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Evolution Through Storytelling with John Underkoffler

Episode 393

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Today’s guest is a super friend of the Mission and all-around amazing human, John Underkoffler.

John is the CEO of Oblong Industries turned CTO of Glow through a recent acquisition.

Maybe you’ve seen the new UI/AR tech in Minority Report or Iron Man? That vision for the future of technology is thanks, in part, to John.

In this episode, we talk philosophy, collaboration, technology, human teams, and ideas about what comes after capitalism goes “epi” and evolves.

A great conversation and a great guest – you won’t want to miss this one!

Key Discussion Points:

  • How Oblong just went public through a reverse merger with Glowpoint.
  • John’s dreams for a truly human UI, actualized through Minority Report and then Oblong.
  • Oblong’s one main product: Mezzanine, a collaboration program focusing on project depiction
  • The other main project Oblong makes: g-speak, an OS which is revolutionizing UI.
  • How Mezzanine enables a more visual form of communication fundamental to humans.
  • The idea that only teams, not individuals, can solve the world’s current problems.
  • Themes in John’s MAD exhibition: a UI-assisted journey into the feeling of finding new vistas.
  • Questions around whether companies are able to remain innovators after establishment.
  • How organizational structures can act as hindrances to progress in a ‘developed’ world.
  • John’s idea to combine and align leaders from different industries to solve world problems.
  • Favorite sci-fi books that envision the past or future of humanity for better or worse.
  • Memories of scapegoating and barriers to breaching profound esoteric human subjects.
  • Overcoming paranoia/intergenerational trauma using stimulant-assisted psychotherapy.
  • John’s thoughts on the TV/cinema inversion; how directors aren’t exploiting film’s potential.
  • Getting past the hero’s journey rubric for storytelling and forms of stories that break it.
  • The potential for Hollywood to still enable huge projects to happen.
  • Final words from John about the profundity of collaboration, which tech can assist with.


This episode of Mission Daily is brought to you by our friends at TriNet. TriNet makes HR easier, from payroll to benefits to compliance. AND they offer full-service solutions tailored to your industry and your company, whether your team is 10 people or 1,000. Check out TriNet today at

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