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Wednesday, July 29, 2009


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Todd Borst

Does it have to be big companies? Are individual small businesses not worth covering?

Hamlet Au

They're absolutely worth covering, "business" to me means anything from 1 to 10,000 employees. And I'm actually more interested if one person is innovating better than the 10,000, that's one of SL's signature advantages.



I hope you can really dig into this topic, not just in terms of what companies are trying to do, but the math behind it. I keep wanting someone to prove to me that it's feasible for people to make a RL living doing this, not just for one or two people, but for a small company with employees that get paid in RL dollars. I don't know of anyone that's making enough money to live on, get health insurance if they live somewhere like the US, put the kids through school, pay employees something besides Lindens to spend on clothes in SL, and be able to sustain it and not have to quit in a year and leave for other worlds, cursing the Lindens the whole time.

The question is, how much harder is it to create a business in and centered on virtual worlds that can be long term profitable compared to doing the same in RL? I don't think any company that's come through has talked about numbers in an open fashion. Not that they are required to, as privately held companies, but I always get the feeling that what's really going on is people are loathe to admit that the math never made sense.

If the math really is starting to make sense for the type of business I'm referring to, I'm hoping you'll find some of these numbers and be able to present them. Not even using specific company names, but just some cases with how the math works even if we don't know who they apply to. Or, if no one beyond individuals working side jobs or putting themselves through schools are able to make it work for them, then I'm hoping you'll be able to let us know about that too.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm skeptical of anyone claiming to come into SL or any other virtual world with a full time business with employees employees paid in real money and hope to keep food on their tables and the ability for them to visit the doctor when they need to for more than a few months to a year. I think anyone that's tried has left.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing what you start coming up with as you tackle the subject!


Hamlet Au

Those are very good points, Radar, I've been thinking a lot about that myself. We got like 200 or so folks pulling USD$5K out of SL every a month, that's definitely enough to make a decent, put the kids through school living (at least in most parts of the country.) That's great, but that number doesn't seem to be growing appreciably.


Are you able to summarize who those are, or at least summarize what they do, and a little bit about how the market works for them? Like are they all in-world content only, are they all consulting/building services to other businesses, whether those be in-world or RL based businesses etc?

Or maybe you've already covered this and I just need to read harder? :D

Thanks Hamlet.

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Wagner James Au
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Dutchie Summer Special
Nylon Pinkney Outfitters in SL
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