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Open Letter to Your Boss

by Linden on ‎08-19-2009 03:08 PM

Last week, I had the great pleasure of attending several sessions in the business track at the Second Life Community Convention (SLCC). One of the most interesting panels, entitled, “Enterprise and Virtual Worlds: The Value Proposition,” happened on Saturday morning. The entire room joined in on a lively conversation about how to address our collective bosses' common misconceptions about Second Life and convince them that it’s not a game or a place filled with inappropriate content, but a powerful virtual workspace and collaboration platform.

Yes, we understand your need, as a virtual world and Second Life champion within your organization, to have more ammo to counter some of these arguments. In addition to the new Second Life Work microsite, focused exclusively on enterprises and governments in Second Life, we havet 5 case studies that showcase how IBM, NOAA, Navy, CIGNA, and Intel are benefiting from working inworld today, I've also crafted an open letter to your manager that tackles these misperception issues head on and helps to dispel the “fear factor” about Second Life.

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Hello <insert your manager's name here>,

Yesterday, when I mentioned that we should explore how working in Second Life can benefit us as a collaboration, learning, recruiting, and marketing tool, you raised several concerns that many enterprises and government organizations have about Second Life. I would like to share with you more information about how Second Life is a safe, secure, and powerful business tool we should consider using.

Second Life Solves Real Business Problems: Companies are using Second Life with good reason. With the drastic reduction to our travel budgets, and our teams scattered across many different locations, we need to look at more powerful collaboration technologies. Teleconference calls, video conferences, and web-based presentation sharing technologies are important, but they can’t do what Second Life can. In fact, the Wall Street Journal published a story today on “The Second Chance for Second Life,” focused on how large enterprises are working in Second Life and realizing tremendous ROI. I believe that we can yield a very positive return on our Second Life investment, as these companies have.

We Can Keep our Workspace and Data Secure: If we decide to get a private region, then we have complete control over who enters our area by tightly managing our access list. And, we can also keep our data secure. If you’re worried about putting our data on Second Life servers, then we can stream our presentations and content into Second Life instead of placing the data directly in the workspace. And, if we want to put a life-size prototype of our super-secret product in Second Life, then there are many creative ways we implement extra layers of security such as making it invisible unless we’re in the room. And, you might not know that nearly every branch of the U.S. military is using Second Life in some capacity and if they are comfortable working in Second Life, then that should ease our minds considerably. You can also check out articles on security in the Second Life KnowledgeBase: overview of Second Life security, voice chat privacy, configuring your corporate firewall for Second Life access, and how to create a secure space for a meeting

Second Life is the De Facto Leader in Virtual Worlds: There are several virtual world companies that are creating solutions for enterprises , but Second Life is the safest and best choice. Second Life is not only one of the oldest virtual worlds, originally launched in 2003, but it’s also the largest, most successful, profitable, stable, and growing at an impressive clip.

Roughly 20% of the Fortune 1000s are Working in Second Life Today: Second Life is not a game. Large, multi-national organizations such as Manpower, Microsoft, Amazon, and many others, are all working in Second Life right now—holding meetings or events, conducting training, creating simulations and prototypes, recruiting, marketing, and selling products or services. There are currently 5 case studies on the new Second Life Work microsite that detail how these companies have saved money, increased revenue, enhanced innovation, and raised brand awareness. You'll also find some great recent articles in the news section of the microsite.

The Adult Content is Contained: Second Life is a 3D technology platform that can accommodate all kinds of activities—for both work and play. Yes, there is some sexual content in Second Life, just as there is on the Internet or in any major city, but that doesn’t mean that it will inhibit our professional virtual lives or impact our reputation. In fact, Linden Lab has recently taken steps to move Adult content from the mainland to a separate continent and to filter Adult search results. These initiatives mean that those who wish to avoid Adult content in Second Life can do so just as easily as they can on the Internet at large.

Let’s Start Small and Build on Our Success: The good news is that getting started in Second Life is relatively inexpensive. We can start by renting space and when we’re ready, we can purchase our own private or public region for about the cost of a few days' rental of a real world meeting room. Then, we can purchase content already available from many sources in Second Life or get help from a Solution Provider to create a customized, branded space. Based on what we typically spend on travel in a given month, we’ll recoup our costs many times over very quickly. I have some ideas about how we can use the space to work on our current and upcoming initiatives.  Once we get a pilot project started in Second Life, I have the feeling that we’ll find additional ways that we can use our 3D work environment.

Defining our Success Metrics is Critical: I understand that every dollar that we spend needs to quantifiably benefit our business. As you can imagine, there are different things that we can measure to track our success in Second Life. For example, if we decide to produce a virtual event, then it’s easy to calculate cost and carbon emission savings. In fact, ThinkBalm, an industry analyst firm, recently published a report about the Business Value of Virtual Worlds that has many examples of what different organizations have used as metrics. Take a look and then let’s discuss how we can define our own metrics of success.

I hope that I’ve addressed your primary concerns about working in Second Life, but I’m sure that you have plenty of questions. Feel free to explore the new Second Life Work microsite and then let’s contact the team at Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, and find out how we can start working inworld, too.

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Of course, this letter just highlights a few points about how we can work together to dispel common misperceptions and successfully champion Second Life as a place where real work gets done. So, let’s use the comments area to continue the dialogue and suggest other ways we can help you get the good word out.

Big thanks to everyone who attended the session at SLCC and contributed to this post. More specifically, I would like to call out: June Peoples from Involve, Doug Thompson (SL: Dusan Writer) from Remedy and Metanomics, Jeff Barr from Amazon Web Services, Robert Bloomfield (SL: Beyers Sellers) from Cornell University and Metanomics,  Peter Haik from Metaversatility, Glenn Fisher from Linden Lab, and Dan Parks from Virtualis.

Comments
by Honored Resident Markopolis Balhaus on ‎08-19-2009 05:14 PM

I am going to use this on some of my clients. I know they can benefit from Second Life, but are afraid of it. Thanks

by Honored Resident Digital Digital on ‎08-19-2009 06:06 PM

Great info, I'll pass it on to some people I know maybe they can bring their company in to second life...

by Advisor Ann Otoole on ‎08-19-2009 06:48 PM

Let's see LL do more about the problem of third party clients designed for stealing content. It is no secret.

by Honored Resident Troy McLuhan on ‎08-19-2009 11:16 PM

I look forward to the day when the following paragraph can be included in the letter:

You can use your real name in Second Life: You've spent your whole life building a good reputation around your real name: building businesses, giving speeches, and supporting your community. It's only right that you should be able to use your real name in Second Life, just like you can with other popular online services like LinkedIn and Facebook. Until recently, you had to choose from a list of currently-available last names for your Second Life avatar, but a recent change made it possible for you to use your real name.

by New Resident Bla Friller on ‎08-19-2009 11:22 PM

"We Can Keep our Workspace and Data Secure"

Yes, very secure. Who needs to fix the well known XSS, encryption bypassing (cookie leakage) and CSRF vulnerabilities when the people who warn about them can be banned.

3 month and counting for a vulnerability with a trivial fix that allows websites to link real life and avatar names (including things like sexual preferences and religious beliefs) together.

by Member Les White on ‎08-19-2009 11:25 PM

You guys have no idea who your market is do you?

You should burn the consultants. They know nothing.

by Honored Resident robertltux McCallen on ‎08-20-2009 06:40 AM

okay so since this is a common charge against a thrid party client

list here right now the clients that in fact are 'designed to steal content" i want client names website addresses (with download links) and proof that they can in fact steal content

oh and btw neither of meerkat nor emerald are valid responses (the export features require you as creator and full perms to function)

by Honored Resident Henri Beauchamp on ‎08-20-2009 06:59 AM

Citation: "The entire room joined in on a lively conversation about how to address our collective bosses' common misconceptions about Second Life and convince them that it’s not a game or a place filled with inappropriate content"

Please, define "inappropriate content". Not that I really need you to define it, since it is pretty obvious now, after the "adult" segregation debacle, that Linden Lab ultimately wants to ban "adult" stuff from the grid to try and attract corporate users.

Fact is that SL is a game !... 80% of your user base is using it as such, be it via "adult" role-play (should I remind LL themselves that all residents on the main grid *are* adults or should be banned ?), or via other forms of role-play (combat, etc).

Keep ignoring the 80% of your user base and making the 20% others believe that the former do not even exist, and you will soon experience a dramatic decrease in your active users base... In fact, it has started already, 18 months ago, like shows the stagnating "logged in last 60 days" figure on the login screen which peaked at 1 500 000 in November 2007 after an exponential increase; and stayed below this figure since.

by Honored Member Shockwave Yareach on ‎08-20-2009 07:45 AM

We Can Keep our Workspace and Data Secure:

Everything we put on the grid, however, can be photographed and copybotted.

Second Life Solves Real Business Problems:

In fact, the only problem it's not solving is the fact that next to no computer in a business setting has the processing power or the graphics card to run SL.  But don't let that stop us from putting the program on 100 computers that are unable to run it.

Second Life is the De Facto Leader in Virtual Worlds:

Except for WOW.  Or Everquest.  Or... oh why go on?

Roughly 20% of the Fortune 1000s are Working in Second Life Today:

Not that we know any of their names or can see their islands.  We just have to trust LL on that.  After all, they've never obsfucated facts or bent the truth to suit their own needs before.

The Adult Content is Contained:

And we can rest assured that our property-rights for any land that we "Buy" will be just as good as those of the people who are now "contained".  Expect to be treated exactly the same in a year or two when the labs decide that our Small Business isn't what they want anymore.

Let’s Start Small and Build on Our Success:

We are successful now without SL.  Let's build on that and stay the course.

Defining our Success Metrics is Critical:

And we can hide metrics that are embarrasing to our shareholders by saying our website is "under repair."  If it's good enough for LL, it's good enough for us.

***

Had you treated your current customers properly with the Voidsims debacle and the Trail of Tears goosestepping of the "contained" off their legally owned property and into a ghetto, I'd be more inclined to believe you have a place in the businessworld.  But any businessman worth his salt is going to see how you've torn up the US commercial code and force-substituted property without legal grounds to do so.  And any businessman will know that how you are treating us today, is how you'll be treating him tomorrow.  Thus you yourselves by your own actions have trapped yourself in the realm of Games because you treat your customers like it's just a game.

And it's not like we didn't warn you, in so many ways and oh so many times.

by New Resident Taibah Urnestone on ‎08-20-2009 08:08 AM

This is an interesting idea, if we use this as a training tool, our company get all of our department heads together from the different satellite distribution hubs for hazmat and safety training. I cannot imagine the branch manager being so accepting of any inappropriate material interrupting one of these meetings. I will present her with this open letter and we shall see.

by Member Meade Paravane on ‎08-20-2009 09:47 AM

The current biggest reason I could not bring a letter like this to my management is SVC-4616. A meeting of something like 10 engineers costs us US$1000/hour. A meeting of management types goes far higher. You're going to make people like this wait around for the sim to stabilize? No - they're going to all go back to something that's not as cool but does not waste their time.  If it's a meeting with customers, especially pissed-off existing customers or potential-new customers, having the entire region lock up for 30 seconds every time anybody enters the region would not be acceptable. If people are chatting instead of using voice, you just cannot say "Oh.. SL must have eaten what you tried to say - type it again."

Something like a virtual trade show, with people coming and going all the time would be nearly impossible with this bug. People would get frustrated, people would leave, people would remember what we made them go through.

After SVC-4616, I'd want text-on-a-prim for collaborative development. It doesn't need to be full HTML. It doesn't need to have tons of fonts. Just something basic that works. llSetText does not cut it. Having to write text with an offline image editor then upload it and slap it on a prim does not cut it. Also being able to map an external web image to a prim would be very useful (and may be coming with viewer HTTP textures work.. dunno.)

After that, big things on my wish list would be local intranet caching so everybody in the company doesn't need to hit the LL servers up for the same resources, over and over - our IS people would have kittens if a whole bunch of people started using SL at once. And import/export tools that would let us easily develop locally and publish globally.

I could go on and on about what I think LL needs to do to make SL a viable platform for where I work. Oh.. Wait.. I have gone on and on about it. A bunch of times. I actually joined SL nearly 3 years ago because it looked like a new and interesting way to do some of my RL work projects.

I know LL is very, very focused on getting more business customers. What you don't seem to know is that a whole lot of people already in-world are business people - it's the adult grid and many adults have day jobs, ya know. We see the way you treat existing customers. We see how stable things are. We see what we ask for and we see what you actually do.

It really is a good letter, Courtney - a big two thumbs-up for it - but LL still needs to actually make this stuff actually work reliably. Things that do not work stick in peoples mind more than things that work do. I feel like a broken record here but, again, please get an ongoing dialog going with residents and start knocking down the pain points. I guarantee that my boss will care less about there being adult content available than she will about suddenly flying off into space as she tries to look around or what she says being lost or mis-ordered or why people are asking her why she is all gray when she looks fine to herself or any of the 97 other reasons why so many people think that SL isn’t ready for prime time.

And it's not like we didn't warn you, in so many ways and oh so many times.
by Honored Member Ciaran Laval on ‎08-20-2009 10:00 AM

Some good stuff in there, I'd steer clear of mentioning the adult content, not only because it puts the heebie jeebies up some people but because the way LL handled the situation is a glaring example of how not to perform customer service and it's not over yet.

Plus points are defenitely the linked news stories and examples of fortune 100 companies, government departments and other examples of business using the world.

Concentrate on the plus points and avoid dragging in points that will only undermine the whole sales pitch.

by Recognized Resident Bertram Merlin on ‎08-20-2009 10:37 AM

Im getting more and more sad, where is the normal ordinary personel creator in SL's mind.

All is about bussiness and cooperates and education. That what makes SL great for a person

like me is to create and explore, enjoy SL. And over the last period its just been more and more

bad. Slow rez.. Sim Cross there spoil all travel in vehicles, and not mush to find about what

SL will do about so the individuel persons can have a great SL again. I dont belive or see any

bussiness comes to SL for the sake of support or help to the individuls. They come becourse

of there income and to use SL for there own use. But maybe SL isent for people like me, even

I spend a lot of my little money to have the options for creating and build my dreams. Sad that

dont seem to count.

All the fuzz wiht change of PG Mature and Adult, to move sex and stuff like that to a isolated

place far away, yes. What wiht mainland now? So much for sale and unused. I dont think it

was so big a proplem that it have to split SL even more up. And i dont think its a good idea

make a place like zindra. If it works at all, 7 avatar in a sim and its laggy. Linden Lab should

work more on get the things to work. Better rez.. Better Sim Cross... Better sim perfomance,

I cant see how a company can use SL for say training 40 avatars.. How on earth will they

be able to move and create things in same sim.

Bertram Merlin

former dreamer and beliver in SL for all....

by Member Brenda Connolly on ‎08-20-2009 10:56 AM

Yay! Just what we have been waiting for. Now the RL Corps can try to sell us their garbage in the virtual world as well. Welcome JoeMcWhitebread and his wife Frigid. Enjoy your more predictable, "uncontained" experience.

by Honored Resident Pobie Boozehound on ‎08-20-2009 11:35 AM

LOL  I guess we know the REAL reason behind the new adult ghetto now!  They are hoping that we are going to try to con our employers into using the unstable grid for RL business!  Well, let Re/Max and the rest have their little sims. Those of us who are ADULTS and do not have our lips pressed against every corp around, will continue to igore the BS.  Brenda, feel free to drop by!  I like your attitude!  :-)

by Member Meade Paravane on ‎08-20-2009 11:36 AM

It ain't just about people trying to push their products on you everywhere you go in-world. That type of corporate involvement has, I think, been deemphasized a lot lately.

It's more about holding your meetings in-world, on your private island. It's more about being able to work with peers in SL by slapping together prims and doing some scripting, on your own private island. It's more about being able to put on a trade show for US$20k instead of US$200k.

by Honored Resident Pobie Boozehound on ‎08-20-2009 11:47 AM

if that were the case, then there would have been need for the Adult Ghetto.  Private Land can be set so only those on an access list or even a specific group can enter.

It's just LL caring more about corp $$ then its PAYING CUSTOMERS.  When all they have are corp customers, maybe they will see what they have done.  Judging from its past fiascos, it probably won't!

by Member Brenda Connolly on ‎08-20-2009 12:02 PM

Private Islands for the Corps are fine, they've had that option all along. It means they are contained, and I can avoid them as easily as people can avoid adult conntent. But I think the goal here IS to get the marketing and advertising back out on the mainland proper, in all of our faces.

by Member Meade Paravane on ‎08-20-2009 12:03 PM
if that were the case, then there would have been need for the Adult Ghetto. 

The adult content stuff was, IMO, purely about cleaning up search and cleaning up SL's image.

It's just LL caring more about corp $$ then its PAYING CUSTOMERS.  When all they have are corp customers, maybe they will see what they have done.  Judging from its past fiascos, it probably won't!


As I've been saying, over and over and possibly much to various Lindens displeasure: it's not their going after corporate cash that I'm concerned about. It's doing it at the expense of residents.

The would be foolish to NOT go after corporate cash. There are tons and tons of good reasons to do it. Like, for instance, CASH! And SL has huge potential to make it a good fit, too - I personally have a bunch of projects that I've been wanting to do for some time.

These things, corporate cash and happy residents, are not mutually exclusive. It can be made into a win-win-win situation.

by Member Meade Paravane on ‎08-20-2009 12:09 PM
But I think the goal here IS to get the marketing and advertising back out on the mainland proper, in all of our faces.


Not to the extent you mean. The ban on ad-farming would make it hard to spam people like those types of customers would want to do.

I think the number of potential business customers who would want to do things like in-world meetings dwarfs the number of potential business customers who want to mass-spam residents.

/me could be wrong. I doesn't think so, though.

by Member Brenda Connolly on ‎08-20-2009 12:18 PM

The ban on adfarming can easily be circumvented. Easiest way is to just change the rules, we've seen that happen enough. Besides, all the Corps have to do is open up shops, give away or sell dirt cheap, nice little logo emblazened items that the predictabele experience seekerswill clamor for, and they can adspam all they want. There are probably half a dozen other ways to do it without running afoul of the policy as well. This along with the recently unveiled Content Creator Certification scheme could help put some psky little resident businesses in the toilet.

Does this tin foil hat make my butt look big?

by Member Meade Paravane on ‎08-20-2009 12:26 PM
Does this tin foil hat make my butt look big?

Nope. It does make it look shiny, though...

Corps having their own place means I don't have to go there if I don't want to. If they want to sell branded stuff then I really don't care, as long as it's good stuff. I would continue to proudly wear my IoW or Loco Poco avatars if they had logos on them. Not a ginormous logo all over my wing but a Nike Swoosh (tm, c, r, etc, et al) on a paw would be fine, if it was an otherwise cool product.

by Member Brenda Connolly on ‎08-20-2009 12:33 PM

That is where we differ. I don't want their junk in my SL. I don't want a lot of it in my RL. If they come, I will not associate with them or their products or services inworld. I will choose a "rea"l residents product over a RL corporate one every time,

by New Resident Tina Tellig on ‎08-20-2009 12:37 PM

Such angry and hateful people in here.

Corps can bring a lot of money into SL. New ideas and improvements.

LMAO at the image of my Boss in SL Big business is the future.

by Member Brenda Connolly on ‎08-20-2009 12:45 PM

You are right.  The new idea for the improved SL will probably look a lot like AOL3D

by Member Meade Paravane on ‎08-20-2009 12:59 PM

Ok, miss shiny, tin-foil bum.

I still think it can be done in a good way. Coke is a good example, one that I wouldn't mind seeing LL do a "success story" on. (er.. are they still in SL? that'd probably be good to check first)

/me is always a prim critter. Got tons of 'em and some are quite nice. I was at a club in a my polar bear avatar the other day (big nod to the talented Wynx Whiplash!), wandering around and asking any girl in black leather or latex if she was a seal, and had several people ask me if I had any Coca-Cola on me. I put on my Coke drinking hat (random google example of a beer version) and passed out a few cans. Laughter ensued.

Coke, if I understand their SL policy correctly, basically allows anybody to use their material as long we're not dorks about it. It's fine for me to make a drinking hat with 'real' Coke cans in it. It's fine for me to pass out their stuff without having to ask lawyers or sign a stack of stupid paperwork. I get to be silly, they get a little free advertising. Everybody's happy.

Would I also put some Nike shoes on my paws, if I liked the way they looked? Sure! Why not? It adds a nice little touch to the realism (once you get past the idea of a big polar bear hitting on girls at a club) without being in peoples faces. They get a little bump in recognition and I get to be a goof.

And the stuff companies have in-world are almost always made by "real" residents.. You don't think the suits come into SL and build this stuff themselves, do you??

by Member Brenda Connolly on ‎08-20-2009 01:09 PM

The Coke thing is a bit different in it is more of a passive "Product Placement" type of thing. I will wave my tinfoil underpants at them for at least doing it in a benign and good natured way.Unfortunately, most RL corporations are not as good natured and benign, they are ruthless and predatory.Even if "RL shoesmaker" does employ residents to make their shoes, they will have the resources as well as sway with "The Government" to make sure things go their way, and any possible competition can be eliminated. The SL Mom and Pop shoe store will stand about as much of a chance as the RL ones have.

We'll never agree on this, I am 100% dead set against any actively visible coporprate presence in SL. I don't want it.If they stay contained on their islands, fine.

And that is my final answer.

by Member Meade Paravane on ‎08-20-2009 01:46 PM
And that is my final answer.


Is it really?

by Honored Member Shockwave Yareach on ‎08-20-2009 01:56 PM

No, I'm sorry.

The correct answer was "Fava Beans."  But thank you for playing on our show tonight.  You've been a wonderful contestant.

Now let's see the next Fastest Finger Question...

by Honored Resident Pobie Boozehound on ‎08-20-2009 03:52 PM

Once again, I have to agree with Miss Tin Panties.  If the big corporations start putting out loads of their own crap, it will put anyone that sells that type of produt out of business.  LL is kissing their butts at it is!  Look at the fiasco of an Adult Ghetto!  Why?  Become some corp $ may be offended.  So they shove people that PAY into a ghetto.

Do you really think that LL, which seems to be totally mismanaged, disorganzed and disjointed, will give one flying crap about us?  They will do whatever their corporate masters want.  They have shown time and time again they don't listen to us.  The open sim fiasco showed how us how little they care about their PAYING CUSTOMERS.

They are dressing a pig (or in this case an unstable, laggy grid) in a prom dress and expect US to get it dates!

Sorry, but LL needs to get its collective head out of its butt and start paying attention to the REAL ISSUES effecting their CURRENT customers.

For all the cheerleaders ... sit and rah rah all you like.  it doesn't make it any easier to TP ... it doesn't make the lag go away.  It just makes you look like a lemming.

I'm beginning to think LL is run by a bunch of part-timers that just do whatever little project they like and disappear.  They certainly don't bother posting replies to ANY complaints.  If they post at all its in reply to a cheerleader.

If they don't like hearing the truth, stop pretending to want our opinions and close down the blog.

To quote Ms Connelly ... "And this is my final answer."  Cheerleader, start your snarking!

by Member Prokofy Neva on ‎08-20-2009 07:56 PM

Dear Amanda,

That's an interesting and cogent set of talking points that some people could use to their advantage.

It's all good, all part of working towards your goal, to make SL appealing to business.

But you will have to stop agitating us to change, us to put our adult content somewhere, us to be shaken lose by your pricing Tilt O' Whirl, us to "not get attached to our shacks on the frontier because New York City is coming" but YOU must change.

YOU must change.

Your change must start *at home, in your code cave*.

That means giving up the addiction and the sectarian obsessiveness with opensource and hacked clients.

That means giving up the big huge pass you give to griefers, when you do something like have *Lindens* allow the vandalism of *your own building* with chalk saying BAN PROK and putting the names of banned residents as somehow "heroes" and putting names of other frequent-flyer griefers you never seem to deal with. That was open, conscious incitement to continue griefing me inworld, and since then I've been under continuous assault. Shame on you.

The picture of your vandalized doorway -- vandalized with your own consent and inciting hatred against me who is a tier payer taking care of hundreds of your customers -- speaks volumes.

It says you are not ready to grow up and change. You are not ready to leave aside the ways of a child. You keep telling *us* to do that, but we're not the kids here.

It's not about sealing a company behind a hundred firewalls, bunkers, and dedicated streams. It's about changing *your internal attitude* toward security which currently simply stinks, as it is an open sieve for content theft with the most malicious cynicism and a porous border for griefers on hacked clients that evade estate bans.

Most people griefed -- like all those crying now in the Concierge group -- won't talk about. They think if they don't talk about it, it won't get worse. That you will finally do something to stop the groups with dedicated frequently-flyer griefing like Woodbury University which you yourself have dealt with by banning first the island, then the owners, then the new alts. But you keep letting them back on obvious alts because...your code cavers are friends with them.

Grow up, Linden Lab. The rest will follow then.

by New Resident Nunya Peapod on ‎08-21-2009 09:43 AM

There is a lot of merit to this letter and the ideas contained within it. I like the idea of a virtual office and saving myself the 2.5 hour commute each day to the workplace. I will have to go with the earlier posters who pointed out the mention of adult content. I think this is a bad idea. My Supervisor would either not show any interest or look for himself what type of content that the letter is referring to. I would not want him associating me with the types of adult content that he would find in the search. I will have to pass on this even though the idea is good.

by Honored Member Shockwave Yareach on ‎08-21-2009 10:35 AM

How to have a virtual office:

Have the office phone forward to your computer VOIP with a Keystroke.

Have the VR office space on a private walled off server in the company.

Have the walled server code come complete with basic office furnishings.

Have a P2P program integrated that allows whoever is on the land to have a window to the company documents.  This above all else needs to be done so I can access the materials I need at home just as I would at work.

When LL does this and sells the product to companies, they'll revolutionize the workplace and eliminate the need for companies to build giganto buildings when they expand.  So the bottom line for the company is improved - no more 10,000,000$ buildings required.  But as it stands right now, there is no way to forward an office phone to your computer phone, and no access to a certain directory in the company network based on land settings.  So while this dream _can_ become a reality within a year if LL wanted to pursue it, it's not happening today.

by Honored Resident robertltux McCallen on ‎08-21-2009 11:00 AM

Have the VR office space on a private walled off server in the company.

This is of course being developed now (both as an LL offering and an OpenSource offering)

Have the walled server code come complete with basic office furnishings.

I would go so far as to have the included "Library" have avatars and the other stuff

You could have various vendors provide import packs to mirror real world items

Have a P2P program integrated that allows whoever is on the land to have a window to the company documents.  This above all else needs to be done so I can access the materials I need at home just as I would at work.

This could involve the new media plugin api but any "cloud" service would work

by New Resident Kristin Parness on ‎08-21-2009 01:20 PM

I have to agree with Meade in regards to RL corporations within SL.  I understand your concerns that a RL corporation most likely has enough resources and "pull" to put most of the competition out of business.  However, it's not the companies eliminating the competition.  Every business within SL functions like a RL business.  They provide product to CUSTOMERS.  As customers, we choose where we purchase a product or service.  Therefore, customers are eliminating the competition directly.  Businesses indirectly eliminate the competition by providing superior goods to their customer base.  Make a product of higher quality and provide better customer service if you want to remain at the top.  It's that simple.

This trend already exists in SL even with the absence of major RL corporations getting involved in product sales.  Toss out a name like Armidi, Snatch, or Redgrave and almost everyone on the GRID has heard of them.  In my eyes, they are just a few of the corporations of SL.  Mom and Pop stores are shops that generally suffer from a sub-100 traffic rating.  I typically only go to stores with an extremely high ranking and reputation since their quality is excellent more often than not.  Of course, there are most definitely hidden gems with no/low traffic creating products of amazing quality.  I have quite a few landmarks of Mom and Pop stores I love and visit frequently.  I also do everything in my power to spread the word about them as well since reputation and popularity means everything to the growth of a business.

So what if RL companies come into SL and start merging with the market? Existing residents already have an upper hand since they have experience with the design platform of SL.  RL Corporations would most likely hire existing residents to create products.  Please tell me why this is bad.  Why would we love existing residents already creating products any less if they start affixing a logo and creating new designs to fit a RL corporation?  Oh that's right, because large corporations are scum (/sarcasm).  Large corporations are also the biggest players in the global economy (even though it is struggling currently).  Large corporations have the most cash flow and the largest sum of money readily available to invest.  Linden Labs would be insane to not take advantage of the benefits getting involved in the corporate world would provide.

They just need to stabilize the Grid and correct EVERY existing security/copyright concern before they do so.  They can also utilize private servers and techniques listed in the above couple comments to ensure corporations have a separate and safe place to conduct business.  This will provide an atmosphere suitable to corporations while also minimizing the impact on residents who use SL for personal enjoyment.  I'm one of the latter and truly hate the Adult Content changes.  That was a completely ridiculous move in my opinion.  A better move would've been to create a separate continent for professional business owners that want a business-oriented environment free from any Adult Content whatsoever.  To this day, I still fail to see why they didn't go that route.

And my closing statement is this... If a "RL corporation" provides a higher quality product than a "real resident" you better believe I'm purchasing the higher quality product.  I don't spend my hard-earned money to buy a mediocre product when a better one is currently available.  I, like everyone else, either earn my Lindens or convert RL money to them.  I'll be buying the best of the best as long as I'm spending money that I have to work for.  I could care less if the product I'm buying has a Hot Topic logo or a Snatch logo as long as it's high quality.

@Amanda Linden: Great article, but I did notice one spelling mistake as I was skimming over it.  You may want to edit it and change "havet" to "have" in the second paragraph of the article right before the link to the 5 case studies.  Besides that, it was very well written.

by Member Prokofy Neva on ‎08-21-2009 11:27 PM

>So what if RL companies come into SL and start merging with the market? Existing residents already have an upper hand since they have experience with the design platform of SL.  RL Corporations would most likely hire existing residents to create products.  Please tell me why this is bad.  Why would we love existing residents already creating products any less if they start affixing a logo and creating new designs to fit a RL corporation?  Oh that's right, because large corporations are scum (/sarcasm).  Large corporations are also the biggest players in the global economy (even though it is struggling currently).  Large corporations have the most cash flow and the largest sum of money readily available to invest.  Linden Labs would be insane to not take advantage of the benefits getting involved in the corporate world would provide.

This was done already, and it was indeed bad, in part because it was thoughtless and stupid -- but the good news is that when corporations did this, for the most part, they didn't succeed in displacing local designers' brands. The guy selling his own jalopy on his own sim with a bunch of friends that liked socializing and drag racing on their own sim was not displaced by Nissan, and Nissan didn't seek to displace him.

What sought to displace him was an attitude that was beligerent and ideological on forums, not in practice, whic tried to create a slash-and-burn setting for corporations that was not even coming form the corporations, but coming from their sherpa consultants who wanted to exploit the situation.

This sort of attitude is destructive in RL; it's destructive in SL. Capitalism is a good system, in fact, despite the clucking and even outright violent malice you get in resistance to it from some of the gangs in SL. It's a system that enables modifications and remedies and adjustments in much better ways that centralized socialism systems, or even decentralized communist collectivizing systems.

But you cannot keep the capitalist system free if you only have the large economic units in it (with their high-paid geek sherpas making the most money of all), and you wipe out your customers' ability to have small businesses and secondary markets.

So inviting in giant corporations and siphoning off the best labour, creating an overpriced market of sherpa services, and having the designers build branded products as work-for-hire might seem like the wave of the future, but it can be destructive and in fact it doesn't even work to build the RL corporate brand because SL is not mass media. SL is a prototyping machine and a community building machine; it is linkable to mass media but in itself is not a mass media tool such as to use old-fashioned mass eyeball advertising techniques with it.

I debated this issue back in 2007 when the corporations began coming in (there was an article in the New York Times about it back then). I felt that the idea that they would be in an outside economy or unrelated to the inworld economy wasn't true, because they would hire away the best labour -- and they did. Those builders and designers *did* create their products but then...they didn't sell them for the most part but merely gave them away. Or merely set them around as eye candy on no-show sims. So it was a bust -- glutting the market with more freebies and not adding but subtracting, and not even helping themselves in the end. It was as if a trade fair came roaring into town, sucked all the oxygen out of the air, grabbed all the best laborers, drained the resources out of the local economy for advertising and such, glutted the market with free useless items -- and then...left the fair to the tumbleweeds.

What can be done about this? Well, it's like when Wal-Mart comes to town -- not an awful lot, unless you are a hard left extreme "communitiy organizer" bent on destroying a successful national business that creates jobs and cheap products for people -- and I'm not interested in doing that in RL or SL. But, even without some legislative protective maneuvers, you can create more ecology of balance with policies in virtual worlds. Big corporations can sponsor local designers, too -- Nissan provided a model for that by hosting a sim where there wasn't only just their branded cars, but people had their own stores with their own original content related to the car theme. It can be nested and cultivated and made into an ecology that both sustains community and individual small businesses and sustains the big corporation as well. It just takes care and thought. I'm not sure that it can last forever; Nissan ran it as an experiment for a year or so then retired it. The cost of staffing is a factor. But so is starting a website or magazine.

by Linden on ‎08-24-2009 09:13 AM

Hey all, I really appreciate all of the thoughtful comments. Terrific discussion. I would love for all of you to come to our office hours tomorrow at 9am - 10am PDT/SLT where we'll be talking about this post and other tools that you need your Second Life evangelist toolkit. Direct slurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cirano/106/29/25

Mark your calendars and come join.

by Recognized Resident Moriz Gupte on ‎08-24-2009 09:33 AM

Hi Troy,

You are right on. I have this problem (real names of people, at least name of function/job position) ALL the time with various clients. The problem can be avoided through attachments and such. We have the data about how much this means to corporate/federal customers. In fact right now, Federal agencies are shifting to US Nexus and this is one of the 'reasons' mentioned...While this looks like a trivial issue, it has a weight especially for customers who do not know the technical superiority of SL yet. There is no reason to exclude people who want to use their real names.

Yes by all means I also want to see your snippet regarding names.

by Honored Resident Hippyjim Starbrook on ‎08-24-2009 09:56 AM

Good stuff this Amanda - thanks.

I'ts a bit late for me to convince the behemoth organisation I work for though. One concern that isn't addressed here is intellectual property. One of the ways our IS guys blocked us in SL was to say that it would be easy for another individual to claim to be us, and to start "trading" in our name - as a bank that's a bit of a risky scenario.

Perhaps some stuff about the DMCA process would be helpful too.

Of course, back then we didn't have the option to have the "behind the firewall" stuff, and adult content was placed willy-nilly around the grid (another of our IS guys obejctions). So it's good to see LL strategy is constantly improving...now if i could get a time machine......

by Honored Resident robertltux McCallen on ‎08-24-2009 10:29 AM

Linden lab should have the "custom name" thing a lot more exposed and have a way for a company to fax/mail letterhead (or other proof of name) so that you can have a Real World Name inside SL

(oh and the pricing is goofy)

by Member Angela Talamasca on ‎08-24-2009 10:45 AM

Great letter to upper managment, Amanda. Unfortunately, full of fluff, hype, and unprovable overstatements. But lets take a look at your talking points, shall we?

Second Life Solves Real Business Problems

And exactly how does SL solve real business problems? SL is at best a tool that can be used to augment the business process (such as reducing travel costs). However to state SL solves real business problems is hype and would be recognized as such by most upper managment. Furthermore, most will question how this platform is better than say, using skype with its encrypted voice, text/video chat, and file transfer capability. And that's not to mention skype is far superior when it comes to stability and reliability.

We Can Keep our Workspace and Data Secure

Considering that your very own viewer sends user login information over an unsecured channel along with the plethora of 3rd party viewers that bypass such simple things as ban lists, change data under the auspice of "backup" and involve coders who appear to be more interested in playing "hax0r" games (such as copy botting, key loggers, etc) than they do serious development, I would hardly refer to your platform as secure.

Second Life is the De Facto Leader in Virtual Worlds

Why oh why are you using uneducated and unproved "catch phrases" such "de facto" to promote your product? Are you writing to upper managment or is this a high school project?

Roughly 20% of the Fortune 1000s are Working in Second Life Today

Data please. In fact, how about a report from an objective 3rd party such as gartner group?

The Adult Content is Contained

And this needs to be in your letter to upper managment, why?

Let’s Start Small and Build on Our Success

Yes. Lets do. For example. Let's see a track record of reliability, maintainability, scalability, etc. Let's see the industruy standard 95% fault coverage and fail over data recovery. And how about some load balancing, instead of having sims simply go off-line and/or crash. Let's see your QA implement true regression testing instead of this perpetual beta test that involves repeatedly foisting broken software upon paying customers.

Defining our Success Metrics is Critical

Indeed, it is. Until, however, your product has a provable (not a, "because I say so") track record in the very basic "ilities" it is not a viable business solution. When your company starts taking this product seriously, then just perhaps, others will too.

by Member Angela Talamasca on ‎08-24-2009 11:08 AM
That means giving up the big huge pass
you give to griefers, when you do something like have *Lindens* allow
the vandalism of *your own building* with chalk saying BAN PROK and
putting the names of banned residents as somehow "heroes" and putting
names of other frequent-flyer griefers you never seem to deal with.
That was open, conscious incitement to continue griefing me inworld,
and since then I've been under continuous assault. Shame on you.

Indeed. That Linden Lab apparently, not only approved of such sophmoric vandalism of their building, but, if sources are correct, promoted it, speaks to a mindset that is not ready for mainstream products. That one of their very own employees created a group whose intent was to grief another resident is appalling. That employee should be fired. Period. That is, assuming Linden Lab sees their platform as a serious contender for business as opposed to a playground for malfeasance and childish acting out.

by Honored Resident Pobie Boozehound on ‎08-24-2009 11:45 AM

To point out that "adult content" is contained is both not necessary and not true.  There is still adult content all over the grid.

If LL is so hellbent on getting corporations waste money in SL why aren't they setting up PRIVATE grids for them?  Then they won't have to worry about 'adult content'.

The more you see from LL the more it seems like there is NO direction in that company at all.  Some LL pet gets an idea and talks to a Linden and that employee goes off and does it without any thought of what it will mean to the rest of the company.

There are bugs that haven't been fixed and when they are mentioned it's "well that's not my department".  SO?  It's YOUR company!  FIX THE PROBLEMS!

And honestly, how professional will LL look if they can't bother contacting these companies themselves and instead us a blog to get people to do it for them!

Sorry LL, do you own dirty work.  You have people you pay, let them recruit, don't push it off on people that pay you for a service that you fail to provide.

We are CUSTOMERS not employees.

by Honored Resident robertltux McCallen on ‎08-24-2009 11:53 AM

"

And honestly, how professional will LL look if they can't bother contacting these companies themselves and instead us a blog to get people to do it for them!

Sorry LL, do you own dirty work.  You have people you pay, let them recruit, don't push it off on people that pay you for a service that you fail to provide."

its the "boots on the ground" principle if you have a need for what SL has you can ask people you pay  and trust

if tis something that could work or you could trust Marketing to be Honest (and if you can't really trust your own Marketing then why would you trust somebody elses??)

by New Resident Scipio Ulrik on ‎08-24-2009 03:40 PM

A better way to sell this is to say that Second Life is not JUST a game. It is, in fact, a game, by definition and practice. However, people like Shockwave Yareach are really narrow minded. While I agree with you, Amanda, that this is a very exciting opportunity for SOME kinds of businesses, you must also realize that some people (in fact, MOST people, from what I have seen) use Second Life as a means of escaping the real world, a way of letting go of concerns and worry which plague real life. Having the real world be part of their game will not necessarilly make them feel as at ease as they have been in the past, playing this game.

by Honored Resident Pim Peccable on ‎08-24-2009 04:43 PM

Troy,

Check out the Custom Name Program. It CAN be done.

https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Custom_Name_Program

by Honored Resident robertltux McCallen on ‎08-24-2009 05:00 PM

yes is CAN be done but

1 how many CxOs know that it can be done

2 you are expecting a business to forklift a GRAND to do this and have a bill of US$500 a year for this

3 then you have to setup a portal (requiring some Vodoo) to access your new name which might be availble in 14 days

me i would have a nice note in the Business Welcome Kit about this

by Honored Resident Lorelei Mission on ‎08-24-2009 06:57 PM

I'm sorry, Amanda.  SL has the potential for business use, but it's too glitchy to use yet.  If only we could rely on it to perform the same way every day!

I already know how it could be used to revolutionize my husband's business.  Currently all his employees work from home; they would benefit from a virtual "main office" where their avatars could work side by side and talk as a group about the day's projects etc....

However, look at your Grid Status record.  Real-world businesses cannot possibly rely on an environment that constantly has something out of order.  Usually, whatever's broken today was working yesterday -- it's ridiculous.

Stabilize the product first, then invite businesses to join in.

by Honored Resident Argent Stonecutter on ‎08-25-2009 04:32 AM

"We Can Keep our Workspace and Data Secure: If we decide to get a private region, then we have complete control over who enters our area by tightly managing our access list."

Every person accessing the private region is sending their chat unencrypted over the public internet, using an eminently spoofable UDP-based protocol.

To get to my workplace I have to connect using two-factor authentication, a tamper-resistent dongle and a password, using a VPN. I need a separate digital certificate to authenticate me to certain servers even once I'm on the intranet.

I can see us using this kind of technology, but not one that involves logging in over the public internet or using public asset servers at any point.

by Honored Member Shockwave Yareach on ‎08-25-2009 06:35 AM

It is hardly narrowminded to point out that business is based upon rules and trust.  I expect any of my contractors to follow the Commercial Code of the US and fulfill their contracts, with me and with their subcontractors.  Likewise, they expect me to fulfill my end of any business arrangement as well.  Any business that believes it has the authority to take people's property without legal due process and substitute another property for no other reason than they want to do so (their words, not mine) is not one I'll allow my company to do business with.  Linden Labs is too prone to unilaterally changing sales agreements after the fact.  Nobody can do business like that; a contract is a contract and a sale is a sale.

They could have easily avoided the entire problem by simply designating the current mainland as "The Wild West" and begun their new approach with a new mainland.  Instead, they showed everyone how worthless the concept of "Ownership" in Second Life actually is.  They had a number of solutions open to them that did not require bait and switch tactics.  That they chose the path they did proves their organization cannot be trusted with something as crucial as business applications.  You may call it narrowminded if you like, but facts are still facts.