Living virtually

I messed up the other day when I linked to SuperTour (I linked to the wrong page, this is the right link).

Living virtually is getting a lot of attention. A lot of people at Mix have told me they don’t want to try Second Life or World of Warcraft because of the time these things take. I totally agree. But here Laura and Tina give you a taste of Second Life and get you an interview with Linden Labs’ founder Philip Rosedale (the Ten Team also paid Eric Rice to build an entire island).

So when TDavid says that conference value is going away (he noted that he could get a lot of the value from Mix06 just by hanging out online) he’s absolutely correct. We could meet virtually and have a pretty compelling conference experience online.

But there is still that part face-to-face communication that these things miss. There’s nothing like looking in someone’s eyes, shaking their hand, and sharing an experience in real life. That said, I’ll be online this weekend with my son, who has built me an entire office in my evil software company in Second Life.

My son says that Second Life is the most addicting thing he’s done so far. Here’s a 2006 parent/kid conversation we had recently: “Hey, Dad, I’m in Home Depot in Second Life, want me to buy you anything?”

49 thoughts on “Living virtually

  1. OMG, Home Depoz owned by Mash Mandala and Baccara Rhodes?!? Your son was shopping there? Have you met the couple yet? They are lovely. I once bought a toilet from them, made it neon green and hot pink, rode it through the air like a porcelain balloon. Ahhh what charms.

    Conversations like this are endearing: did flying wow your son too? :)

  2. OMG, Home Depoz owned by Mash Mandala and Baccara Rhodes?!? Your son was shopping there? Have you met the couple yet? They are lovely. I once bought a toilet from them, made it neon green and hot pink, rode it through the air like a porcelain balloon. Ahhh what charms.

    Conversations like this are endearing: did flying wow your son too? :)

  3. As someone who works “virtually” on a daily basis, I believe it is still necessary and good business practice to meet the people you work with. Let’s be human. People move the world, not technology. Even though we now have the technology to work without physically meeting, it’s been my experience that projects always run smoother if you have at least on face-to-face meeting.

  4. As someone who works “virtually” on a daily basis, I believe it is still necessary and good business practice to meet the people you work with. Let’s be human. People move the world, not technology. Even though we now have the technology to work without physically meeting, it’s been my experience that projects always run smoother if you have at least on face-to-face meeting.

  5. Steph: I actually agree with you. Patrick wasn’t into computers for the first 10 years of his life. He still doesn’t use one as many hours out of the day than I do.

  6. Steph: I actually agree with you. Patrick wasn’t into computers for the first 10 years of his life. He still doesn’t use one as many hours out of the day than I do.

  7. I’m personally very hesitant about teens and kids spending large parts of their “learning life” inside virtual environments (be they gaming or second-life-like). One of the things about growing up is getting to grips with reality, and accumulating learning experiences in interactive environments which are not reality strikes me as potentially unhealthy.

    I’m not saying kids shouldn’t do this kind of stuff — but the impact on their development if abused of is a huge question mark for me. Anybody else (particularly people with psy/educator backgrounds) got opinions on the subject?

  8. I’m personally very hesitant about teens and kids spending large parts of their “learning life” inside virtual environments (be they gaming or second-life-like). One of the things about growing up is getting to grips with reality, and accumulating learning experiences in interactive environments which are not reality strikes me as potentially unhealthy.

    I’m not saying kids shouldn’t do this kind of stuff — but the impact on their development if abused of is a huge question mark for me. Anybody else (particularly people with psy/educator backgrounds) got opinions on the subject?

  9. Mike: well, one thing we are told is not to blog about something we don’t have direct knowledge about. Since only a small number of people was involved in this decision (that I can figure out) that would explain the MSFT bloggers’ silence about it. I was hanging out with the most NDA’d group of all of our partners (our Regional Directors) tonight and none of them knew about it (I was reading them the news off of Memeorandum).

  10. Mike: well, one thing we are told is not to blog about something we don’t have direct knowledge about. Since only a small number of people was involved in this decision (that I can figure out) that would explain the MSFT bloggers’ silence about it. I was hanging out with the most NDA’d group of all of our partners (our Regional Directors) tonight and none of them knew about it (I was reading them the news off of Memeorandum).

  11. Let me correct myself, I am not talking about the Vista delay in particular.

    Note that there are things you can recoup and figure out, so your point itself is moot.

    And for the record, all the guys that I know being under NDA with Microsoft have barely an internet presence : no blog, Googling their name returns nothing, etc. So when you say the secret info leaks, I call BS on this. There is way too much stake and the win-win NDAs help a lot get the mouth shut.

    Nice FUD try tho.

  12. Let me correct myself, I am not talking about the Vista delay in particular.

    Note that there are things you can recoup and figure out, so your point itself is moot.

    And for the record, all the guys that I know being under NDA with Microsoft have barely an internet presence : no blog, Googling their name returns nothing, etc. So when you say the secret info leaks, I call BS on this. There is way too much stake and the win-win NDAs help a lot get the mouth shut.

    Nice FUD try tho.

  13. I failed to mention that anyone outside of Microsoft but with a signed NDA *KNOWS* exactly what’s going on about a particular topic of interest. It’s the old way of Microsoft conducting business with their partners (win-win). My only trouble is with blogs, the lack of transparency. There is no translation of what you get under NDA, and what you get in the blogs.

    I guess the tipping point is when you know one thing, you asked while being under NDA and you got an answer, and this thing gets officially announced two years later as something hot etc (with somebody called Scoble hyping the thing all the way).

  14. I failed to mention that anyone outside of Microsoft but with a signed NDA *KNOWS* exactly what’s going on about a particular topic of interest. It’s the old way of Microsoft conducting business with their partners (win-win). My only trouble is with blogs, the lack of transparency. There is no translation of what you get under NDA, and what you get in the blogs.

    I guess the tipping point is when you know one thing, you asked while being under NDA and you got an answer, and this thing gets officially announced two years later as something hot etc (with somebody called Scoble hyping the thing all the way).

  15. Scoble said “I’m glad that the managers looked at the quality and decided it wasn’t ready”.

    Well that’s fine, I don’t think much people think otherwise. I am saying that blogs don’t serve as a heart pulse to the company’s actual position over what’s-left-before-RTM. That’s a very disappointing thing, and I can’t recommend anyone to continue reading those blogs.

    I also note with irony that, while blogs are updated virtually every hour, no hot or damaging topic is really being discussed. In fear of otherwise. That’s what you’d expect from the corporate pages, not the blogs.

    Boils down to :you

  16. Scoble said “I’m glad that the managers looked at the quality and decided it wasn’t ready”.

    Well that’s fine, I don’t think much people think otherwise. I am saying that blogs don’t serve as a heart pulse to the company’s actual position over what’s-left-before-RTM. That’s a very disappointing thing, and I can’t recommend anyone to continue reading those blogs.

    I also note with irony that, while blogs are updated virtually every hour, no hot or damaging topic is really being discussed. In fear of otherwise. That’s what you’d expect from the corporate pages, not the blogs.

    Boils down to :you

  17. Christopher, I’ve been in 16 cities, eight countries, in four months. I also have met with hundreds of customers from all sorts of different kinds of businesses. But, nice to think that I only live on my blog. I guess you missed my email stream. Hundreds of emails every day.

  18. Christopher, I’ve been in 16 cities, eight countries, in four months. I also have met with hundreds of customers from all sorts of different kinds of businesses. But, nice to think that I only live on my blog. I guess you missed my email stream. Hundreds of emails every day.

  19. MyTake : all this blog thing is Bullshit from the start.

    Of course. Just sugar with the spun poison. It will still ‘kill’ you, but you’ll feel better about it, as you had ‘naked conversations’ with key people. Instead of being proactive, and meeting the customers where they are, why you can blog and take shaky cams all around Redmond (and the Valley) and ‘connect’, marketing without leaving your cubicle. Won’t work for 90% of key customers however, which view blogs as unofficial lines of communication.

    Instead of getting a straight answer, why you can live on the net, follow 400 differing voices, getting a basic puzzled-idea of the current spin, more or less. Or you can just purchase analysis from Directions, and follow Mary Jo’s report, and find out what’s really going on.

    Blogs in theory are noble ideas, in actual practice it’s chaos.

  20. MyTake : all this blog thing is Bullshit from the start.

    Of course. Just sugar with the spun poison. It will still ‘kill’ you, but you’ll feel better about it, as you had ‘naked conversations’ with key people. Instead of being proactive, and meeting the customers where they are, why you can blog and take shaky cams all around Redmond (and the Valley) and ‘connect’, marketing without leaving your cubicle. Won’t work for 90% of key customers however, which view blogs as unofficial lines of communication.

    Instead of getting a straight answer, why you can live on the net, follow 400 differing voices, getting a basic puzzled-idea of the current spin, more or less. Or you can just purchase analysis from Directions, and follow Mary Jo’s report, and find out what’s really going on.

    Blogs in theory are noble ideas, in actual practice it’s chaos.

  21. Mike, Oscar, and J.,

    I didn’t know about it, but sort of expected it (although I was hoping that it’d stay on track). When beta 2 got pushed out that was a warning sign.

    It’s software done by people. I’ve learned long ago never to buy into dates in this industry.

    I’d rather have a good product than something that shipped on time. I’m glad that the managers looked at the quality and decided it wasn’t ready rather than tried to force something out the door that would have caused lots of problems for our partners and customers.

  22. Mike, Oscar, and J.,

    I didn’t know about it, but sort of expected it (although I was hoping that it’d stay on track). When beta 2 got pushed out that was a warning sign.

    It’s software done by people. I’ve learned long ago never to buy into dates in this industry.

    I’d rather have a good product than something that shipped on time. I’m glad that the managers looked at the quality and decided it wasn’t ready rather than tried to force something out the door that would have caused lots of problems for our partners and customers.

  23. If Microsoft is transparent, how come it surprises their customers so much. Surprises cannot happen in a company where projects are discussed openly, every day, virtually every hour.

    MyTake : all thig blog thing is Bullshit from the start.

  24. If Microsoft is transparent, how come it surprises their customers so much. Surprises cannot happen in a company where projects are discussed openly, every day, virtually every hour.

    MyTake : all thig blog thing is Bullshit from the start.

  25. Hi Robert, I hope you’re in some kind of strategy meeting right now about how Microsoft should handle things now that Vista is delayed again. This represents a broken promise to customers, partners, and shareholders who were led to believe it would be ready for the 2006 holiday season. It is a big ding to corporate credibility and trust that will linger long after Vista eventually launches. I hope Microsoft offers a very candid and complete explanation of how this happened and what is being done so that it doesn’t ever happen again. A mea culpa wouldn’t hurt either. Many shareholders already feel like there is no accountability at the company: Executives take home big paychecks and stock grants, but failures in execution abound and the stock goes nowhere for years. Blogging and communicating effectively about this stuff might mitigate some of the damage. Maybe you can turn some of these lemons into lemonade.

  26. Hi Robert, I hope you’re in some kind of strategy meeting right now about how Microsoft should handle things now that Vista is delayed again. This represents a broken promise to customers, partners, and shareholders who were led to believe it would be ready for the 2006 holiday season. It is a big ding to corporate credibility and trust that will linger long after Vista eventually launches. I hope Microsoft offers a very candid and complete explanation of how this happened and what is being done so that it doesn’t ever happen again. A mea culpa wouldn’t hurt either. Many shareholders already feel like there is no accountability at the company: Executives take home big paychecks and stock grants, but failures in execution abound and the stock goes nowhere for years. Blogging and communicating effectively about this stuff might mitigate some of the damage. Maybe you can turn some of these lemons into lemonade.

  27. Come to think of it, it’s a bigger disaster than IBM’s Office Vision. That project only wasted $900M. I think that you have to look to the Federal Government to find a bigger software project failure.

    If there was any doubt that management incompetence is out of control in Redmond, it’s all gone now. Time for the shareholders to start rolling heads, starting with Ballmer.

  28. Come to think of it, it’s a bigger disaster than IBM’s Office Vision. That project only wasted $900M. I think that you have to look to the Federal Government to find a bigger software project failure.

    If there was any doubt that management incompetence is out of control in Redmond, it’s all gone now. Time for the shareholders to start rolling heads, starting with Ballmer.

  29. Second Life, eh? Seems to be a hot topic around Redmond, tons of Softie blogs waxing on such. Guess it imapcts the real world, another day, another Vista delay, Jan 2007 until further notice. Geeesh.

    First it was Everquest, then it become WoW, now it’s leaning Second Life. As they always say, first hit is free.

  30. Second Life, eh? Seems to be a hot topic around Redmond, tons of Softie blogs waxing on such. Guess it imapcts the real world, another day, another Vista delay, Jan 2007 until further notice. Geeesh.

    First it was Everquest, then it become WoW, now it’s leaning Second Life. As they always say, first hit is free.

  31. Interesting you bring up the conference angle. One of the things Slackstreet is bringing online is a) another island adjacent to the current one and b) a conference center (named after Audioblog’s new name, Hipcast), designed specifically as a rich media, virtual, place-for-rent for virtual conferences. There’s already been plenty of interest in virtual tradeshows and it seems that the waiting list is starting to grow already. Don’t forget about those hybrid real-life/virtual life concerts that are happening (like the one in Philly/SL this weekend)… Wonder what the Podcast Hotel will look like. ;-)

    I’m so confused, But apparently, it’s working out in the end. ;-)

  32. Interesting you bring up the conference angle. One of the things Slackstreet is bringing online is a) another island adjacent to the current one and b) a conference center (named after Audioblog’s new name, Hipcast), designed specifically as a rich media, virtual, place-for-rent for virtual conferences. There’s already been plenty of interest in virtual tradeshows and it seems that the waiting list is starting to grow already. Don’t forget about those hybrid real-life/virtual life concerts that are happening (like the one in Philly/SL this weekend)… Wonder what the Podcast Hotel will look like. ;-)

    I’m so confused, But apparently, it’s working out in the end. ;-)

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