labour models where you did x work for y hours for z money, for a much more open model where employee and company have a more human, intimate and close relationship. This is the spirit of Triple O Games.” 33

34 metaverse special

35 Photography NFTs are breaking into the mainstream with the potential to propel Web3 mass adoption. Simon Hudson CEO of Cheeze ! Say Cheeze metaverse special

“While zooming out, NFTs are becoming the primary style of not only lens art collecting, but distribution as well – zooming in, this new format that facilitates IP protection and monetization is finally pushing photographs to the list of highest art sales, set to rival any other form of fine art.” NFTs are blockchain tokens that leverage a proof of authentication and ownership to almost anything imaginable, including digital objects – from profile pictures and artwork to game items. Although belonging to the Web1 era, JPEGs, PNGs andmp3s haven’t really exploded until we started using them in the Web2 context, where they grew and multiplied in exponential numbers. At that point, one particular medium has completely unleashed visual storytelling, reinventing the way we record and communicate literally everything, and that is the photograph. Equipped with new tools (smartphones) and provided with the new infrastructure (social media platforms), Web2 users unboarded en masse, and it is fair to say photographs are among those key elements that made the transition faster, more fun and engaging – not to mention incredibly creative for everyone. Next generation photography Last month, the token of Flow blockchain rallied 45% shortly after Meta announced that The mass adoption of new technologies that underpin everyday use cases is still a convoluted process – despite incredible advancements that helped speed up communication. With reinventing or revolutionising the Web, as with any technological development, the transitional phase which connects the old and the new is bound to be extremely complex and tangled – but rest assured, also the most dynamic, inspiring and creative stage. Entering the new era When it comes to Web3, looking back at one of the most logical and commonly made references – the transition to and the advent of Web2 – allows pinpointing those elements that facilitated the shift, making it less painful and more fun for the common man. The majority of the technological developments and applications being created in any transitional phase combine the already familiar with the new elements, sitting perfectly in between the old and yet-to-come tools and infrastructure. New file-sharing formats from the 90s are undoubtedly some of the smallest, yet most powerful drivers that helped propel the adoption of Web2. That being said, describing NFTs as the forerunners and heralds of the era to come seems more chronologically on point than labelling them as one of its products. Instagram has integrated support for Flow-based NFTs. In addition, the social media giant is expanding its recently piloted NFT feature into more than 100 total countries. Created by Dapper Labs, Flow is an open platform built from the ground up to support mainstream adoption. Since its launch, the decentralised and developer-friendly Layer-1 blockchain attracted some of the top entertainment brands and development studios to its ecosystem. With this in mind, the consumerfacing network seems like a perfect match for powering nextgeneration photography through NFTs. While zooming out, NFTs are becoming the primary style of not only lens art collecting, but distribution as well – zooming in, this new format that facilitates IP protection and monetisation is finally pushing photographs to the list of highest art sales, set to rival any other form of fine art. In December 2021, OpenSea created a category specifically for photography. However, the competition is heating up metaverse special

and platforms specialising in photography NFTs, such as Quantum, Unique One Photo, and Ephimera are all aiming to become the go-to marketplace for both established artists and camera amateurs entering the space. “Meta expanding the recently piloted NFT feature is opening up a huge new market opportunity for photography NFT platforms,” commented Simon Hudson, Cheeze CEO and Founder. Cheeze is a dedicated platform for photography-focused NFT projects that started attracting mainstream interest when Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph joined its board of directors in May. Built on the Flow blockchain, the platform enables users to mint, curate, and collect photography NFTs – supporting any payment method and connecting to any chain. “Being an emerging market, the world of NFT photography is bound to scale exponentially, and this is where Cheeze steps into the frame,” noted Hudson, pointing out that even though there are many NFT marketplaces featuring photography collectables, Cheeze stands out with its mission, which is to allow anyone with a camera or phone to bring photos on chain and leverage a complete suite of end-to-end products that ease and “Cheeze is a dedicated platform for photography-focused NFT projects that started attracting mainstream interest when Netflix Co-Founder Marc Randolph joined its board of directors in May.” expedite the process. New opportunities for monetisation “Mainstream adoption is exactly what Cheeze is aiming for and that was one of the reasons why we opted for building on such a consumer-facing blockchain like Flow. Also, leveraging an easyto-use suite of products, which were built and designed with specifically photography NFTs in mind, puts us ahead of the curve,” added Hudson. As new market opportunities for photography NFT platforms unravel, royalty fees and the future of artist compensation are front and centre. Royalty payments allow creators to earn revenue for the lifetime journey of the item. As an artist or photographer grows in popularity, the value of their work increases, and therefore the royalties do too. The upcomingWeb interaction and utilisation stage will move users away from centralised platforms towards more decentralised solutions – underpinned by blockchain technologies and token-based economics. And as users are transitioning into owners, the new creator economy architecture that is emerging is blending another two of the old categories – transforming consumers into peddlers. “Photographers who use the blockchain to showcase photos are able to structure into the contract the royalty percentage they wish to earn from secondary sales. If there are multiple people involved in the production of the image – Cheeze supports multi-royalty splits,” he added. Predicting the future is literally impossible, however, if it is destined to be more decentralised it’s not farfetched to anticipate it will be ushered in by one of the most democratic forms of art. At this point in time, it is still easier to get excited about the emergence of the new creator economy than to actually onboard and get involved in the process. In this particular aspect, Cheeze undoubtedly stands out among its competitors – making it extremely simple to jump on the NFT bandwagon headed toward the exciting Web3 world. By covering all the bases – from minting camera-inspired art and creating bespoke collections, to splitting royalties and rewarding collectors, the platform is built for more than just showcasing, browsing, buying and selling photography NFTs. Uncomplicated and from the palm of a hand, the Cheeze app facilitates next-level connections, bringing creators and collectors closer together, growing and fostering communities – enabling everyone to actively and creatively join the new era of photography. metaverse special 37

RkJQdWJsaXNoZXIy Mjk3Mzkz