TL;dr

Transformational experiences are the future of location-based entertainment. Get tickets to ShowUp and collaborate with Joe Pine, James Jensen of JUMP, and the innovators designing the new experiences that will transform your customers and your business. “Pay What You Want” pricing ends Friday.


In 1998 Joe Pine and James Gilmore wrote a now-famous article in the Harvard Business Journal and predicted The Experience Economy. During my lifetime, I’ve watched consumer preferences shift from goods to services to experiences. In all fairness, the concept goes back to futurist Alvin Toffler in his 1970 book Future Shock, and I’m sure it even predates that.

But Pine and Gilmore went on to predict what’s beyond the Experience Economy.

The Transformation Economy.

Nike is the poster child of the transformation economy. With their apps, meetups, and active community of runners, they promise to transform those who use Nike products. Nike has crushed the broader S&P 500 since 2010.  Selling transformation works.

Virtual Reality Transformation Experiences

Virtual reality can provide accessible experiences that can transform your guests. At ShowUp on Feb 3rd, I will be interviewing James Jensen, co-founder of The VOID, about his new venture, JUMP.  James reflected how he wants to allow people to do things that can shift their perspective of what’s possible. VR lets people stuck in the day-to-day existence experience something so powerful it can transform their belief systems.

As opposed to The VOID, which took people into hyper-realities for purely entertainment purposes, JUMP encourages people to face down their fear of death. Participants don a wingsuit and JUMP off of a mountain to experience the thrill of flight.

Death Defying Entertainment

Wingsuit jumping is the most dangerous sport on earth. In a 2012 research survey, 72% of wingsuit jumpers reported witnessing death or severe injury. And 76% experienced a near-miss avoiding a fatality through sheer luck.

Because of this, wingsuit jumping might be the most inaccessible sport on earth.  It takes 18-months, 200 freefall skydives, and $16,000 to learn to wingsuit fly. It’s something that very few people will ever experience. But the desire to fly something that most people share.  Flying is one of the most common recurring dreams. What kid didn’t pretend to be Superman, jumping off the sofa with a makeshift cape.

Agency Is The Key To Repeatability

Even if you could muster the time and money to learn to wingsuit fly, you still need to JUMP. The thing I love about the concept of virtual reality wingsuit flying is it gives the participant agency. If you’ve ever tried Richie’s Plank Experience or another VR game where you have to traverse a narrow walkway at risk of plummeting from a high place, you know how “real” VR can feel. Would you JUMP?

I jumped off the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas once.  It was terrifying, but I did it, and the feeling of accomplishment was intense. It was a transformative experience.  But I would not do it again because, beyond the leap, there was no agency.  You just fall at a controlled pace until you gently touch down.

Bob jumps off the Stratosphere

Wingsuit flying, even the virtual kind, will employ skill. Which means each jump will be different. And that makes it highly repeatable. Adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin are the chemicals associated with extreme sports. It’s easy to become addicted to them, which is why surfers continue to paddle out into cold water through sets of waves just to experience a few seconds of bliss.

JUMP will make these chemicals available to everyone willing to plunk down the amount of a ticket. My guess is we will see them push the limits of what you can charge for virtual reality. Transformation and addiction make for a powerful attraction.

JUMP will be an expensive attraction to build, but if you have the budget and the right location, and would like to know more, just reply to this email. And if you want to learn more about the Experience Economy and transformational experiences, get a ticket to ShowUp now.  We are still offering Pay What You Can pricing, but it ends on Friday.