The Nickelback phenomenon, hucksters, and a CEO’s Rage

Written by: Daniel Baldwin, CEO & Co-Founder, MARS VR Lab Inc.

♫ ♩  Look at this photograph

Every time I do, it makes me laugh ♫ ♩ 

2.5-minute read with video links

I’ve noticed a trend that baffles me and most times leaves me perturbed. Something rises from obscurity to become renowned, is embraced by the masses, and slowly transitions into something that people rally against. The mob’s impatience grows in anticipation of declaring their distaste to the world. I’ve been referencing this as the Nickelback Phenomenon.

I have spent time wondering why people tell me they don’t use Facebook or they hate Nickelback. Or another favourite is the Big Game tweet “Am I the only one who doesn’t care about Super Bowl Sunday?” Spoiler alert! You’re not the only one who doesn’t care, and you’re not the only one sharing it.

Compounding the issue are opportunists, flimflammers, and con artists alike who rush to the surface to exploit the masses; this is where I go from Bruce Banner to The HULK at 5G speeds.

Since Facebook’s rebrand to Meta, virtual and augmented reality has elevated into the public eye. Trust me, the industry was innovating and progressing without Meta – they simply provided the PR needed to bring it to a mainstream audience. If you’ve spent any time with me in the past ten years, you know I believe virtual reality and its derivative technology will integrate into our lives as the internet has –  as much as I think the sky is blue.

The photograph Mr. Kroeger is holding is actually an ad that slid into my LinkedIn timeline and instantly brought back memories of disastrous hot takes about the internet in the 90s. One example is this YouTube video of TV hosts discussing their bad takes on what the internet will become – ultimately exposing their own ignorance. This is a really good example of the Nickelback phenomenon and is really annoying on three fronts.                                                            

  1. This should need no explanation, but is someone really trying to peddle a 5-hour course for $149.00 and claiming you will graduate as a Metaverse expert? Instant success in a new industry is absurd, and the metaverse and VR, like everything valuable, will settle down in time with real experts and genuine insight prevailing. Con artists rushing to the surface.                                                                                                                                      
  2. The comments trended from calling out the ridiculousness of the ad to accomplished professionals sh!tting on the ‘Metaverse’ similar to the Internet hot take video. Very accomplished people decreeing the ‘fad’ unbeknownst to them that their industry will be replaced in ten years by the very tech they’re afraid of. All while their connections clap, heart, and cheer them on. Nickelback phenomenon.                                                                                                                                                            
  3. The insult this combined set of circumstances has on industry leaders is maddening. Leaders who are innovating and establishing the framework of virtual reality for the benefit of humanity are being lost in this shuffle. At MARS VR Lab we’re revolutionizing rehabilitation, somatic data modelling, and accessibility for pediatric patients. Rocket VR Health is changing the way the mental health needs of cancer patients and survivors are addressed. Rebecca Gill, an RN in the U.K., is making the impossible…possible with her company Virtual Reality TherapiesBruce Banner into the Hulk.                                                                            

These so-called experts and courses only make a mockery of what is really happening. As a result, the innovators in the industry are getting lost in between these dim-witted messages. This leads people to distrust, hesitate, and reject innovation.

I’ll change gears and temperament next month, and I’ll explore what innovators are doing in the healthcare space, how adopting standards for accessibility is paramount, and the real positive effect virtual reality is having on patients and clinical teams.

Regardless of your opinion on Nickelback, virtual reality, or how many people in the 90s perceived the internet, don’t be tricked by hucksters offering $149 Metaverse expert certificates, or add your name to the list of victims this meme has taken.

If you liked what you read, follow Danny on his LinkedIn page to learn more about his work at MARS VR Lab