Second Life and the business world

First Tuesday has a branch in Bergen and they’ve organised a talk about Second Life on Tuesday. Imagine my excitement! It seems like the talk is based on discussing whether this virtual world is worth exploring for local businesses. My thought is: “Give me one good reason why not!”

Speakers will be IBM Sales Director, Bjørn Roksvold, the Project Manager of Design Containers Second Life, Ela Oliva and Severin Roald from Burson-Marsteller (this guy intrigues me, because his title is “Digital Media Champion” – which is a completely new word in my dictionary – I’m keen to learn what that’s all about).

Personally, I feel that the local businesses in Bergen don’t really have a sufficient web presence. It’s like they want people to have a hard time of finding out what they’re about, which has to be destructive on so many levels – or have I missed something here? I think it would be lovely for them all to get more involved with Second Life.

I had a refreshing flash of positivism this weekend, though. I was out being sociable and from out of the blue a discussion about Second Life suddenly emerged, with no intro from me other than “Do you mean Second Life?” and the ideas people had of what could be done in such spaces were just inspirational. It was so lovely being witness to a discussion from people with different professional backgrounds being creative about different cultural and industrial opportunities in a virtual world. I adore the fact that ‘ordinary’ people are thinking about these things.

I’m well aware that I have a somewhat utopian romantic naive notion of what Second Life can offer businesses in Bergen but I just can’t help myself. I think today visibility is the most imperative attribute for any business and I think Second Life could definitely contribute to this. If we should learn anything from Chris Anderson’s The Long Now, it is that to reach out to consumers – first and foremost you need to be available when they start looking for what you have to offer. Now, I’m basically talking about websites here, but I feel that Second Life can enhance this by showing off your capabilities and products, leaving your mark visible for all who might be curious, and curiosity is one of the fundamental attributes of our information society.

Secondly, I’ve been thinking a lot about money. I’ve met so many here in Bergen who’ve had some great startup ideas, have gone as far as to set up a website for their product, but when it comes to receiving pay for the product, the actual payment, they’ve encountered so many hurdles that they’ve just given up. Basically a lot of payment services are so freakin expensive. So I’ve been thinking, maybe selling your products in Linden Dollars could bypass such hurdles, and without too much hassle. I think this is a plausible action for those just starting up and without a whole lot of capital. It’s relatively easy to be available, innovative, promotive and visible in Second Life without too much work and hassle. You don’t have to give up your day job and seek funding. Hmmm – basically I guess what I’m trying to say is that Second Life is a great way to experiment with your entrepreneur ideas. Let yourself go and put your ideas out there available for all to see, if someone stumbles along, sees your work and ideas, you’re available and with minimum risk. And who knows? Maybe you will start gaining a network of like-minded people and create something even more fabulous together.

So basically I feel Second Life is a fantastic forum to put innovative ideas to work. A virtual playground for new ideas. And Second Life is really easy (although I’m finding the lag a bit of an annoyance, but I’m confident this is just a temporary problem) to use. You don’t have to be a hardcore SecondLifer to explore or build in the world (although admittedly, I haven’t tried building anything yet).

As for the law – I’m just confused. For example, if someone sees your ideas and steals them in real life, does the fact that you have IP rights in Second Life, protect your business in real life? There’s so much weird stuff going on that I’m having a hard time getting my head around, to be honest. The issue of gambling in Second Life has caused a little whirlwind, which I’ll leave for another blogpost to discuss. I think these are important issues for discussion, but they should in no way be a deterrent from entering Second Life.

I’m looking forward to what the speakers have to say. I’m worried that it may come across as too much of a ‘hype’ and they’ll meet an audience with folded arms and a lot of pessimism. I think it would be lovely if they focused on Second Life as a tool and not as a place where…ehm…geeks live. That is, if people who aren’t already passionately involved with virtual worlds show up. I think that’s what I’m most excited about – who’s the audience?

One thought on “Second Life and the business world

  1. Looks like a good talk worth attending. Web presence is important it is good exposure for any business. Think about the millions of internet subscribers.You might be interested to know about the Young Entrepreneur Society from the An educating and entertaining documentary about successful entrepreneurs.

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