Jan 11, 2022 • 1HR 1M

No One Wants to Spend Any Amount of Time With a Plastic Thing Strapped to Their Face (w/Phil Libin)

Why the founder of Evernote and Mmhmm thinks the metaverse is "obvious bullshit"

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Eric Newcomer
Ahead of the 2nd Cerebral Valley AI Summit on Nov. 15, hosts Eric Newcomer, Max Child, and James Wilsterman bring you a six-part podcast series on the rise of generative artificial intelligence.
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Phil Libin is as deeply rooted in the Silicon Valley ethos as you can find. He immigrated to the United States as a child from the Soviet Union and went on to found the once trendy tech word-processing software company Evernote. He took a detour as a venture capitalist at General Catalyst. Now he’s a founder again. He’s the CEO of Mmhmm, a video conferencing company that’s backed by Sequoia Capital, and runs a product studio called All Turtles.

Even though he has virtual reality headsets spilling out of his closet at his new home in Bentonville, Arkansas, he thinks the metaverse is “obvious bullshit.”

“It is a gloss that uncreative people and companies put over — fundamentally a lack of good ideas,” he says. “There’s a part of me that hates it and a part of me that fears it. But since I think it’s so spectacularly stupid, there’s actually not that much to fear.”

Tom Dotan, Katie Benner, and I discuss the metaverse and reminisce about the days when people used to throw eggs at tech buses. Libin explains why he was quick to tell his employees that they would never be coming back to the office and tells us how he got it wrong at Evernote by trying to build his life around work.