You’ve probably heard of ‘Lil Miquela. The 19 year-old Brazilian-American inﬂuencer has millions of followers and has partnered with the likes of Samsung and Prada. But despite capturing the hearts of many, she’s not real.
But you probably haven’t heard her origin story. In this episode we take a trip back to 2016, to a world that looked much different to today, together with two of Miquela’s creators – Trevor McFedries and Isaac Bratzel – cofounder and Chief Design and Innovation Officer of Brud at the time.
We learn what inspired the experiment and what early signs indicated that Miquela was not just a novel idea. In a world where spinning up an influencer, we learn what it took to capture mindshare, the pushback they’ve received, what a “scalable influencer” means, and what they think is to come.
00:00 – Introduction
02:18 – The key insight
04:05 – A new breed of influencers
06:25 – Miquela’s aesthetic
09:30 – Early signs of success
13:01 – Narrative and fan engagement
16:45 – The technology
18:14 – Expanding past Miquela
22:34 – Traction and generative AI
26:45 – A new reality
31:55 – Early pushback
33:38 – Misunderstanding reality
36:23 – Fear of new technologies
37:47 – New technological unlocks
41:13 – Scalable influencers
Stephanie Smith is the host of the a16z podcast, focused on highlighting the most important trends within technology.
The a16z Podcast discusses the most important ideas within technology with the people building it. Each episode aims to put listeners ahead of the curve, covering topics like AI, energy, genomics, space, and more.