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September 25, 2006


Michael Kenward

Very interesting briefing it was too Irving, even for an IT ignoramus like me. (Sorry about your programme at Covent Garden.) It made me look at the Second Life web site. Your team even managed to stay enthusiastic to the end of the day.

My challenge is how to present this sort of thing to non-IT people. Such developments make it possible to do many things. But they won't happen if they remain locked in nerdland.

It is easy to enthuse a bunch of IT writers, but it is much harder to get the message across to people in adland, for example, or those in mainstream publishing who develop web sites.

While you did not dive into such jargon as "ontologies," and your team is good at describing what they do, too many IT folks simply cannot communicate. This is particularly true of academics.

PS Your blog software refuses to accept the existence of the ".eu" domain.

ian hughes

Michael, it is a very interesting perspective that you bring to this conversation.
We do indeed have a challenge to explain things like Second Life to a wide audience. It is intersting though to note that many of the 'residents' of Second Life are not really tech nerds.
We have found that becuase of the visual nature of these sorts of things they are much less geeky and more supportive of the creative arts.
We manage to bring technical know how and apply it
The most intersting comment I have heard was from a mum who said. "This is what the internet was supposed to be and I cant understand why my 26 year old son does not 'get it'"
The really exciting thing is that this is a visual manifestation of a social trend. Much more accessible than the previous havens such as newsgroups, IRC (chat). You can see the communities, styles and interactions form.
We did not give a full profile of who was in the room but background wise we had a physicist, two programmer/architect types, a philosphy major. In the virtual meeting room we had a project manager, a business consultant, a former pilot trainer to name but a few. So as well as geographic diversity we had a whole host of different skills and personality types.
Whilst we were all from the same company, I know we are going the write direction when we see that sort of spread of interest, not just the latest tech geek plaything.
We did not show all the other commercial forays into Second Life but they are worth finding out about if you are interested
Addidas, MLB.com, Warner, Universal, Teleus, 20th C Fox, BBC Radio 1,American Appareil as well as the academic areas such as NMC. We have a mini round up on http://eightbar.co.uk/2006/08/17/virtual-worlds-introduction-presentation/

Ijonas Kisselbach

Another interesting post Mr. Wladawsky-Berger. In the last couple of months I've read your blog with interest.

I think you highlight part of the problem that online communities either not-for-profit ones such as Wikipedia and Digg, or commercial ones such as Amazon are trying to tackle. Namely that of trust.

IBM's results in Second Life, such as the use of Avatars, gestures and seating orientation all indicate the need to emulate 'real world' experience to generate trust and understanding for the community to work. Furhthermore, it underpins the need for a rules system to prevent the community from disentigrating in a "Lord of the Flies"-manner.

I shall continue to read with interest.

P.S. not sure if you're trackbacks are working.

Tristan Louis

I've got a couple of extra datapoints you may use in the following entries:
Economic Activity in Virtual Worlds ( http://www.tnl.net/blog/2006/07/31/economic-activity-in-virtual-worlds/ ) provides an overview of some of the money flowing there, Characteristics of Virtual World Users ( http://www.tnl.net/blog/2006/08/05/characteristics-of-virtual-world-users/ ) provides an aggregation of demographic data, and top 10 opportunities in virtual worlds (http://www.tnl.net/blog/2006/08/18/top-10-opportunities-in-virtual-worlds/ ) provides a basic framework as to some of the opportunities that could exist in the space.

Michael, this might help you out in terms of presenting it to people outside of technology.

Francis Dupuis

The problem of providing a business roadmap for 'non techies' and creating a compelling business purpose for virtual worlds is our speciality.
The two questions I get from business people are, 'how does my business benefit', and then, 'how do I get there'.
Those are the questions we continue to evolve our answers/solutions for.
Great post and comments.
Francis Dupuis (aka Floyd Field)

Michael Kenward

To Ian (well, one of the Ians)

I shouldn't have been so dismissive of the nerds.

What I should have said is that the message is puzzling for outside of the small circle of friends (pace Phil Ochs). Yes, the nerds and the "artsy fartsies" are dead keen. But I mix with people who are nearer bus pass country.

Last week I interviewed the chairman is a major FTSE 100 company. We are of a similar generation. He is dead keen on education and happily supports anything that will make it happen. But he didn't even talk about the technology that could deliver it.

Thinking on, I reckon that this could be a major use of the technology you helped Irving to demonstrate. Maybe the mistake was to peg it all to things like Amazon and to use examples that may mean a lot to those enthralled by everything e-nabled.

I'm sure that it will change the world as we know it. But for the life of me I can't see how I can talk about it to the folks I write for:


I guess it is the business case that matters, which you say is in the works.

One question, what is/are NMC?

PS It is very frustrating when typepad reject .eu web domains. It juist did it again. Someone tell them to join the real world. It is one reason why the US position on ICANN is unacceptable. IBMers should not associate themselves with that sort of IT incompetence.

Markus Breuer

Hi Michael, "NMC" is the New Media Campus or the New Media Consortium (see http://nmc.org/sl/) They have contracted a very well done "island" in SL which nicely shows off some of the possibolities with regard to meetings, collaboration, education, art in virtual worlds etc.


I worked in IBM for many years, recent laid off(fired). My manager is in Business Controls and she is perpetrating automobile rate evasion fraud by registering her car in NJ and living in Connecticut. She also is perpetrating tax fraud by living in CT part time and not filing a tax return in CT, exposing the whole IBM company to audit exposure.

In addition, I previously performed personal work at executives home on IBM company paid time. I was even given an award for this.

Won't it be grand when I dsiclose this to the investment and business comuunity. IBM couldn't care less about me so now its my turn to disclose.

The net of all this is the violators are all in Business Controls( the controls background of the company) HA HA

These violators need to be made an example of. By the way, her immediate management is aware of the situations she has created

Lou Gerstner

IBM Sucks. Thats why I left

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Jason Mackie

Really a very helpful and interesting information.

Thanks for the post.


Interesting post, keep up the good work!

Chris Fonley

Yes, it is true, technologies and capabilities, massively multiplayer online games and virtual worlds have had a huge impact on business, society and our personal lives in todays day.

Paul Evans

this is a very informative post.. i enjoyed reading it.

Jennifer @ vergent t1 service

I had no idea MMOG had any sort of business application. I will have to think of a way for my employer to get on board. If being at work was more like playing a videogame, I might not mind showing up every day! Ha!

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