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Must-know Spaniards building the metaverse ecosystem

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

While the rest of the media world has been busy analyzing the sudden departure of the legendary Sheryl Sandberg from her 14 year tenure as COO at Meta, the Spanish media has mostly focused on celebrating her successor: Javier Olivan from Aragón, Spain.

From the top left: Edgar Martín-Blas Méndez, Javier Olivan, Marta de Pablos Álvaro, Patricia M. Val, Yaiza Rubio Viñuela, Pedro Lozano Alcolea and Héctor Paz.

"Congratulations Javier Olivan, congratulations Meta, the talent of Spain again shows that it is at the forefront of the world. The new digital world is an opportunity for the best. Great companies are made by great people."

"Javier, in his new responsibility, COO of Meta, is the force of innovation and the passion to connect present and future in a new era where the most valuable connections are human ones."

- José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chairman & CEO, Telefónica, wrote on LinkedIn, (translated from Spanish).

With his 93,464 followers his words certainly matter. More importantly, Meta's metaverse is being built on Telefónica's infrastructure. That is huge.

Headquartered in Madrid, the company is one of the largest telephone operators and mobile network providers in the world. It is Spain’s largest operator, offering 5G coverage to over 80% of the population.

I'm not saying that Spaniards are the best people in the world to build the metaverse. But I am agreeing with this statement that the most valuable connections are human connections, meaning IRL, in real life, in person, face-to-face, physically present, you get my point here.

Most of Spain is still learning how to do things online or rather "por Internet", as they say. The normal way of doing things is still very much in physical form. Like wanting to meet over a coffee, sitting down at a real table, although that is less time-efficient. Or still preferring to pay with cash although that means taking the time to fish up the small coins from your wallet to give the exact amount, while chit-chatting with the infinitely patient and kind cashier.

I always argue that Spanish people are really good at doing life and, as an extension of that, you could say that they are masters at expressing emotions and the overall humanness of it all. Creativity, passion, humility and playfulness should be useful traits for any person having a say in what is to become of our future digital world - or more accurately worlds, plural.

Here are 7 key Spanish people to know about before you join the metaverse conversation in Spain, be it online, offline, as you, or as the avatar you:

1. Javier Olivan, the next COO of Meta, California, the US. Relocating to Madrid?

Image: Screenshot from Meta announcement v