Leaders of organizations must consider how technology can disrupt their business models. Remember the internet? It became widely available in 1995-1996, but it wasn’t until the 2000s that we felt the disruption to our business. Think how much has changed since then and how much you rely on the internet today.

The internet gave us access to anyone in the world at any time – albeit limited to your home or office desktop. Then the mobile internet changed the game by putting that access in our pockets.

These two technological advances each significantly disrupted the way we do business. Disruption creates a need to invest significant resources in retooling business models to remain relevant. Consider all that went into adapting first to the world of the internet and second to its mobility. Hiring staff who understood the vision and capabilities behind the new phenomena, installing hardware, working with new vendors, setting new expectations – all were a result of these pervasive disruptions.

Another disruptor is on the way. Not on the horizon, but here now. The metaverse is a network of virtual worlds where hundreds of millions of people gather, spend hundreds of billions of hours a week, creating and earning hundreds of millions of dollars a month. Today, most people aren’t aware the metaverse exists, and most of those who do aren’t taking it seriously. But they should.

One man described the metaverse as “an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations that support continuity of identity, objects, history, payments, and entitlements that can be experienced synchronously by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence.”

We’re talking about worlds that exist inside the technological realm, just like the movie Ready Player One, except that this is not a movie, and it exists. People make money, have persistent identities, and operate inside multiple worlds – all made possible by the metaverse.

Matthew Ball created a framework for the metaverse, and people are listening, evidenced by the substantial advance he recently earned as part of a book contract. He recently published a 9-part series describing the metaverse, what it is and what we can expect soon.

The metaverse is poised to rearrange business models just as the first and mobile internet did two decades ago. As a leader, you must understand this new phenomenon and its impact on how we do business.