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Patrick Lee: Let's make Taiwan the world of Metaverse

Wendy Wu 2021/09/28
 Patrick Lee
Patrick Lee

Patrick Lee, the founder of Rotten Tomatoes, is closely watching how metaverse develops. After a 6-month stay in Taiwan, he recognized this small but growing ecosystem here in Taiwan, which owns the potentials of accomplishing something big.

Last November, Patrick came back to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 outbreak, as lives in Taiwan remained “ridiculously normal” last year. A one-month visit was prolonged to half a year, during which Patrick also took a close look at Taiwan’s tech ecosystem.

“It’s very broad, ranging from VR, XR to the blockchain,” he said. There are a lot of entrepreneurs focusing on NFT(Non-Fungible Token) and other technologies, which are all pieces leading to a metaverse. Taiwan is a good base to grow something bigger, he suggested.

Metaverse draws attention internationally

One area that Patrick finds quite interesting is metaverse, which refers to a convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality in a shared online space. Metaverse is having a moment, as many big tech firms around the world are pouring their resources into building it.

Patrick Lee took a closer look at Taiwan’s tech ecosystem during his stay.

Spending billions per year on the Metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg is pivoting Facebook from a social media company to a metaverse company. Facebook is actively developing VR, AR, and also PC, as metaverse will be accessible on different computing platforms, Mark said to the Verge. Microsoft is ready to help companies develop their “Metaverse apps”, through its artificial intelligence and mixed reality tools, according to the Washington Post. Moreover, Gaming companies, including Epic Games, veer towards a metaverse by releasing simulation software and VR services.

Taiwan should take the aggressive move

“If Taiwan takes the bold move, it can be the place for metaverses in the world, like Hollywood is the place for movies in the world, and silicon valley remains the place for tech in the world,” Patrick said. For Taiwan, going global requires full utilization of what we have currently: plentiful talents and advanced technologies.

“There is a small but growing ecosystem around the metaverse in Taiwan,” Patrick commented. Hiring technical personnel, seeking co-founders and raising money for launching high-tech startups, all make Taiwan qualified to thrive on metaverse.

After identifying the advantages, the focus comes next. For any startups, companies, or even regions, Patrick believes that focusing on one single field or single market at first is of utmost importance.

Take Amazon as an example, Jeff Bezos chose to sell books in the beginning due to the infinite selection. At the time when online shopping had gained the momentum to surge, Amazon has turned into a retail empire with its complete trading and delivery system. Once the product/market fit is achieved, scaling up follows behind.

Switch the role: investing startups instead of creating one

Speaking of his own career plan, Patrick has decided to take a break from launching startups, after starting six companies in 20 years. He didn’t quit the startup circle though. Instead, he created a syndicate with some partners to invest in potential tech startups in the entertainment field.

In only five months, the team manages to complete nine investments, with the tenth one on the way. They are looking for “cool” startups, either interesting products or founders with traction. The syndicate reaches out to the startups through not only their own networks but also actively seeking referrals from friends.

“Sometimes you just have to get a radar, far enough to see good deals,” Patrick said. They closely watch some companies, including those in Taiwan. Patrick is ready to give these startups a boost by funding and also some advice. He and his team are focusing on fledgling startups, to help out the young generation.

“It makes more sense to me,” Patrick said so. For Patrick, launching startups will always be a great thing to do with friends. And now the switching role also feels right to him — helping the youths go out and change the world.

Take a closer look at Taiwan

Patrick took a Korean-style wedding shooting in Taiwan last year.

During Patrick’s six-month stay, also his longest stay ever in Taiwan, he surprisingly found that his friends from silicon valley were here. Used to catch up once a year or so, Patrick and his friends got to hang out once a week in Taipei.

Meanwhile, he did a full body checkup and even his wedding photos shooting in Taiwan, featuring Korean wedding styles. He now feels more open to coming back to Taiwan for a longer stay, for life, and for future technology.

About the Author
Wendy Wu
Author >

Wendy Wu is a freelance journalist focusing on emerging technologies, corporate social responsibility, and transnational cooperation. Stressing the cross-cultural context, she is currently taking a master's degree in Journalism at National Taiwan University and heading to Europe for a long-term exchange.

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