Don’t Work in The Industry, Work On It: Infinity Festival 2021

Infinity Festival Hollywood “celebrates story-enabled technology by bringing together Hollywood’s finest storytelling talent with innovative creators and executives of Silicon Valley.” It’s a conference in which major players in the immersive media space present current projects and express thoughts on the industry’s future.

As a professional strategist for Offbeat Media Group and a student in the Texas Immersive Institute that wants to be an expert on the intersection between “traditional” advertising and immersive new media, the event was highly beneficial to my career. I can read Adage, The Drum, The Morning Brew, etc., but hearing directly from c-suite executives from major companies is incomparable. Below I will list the biggest takeaways from industry professionals I think all creatives and strategists should know. 

  • The most stable platform for socials is YouTube. It’s been there since the start, houses diverse content, and consistently evolves. TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitch are critical now, but have a specific use, and something new will inevitably appear and disrupt the trends.
  • Creators are frustrated with Twitch due to lack of customization.
  • Best practices for seamless product integration: product placement in background, natural interaction, alignment with creator’s content.
  • A creator’s follower count is not an accurate representation of an influencer’s “worth.” Audience engagement is often considered more important.
  • When creating video content, provoke engagement with embedded QR codes and questions to discuss in the comments.
  • Allow the audience to take ownership of the content. However, instill guardrails to keep the audience from taking too much control.
  • Everything must be meaningful. Incorporating the current climate resonates well with the community.
  • People turn to short-form content to feel good — the “Ted Lasso Effect.”
  • Definition: An environment in virtual reality where users can interact with others in a purely digital space.
  • The metaverse should not be a single company; it should be a collaborative effort from multiple.
  • The most challenging hurdle to standardize the metaverse is accessibility. Technology is expensive, which the average person cannot afford.
  • Within the next ten years, everything will have a digital hybrid: cars, houses, people (avatars), storefronts, etc.
  • It’s common for startups to juggle multiple ideas; it’s easier and often more practical to identify a particular direction and drive it home.
  • Regarding hiring, don’t overextend. Always look at what the current team can achieve, identify limits, and fill the holes.
  • Don’t simply run a business; look to build an industry.
  • While it’s essential to continually build for the future, remember to work on what’s possible today.
  • The Metaverse and XR are opportunities to make media and entertainment a more communal experience, an inherent human need.
  • We are still a bit early to define the Metaverse as the standard; first, the industry must fix accessibility (price, equipment, etc.).
  • The Metaverse will help bridge the worlds of blockchain and creator content; give back deserved credit to the creator.
  • Users need multiple subscriptions and platforms to keep up with media. It’s too expensive and inefficient. What’s next? How will we fix this?
Max Harberg