Startups are all about one big, hyper-focused core bet on the future. The lack of resources and time when you're starting a tech venture from scratch means you can only have this one bet. It works, or you crash.
For multinationals? The innovation logic is vastly different. It's all about building optionality around your core business, future-proofing it by exploring enough small bets that you might uncover a safe way to reinvent yourself (which will eventually mean cannibalizing your current cash cow). And optionality is all about small known downsides (losing money, unfocusing some teams, sending mixed messages to the market, dipping our toes in an unproven technology, etc.) and potentially huge upsides. As a major market player, invest (or bet) on enough innovation projects, and one will eventually end up paying exponential dividends. And this is important for a simple reason: there is no way to predict the next big thing.
If you want to understand how bad Meta's bet on the multiverse is, do not look so much at the fact that Horizon World sucks, that the new headset is expensive and underwhelming, or that Apple might do better with just AR (no VR) anytime soon. No, just look at one fact: Meta is now investing money on this one bet at a scale that is unprecedented in business history.
To give some context, while the global iPhone R&D and initial production are rumored to have been around $3.4B, Zuckerberg's Meta will sink more than $100B in his vision of the metaverse.
What makes Meta's future, so incredibly worrisome is this simple fact.
This 83,500 employees business serving 2.9 billion users and generating $118B of yearly income is simply going all in on... a single idea. This is beyond a rookie mistake or a strategic mishap. It's about thinking you had a religious revelation and you're Noha 2.0, going all in, building an ark in the middle of the desert.