Meta Is Still Betting on a VR Revolution That May Never Come

Lauren Goode: And I’m sure that Mark Zuckerberg does not like to lose.

Steven Levy: Of course not.

Lauren Goode: I don’t know him super well, but that is my guess.

Steven Levy: No, he does not like to lose. And if you’re an employee there, and you’re getting the message saying, “If you’re not on board with this, go somewhere else,” if you’re a desirably employee, you’ll go somewhere else.

Lauren Goode: Right. Steven, this has been super interesting. It’s a real privilege to be able to tape a podcast about Meta with the person who wrote the book about Meta, although it was called Facebook then.

Steven Levy: Yes, it was. Yes, it was.

Lauren Goode: Yes.

Steven Levy: They tried to tank my book. They changed the name of the company, right?

Lauren Goode: That’s actually why Mark Zuckerberg changed the company name.

Steven Levy: Yeah, yeah. But also, I wrote a story about virtual reality for Rolling Stone in 1990.

Lauren Goode: What?

Steven Levy: It was the next big thing.

Lauren Goode: What headset were you using?

Steven Levy: I used Gyrolinear headset, and then I went to NASA. They had a thing set up there, with … They called it the Sword of Damocles, because the wire came from the ceiling.

Lauren Goode: And at the time, what sort of prediction, what sort of timeline were people giving for when that was going to become the next big thing?

Steven Levy: Fewer than 30 years.

Lauren Goode: And you said that was in the ’90s?

Steven Levy: 1990.

Lauren Goode: Oh, all right. Well, we’ve surpassed that.

Steven Levy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, no. It was fascinating, because everyone thought it’s the next big thing. However, I chose not to write a book about it. I thought that was a good thing. Instead, I wrote a book called Artificial Life, right? Which that hasn’t happened yet either, but it might.

Lauren Goode: Also, you wrote a book about crypto.

Steven Levy: Yeah, I did. Yeah.

Lauren Goode: Yeah. I guess that’s happened, but-

Steven Levy: That’s happened.

Lauren Goode: It’s happened.

Steven Levy: The stuff I wrote in that book, there it is, right?

Lauren Goode: Yeah, yeah. The market’s a little volatile, but it is in fact here. All right, so this has basically just become a podcast where we talk about Steven Levy’s books.

Steven Levy: I love it.

Lauren Goode: Thank you so much for joining us. We’re going to take another quick break, and when we come back, we’re going to offer our recommendations for the other Steven Levy books that you haven’t read yet. We’ll be right back.

[Break]

Lauren Goode: Steven, what is your recommendation this week?

Steven Levy: I’m going to recommend a play.

Lauren Goode: Oh, OK.

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