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CPL’s founder Angel Munoz talks past & present (part 2) – Mass Luminosity and his new projects Beacon and BEAM

The second part of a two-part interview with one of the first people to bring esports to the masses.

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Interview conducted by: Steven Leunens

So Angel, what have you been up to in the past 10 years?

Munoz: After we sold the CPL I did some consulting, but I didn’t like that. It pays really well but it’s very frustrating because companies have a set idea in their head on how to do things. So I decided to launch Mass Luminosity. The name is kind of cryptic to some people, but it’s the name of a formula used in astrophysics to determine how much mass a certain class of stars has by its luminosity. I liked the term and now it’s a registered trademark, which is interesting because it’s a scientific term (laughs).

In the last 10 years I noticed a trend I call fragmentation of the human experience. People are becoming more fragmented, more opinionated and more divisive. I want to create opportunities where people can just talk and have a better experience. That’s the principle behind Mass Luminosity. Defragmentation is our mission, which is a term I borrowed from technology.

Where do you think this fragmentation comes from? Do you think it’s because people have more access to all kinds of information?

Munoz: I don’t think it’s access but I think it’s the manipulation by algorithms on social media, which create echo chambers and mirror back your worldview to you. I decided to do something about that and created a social media that doesn’t have those algorithms. You get and see just what people are posting.

There’s a lot of information social media has on you, they spend a lot of time investigating what images you’re looking at, how fast you scroll… . They want to optimize that and by doing that they guide you into a certain direction. It’s not just political. It’s isolating people into radical views of life. We don’t want that and that’s what we’re against at Mass Luminosity. We want to bring the world and people together.

One of your next ventures after CPL was GTribe, starting a community. What was Gtribe exactly?

Munoz: I launched Mass Luminosity and we partnered with about 50 companies. We were helping them with communication. I discovered that a lot of companies don’t know how to communicate with our core audience, being gamers. The most important thing is that gamers have very sharp bullsh*t detectors. They make decisions based on what other people are saying, not what you’re saying. I noticed social media broke the communication with your audience on your page, unless you pay them.

Gamers are very aware of technology, especially PC gamers. That’s a small niche, which is what we wanted, and created GTribe for them, a social network and platform. The interesting part is we never advertised, never did any interviews about it, … . Over the last seven years we’ve attracted a little over five million people. All word of mouth, except for the giveaways we do. I love it there, it’s a phenomenal environment. It has a strict code of conduct, which you would think gamers wouldn’t like. Yet they were so sick of (online) toxicity however, that they just accepted and loved it.

Obviously now you’ve started a new project with Mass Luminosity as you’re working on Beacon (video conferencing and live streaming). What’s that all about?

Munoz: What we did is take lessons from video games, which rely on suspension of disbelief. Resolution was a big part of that. The more resolution there is, the more information I can convey to you. I can basically teleport you into my office that way. So we offer very high resolution and high-detail pictures.

So it’s technology like Zoom and Teams, but leans on experience from gaming?

Munoz: Exactly. Other things we do is saturate the colors a little, it’ll attract your eyes more. I found myself being on Zoom and Teams and thinking “this sucks”. We started working on Beacon five years ago, so this is taking a long time to develop. Another thing we do is use 3D sound, which a lot of companies use, but we use binaural sound which emulates the way we hear things.

The features I’d emphasize is that it’s simple. You don’t need to download it, it works perfectly fine in a browser, even now that I’m streaming to you in 4K video. It’s truly peer-to-peer encrypted and the simplicity of it is what shines, it’s really simple to use as well. We didn’t want it to be complicated. We filed a few patents that protect the technology we’re using, because we’re not using the same technology as Zoom and Teams.

Everything in video conferencing is based on Google’s webRTC, but we have a million lines of code on top of that. So for example we can also offer things such as direct translation, recognizing speech and translating that to your preferred language, right on screen. Right now, that’s still in beta of course.

Where do you consider yourself to be in that space (Zoom, Teams, Discord, …)?

Munoz: Our mission is to get a million people on Beacon, that’s our first step. It’s all about explaining how easy it is and how much better it actually is. The idea is to go after early adopters and tech people and then we still have BEAM, which we filed a trademark on. BEAM combines a little of the aspects of Discord and Twitch in one platform. We’re not the first ones to do that, but that’s the ecosystem we’re creating.

So Beacon is kind of trying to dislodge Zoom and Teams, while BEAM goes more towards Discord?

Munoz: Yes and we do feel a little bit like David who is up against multiple Goliaths (laughs). And I feel ready for that challenge. We’ve done some rounds of financing and we’re valued at 100 times higher than CPL was ever valued at. So this is the highest valued project I’ve ever done. We’ve got a lot of interest from technology companies, because the experience a lot of people have on Zoom, is not that great.

We do feel a little bit like David who is up against multiple Goliaths (laughs). And I feel ready for that challenge.

When we announce the technologies that we are in the process of patenting, anyone would say “let me give it a try”. BEAM will be a free experience, Beacon will have different levels of subscription. Some of the things we bring to the equation are unique. This is for the people who are not happy with what is happening to, for example, Twitch right now. We’ve been licensed to allow people to be vendors and we only take 10%, with 90% going to the streamer or vendor.

What kind of content will you be focusing on? Because Twitch has been diluting their content a lot, which is one of the reasons people might be a bit upset recently.

Munoz: I want to go back to the roots. Gaming is what we want to focus on. People watching other people gaming and esports. The great thing about us is that we don’t want huge numbers, if Twitch stays the leader that’s fine, we just want a small part of people who are not satisfied and want to try out something else.

And we wish you the best of luck with that. Thank you for the interview, Angel!

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Image credit: Mass Luminosity