#701: Experiential Design of Cause-Based Marketing with Empact Labs + OC5 Highlights

christopher-pitcherBrands are looking to cause-based marketing & creating interactive experiences in order to provide customers an opportunity to participate in the story of brand that has a deeper purpose and mission that they’re trying to achieve. Immersive experiences provide brands a way to engage their audience with interactive experiences that cultivate a sense of embodied presence, but also evoke emotions from having deep and meaningful interactions that reflect the larger metanarrative of the brand’s story. I talk with Empact Labs‘ Christopher Pitcher about the design frameworks that he uses in order to create experiential marketing experiences for brands.


There are many different experiential design frameworks from the world of Human-Centered Design and Experiential Marketing, and here’s a small sampling of frameworks I came across after this interview:

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to The Voices of VR Podcast. So on today's episode, we're going to be diving into experiential marketing. What can either immersive experiences, virtual reality, or augmented reality, how can that create an experience for a brand that allows the audience to be able to connect to a deeper purpose? so that they can become brand ambassadors to be able to spread the deeper purpose of what these companies are all about. So I'm just coming back from Oculus Connect 5 and there's a lot of different thoughts that I have about Oculus and Facebook in general, but in terms of what they were able to achieve at Oculus Connect 5 was this sense of experiential marketing. At previous Oculus Connects, we've always been able to have some sort of taste of the latest bleeding edge technology that inspires developers to be able to go out and create the next generation of virtual and augmented reality experiences. That happened with the Crescent Bay at Oculus Connect 1. It happened with the Toy Box demo and the Oculus Touch controllers at Oculus Connect 2. And then at Oculus Connect 3 and 4, there wasn't necessarily technology for everybody to try out. However, there were different demos that the press and journalists were able to check out. So last year at Oculus Connect 4, there was the Santa Cruz demo. And this year at Oculus Connect 5, they had overtaken so much of the expo space at the San Jose Convention Center to have these massive room-scale experiences using what is now called the Oculus Quest, formerly known as the prototype of the Oculus Santa Cruz. But to have these immersive experiences that give people a taste of what the future of wireless, teleless, mobile virtual reality experiences are going to be like and just some ideas of what's possible so that creators can go out and create their own experiences. So part of Oculus and Facebook's strategy has been to focus on this gaming entertainment section because if they're able to serve the needs of the gaming world, then I think they're going to then follow on that these headsets and technologies are going to be able to serve pretty much every other domain and industry, whether it's education or medicine or everything else that you can possibly do with virtual reality. Part of my own personal complaints against Facebook and Oculus is that I think they could do a lot more to promote these other applications of virtual reality, but I think right now they're really narrowed down on the gaming applications and really focusing all their effort and energy on that. But I think that kind of raises some deeper questions as to what the deeper motivations and intentions and values of Facebook as a company are, and is this a vision that everybody can get behind, which is having a billion people in virtual reality playing games. So I had a chance to talk to Christopher Pitcher. He's the CEO of Impact Labs, and they're a design agency that is really focusing on trying to catalyze socially conscious companies and to be able to do these experiences that are able to connect the deeper mission and values of those companies into some sort of experiential component so that they can create these experiences that have a specific desired social outcome. So we'll be covering values-based marketing, cause-based marketing, socially conscious marketing, and just experiential design in general on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. So this interview with Christopher happened on Thursday, September 27th, 2018 at the Oculus Connect 5 conference in San Jose, California. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:03:25.255] Christopher Pitcher: Hi, I'm Christopher Pitcher, and I run MPAC Labs, which is an experiential creative agency catalyzing socially conscious companies. And we really look at how do we use VR and AR to support and essentially exponentiate the messages of the companies that if they succeed, the world's a better place.

[00:03:47.763] Kent Bye: Great. So it's like a design agency. I know a lot of people that are design agencies that have been looking at virtual reality as a mechanism for advertising in some way. So let's say like it's a film and you want to advertise the film, you create some experience, but it's to advertise something that's like in a 2D medium. But this sounds like something that's a little bit deeper in terms of somebody's core mission or their values and in some ways, maybe trying to tell a deeper story about a future that they want to live into and how VR could help do that. So maybe you could talk a bit about the context of who these people are and what you're seeing happening in that.

[00:04:22.404] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah, absolutely. You're kind of speaking to that these are intrinsic business models that are socially conscious rather than extrinsic. And what we're looking at is, given brand loyalty has just a huge dip all across the board, What we're seeing is that experiences that allow you to really live the story of the brand, give you that deeper connection to the why of why they exist, allow you to become brand ambassadors because now all of a sudden you're like, oh, I got it. I got the insight of why this thing exists. And so we really look at how do we bring experiential design to both VR and events in a way that allows people to connect deeper with the why. And so what we've been seeing is the fact that people really love that, for one, because they want to know what incentivized these people. Why are they doing this? When you have a million things you can do, how am I learning more about myself through interacting with this brand? And so we really look at brands as a way to self-actualize.

[00:05:30.367] Kent Bye: Interesting. Yeah, I know that within the last two or three weeks there was the Nike campaign with Colin Kaepernick and the slogan of believe in something even if it means that you lose everything. And I know that with Colin Kaepernick that's in a lot of ways true. And that there's this deeper trend of what I've seen be called values-based marketing, where people are trying to take a stand on some of these larger issues, but to have a deeper purpose for who they are and what they're trying to achieve. It's like the Aristotelian final cause, like what is the deeper purpose of what you're trying to create? What's the final manifestation of what it is that you're doing? having that story and that alignment between that deeper purpose and showing that there's a connection there. What I hear you saying, I guess, that's resonating with people and people want that because they want to be a part of something that is larger than themselves. So how is that being referred to in the advertising industry? Is it values-based marketing or is there other phrases that talk about this trend that you see?

[00:06:24.535] Christopher Pitcher: I think it's values-based marketing. It's also cause-based marketing. It's socially conscious marketing. They haven't had clear definition of it yet because it's something that is emerging currently as a much larger marketplace. And as the end user responds more and more to that, it'll gain more momentum because we'll see people that fully take on these brands and understand that they feel great about them because it's a cause that they care about. I mean, we're already seeing that people are willing to pay upwards of 7% more for something they feel is socially conscious. Millennials in general feel like they care about the world and they want to support things with their dollar because ultimately it feels so hard to do things on such a large scale to make an impact. So they want to see, okay, with my dollar today, how can I support something? And We're super excited just about it's in its infancy, similar to AR and VR, and seeing just the market expand and allow people to have that deeper understanding of themselves through these experiences. Because that's really what it's about is a brand is there to be of service to the end user. And so the more that they're of service and actually understand where their customer is in their hero's journey and positioning themselves as the guide in that. As their customer goes through that and has those epiphanous moments and comes to battle themselves and show up in their higher version of themselves, they then get to look back and appreciate and have loyalty for the people that supported them in that journey.

[00:08:04.353] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I've been doing all these interviews within the VR industry and trying to come up with this experiential design framework. I was originally thinking about it as a theory of presence, but then when I talked to Dustin Chertoff, he said that actually he was looking at this experiential marketing from advertising. and how there had been all this work for Starbucks, for example, the way that they try to holistically create this experience of you going into another place and they're trying to think about the music and your engagement and it's like they're trying to turn it not just buying coffee, but they're trying to give you a whole holistic experience in that. That's been their whole approach. And so there's been this deeper trend within the advertising world with these different brands and companies in the consumer market to turn towards experiential marketing and experiential advertising. And I sort of adopted that as experiential design framework, because that seems to be all-encompassing of what it means to be a VR designer is that you're designing experiences. In the context of a VR or AR, it's mediated through the technology. But for a lot of these advertising companies, it may be like immersive theater. It could be like any experience. It doesn't have to be mediated through the technology. So it seems to be encompassing of a universal experiential design framework that works, whether it's mediated through the AR or VR or something that is just like an immersive theater actual experience that people are having. From your perspective, though, I'm curious to hear your take of how you sort of make sense of this experiential marketing, like what language or what frameworks you use to operate and actually interface with these clients as you're helping them design experiences.

[00:09:36.212] Christopher Pitcher: First off, I want to say I'm always amazed by your memory going back into all of the people that you've interviewed and recalling things that they said. For me, it's how do I put it simply and use frameworks that are easily accessible for them just as much for me. So a traditional one that we start off with, I call the five E's, which is from an experiential standpoint, how do you entice, enter, engage, exit, extend? So very simple at each stage, if you surprise and delight them, you're creating a successful experience. Now, how do you go about doing that? How does your customer actually engage with that? And what are the different ways that you're delivering that? That is later work, but to overall just have a framework to start with where it's like, great, here's different touch points. How are you going to tell a consistent story that has a rise and fall to it and really leaves them wanting more? and then restart the process all over again.

[00:10:37.812] Kent Bye: So maybe you could break down each of those E's and maybe an example that comes to mind as you're working with some of these companies and maybe some of the work that you've created, just to give a little bit more flavor in terms of what that actually translates to.

[00:10:50.623] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah. So ultimately we look at the entire customer engagement as an experience. And so you can use this for a specific event. You could also use this for your company engagement as a whole, because the first time someone might hear about you is on a podcast and then they might enter your ecosystem through your website and then they're engaging with you through a call to action. And then upon exiting, is there an exit intent? Are you capturing their email? How are you going to then continue that experience, re-engage them, bring your company back into their awareness in a value-based way that is saying, hey, you said you were interested in this. We have this coming up. Do you want to find out more? And then you can do that same thing with an event in terms of how do they find out about you? Is it through friends, which is the ideal way, or is it through an advertisement? And then upon entering, You know, like here at Oculus Connect, they gave us a water bottle as you got your badge. And so that's a nice little, ooh, okay, cool. Thanks, you value me. I like this, this looks cool. And then how do you engage? So they're creating all of these places for us to engage with each other and connect, and then engage with them through a one-to-many experience, and then demos to actually try things out. And then we haven't had the exit experience yet, but what does that look like? And then the follow-up, you know, how do you automate the follow-up so that it's all this continuous story that allows people to feel like they get who you are. Because when your touch points are varied and they tell different pieces of the story that don't feel congruent, then when I go to tell my friend about your brand, I have a hard time saying what it is. And word of mouth is the most important marketing because we trust human beings over everything.

[00:12:43.297] Kent Bye: Yeah, as you're saying that, I'm going through the whole process of the voices of VR and how I need to redo my website and to really think about all the different dimensions of that. But the challenge that I see, centered in my own experience of focusing on the podcast, of just putting it out there, I have amazing word of mouth. The call to action for the podcast is to contribute to Patreon. But there's other things and other books and other things that I want to have. And so really cultivating and building that email list. Now, the challenge that I have is I hate reading email. I don't want to use email. And so that means that I don't want to send email. So as an experiential journalist, I know that being in the moment, having an experience, that's what I prioritize. And so I've deprioritized my own sense of engaging people through email. But yet, at the same time, that's how you maybe follow up and do things. But there seems to be, in the media ecosystem, this shift into live streaming or events that are happening right now. moving from asynchronous communication to synchronous communication with either Slack or Discord. So there seems to be this shift from relying too heavily on the email, because I feel like in some ways it's great to be able to do certain things and it will always serve a purpose, but that is a dying medium towards doing something that's live and emergent that's happening right now through cultivating communities in other ways, whether it's through Discord or Slack or Twitch live streams or stuff like that. So I'm just curious to hear from your perspective if you see these larger shifts that are happening and how companies are maybe having a balance or figuring out other ways that as you do the call to action and continue to engage with people, you do need to have a way to reach out to them, let them know that there's new events or other ways that they can engage in the future, but how you see this kind of shifting ecosystem of communication?

[00:14:27.740] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah, it's a really interesting question because ultimately how I look at brand building is community building and If we don't give people easy access to be a part of our community, feel that they can contribute. and feel like they get a reciprocal in that contribution, then they're going to slowly fall off. It's going to be a great one-time moment. And then they're just going to be like, okay, we'll Peter off until like 10,000 ads is the average estimate that we see every day in the Western world. And so like they have no lack of things vying for their attention. So we need to keep them engaged in a way that really makes sense. Whether that is, you know, for you, maybe that's, WhatsApp group maybe that's a you know as you're saying a slack channel where you're allowing the community to do the work for you and really creating and continuing the conversations that you spur and Then that way it's going out beyond and it's a consistent turnover So it's not always just about email because I agree with you like I'm not a big fan of email either but we also can't put our viewpoint on our community's interests, which we tend to do.

[00:15:41.180] Kent Bye: Yeah, I'm really getting this, as you talk about this, using the metaphors of the Yong and the Yen, where the Yen currency is that the more you give, the more you get. So the more information I give out, the more information I get. And so I think that's the same way with community, where if there's a gift culture where people are freely giving of their time to connect to each other and help each other out by educating or communicating or exchanging the Yen currency to then come in and start to put on top of that a bunch of advertising messages or Make it transactional or for me to use that to just put out my perspective I feel like the podcast is my opportunity to put out my viewpoints in my perspective and then to Recognize that there is this exchange that happens where you're trying to balance the young in the end and really see like What is it that the community is doing? What is it that they're building? What is it that they're engaged with that does tap into those deeper aspects of their purpose? And how do you actually sort of? foster that community and enable them to actually do what they want to do, which is to either build or create or connect in other ways. And so I'm just curious to hear from you what you've seen works for brands as they're trying to actually not just have a community for community's sake, but actually allow them to actually build something or make something.

[00:16:54.178] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah, I mean to me at the end of the day live events are what allow us to connect and when we connect with other human beings that's really the core of our interests because especially like-minded and when you create settings by which it's easier for people to connect, even name tags that have our name on them already, so that we're like, oh, yeah, got it, I actually understand your name and I can remember that and I can look it up without it being a long process. And that's a small thing, but in terms of brands and how to build that out, I mean, you're seeing the transition to, like, I wanna see authentic messaging, I wanna see videos that don't feel like you spent millions of dollars to polish them to try and influence me. even though it's weird because you're still spending money to influence me, but I want to feel like you're authentically connecting with me rather than the polish and panache of our childhood. And so definitely events combined with content strategies and fun activations to me, you know, it's like, how do you create, it's not necessarily a meetup, but how do you create treasure hunts for your community? How do you just create little moments where they get to feel like they have fun interacting with your ecosystem? And to me, that's connection, fun, inspiration. The more epiphanies that we can create for them and not have it be about us, that's what I'm about. Because an idea in my head means nothing to you, at least for me. Because until you actually take ownership of it, you're just going to be like, that's his idea. It's a nice idea. It might make a billion dollars, but it's not my idea. And really what we need is the transference of ideas, the transference of understanding. And that's, to me, what I do love about VR is, to me, the experiential learning that can occur in VR. is so much deeper than language. Because to me, language is theoretical transference. And what VR allows for is first taking that theory and then adding context to it so it becomes understanding. And then it allows you to take that understanding and practice it so that it can actually become embodiment. So that's how I've broken down learning as into theoretical, which is language-based. And then when you add context to it, it becomes an understanding. And then when you practice it, it can become an embodiment. And then to me, it's also about what are brands standing for in terms of looking at the larger societal issues? Because as you spoke to Colin Kaepernick, the most iconic brands speak to societal issues in a way that brings the two sides together. And that's what I think is so amazing about the campaign that Nike did is, well, it created outrage as well. I created people burning Nikes, which means guess what? Their earned media is through the roof. Like they got so much more because people on both sides, people were attracted to it. And then people were like, no, this is not what I stand for. And rebelled against it, which there's the old saying of like, no press is bad press. To me, it really is like, how do you look at the larger issues and intrinsically have what you care about be inside of the values that you hold and that you message to your customers and your community. Because that's how they come to identify themselves. It's like we're constantly looking for the externalities to identify our internalities of what resonates for us. And so the more that a brand is aligned for us, the more we're going to keep going back and be like, yeah, that resonates. I find more people that are like-minded to me. And the more I find like-minded people, the more that we connect, like there's science around all of that, that if I have an exciting conversation with you and I spark emotion in you, we're more likely to become friends. Especially if all of a sudden we start to touch on shared experiences. Like that's why in the beginning we're always like, okay, what's the frame of mind that you have? What's the frame of mind that I have? Where did you grow up? What do you do? So we're like trying to navigate with radio dials, like, okay, how can I find a frame of reference that we can both talk that's outside of the weather?

[00:21:27.973] Kent Bye: Yeah, that shared experience, I think, is something that is happening with virtual reality, because now we can start to have experience on demand, and then we can talk about what our internal phenomenological experience of that is. In some ways, those qualities of experience can be universal and transcend other value systems or ideologies that come in. And so it's like, what is the common ground that humanity is able to connect to each other with? And I feel like that in a polarized environment right now. There's like this dialectic that is battling against each other. And then it gets played out metaphorically across all different dimensions of our society. And that it is trying to resolve and come back to this place of coming to a common understanding and common ground. But right now, at least, it feels a little bit more intractable. And so you may have companies like Nike that are pouring fuel in the fire of taking a strong stand on one side of the values, which creates the opposite Someone was writing about how the haters make you stronger. If you are able to generate outrage, then there's other people who will actually come to your defense. And it actually gets this deeper engagement going. But as we look at this ecosystem right now, it seems like there's this shift towards experiential marketing. And I'm just curious, from your perspective, Who's really doing it right? What are some examples that are out there that you see that people are really doing all of what you see the best practices, either from some of the campaigns that you've worked on personally, or just people out there in the larger either VR or brand ecosystem?

[00:22:56.598] Christopher Pitcher: I mean, there's a few agencies that come to mind. Zambezi is one. They're based out of LA. They're a small agency that just does really stunning, interactive work. And I think the MediaMonks also does a great job. They did the activation with Nike in front of the LA Convention Center. However, to me, those are larger-scale aspects. But I still haven't seen things that have the larger meta-narrative. across everything in a way that each touchpoint feels optimized for that touchpoint and drives me into that location-based experience or activation that I'm like, oh my God, everything is led up to this moment. I'm here and now this is my epiphany. I mean, there's unbelievable work that's being done. I forget the company that works, they're represented by Here Be Dragons, but they've done like Beyonce shows and different things like that. And so, I find a lot of the really amazing creatives kind of go back and forth between like brand work, social causes that they care about, and then like artist work. And really what I'm hoping for and what I see possible is kind of this ultimate version of Hollywood where you can have the things that you care about and your work that you're paid for. come together. Because to me it's like, great, I've gotten the great privilege to choose what I get to do with my life, and yes it's tough, yes it's hard to be an entrepreneur, but that's what I stand for. And it also makes this amazing aspect where bringing people together is so much easier because you're like, you don't have to choose anymore between the things that you care about and being paid to cover your basic needs. because that's what most of us feel like we have to choose a lot of times. Or we're going through the hardship because we're going after the things we care about. And we're like, why is life like that? Back to the original question of different activations and different brands that are really doing it well. I think that Nat Geo with their New York experience, their immersive experience in New York is doing a really interesting aspect because it's fully digital experience of getting to see animals, I mean it's all based in sea life, but animals that you wouldn't ever see in your life most likely. And they're not being held in an aquarium. And so it's a very different aspect by which we can create repeatable experiences that also have a lower cost than keeping a whale in an aquarium. and get to allow people to still feel like they have a deeper understanding and understand more of the human experience.

[00:25:49.244] Kent Bye: Yeah, well, it seems like that in our culture right now, there is this, I'd say, almost like toxic thread of nihilism that, you know, people find a lack of meaning and purpose, both in themselves, but also the larger culture, which can kind of lead to almost like a feedback loop cycle of creating more and more nihilism and lack of meaning and purpose. And so there's also a lot of people who don't have the luxury to be able to live into their values completely in the sense of what it is that they do to be able to survive in the world today and what they deeply believe in. And so if there's these different brands or organizations that are allowing them to engage and spend their time in ways that they feel like they're able to contribute to something that is larger than themselves, and that could contribute to helping the world make a better place, that people seem to be hungry for that deeper meaning and purpose in a world and a context where there doesn't seem to be a lot of that. So it sounds like the ideas that I hear you saying is that to try to figure out what those deeper intentions are and and how to turn that into that meta-narrative that then is embedded into All different aspects of an experience and so like how do you do that?

[00:26:53.816] Christopher Pitcher: Well, it takes a lot of research first to actually understand who is our target demographic like who are the people that we want to create that experience for and you know, the worst thing to hear is everybody and Because I'm sure as you've gone through your frameworks, it's like, OK, certain things work for certain people. And as much as we're like, well, we're human at the core, there's things that resonate with everybody. Like, yeah, we all eat. We all like to dance. We all like to enjoy an embodiment of some sort, to relax. It really comes back to researching what is the piece that whether that's a piece of the culture that really resonates with that target demographic or what is the story that is authentic to the brand that resonates with that target demographic so that we can really expound that out and then figure out okay if this is the larger meta-narrative that we're going with now how do we optimize that how do we create videos that are specifically for your mobile, and then how do we create ones that are specifically for your website, and then that out-of-home experience. So each one is really adding and optimizing the way that people see that, and giving them that little ping of excitement, that little ping of, oh, what I've always felt deep down is possible, they're saying is possible. Ooh, I like that feeling. Because so much of us, we've had to subvert that, we've had to push that down to deal with our everyday life, to live in the system that we live in. And so, to me, it is just looking at how do we do the research, and then based off of the human insights that come from that research, because that's what research is all about. is whether that's qualitative or quantitative, we look at how do we actually pull a human insight that we can base the concept around. And then we build out the narrative from there. So those concepts can look a whole bunch of different ways, but the insight could very well be that At the end of the day at a conference, people's feet are sore. That could be the insight. And so all of a sudden, Dr. Scholz could come in and have foot massage chairs throughout the conference. And then all of a sudden, that's a nice relief moment for people. So it's just really thinking about how does that make sense. So great, that works in this experience. How does that work in other experiences? Do they make a whole thing off of the moment you take your shoes off at home? You know, like that epiphanous moment of like, Girls say it's their bra or high heels. And for men, it's just shoes, even though for us, it's not as bad as high heels. Yeah, so I think that that is how we look at creating that. And it's also, to me, about looking at what is the future that we want that brand to be building and their goals. So we essentially set out what are their five-year, 10-year goals, so essentially creating their vision with them. and then working backwards from there and understanding, great, if we're going to be building campaigns, how do we have those start moving towards those goals and what that world they want to look like is.

[00:30:19.200] Kent Bye: Yeah, and as we're at Oculus Connect 5, Facebook and Oculus are getting up and saying, we want to get a billion people into VR. And I have a couple of reactions. One is that I can understand that there needs to be a large ecosystem for the developer community to be able to sustain themselves. That's obvious. But then there's a deeper question, which is like, OK, well, why? Why do you want a billion people into VR? And what do you gain from that? And then, what is the deeper intention for that? Is it to change the world, or is it to profit? And so, I guess, even just being here at Oculus Connect 5, there's this sort of, like, unease that I have when I see these big, grand visions, and then you start to have to read between the lines to see what is actually the behavior. And as I read between the lines and see what's actually here as experiences, there's, like, a lot of games. And there's a lot of other applications for virtual reality that go way beyond just gaming. There's medicine and education. But when I look symbolically for how much of the non-gaming, non-entertainment applications of VR are being broadcast by Facebook and Oculus on the stage, It's like less than 5% of the energy and their attention for what they're giving on sort of the everything other than gaming. And even looking here metaphorically with what's on the floor here, it's pretty much all gaming and entertainment. And I think there may be other things later, but there's sort of... In terms of priority, it's all about gaming. So if you want a billion people in VR playing games all the time, what kind of world does that create? Can I get behind that? And there's a part of me that's like, no. I don't want to full stop support this mission that you have, because I don't believe that your actions are matching with what you're saying. And there's a disconnect there between the values that you're putting forth and demonstrating through your actions versus what's actually happening on the ground. And yes, I do believe that it's all going in that direction. But to me, there's this sort of, even looking at the branding here at this experience, this sort of disconnect that I have of like, what is the deeper purpose? I want to see VR change the world. I want to have people have their minds transformed. I want to have education. I want people to heal from it. I want people to actually have these deep, intimate connections that are based upon intimacy and privacy, and not something that is going to be sort of mortgaging our privacy to be able to advertise to us. And so anyway, I don't know if you have any thoughts about that.

[00:32:36.309] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah, I mean, I think you hit it on the head quite a bit. For me, it's definitely a very interesting experience because they also spoke a lot to connection, right? Like this ability to connect anywhere, anytime with anyone. And that's really powerful. to what means, like you're saying. If we have a billion people that can connect anywhere at any time, for one, a billion out of seven, or whenever that occurs, eight billion people, so that's the billion privileged that are getting that. And how does that actually support what it is that we're here to do, which I think is what you're getting at, of like, great, a billion people gaming, cool are those games somehow solving larger problems in the background because they're holding people's attention? Because we're living in an attention economy where the more and more that's going to be the resource because essentially through neuroplasticity we see that we grow wherever we hold our attention. And so ultimately if we're looking at a world with universal basic income and people are just getting to do whatever is of their highest excitement or what they believe in, then how does a billion people being in VR playing games or watching entertainment support the larger collective vision of what we as humanity can create? And so it's a beautiful vision, and then you're like, wait, who's behind this?

[00:34:09.596] Kent Bye: Yeah, who's benefiting? And what does that world look like when we get there? And then what happens? And I guess that's my hesitation. But it seems like that there's this transition that we are moving from the information age to the experiential age and that we are moving towards this immersive future that I believe that is happening and that maybe they're playing their small role but to me I feel like there's these deeper intentions for what that could mean. I see it through the lens of virtual reality and augmented reality that we're moving away from asynchronous intellectualized abstractions of ideas and into embodied experiences that we're able to have embodied presence and emotional presence and active presence and social and mental presence. But those different dimensions of our full being being engaged all at the same time, I see that's happening in VR and AR, but what I find interesting is that it's also happening in the advertising world. that if people find that brands can find success in allowing them to sell more products, then we're going to see a lot more experiential advertising, which means we're going to see a lot more of immersive experiences, whether it's immersive theater, AR, VR. So it sort of goes back to, what are the things that you see are this trend towards this experiential advertising, experiential marketing? And what are the indicators that you see as this is a larger trend that goes beyond just the AR and VR that's happening?

[00:35:26.374] Christopher Pitcher: Well, it comes back to ultimately what brands care about is their bottom line. And in olden days when events weren't some amazing thing, that's why they sponsor really fun events, right? Like they sponsor concerts. It's because you then associate, they get to have their association with something that you see as fun, even though it's not necessarily aligned with that brand. It doesn't make sense inside of that brand's identity. And so what I see the trends being is that we are moving towards a much more aligned communication from brands where by creating their own worlds, because that's really what we're seeing is like, you know, if you look at the best storytellers in the world, which is what brands are, that's what marketing agencies are, that's what creative agencies are, is like, at the end of the day, our brain is a pattern recognition machine. And it understands the world through creating stories of our memories so that it can collapse the thousands of amounts of data that we receive every moment into something that's tangible and recallable. And so the best stories we look at in terms of IP right now would be Star Wars, right? And Star Wars is all about building a world that you can access through multiple different touchpoints. Marvel, building a world that you can access through multiple different touchpoints. And so I see experiential being building out worlds that we can access through different touch points, whether that's VR, AR, or immersive experiences. It's allowing people to actually transcend the daily life and feel like they're a part of something special. And the other aspect that I really see is I have the great privilege to be able to travel around the world and take 15 months and do that. And that gave me wisdom that I can't even, you know, like people say, we live in a time, you spoke to it, experience age, where it's like, I would rather choose experiences over things. And with VR and AR, that means that we can democratize experiences, which allow people to understand more of the overall human experience, which allows us to see and understand people in a much deeper way, because we understand many of the more shared experiences. We can connect with them. through a more shared experience and see the world in a way that allows them to be our friend, even if we've never met them. And once again, to me it goes back to connection. It goes back to how are we creating connections for people, and that's what I think is so powerful about what Oculus is standing for, is that moment of, great, you have your best friend that lives across the world. now all of a sudden you have a way to actually connect with them that doesn't feel like, oh, we're just hopping on a video call. It's like, oh, we can actually work on something together in a real way, or just hang out and actually feel like we're sitting next to each other. Sure, right now those things don't feel like they're amazing, but you do Oculus Venues, it's like, oh, this is, it's not the same, but it's also cool and fun and different. And then you take that and you put that out three, five years. And all of a sudden you're looking at a very different world where you're like, Oh, okay. So immersive experiences, whether digital or in physical locations are about those moments of connection and ecstasy.

[00:39:00.482] Kent Bye: Yeah, and because you said that you have a background in design thinking, I'm curious to hear your perspective on these different design frameworks and the trade-offs. Because one of the things that Mel Slater had told me that he had heard from a NASA theorist of VR presence, he was saying that any good theory of presence is going to have equivalence classes where you could say that there's going to be these trade-offs of saying this or that. And then depending on your context, you can make a decision as to what you're going to emphasize. So translating that to a theory of experiential design is that there still needs to be some sort of those equivalence classes in terms of what are the design decisions that you're making that are going to be able to allow you to mediate that experience. I see the equivalence classes of like the active presence and mental social presence and embodied presence and emotional presence and sort of the high level it's how much are you Expecting the audience to be passively receiving and how much are you expecting them to be actively engaged? And so there's this dialectic of giving and receiving in that way at the highest level But that there's different ways to sort of do that But I'm just curious from your perspective as you've been creating these experiences and thinking about this from a design thinking perspective like What are other ways to think about these various different trade-offs as you're actually pragmatically on the ground creating experiences where you feel like if you do more of this, you have to do less of that, but if you've found that there's those types of equivalence classes within an experiential design framework?

[00:40:20.932] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah, I mean, it's a great question. To me, it always starts with what's the output? What is it that you want to leave people with? And from there, we can work backwards. And then that is what defines our trade offs, because then we can start to think about, okay, Do we want this to be a passive experience where they're receiving information? Or do we want this to be a small community experience where we're building an unconference that brings people together in small groups? But to the actual question that you're getting at, I don't know if I have names for the classes that you're asking about. To me, it comes down to really the aspect of what is the feeling of the experience overall? What is the one emotion we want to make sure that they feel and have that align with the feeling that we want the brand's messaging to have? And then really looking at what are the ways to do that? Are we going to do that through music? Are we going to do that through a motivational speaker or an inspirational speaker or just by creating little pods with a goal in mind for them to actually create something together or play Jenga together. Like what is it going to be that makes sense? And then having the trade offs based on budget is always one and the outcome. Because how I think about things is that human beings are unbelievable problem solvers. It's crazy how good we are at solving problems, but we're horrible problem framers. And so we solve the wrong problem all the time. And so to me, it is about what you're speaking to in terms of identifying what are the important aspects of the experience. that we want to make sure occur, and putting those first. So essentially putting the big rocks in first, and then filling in the sand that is the rest of it.

[00:42:20.957] Kent Bye: Yeah, one of the dilemmas that I see is that for people who are working in social justice issues, that some of the biggest motivating factors sometime may be anger, or fear, or disgust, or outrage. That will make people take action, but yet you also want to give inspiration, and hope, and love, So you want to have like a brand identity where you're putting out the most exalted aspects of the human potential but yet sometimes it's the worst aspects of humanity that will actually get people to take action and do something about it. So how do you balance this process of giving enough outrage and fear and anger for people to take action but yet not leave them with this sort of nihilistic place of having no hope or connection?

[00:43:05.307] Christopher Pitcher: That is one of my biggest challenges, honestly, because I am a huge believer in win-win scenarios. And I believe there is this collective heart that is underneath all people's intentions of like, I do see people as inherently good. And I also agree with what you spoke to earlier that if I'm not creating outrage to some degree, I'm probably not doing something big enough or I'm not standing for my vision in a big enough way. And that's really tough for me because that feels like a dichotomy. It feels like I'm standing that everyone can be a part of my in-crowd and then I'm saying, well, I know by doing that in such a way or around a specific belief structure that people are going to have pushback against that. Ultimately, it's about finding the access point to the people that are your community and creating language and a message that allows them to stand behind that. And then that will create the reciprocation. It will create that anger or disgust or whatever it brings up for people because of their belief structure and how that doesn't resonate with that. But yeah, it's something that I'm constantly looking at figuring out and overcoming in a deeper capacity because I do agree that it's needed. And I also believe that that's needed to come out in order for people to even have the potential to agree with it. Like the space has to be held. because that's coming from their belief structure and we can't see each other's belief structures if we're unwilling to hear the emotions that come from those.

[00:44:55.383] Kent Bye: Yeah, I know that the phrase that comes to mind is Ken Wilber says hurts more bothers you less so that it's almost like this practice of bearing witness to the horrible traumas of the world and Increasing your capacities for empathy to see the vast pain and trauma that's happening in the world right now to really feel that but yet it bothers you less so that then you can actually take action to do something about it. So there's a bit of like this weird medicine where you're asking people to bear witness to something that's actually pretty terrible, but they need to do that before they can really understand the deeper intention for why it's so important that they use their agency to take action to do something about it. And there's this bit of collective decisions that have been unconscious that have led us into this situation. So how can each of us become more conscious in each of the small decisions that we make so that we can see what's happening in the world so that we can use our small agency to take action in some small way, but that if more people do it, you can collectively make a big difference. And I think that's what these organizations that are trying to bring about social justice are trying to do is tell that story, which is give a little medicine of like how bad everything is. but just enough to frame it in a narrative that allows people to actually engage and take action so they can feel like they can participate in something that's larger than themselves to make a difference.

[00:46:11.096] Christopher Pitcher: Absolutely. And I also think there's also an aspect of what is a future that we want to live into rather than the dystopian narratives that we're serving. But back to your point, a model that I've used that really makes sense and resonates with a lot of people is that the heart is our energy source. which I don't think anyone can dispute. And our brain is our flow control for that energy source. And anytime that we have things that we don't externalize, and we don't hold space for within ourselves to actually feel and hear, we then subvert that. We close that off and we store that within our body. When we store that within our body, that's essentially storing it in our subconscious. It then is flowing in the background and these things that we talk about where bringing up anger or bringing up moments of release, essentially, is like people can actually exude their emotion that they've been storing, which allows for a clearing that then a new conversation can actually be had because that's not running their subconscious. So that when you're talking about that societal issue, they're sitting there before that release. They're seeing that as like, you don't know what you're talking about. You're seeing it from the wrong side. How dare you for whatever, you know, they're defensive. And then once they have that release, then all of a sudden it can be like, Oh, okay. You hear me? Oh, okay. Okay. Now I'll, I'm willing to at least listen to what you have to say.

[00:47:41.906] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I think there's a deeper thread that's happening in the culture right now, which is this need for truth and reconciliation. Meaning to speak the truth, to tell the truth, and to have that truth be heard. And I feel like we live in a culture where there's not a lot of that that's happening right now. There's a lot of just complete bullshit and PR and fakeness. alternative motives and we're kind of bombarded with this deluge of messaging that has this, like it's not aligned, it's like this unalignment of just crap that we're barraged with and that as you talk about this mind and the heart, the heart is really this receiving, like it just wants to be connected to this like universal connection of what brings us all together in this sort of universal love dimension, but yet Our mind is the thing that is drawing these different boundaries and categories and being able to make sense of the world with these different patterns, but it's the young of trying to differentiate and be able to individuate as an individual, say this is who I am as an individual, and to stand strong in that, but also realize that you're a part of a collective and a whole, and that through listening to the heart, you're actually being able to be connected in that way. As you're saying all that, I just sort of think of people like Carl Jung and this depth psychological processes of how much of this unconscious angst and trauma and unalignment of the chaos of the world has been us trying to understand it being stored in our bodies and people needing a cathartic release of just hearing the truth. And when they hear the truth, they're like, yes, they can at least identify with that. and feel that. But just today, I just have to speak to how Judge Kavanaugh is going to be going through this process of this truth and reconciliation process, where these people that are alleging that he committed sexual assault against them are going to be able to speak the truth of what their experience was. and he's going to speak his truth. But there's going to be a little bit of like, either the next person on the Supreme Court is going to be railroaded into this process, despite whatever truth has been spoken, or there's going to be a deep listening in terms of listening to what the experiences are and have that be broadcast out to the entire culture and then see if there's a political impact of whether or not that's going to resonate with people to hear something that is somebody who's speaking their own truth of their direct experience. It's not going to be anything that can be falsified or maybe verified by objective evidence that maybe other people having similar experiences, but it's kind of like this turning point in the culture to see, okay, are we ready to find a way to have a mechanism to deal with this truth and reconciliation process? But From a branding perspective, all this is happening in the context of all of this untruth and all of this disingenuous, unauthentic, ulterior motives to kind of take advantage of people and profit at all costs. And I think people are kind of tired of it and wanting to find a deeper truth and find ways to cathart and express and be authentic in their own selves so they can be aligned and they can really be connected to each other.

[00:50:38.132] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah. I mean, and I think that's ultimately why I got into VR in the first place was scalable, transformative experiences, right? Even if I'm throwing thousands of events in my lifetime, that's only so many people that can attend those events. But once you create something that can be in a VR headset, As long as VR headsets are continuing to grow and have locations that you can go to or whatever that is, then all of a sudden we can create experiences that give people a deeper understanding of what their mental models are, show how those work, and reflect those back to them. Because so much of what we're also talking about is like personal truths, right? And personal truths are deciphered by our own inner monologue. And so my personal truth especially when there's no objective evidence, may be completely different than your personal truth of the exact same experience. And so when something like this is the case, it's so interesting because then we're deciding people based on, well, what does everything else we know about this person have us believe about what their personal truth is in the past and how that showed up and related to reality or the shared co-creation? And then Let's compare that versus the other person and then we're going to decide which truth resonates more with us.

[00:52:01.107] Kent Bye: I feel like that we're in the process of trying to mediate at some point this process of the criminal justice system and the truth and reconciliation because it gets into a dangerous world if it's that's the only thing we ever base things upon is listening to that personal truth. I think there has to be some sort of balance between the two. But that things have been shifted so farly on one side, we're kind of swinging the pendulum to the other side. And it may be another 25 or 30 years before we get to the point where we actually are able to integrate both of these things of taking in all the objective evidence, but also listening to the personal truth. But in the context of a world today where we have a bunch of fake news and bombarded with untruths all the time, I think everybody's having to do their own sort of calibration. And who are they listening to? What are the information that they're hearing from the world and how does that align with their own direct experiences? Because people are taking their experiences of their worldviews and their values and their beliefs and trusting other people and then they're hearing what they're having to say. But I think we're moving in a world that is moving away from mediating our realities from what other people are saying and then moving more into this more direct and experiential. And to me that's sort of a scary world because it's sort of like the extremes of postmodernism where what is objective reality anymore? I think it's something we're still trying to figure out. But I feel like it's maybe the pendulum is swinging that but there's going to be a swinging back and forth between this more platonic ideal forms of like feeling what your gut instinct is versus what the, you know, more Aristotelian objective empirical evidence and facts are to see how we can actually balance those two. But that As a culture, we're in this dialectic between those two, and everybody's having to kind of figure that out for themselves.

[00:53:36.317] Christopher Pitcher: Yeah. And I think what you spoke to around moving into this direct experience realm, that's what technology has allowed for us, right? Is this belief that, oh, OK, rather than the world is what's dictating my life, now I have the power to create my own life. or choose what I do with my life. And what that allows for is this feeling of, really, I'm in charge of my belief structure, which means that everything that I take in is informing my belief structure. I actually have choice in that. What I hope that moves into is us creating experiences that show that to people, because mostly that's happening unconsciously. Because if I see fake news and that resonates with me, then my confirmation bias is going to be saying, this is the truth. And because it resonates with a specific part of whether that is some piece of me that doesn't agree with Donald Trump. Then I see news that's against him, and I'm like, yeah, of course it is. Of course that's the truth. But that may not be the truth at all. And so it's really looking at making sure that we inform people on how things work so that they have awareness, which leads to choice. Because that's how I look at it, is what are experiences that inform people about the human experience? because we were born all of a sudden we're in this body, we're in this thing and everyone's trying to figure it out. Everyone tells us they have it figured out, but nobody has it figured out. And then we're all running around like we do when we don't. And then there's this constant conversation. And then slowly we're like, Hey, I have a secret. I heard about this thing and it's crazy. They think they've figured it out. And you're like, Oh, where do I go? Okay. But ultimately, We're coming to the age where we actually understand from science and I don't speak to it often in these settings, but to spirituality of like there is this greater experience, there is this greater expanse and having those support each other and actually allowing each person to become their own being in a greater version of themselves and understand that life shows up through their relationship with themselves, which ultimately means like Oh, in the exact same scenario, I can look at that and I can have love for everyone that's in that room, or I can be in just dire despair and hate everyone, even when they're trying to support me and comfort me. No, they're out to get me because I'm out to get myself.

[00:56:17.907] Kent Bye: Yeah, yeah, for sure. And for you, what type of experiences do you want to have either in AR or VR or just in general? Like as an experiential designer and someone who's helping create experiences, what kind of experiences do you personally want to have?

[00:56:33.266] Christopher Pitcher: I want to have the experiences that just make you forget about everything else, that bring you so present in the moment that you're just like, how is this life? Those moments of ecstasy that you get to connect with other beings and you're having a shared group experience that you're just in complete awe. And to me that can look like music based. We've been working on augmented reality ecosystems for live concerts and things of that nature. It can also look like a trip to outer space, you know, like Eliza McNitt's pieces. You know, to me, I have so much awe for life. It's just, it's like, what are little moments where I get to learn in a really beautiful way about other cultures or other people's experiences or perspectives? That's the most fun aspect for me is just that moment of like, oh my God, I didn't, I didn't think of that. Like those moments that create insight, like that's what I'm working to create. And that's what I love to receive as well as like, if someone has curated an experience for me to have an insight, That's just like, wow. To think that they put that much effort into me walking away with that idea.

[00:57:48.469] Kent Bye: And finally, what do you think is the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:57:56.892] Christopher Pitcher: I've always wondered what I would say to this question because of what place in the realm I would speak to. To me, it has the possibility to deconstruct mental models in a way that we can systematically improve the life of all human beings through a deeper understanding of their inner psyche and how that shows up and relates to the co-creation of reality that we have. So I think that it can be two-sided. It's a tool. So it's really going to be whatever direction we choose. And so on one end, it'll be the ultimate escape. And on the other, it'll be the ultimate transcendence.

[00:58:38.348] Kent Bye: Is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say to the VR community?

[00:58:42.790] Christopher Pitcher: No. I love you guys. Thank you for all the work that you're doing. And keep believing, keep working, and keep playing.

[00:58:49.692] Kent Bye: OK. Great. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast. Thank you. Appreciate it So that was Christopher pitcher. He's the CEO of impact labs and their design agency that's focusing on catalyzing socially conscious companies So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that first of all? So this type of experiential marketing is something that you're seeing a lot at either events like Comic-Con, where there's just a bunch of fans that are coming together and they want to have this rich experience of being able to step into the world of their favorite comic book, movie, or other IP. Or something like at South by Southwest, where I know that HBO did a whole experiential marketing for Westworld, which is kind of the essence of you stepping into the narrative of another world. or something like TechCrunch. I know that the first time I ever heard of Westworld, before it even launched, they had an experiential marketing experience there where you actually go into VR and have this immersive experience within the Westworld, but they don't ever tell you what actually it even is. I didn't even know it was TV show they were just saying oh, here's this travel agency And I just thought it was a legitimate travel agency and I walked up and had this whole experience But that was the experience I had before I watched Westworld and kind of figured out what it was all about and so that was such a visceral way for me to be able to step into the world of Westworld before I even knew about it or knew what is all about and And so the big thing that I'm taking away here is that we have a culture and a context where there's just a lot of very self-interested, vapid nihilism, where it's companies that are really thinking about their own interests to basically profit without much consideration of the larger social impact of the products that they're creating. Now, that's obviously an extreme way of casting what's happening, but I think generally that's pretty much what's happening, is that you have a bunch of companies that are acting in their own self-interest to maximize their shareholder value and their profit, And the externalized cost of that are various different aspects of how the costs of failure are being externalized onto society. I think if we look at Facebook, as an example, Cambridge Analytica and other privacy breaches, it's a very NP hard problem to have perfect security, which means that it's very easy to discover when you find a vulnerability, but it's actually very difficult to find where those vulnerabilities are. then eventually there's going to be these security breaches. And because Facebook has taken this approach of surveillance-based capitalism, of being able to suck in all of this private data, they can't actually guarantee that that data is going to be secure. And so there's been a number of different instances this past year, back in March when they had the Cambridge Analytica scandal break, but then recently there's another like 50 million plus tokens that allowed people to essentially take control over Facebook accounts and scrape all the private data up. And we have another election that's coming up, so who knows what type of information is going to be used to be able to turn that psychographic information into different campaigns for information warfare. So I think that, you know, generally there's like these larger discussions about ethics within computer science, like what are the ethical and social responsibilities of companies like this. And so I really see that Facebook is trying to do this pivot into virtual reality and augmented reality. But there's something that to me just kind of falls flat when they say, yeah, let's get a billion people in VR. And pretty much the only thing they talk about is gaming and entertainment without some of the other applications that are out there, and really featuring that as part of their deeper values of what they really believe in. I know that they support these other initiatives, whether it's VR for Education, VR for Good, they have Oculus Launchpad, Oculus Start. They have other initiatives that are looking at non-gaming and non-entertainment applications of VR, but for the way that they're addressing the market of virtual reality, they're only pretty much focusing on gaming and entertainment as the thing that they're really trying to go after. So it just, for me, kind of begs the question, like, well, what other kind of either financial support or other support are they going to, in the long term, support these other applications and other initiatives of virtual reality? Because I think in some ways, it's kind of sending this message that they're really focused inwardly on their own ecosystem and their own games. And that there's a larger trend towards embodiment and using VR for self-care, using it for health and healing, using it for education, using it for consciousness transformation. And I think there's obviously a lot of people that are working on these applications, even if Facebook isn't seeing these larger trends or giving either financial support or other energetic support to it. I think it's on its way and it's going to happen and it's going to end up in the hands of people. But I guess that's a part of what the deeper purpose and mission for my Voices of VR podcast is. As I was conducting this interview and talking about these various things, I really started to think differently about the larger mission that I have at the Voices of VR, which I would say is to educate people about virtual reality technologies, to enable them to connect more to themselves, to connect more to other people, and to connect more to the Earth and the cosmos and all of the dimensions of reality that are out there. and that it has a huge potential to change the world. And I think it gives me a lot of hope for what this medium provides. It's almost like this symbolic representation of the culture being at a point where it actually needs to shift its paradigm and to be much more all encompassing of looking at the world holistically and that there's this new magical communications medium that actually does all of those things. And there's these new potentials that it could reflect new aspects of consciousness that could actually completely transform society. So if you believe in that, that I hope that you will Join me and I think you know one of the things that Christopher said is that you need to have a way to Actually engage your audience to help collaborate in producing this vision that you're really trying to live into and so for me There's all sorts of ways that my overall initiative isn't reflecting my deeper values in terms of either my website or providing entry points for people to actually start connecting or contributing in some ways and And I hope to start to flesh that out a little bit more over the next couple of months. I'm going to be going to the Patreon conference that's happening at the beginning of November to again, hear some of the best practices of what's happening out there. But to me, I'd love to have like a web VR memory palace that makes all this content that I've been able to record on the voices of VR much more accessible for people. I think there's more emerging solutions to be able to automatically tag and get metadata, but also transcripts of all the interviews that I've done. And I just have this vision for what's possible to use the immersive technologies for web VR, to be able to actually create this fully robust memory palace, to be able to take this content that I've been recording and to make it an experiential spatial experience. And what does that look like? And how do I empower my community to be able to actually help build this? So that we can have other people come on who are just getting bootstrapped into the industry, have an experiential way to be able to learn some of these various insights. And I think one of the things that I've been trying to flesh out a lot more is this unified field theory of experiential design. Part of the things that I got out of this interview is that there's this whole branch of either experience mapping or customer journeys or the Dublin groups compelling experience model, which is the attract, enter, engage, exit, and extend preceded the five ease model, which I think is referred to as the conifer experience map is the entice, enter, engage, exit, and extend. There's also customer experience maps. There's the. poems framework, there's the user-centered design, human-centered design, position maps, user journeys. There's a lot of, from the design world, these types of what is generally referred to as human-centered design that is trying to center things within the human. There's also a Hierarchy of Being presentation at Oculus Connect 5 by Yelena Richesky and Isabelle Tools that was really looking at their model for how at the core, the foundation of an experience is the self or the experience or your own personal phenomenological sensory experience. And then on top of that, you have the world or the location or context. And then on top of that, you have connecting to other people. So at the core, you have your design that's trying to evoke some sort of emotion, but you're using symbols and metaphors or interactions within this world that is trying to evoke some sort of emotion. That's, I think, the translation that comes through experience, through trying to create The combination of all these different ingredients through music and rhythm and story and a context and environment, objects in the environment, how you are trying to achieve different goals and puzzles and use your social mental presence, your active presence to be able to express your agency. And then you're receiving at that point. some sort of embodied presence and emotional presence of some sort of feeling or experience that is trying to connect all these things together. And I think there's not a singular authoritative experiential design model or framework that tells you exactly how to do that. I think there's things that are coming from all sorts of different domains. And for me, I've been pulling from Alfred North Whitehead's process philosophy or Carlo Rovelli's relational quantum mechanics, or Ken Wilber's integral philosophy, or Jungian depth psychology, archetypal cosmology, game design, human centered design, ancient philosophy, natural philosophy, Chinese philosophy, Eastern philosophy, as well as Western philosophy, indigenous philosophies, phenomenology, and hermetic philosophies. I think all of these, there's these different insights that they have into the relationship between your empirical direct experience and the more objective ideal model to be able to describe the different patterns of those experiences. And so there's this dialectic between the direct experience and the rationalistic sort of models and maps and frameworks to be able to kind of make sense of those. So at the end of the day, when I talk to these different creators, they're trying to evoke some sort of emotion and some sort of connection or experience that is trying to live into a deeper purpose. And that is another thing that is the final causation. It's like, what is the deeper purpose that you're trying to achieve? And there has to be some sort of alignment so that whatever purpose that you have as an entity, that every single touch point you have, that there's a meta narrative that is reconnecting you to that deeper meaning and purpose. Because as people are living a life where they're not able to live fully into their values and their purpose, they want to have these different experiences and engagements with these different brands that may allow them to connect to some sort of deeper purpose, that they're able to contribute to something, or they're able to at least connect to other people in a way that they share common values or similar interests. and that it just feels rewarding to them. And I think that is the essence of what Christopher Pitcher is trying to do, is to tap into what is the future that this brand is trying to build, and what is their five-year plan, and how can you create these different experiences where you can start to live into that, and that it's adding the context to the theories so that it becomes understanding, and that you practice it so it becomes embodied. And then it really comes down to the question of what do you want to leave people with? Whatever that outcome is starts to define those trade-offs and what the Bristotelian final cause is for what you're trying to do. And then how you are able to give these different embodied experiences that get translated into emotions. And that the way that Christopher thinks about it is that there's kind of like this yin heart component, which he sees as the energy sources, collective heart and body that is behind the intentions that is rooted in love and compassion and trying to connect people to each other. And then there's the more yang or mind, which is trying to control the flow of energy outward through the mind and will. so that you can individuate and differentiate yourself and be able to make choices and take action within these different types of experiences to express yourself, but that you have this balance between the heart and the mind, the yin and the yang, and this connection between your vital energy source and your overall flow of energy outward, because if you're living out of alignment and you live in a chaotic world where you're just being flooded by experiences that are dissonant, then that's going to start to be stored in your body as this trauma that needs to be catharted and expressed in some ways. And I think that's if there's anything that I see that's happening in the world today is that there's this almost like pressure cooker that is building these types of tensions up and that people are really looking for outlets to be able to either cathart to have experiences, but to really tap in away from this nihilistic, self-interested manipulation world that we have with a lot of fake news and PR and different ways that people are trying to manipulate and control you, and to have an environment that is authentic and true and feels aligned and that connects you to a deeper purpose. So that's all that I have for today. And I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you resonate with this and you want to help support this mission of helping to educate the larger VR community, but also to provide these potential different opportunities for you to get involved and to help grow and sustain and expand what it is that I'm doing here with the Voices of VR, which is this educational initiative to help you to connect more to yourself, to connect more to others, and to connect more to the planet and all dimensions of reality. So you can support that by just spreading the word tell your friends leave a review on iTunes Especially this interview if you know people within the advertising industry I think this would be a great episode for them to dive into to See what's happening with experiential marketing because I think that for people who are making games they may need to in the meantime get some sort of agency work and if there's more design agencies and advertising if they can help give people experiences that increase their bottom line for their brand then that may help other people in the VR community to Have these different ways to sustain themselves until there's this critical mass of enough headsets that are out there to create What people really want to create which is their games or whatever experiences that they want to bring about social change that's one of the things that Christopher said is that there's this a kind of balance between working with brands, working with artists, and working for these deeper social change issues that I think that anybody that's working in VR has to have some sort of combination where they're pulling all these different aspects in. And another way you can support the podcast is through a donation at Patreon. This is a listeners-supported podcast and so I do rely upon your donations in order to continue to bring you this type of coverage. And five dollars a month is a great amount to donate So, you can donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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