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Friday, September 09, 2011

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Hitomi Tiponi

I would add something but I think this post nails it!

Khannea Suntzu

I am losing it.

I mean I may be in a severe depression IRL but even then SL has always served to drag me out of it. But not this summer. I can't focus on anything, images and letters just swim in front of my face and even in SL I feel totally lost. I sure hope they can rekjindle my old vybe because right now I am totally not feeling it.

Noirran Marx

great article!

Lord

hmmmmmm, perhaps something like holobands and New Cap City ...only on a global scale ?

bongo

Yes. screw the platform for the metaverse. Give us faddish toys for child-adults!

Success!!..well maybe,

Orca Flotta

I don't understand this article or what the author is trying to suggest here. SL is a virtual world, it is immersive and time consuming. It has a not too steep learning curve (basically to move your avatar you must use all 4 arrow keys, doh). Deal with it.

In SL you're dealing with real people behind the avatars, real people that need your attention as much as you need theirs. SL is not the place to satisfy your need for information or fun or whatever you expect from your online experience. The old motto of Your World, Your Imagination holds still true. You get out of SL exactly what you put in. If the author wishes to satisfy his daily fix of whatever between 3 stops on the subway I guess he's wrong in SL, just in the wrong place.

SL isn't a social network, it's not a browser game, it is a virtual world. Real world transferred into virtuality, real world skills are needed to success here. It takes time. It takes thought work. It needs interaction. It needs you to be imaginative and creative. Just like in RL you won't be rewarded anything without working for it.

What's wrong with that principle?
Nothing I guess.

In my eyes the question should rather be if most of the new users, if the "mainsteam" is fit and good enough for SL.

Chantal Harvey

Hi there Dizzy!

You are looking at SL developments from an app-creater's point of view, which is very understandable. I much enjoy reading your blog, but it did not strike me as relevant? There are plenty of innovative developments right now, you as a member of LEA surely have more up to date information about what is happening in Second Life. The new profiles posting, mesh, basic mode, for exapmle. The one thing I really dont get is why a light version wouldnt be the right way to go - I expect this to go to mobile devices soon, hopefully. We disagree, lol.
Would love to debate this with you ;o)

Hugs,
Chantal.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

You, sir, hit that Post-PC nail just right. LL has long acted as though most users will connect on high-end PC desktops or Hamlet's Alienware laptop.

Everyone on my campus in the know, from the technologists to the bookstore manager, are talking about the growing % of kids who don't even bring laptops to campus any longer....part of a broader cultural shift. Almost none of the rest bring desktop systems.

Dizzy Banjo

Interesting discussion thread going on about this on Google+ here :

https://plus.google.com/104625241288501781571/posts/5c6qkECh4Xv

Harper Beresford

Perhaps a different view of SL needs to be taken. I thought Gwyneth Llewellyn's blog post at http://gwynethllewelyn.net/2011/08/24/innovation-yes-but-wrong-turn/ was much more insightful. She calls for LL to realize it has a niche market and to develop and serve that niche market. In other words, stop trying to be everything to everyone.

Calling for a "user interface that sings" is kind of vague and wishful thinking. You can not compare SL to Apple. Apple has more money than the US government right now and a staff to match--they can afford to make it sing. The rest of the computer world has to bumble along as they may. (BTW, I would like my iPad to function as it should--I sure don't get all I was promised or paid for. It ain't perfect.)

Lastly, keep in mind the name of the company: Linden Lab. SL is still, at this late stage, an experiment, a platform for investigation, a way to integrate the prevailing technologies, innovations and philosophies into something.. whatever one wants to call it. (And I agree with Orca, it's a virtual world.)

P.S. @Ignatius, when *I* was in school, most students didn't bring laptops to school either. It wasn't that long ago :P

Dizzy Banjo

@bongo

As I said at the end of the post, I'm not suggesting abandoning SL or
metaverse related ideas.

I think this is just an opportunity for Linden to explore the
technology and marketplace of today. This could also be a great way to
fund faster development and improvement of SL. There is a huge way to
go to get SL up to today's standards in user experience.

In regards to the type of experiences Linden could explore. Yes the
app store and many light web apps do have a throw away nature. But
many do not. These functions often come from the evolution of a
product through the way users behave with it. Twitter is a great
example of this. It has a wide reaching cultural impact while being a
very lightweight user interaction.

I'm not suggesting that Linden become another Zinga-alike. Far from
it. I think they need to do a similar leap ahead of the pack to the
one they did in 2003. What that leap is could be super exciting, rich
and immersive in a new way and take advantage of all of today's
technology. It's a very positive opportunity :)

Dizzy Banjo

@orca

I understand SL is a virtual world and the amount of engagement that is necessary to immerse and really understand it. I've done it myself for many years since 2005. That time resulted in a deep involvement in the community of SL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_Pz6M9p_Og and the creation of many projects in SL : http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2008/01/speaking-in-lig.html
http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2008/04/music-for-the-m.html

I'm not suggesting that SL should change, or that it should try to be something it isn't. In fact I think this would be a very bad idea.

As I said, SL is a very interesting and wonderful place - for a particular demographic who have the time and inclination to engage in this way.

You ask if the mainstream is 'good enough' for SL. My question would be simply is SL interesting for them ?

My suggestion is that if Linden want to do something on iOS, or a light web experience, they should consider NOT creating a light version of SL, precisely for the reasons you state - that it takes time and engagement to work. Hence my suggestion to do something else that does work with todays technology and marketplace

Dizzy Banjo


@chantal

I don't think I am looking at it solely from an app developers point of view really. I'm also looking at it from the point of view of someone who loves SL as a place, the history of it, its culture and creations and its possible futures. These things continue to inspire me, especially in my advisory role with the LEA.

Additionally, I'm looking at it from the outside and trying to assess its placement in todays marketplace, both culturally in terms of engagement patterns and technologically / user experience wise.

There are many developments going on in SL, that is true. But this is true of any product or platform that is still in development.

I think a light version of SL may not be a good way to go, as for me, SL in particular, requires deep immersion to work. This normally comes from a sit down / block out the rest of the world and immerse experience. Its much more difficult to achieve this on a mobile device, especially an iPhone. Its possible on an iPad, but even those are used in a much more mobile and 'exposed to reality' way.

One factor in this is the way the user actually touches the data with their real body. I believe this can also be a barrier to immersion in a third person viewed avatar.

My post was addressing issues that are wider than the development of SL. It tries to address the situation for Linden Lab at this time, and what they could do with this opportunity - which I think is a great one.

However, the ramifications of this choice, could be huge for SL. If LL had a very successful second product it could actually help SL.

Dizzy Banjo

@harper

Unfortunately comparing user experiences directly, regardless of the size of company behind them is what users are very good at doing.

I understand the difference in size between Apple and Linden Lab, however I wasn't referring to Apple per se, I was referring to the thousands of developers who deliver excellent user experiences in the app store. Many of these are actually much smaller than Linden Lab.

I love SL as an experiment and a lab project. However this understanding of it as being that is one of the things I mentioned as being a factor for it never really competing at the same level as other products. I think this means that its also not reasonable to expect it to reach into the mainstream in the way other products do.

I think its fine to recognise that SL only appeals to a niche market. I would hope that my post clearly illustrates that I think it is. I also think its ok for a company like Linden Lab to try to cater purely for that market. As I have said in previous comments, I don't think SL should be changed to become something it isn't at a basic conceptual level.

This is also part of the reason why I don't think SL could really work as a light version. I think its interestingness lies in its richness and complexity. Dumbing it down could ruin it. I also think there are immersion problems on touch devices.

I'm suggesting a second, perhaps completely different project, which could work in tandem with SL. I think this is a great positive opportunity.

Harper Beresford

@Dizzy

But lots of us are already using Pocket Metaverse. Maybe all they all they are after is doing an enhanced version of that TPV?

Hamlet Au

Harper, Pocket Metaverse has a userbase in the low five figures. If there was a high demand for mobile SL even among the hardcore userbase (which is still a niche), it would probably be much larger.

Orca Flotta

Yes, finally I heard the magic word: niche market!

As long as LL are recognizing the little fact that their product SL isn't for anyone, isn't made for the mainsteam, isn't made for consumers and dummies, we don't need to fear any bigger atrocities than V2 :)

But when I listen to Rod's keynote speach ... "65% of interested people are not able to finish the registering process, we must try to make it easier for them" ... grrr, stuff like that makes me angry.
They should preferably take care about and consider that: 65% of sim crossings fail, 75% of servers are running on idle while the rest are overutilised and lagging like hell, 85% of their profit comes from established, immersed users, not from noobs, 95% of the userbase have no need and no intention of ever logging into SL from a mobile device ... and so on.
In short I guess LL are going wrong when they try to make SL mass compatible. For. It. Just. Isn't. And. Hopefully. Will. Never. Be.

Melissa Yeuxdoux

Alas, Dizzy, due to Google+ policies, a lot of us can't participate in that discussion. I'd like to think that SL's more than just an "island of misfit toys" that Mitch Wagner effectively describes as the people virtual worlds appeal to.

Arcadia Codesmith

Over the years I've watched the dance of virtual worlds and noticed a pattern.

When text-based games were introduced, they sacrificed the improvisational skill of the gamemaster for a fixed narrative. But then, over time, they began to reclaim that ground with spaces that the players could design and sophisticated parsers that could approximate improv.

When graphic environments were introduced, they sacrificed the evocative power of prose for crude sixteen-color landscapes and dungeons. But as time passed, those environments have grown increasingly detailed and subtle.

We sacrificed a great deal of design flexibility to make spaces suitable for mobile deployment... but the devices are again regaining the ground that was lost and the games are growing in depth and sophistication.

If you're designing for current trends, you're already a step behind in the dance. Tomorrow's mobile VW environment will look a lot like yesterday's desktop VW environment, as devices grow in power and we regain the ground we lost in the conversion.

I agree that Linden Lab should be experimenting with other projects -- cross-pollination is a valuable asset in itself. But in terms of the virtual world, Second Life is still the future. It's neither a niche or a dead end... it's just pausing and waiting for the world to catch up.

Dizzy Banjo

"If you're designing for current trends, you're already a step behind in the dance. Tomorrow's mobile VW environment will look a lot like yesterday's desktop VW environment, as devices grow in power and we regain the ground we lost in the conversion."

I agree that technology is of course always going to become more powerful and will allow things like SL to reach more and more devices.

However, I disagree that power of technology defines the type of experiences that we as humans find engaging and useful - Twitter is a great example of this. Who would have thought 140 text characters could do what it has?

I think fundamental ideas from SL and many other places will inform our future, but they will probably form in a new way, possibly superficially very distant from an immersive VW like SL.

I guess that is what comes next : TEXT IMMERSION > GRAPHICAL IMMERSION > ???? IMMERSION or perhaps not immersion at all, but augmentation..

Toysoldier Thor

Dizzy,

Reading your post even two times I was seeing mixed messages from you.

On one hand you are suggesting that the WOW factor that made SL so attractive in 2003 has fizzled because its not in touch with 2012 mainstream culture (i.e. the 3 stop interaction with a simple mindless start-stop at any time game). And that SL needs some pull from the sky awesome new idea that leverages this new culture and leaves behind the old WOW.

On the other hand you fully endorse that SL is still an amazing immersive world and not left behind and somehow leveraged.

There are several aspects to your visions that are either too vague for any LL Exec to take serious or has flaws to the vision.

First of all, I am sure LL Execs & even ex-Execs like Philip himself have not turned off their perpetual mind of innovative & entreprenuerial thinking. I am sure ppl like Phillip are constantly thinking outside the box on "what is that next WOW for the marketplace". They also imagine how this new WOW could leverage the old WOW and its successes and leadership in the market. Its easy to say "LL needs a new WOW". The trick is to identify that magic WOW that will be the next major success in the market.

Secondly, lets be very clear on what has already been stated. SL has been, is now, and will always be a NICHE MARKET product/service in the market. That is not a bad thing. It is the leader in its niche. Most things on the market can never evolve to mainstream - only a few ideas have all the ingredients to allow this. FB, Twitter, youtube.

So since SL will never be a mainstream solution - asking LL to make it mainstream is a failing form of advice that you could offer.

The trick to SL's success is to more quickly evolve technical weakness in the existing 2003 WOW and Revolutionize the 2003 WOW with game changing new features that leverage advancements in technology. MESH is one of them.

Lastly, SL needs to more strongly interface the Virtual world with Real World 2012 cultural fads without trying to become it. What do I mean by this... example, dont try to build a viewer that is more like Facebook as we all saw the Viewer2 results from that horrid strategy.

Prims that natively can interface with email, youtube, FB, Twitter, Skype as attributes of the prim. Major improvements in virtual realism so that walking around in SL is like walking around inside an interactive movie set (no lag & and photorealistic perfection of avatars, attachments, prims, etc.).

Make SL a better SL not a different SL to fit into mainstream when its not mainstream.

(PS I do not use Google+)

Dizzy Banjo

@toysoldier

ok let me try to clear up some of these mixed messages :)

Yes I am saying that SL doesn't connect with the mainstream of 2011 or 2012.

I'm not saying that SL should pull something from the sky, or that SL should change to become mainstream. I don't believe it can. I do endorse SL a a great place and I do believe that its still super interesting for a niche.

I'm saying that Linden Lab, not Second Life, now has a chance to do something which does engage with a different market.
These things are not mutually exclusive.

Many Linden founders are indeed have done and are doing many interesting projects. For example Philip at Lovemachine and Coffee and Power, which I think are interesting projects. I think Linden Lab, now has a chance to do something different as well.

In terms of vagueness. I'm deliberately thinking about strategy here, rather than suggesting ideas for Linden to explore. I'm paid to explore my ideas at the company where I work, not on Hamlet's blog.

Once again, as I have stated in the piece, and in comments afterwards - I am not suggesting LL should try to make SL mainstream. I'm suggesting a different separate product from the same company. Rod Humble has already indicated publicly that this project will not be connected to Second Life directly.

As I replied to Harper, all the improvements to SL are great. They should be expected of any platform that is under development, and I think SL has a long way to go before it reaches acceptable modern standards of user experience. But like I said a lot of this is due to its immense ambition.

I hope that clarifies some of those points I was trying to make.

I hardly use Google+ either actually, but Mitch Wagner has been using it to respond to this thread, so I thought I would link to it :)

Toysoldier Thor

Thanks for clarifying. But now the concept of LL creating a new concept or next WOW product that does not tie to SL or engages a new marketspace for LL to run with brings up yet another and more serious risk to LL... "lost focus".

LL is already a horribly under-resourced corporate entity whos staff is desperately trying to both plug the growing number of leaking holes in the current SL product while at the same time trying to create the next wave of SL WOW needed to keep SL in vogue with the current SL customers (or risk losing them).

I have done tons of outsider-looking-in business assessment on LL position along the evolutionary cycle/path of a corporation as it moves to maturity. LL has been and continues to struggle moving to the next stage of maturity as a relatively young startup.

This company is far to too immature in business / customer support processes and controls,and a more business mature management/staff culture to even contemplate taking on any completely new product / venture / WOW idea in addition to SL.

I stated in SL Forum discussion back in 2009/10 when the previous Sr LL management decided to take on the idea of trying to re-mold SL to compete in the Enterprise Collaboration space (SLE) that this was a HUGE MISTAKE! For several reasons I predicted that LL would fail on this new venture real quick, but mainly because they would have been an also-ran bit player in that market AND because this would cause LL staff to lose further focus on their prime objectives. IT FAILED AS PREDICTED.

So do you really think its a wise idea for a company in the condition and level of maturity it is in now to take on a completely new WOW Product? If so, explain to us how this company could resource this new product when they can barely support SL and barely support the huge wishlist of SL growth plans?

So again, nice post you submitted but you are asking a company with no feasible capability of executing on a great new idea even if they could come up with one. It would fail in execution regardless of how great an innovative it is.

So I dare say your idea that suggests that to save SL LL needs a new product.... it will actually do the opposite... your idea would surely kill LL and the SL product that LL owns.

Here is an idea for you... if there was a cool rocking new product/idea... why should LL do it? PS... your idea is already happening... Phillip has already created a new venture of new products. And it would likely work to get its own funding and grow on its own.

There are dreamers... and there are those that can wisely make dreams happen.

Arcadia Codesmith

I'm not prepared to give up on immersive VR yet. I think there's a deep-seated human desire to experience different worlds, a longing given expression by the movie Avatar and Star Trek's holodeck.

I think the VR plateau is very much due to the limits of current tech. We're just starting to experiment with interfaces that let us leave the keyboard and screen behind and really step into the virtual.

And I think that as that tech matures, it's going to open up new vistas for immersion. But many of those vistas are going to be direct linear descendants of the little brown books that Gygax and Arneson unleashed on the world in '74.

SL is a slightly different branch of the family tree, but among its other virtues, it has great potential to be a platform for building compelling immersive experiences. We just need the tech to get a little bit better to fully realize that potential.

ColeMarie Soleil

(grabs me some dinner and sits down to catch up on all this reading)

Toysoldier Thor

I would agree with Arcadia's comments and tie that with LL's success.

When looking at the current corporate situation with LL and its several existing challenges, weaknesses, fragilities, the best advice for LL would be to:

1) laser focus their management priorities and resourcing to fixing and improving their SL product.

2) Fixing their extremely sub-par Customer Service issues.

3) Identifying, setting priorities, and resolving ASAP the countless technical glitches and issues within the existing SL product. Just go into JIRA and count the number of un-resolved technical problems that LL staff simply cannot address for lack of staff to resolve the issues. There significant bugs in JIRA that were left un-addressed for over 2 years. Others are in perennial backlogs.

4) come up with plans and innovative solutions to address the countless technical limits in the current version of SL. ex. NOTES in SL is still so simple they make a text editor look like MS Word. The viewers and inworld technologies makes life inworld interaction with most RL online systems a major barrier (i.e. email, FB, Twitter, skype, etc.). Advanced prim/object permissions still have not surfaced. scalable prims beyond 10m just got addressed last month. etc.

5) Get a team of true out-of-the-box thinkers to list and develop priorities of next generation SL functions, services, technologies that LL engineers can work to developing solutions for. Photo-realistic avatars, efficient and cost effective high-res mesh, advanced graphics improvements to remove lag but allow the virtual world to animate like RL, natural human interface tools that makes avatar control as natural as possible. Basically, make SL simulate RL so well that its like participating in a real world.

6) LL Sr. Management must figure out innovative solutions to address their currently horrid resourcing constraints so they can feasibly tackle the objective listed above. Partnerships? Consider shared resourcing with currently competing smaller SL-like virtual worlds? etc.

What LL must not do in my opinion is to come up with completely NEW PRODUCTS and redirect their already majorly constrained resourcing to focus on this new product. If this happens, LL will lose focus and LL will lose both SL and fail on the new product.

Dizzy Banjo

@toysoldier

I think this is where we disagree. I think Linden Lab doesn't have the excuse of being a small startup anymore. It's existed for almost 10 years and at one point has had staff up to 300, I understand now its 150 ish.

Many much smaller startups produce numerous products simultaneously with high levels of success. They are often less than 10 people especially in their early stages. I expect a small team has already been set up to create this new iOS / Web project. So the diversion of resources from SL itself could already have happened. Or perhaps they have employed specific developers for this project. My question is simply - what should they do? I think they should do something bold and innovative, suitable for the market they are developing for - which I think is much more likely to succeed.

I think Enterprise was an attempt to explore a particular marketplace. It was a gamble on how big that marketplace really could be. I also had reservations about this. But I would be wary of exhibiting 'I told you so..' traits here.. I don't think that the failure of one product like Enterprise means that trying any other new product is pointless.

As I stated in the piece, a new product could be a good move strategically for development of SL. If Linden Lab had a large profit generating product, they could feasibly divert funds from that product to hire additional developers to advance development on SL at a faster rate.

Dizzy Banjo

@arcadia

Yes I agree, the desire to explore another world will always be there. I never want to give up on that either. I think its super important. I think the quote Prokofy has on the top of http://secondthoughts.typepad.com really says this well :

""Every human being is interested in two kinds of worlds: the Primary, everyday world which he knows through his senses, and a Secondary world or worlds which he not only can create in his imagination, but which he cannot stop himself creating." W.H. Auden"

VW adoption always has come in waves, its clear that its at a lower point rather than a crest at the moment. I'm sure it will rise again at some point in the future. Possibly abstractly connected to SL in the way SL is to text MUDs. The question is - whats the strategy to move towards that point?

Dizzy Banjo

wow we are onto the 2nd page..

I think focusing on SL entirely and fixing it is clearly one option. The most obvious one in many ways. However, Linden have had almost 10 years to do this now and haven't really made significant progress.

I don't think this is due to lack of hard work or focus really. I think the problem they are trying to solve is crazy hard. Mainly because the ambition and aim is so high.

In someways, with Minecraft, Notch as a similar problem. But he, very wisely, decided to scale down the visual user experience and its resulting required architecture so that it fits more comfortably into the performance limits of the machines its running on and more importantly, their networks.

I think very early on in architecting Second Life, Linden Lab made some assumptions about the projected growth and evolution of hardware and also common bandwidth speeds. I think reality went a slightly different way and now, even 10 years after its inception, achieving an acceptable SL user experience ( say comparable to a non-streamed 3d game for instance ) may still be unrealistically ambitious.

So the process of SL becoming a good user experience is not just dependent on effort put in by Linden. Its also dependent on the trajectory of its supporting technology.

Old user

I disagree with this post. LL should stick with what they know. They should not focus to much on side projects in attempt to get new users. We all know LL's past and they have proven that they are not good at working on many projects, it leads to 10 half working, buggy and unfinished rushed products. Also LL does have some finance issues so it is best to not scatter the money in several projects which result in cheapo B quality efforts. LL needs to focus on the graphics of SL (which they are doing slowly), enhance the scripting, improve physics, and most of all focus on being a provider of virtual space and stop mingeling into the domain of the creators and end users. They simply need to provide a platform that is up to date, lower land prices and support the content creators.

Toysoldier Thor

@Dizzy,

We do disagree because you assume a "startup" entity / company transitions to non-startup stages of maturity (there are arguably 5 stages of business maturity of which the first stable mature stage is stage 3) simply based on its number of years of existence.

This is not a factor to assess if a business has transition from the unstable and volatile "startup" stages. And... for LL, this is a perfect example of a company that even after 10 years of existence is still showing very clear signs of a STATUP operation. I can go into deep discussion as to why this is the case, but LL is a STARTUP and is still very unstable.

You just helped prove my point when you said that LL was a 300 staff company that was forced last year to cut 30% of its staff and swept out the majority of its SR management (including the CEO of the company). You might disagree but I am very very strong in the belief in my assessment of LL being a Startup.

And if you understand clear rule of a successful startup becoming a long term success, one of them is "FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS". Do not get seduced by outside Analysts telling you that you should diversify or come up with new products and services that divert your primary focus on what put you in business in the first place.

When you are a Startup (this includes factors like not having a stable solid cashflow, not having a large pool of profit generated investment accounts, not having a strong capture of your market, not having the mature business controls culture, etc.) the biggest factor to failing is when the business convinces itself that it is big enough to take on new ventures.

What you are suggesting here and to LL is that LL should diversify and introduce splits in corp focus because they are old enough to handle new ventures. I disagree.

As for testing new markets... again I agree if these tests of new market are based on proper marketplace investigation if there is even a chance of success in this test market. It didnt take a rocket scientist to see that SLE was a huge mistake made by LL Management staff that felt they had the next greatest mousetrap to disrupt a hugely entrenched enterprise collaboration market.

I will say again.... Dreaming is nice Dizzy but to shoot from the hip and use highly restricted corporate resources to run with dreams that the company has no feasible way of executing... this is dangerous advice you are offering LL.

Hamlet Au

Toysoldier, I think you missed the first sentence in Dizzy's post -- Linden Lab is *already* developing a stand-alone product for web and mobile that's not Second Life. Dizzy is talking about what LL needs to do with it to succeed. Your advice to FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS only on SL, while it has some good points, comes too late. :)

Toysoldier Thor

@Hamlet,

I didnt miss the point that LL is already possibly working on some web/mobile "product" and if it has NO tie to the SL Mothership product (i.e. this web/mobile is not an innovative and effectively interface to SL inworld) then that is a LL strategic direction that has to be questioned if it is a wise move for LL.

(I dont know what this web/mobile initiative of LL is but I would have to believe and hope to believe that Rod is smarter then that and these new interfaces will be innovative extensions to the SL product AND NOT mutually exclusive products.

Since LL is still stuck as being a company in the STARTUP stages of its evolution - then these types of decisions to prematurely diversify is yet more evidence of a company with a culture of being an immature startup. It only further entrenches my evidence.

But, Dizzy's post seemed very clear to me and a couple others that regardless of what LL is or is not doing, he believes and would recommend to LL Execs (if they are listening) to do exactly this. To create a new product for the marketplace that has no ties or does nothing to expand SL's marketplace.

Therefor, the fact that LL's current actions are wrong in my opinion does not reduce the fact that Dizzy's recommendation to LL's diversify strategy is any less wise. It just says that both LL and Dizzy believe in an approach that I do not believe is wise for a Startup like LL.

Dizzy Banjo

@toysoldier

I guess we disagree then :)

I do recognise that LL is still a young company. I actually said they are not a "small startup" anymore.

I think there were many factors in last years staff cut. Many exterior to LL and some strategic.

I think there is always risk associated with any direction. As Hamlet says, the decision has already been made to explore mobile and web, as a different product. I think its a great opportunity and both LL and the community of SL should be positive about it. I think some clear thinking about todays marketplace is critical.

As I said, concentrating purely on SL is one option, but for reasons I stated in above comments, I think that task is a very long and difficult one. I think its a task that could be helped by financial backing from a second LL product.

I want SL to become everything its original vision promised, and more. I just think there are many ways there, and many other opportunities that could be part of or even form the road.

Toysoldier Thor

So let me put you in the LL "Big Boy" chair of CEO. You are Rodvik.

You have inherited a company with an awesome technically innovative product - a current leader in its micro niche market of VW.

But you look around and see as part of the company's operations & issues:

> A Customer Support structure has is universally despised by most of the SL Customers as between non-existent to utterly useless in most cases.

> You look at the SL JIRA and see the huge backlog of countless technical bugs not fixed and reach back as far as 2+ years and this backlog is growing. And all these bugs impact the experience and health of SL.

> You see that despite this growing backlog of SL technical bugs, most of your limited staff are focusing on the next cool function or improvement of SL (even though the current functions are borken). You see an SL economy that has shown a clearly visible slide in revenue (likely in synch with RL economy).

> You talk to several of your customers / residents of your existing flagship SL product and hear countless screams of frustration and anger that LL refuses to fix the things in SL that they should be able to fix. Why? Because it has nothing to do with the limitations of industry technology... its because LL as a company simply cannot or does not want to tackle the general business operations to keep their current product healthy and current customer base satisfied.

> You also see as a result of all these growing cracks in your flagship product, your customer base has stopped growing. Its actually declining as is the revenue from tier fees and SLM commissions and sinks.

Now you see all the improvements that could be made to the existing SL product to make the current customer base happy... and what do you do in the Big Boy chair in light of all you are responsible for?

1) You decide that you will take the rations of staff and $ investments you have and being development of a net new exciting product line for LL? Your thinking for directing your critical resources to a new initiative vs addressing LL's massive list of existing woes is what? Why did you make this decision?

2) You decide that your flagship SL product needs to address this large and critical list of business operational issues and focus on making your current customer base happy?

There is a saying in the successful business world.... Its 10 times easier and less costly to keep an existing customer than to gain a new customer.

So as an interesting slant on this discussion... Tell us what you would do in the LL Big Boy chair related to these two options?

:)

draxtor

....ahhhhh how sad that narrow & short-term tech bubble thinking! I am posting here because I LOVE Chantal & she is right on with her comment! So is Orca's btw & a few others! Immersive environments are not and never will be the quick gratification thingie that folks demand whose attention span cannot extend past whatever it takes to milk a cow on Farmville. To go after that audience is futile! And what Mitch Wagner suggests on the G+ thread is pretty sad: shut down the servers??? Oh my Mitch, I feel so sorry that you could not find the personal fulfillment in SL that many did find in fact! But then again - he has to live with himself :) Alright, sorry for my rants! Off & away from this rag and on to more substantive work....

Dizzy Banjo

@toysoldier

Well I'm not really here to role play big boy CEO ;-)
As I said before, I get paid to explore my ideas at the place I work

But this question really leads back to the start of my post.

I think the decision to explore another product is good as long as it
is successful and impacts SL development positively. I think it
could. I have indicated in my post the ways I think LL need to think
in order to achieve this.

Dizzy Banjo

@draxtor

I'd be very careful about dismissing mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad as fads.

If you read my post and comments carefully you'll see that I am :

NOT suggesting Linden make a lightweight quick gratification product like Farmville. I am simply stating that there are many successful examples of those types of experiences right now and that the mainstream is embracing them.

I am NOT suggesting Linden Lab change Second Life. I actually think they should fulfil its full potential. I don't agree with Mitch.

I AM suggesting that devices like the iPhone offer developers a very different palette of technology and user behavioural patterns.

I AM suggesting the Linden really think about these opportunities when they make their new product. Which they have already decided to make.

I AM suggesting that they could create a fascinating new product, which could well be very immersive, but in a new way. It could also take advantage of the very unique new ways the user can interact with these devices.

Dizzy Banjo

I'd like to add one last comment to this thread. It's getting very long and argumentative now and I'm frequently restating my opinions I have already tried to make clear in previous replies.

My last comment would be this :

I think this type of debate about the evolution of ideas from Linden Lab, or relating to Second Life in some way should be encouraged.

Especially when it comes from experienced users.

It makes me sad that, even someone like me, who has been extensively involved in the community of Second Life for many years, constantly trying to contribute positively, is met with this kind of reception when offering constructive input from my current perspective.

This perspective is informed by working in the mobile development sector, but also by a deep rooted understanding and passion for the possibilities of virtual worlds.

It is not a critique of Second Life users behaviour. Its much bigger than that. It's about observing wider behavioural patterns across many demographics and thinking what opportunities there might be.

Change and evolution of ideas and marketplaces is not something which should be resisted. It should be embraced. It was this type of embracing attitude which lead to the genesis of Second Life.

draxtor

thank you Dizzy for clarifying! Let me clarify my rant as well: I am NOT dismissing mobile devices AT ALL - I for one would love an app where I could call into SL or do monetary transactions etc - watch an ini-world cam even or whatever! I just meant to say that the simplistic Farmville-type stuff is a possible fad and the pendulum will swing back to more engagement with the younger generations! I do see it with my son everyday - these kids are totally different than teens or our generation!

Malus

I disagree with the article. I think the mobile technology must be an adjunct to the metaverse - in other words another way to access the SAME world - with certain capabilities as well as the necessary limitations of the small screen.

Creating yet ANOTHER project would further fracture what is already falling apart at the seams - the metaverse today is more akin to the BBS systems prior to the explosion of the internet. At that time you had islands of incompatible systems that didn't (or only in limited ways - i.e. 'Fidonet') communicate.

What allowed us to communicate seamlessly? It wasn't the internet itself - as it had been running since the 1960s. It was a protocol called http (hypertext transfer protocol), and a markup language called html (hypertext markup language) - both of which together created a standard for communicating and sharing on top of the internet. This standard set the stage for the killer app - the web browser or http client - that provided a graphical interface to that standard that anyone could use.

Similarly I think more time should be spent developing the metaverse's interexchange protocol; opensim's hypergrid comes close - but is rudimentary. Linden Labs had the chance to lead in this area - but pulled back from it, preferring to keep a closed system and the revenue that represented. As anyone can see now, that is starting to erode as really viable alternatives (such as InWorld and others) enter the stage.

While mobile apps on the small screen may have volume and potential revenue opportunity- if we continue to allow the metaverse to be a series of archipelagos it will as a whole lose value as network bandwidth and advances in FOSS sims makes hosting interconnected free grids a risk/value proposition that will shift users away from SL to platforms that make being on the open grid more valuable to them - regardless if their primary interaction is via the small screen, or big screen.

Dizzy Banjo

An interesting continued discussion of this post happened at Thinkers discussion group recently :

http://extropiadasilva.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/thinkers-sep-27-2011-dizzys-plan/

desdemona enfield

Hi Dizzy,

This one is looking forward to the 3D retinal projective googles sporting a touch-the-air HUD user interface and driven by my walking around.

If you think spaced out people walking and talking on their cell phones is funny, wait until you see people walking down the street interacting with a visual experience you cannot perceive.

Des.de.mona

Dizzy Banjo

Ha Desde
Knew you'd be down with it :)

joey

Second life isn't fluid or immersive enough for the casual user. Moving around feels weird and awkward. For the layman that just wants to walk/fly around it isn't very user friendly. It should feel more like a GTA map on a very large scale. You should be able to hop in a car or aircraft with five of your friends and be able easily go explore.

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