Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.


The Illusion Factory has always attracted the very brightest minds to our team. This is not an accident, it stemmed directly from my being told at age 20 that I was a J”ack of all trades, master of none” by a Creative Director at Gray Advertising. His dismissal of me and my photo portfolio that day, and my response, that “I was a Jack of all trades, working to be a master of all,” was laughed at by him, as he ushered me in my disappointment to the door. I told that man that I was going to turn The Illusion Factory from a photography studio into an advertising agency the very next day and hire people who were polymaths like me instead of “one offs” like him was not appreciated. Nor were the final words out of my mouth, which was… “and I am going to start going after all of your clients because they will want an agency of multitalented people instead of specialists who were more expensive overall.”

I did what I threatened, the very next day. And the Illusion Factory became an agency, and then a production company, and then a gaming studio, and PR company and marketing agency, and tech entrepreneurial developer.

Everyone is so excited about the metaverse. But to us at The Illusion Factory, that is so 17 years ago. Why? Because we inspire young, bright minds to join us and discover greater things about their polymath minds. So when Second Life was brand new, we were one of the very first big companies to jump in and start developing metaverse experiences for our clients. Overall, we built about 40 metaverse interactions and were on our way to building our own V World platform. But then the global collapse came about and money dried up, so we took all of our business models and built Sizzle instead. Making the entire world into our metaverse.

Again, we were scolded that we were “boiling the ocean” and that “Bezos started with only books” and told to “narrow focus.” I am sure Walt heard a lot of discussions about how “Coney Island is fine for entertainment, why build Disneyland?… it is too ambitious!”

Now, as the metaverse reappears as Web 3.0, I am reminded at how much I loved Web 1.0 (the world of Flash) and all of the experiential things we used to build in that space. That was when web was fun. But suddenly, web had to represent e-commerce, and Web 2.0 turned it into Duplo blocks for 3 year olds. The web went from amazing to boring in 60 seconds. And stayed there for more than a decade…. But low and behold, as Facebook changed their name to Meta, we discover that the metaverse is back! The metaverse takes what was boring about Web 2.0 and opens it back up to experience. Bandwidth can support this now, computer processors can as well. The time has come. 

And Sizzle is ready to be the bridge between the real world and the virtual world, like no other platform in place as of this writing.

Innovation is not something you do. It is a mindset. I could not be more grateful to that Creative Director at Gray Advertising for insulting me at 20 years old. He sent me on a life mission that has allowed me to collaborate with the brightest minds around. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy Wednesday!

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!