The Metaverse: The Past & Future


Phillip Rosedale
High Fidelity, CEO & Founder

In 1995, Philip Rosedale created an innovative Internet video conferencing product ("FreeVue"), which was later acquired by RealNetworks where, in 1996, he went on to become Vice President and CTO. In 1999, Rosedale left RealNetworks, founded Linden Lab, and built a virtual civilization called Second Life, creating an open-ended, Internet-connected virtual world. Following Second Life, Rosedale worked on several projects related to distributed work and computing. Excited by innovations in these areas and the proliferation of new VR-enabling devices, he re-entered the virtual worlds space in 2013, founding High Fidelity. However, given the slow adoption of VR hardware, and High Fidelity’s mission to serve humanity by building technology that helps people be together, in the most natural way possible, from anywhere in the world, High Fidelity is making its patented technology accessible on nearly any device. The company’s warm, rich 3D audio spaces are designed for crowds and mimic real-life experiences. Philip holds a B.S. in physics from the University of California, San Diego.

Brad Oberwager
Linden Lab & Tilia, Chairman of the Board

Brad has spent his entire career in technology  and consumer-focused companies as an  entrepreneur and board member. Currently, he sits on Asure Software’s board,  chairing the compensation committee. He is on the boards of Jyve (chairman), Sundia (chairman), TEGSCO (aka Autoreturn)  and Linden Lab (owner of Second Life). He owned Bare Snacks, acquired by  PepsiCo in 2018.  Brad was Vice-chair of YPO International, a global organization of 25,000 CEOs  and ran all functions of the 21-person board. He is NMLS licensed and has gone through numerous DOJ/FBI checks for money  

Ina Fried
Axios, Chief Technology Correspondent

Ina Fried is the chief technology correspondent at Axios, and lead author of its daily tech newsletter, Login. Before joining Axios, Fried was a senior editor at Recode, where she covered mobile and served as producer of the Code/Mobile series of conferences. Prior to Recode, Ina covered mobile for All Things Digital where she also co-produced the D: Dive Into Mobile conference. She spent a decade at CNET where she covered, among other things, Microsoft and Apple. Prior to joining CNET, she covered chips for Bridge News and was a writer at the Orange County Business Journal and Orange County Register. She graduated from Miami University in Ohio. Ina is a past vice president and national board member of NLGJA: The LGBT Journalists Association and in 2016 was inducted into the LGBT Journalists Hall of Fame.

A lot of the current conversation around the metaverse is around the transition from 2-D to 3-D and the hardware to support this transition.   But maybe the metaverse is more about engaging people.  This was the core principle when Philip Rosedale launched (one of) the first metaverse(s), Second Life, nearly 20 years ago and it remains the focus of Second Life today. This session will discuss this original vision, what we have learned after nearly 20 years of Second Life and – most importantly – where Philip and Brad see the future of the metaverse in what they believe will be an always live internet.   

Some specific areas covered include:

  • Pseudo versus real identities
  • The fundamental need for people to engage in trade in metaverses
  • Importance of an underlying financial system – or economy – within a metaverse