Second Life = Experience Economy Platform?

For years I have been teaching MBAs about Gilmore and Pine’s notion of the Experience Economy and how it could well become the primary source of value creation in the future.

Here is how the authors characterize the difference between the Agrarian, Industrial, Service and Experience Economies:

I was in 2L over the weekend hanging out with a pal of mine (Stae Young). Stae and his wife created the very popular Agora Ballroom in 2L. He was telling me a story about a “regular” guest at the Agora who asked him if he could rent the place for an hour and if he could have the song Lady in Red piped into the ballroom at the appropriate time.

Stae, being the kinda guy he is, happily obliged. When his guest arrived at the pre-defined time, it was clear to Stae that the woman with him was new to this world. His Guest very patiently helped her navigate the space in order to get up to the main ballroom area. They then proceeded to dance the night away, culminating with his request to Stae for their favorite song, Lady in Red.

Stae said it was wonderful for him to be able to create this EXPERIENCE for his guest. But wait, it gets better. Later he found out that the woman was his guest’s wife and that she has been confined to a wheelchair for quite some time. His guest also told him that the EXPERIENCE they had in 2L that night could NEVER be replicated for them in RL.

That AHA took me right back to the awesome Machinima called Better Life that just viscerally drives home the fact that these kind of environments can really deliver out-of-this world experiences. With the Agora, Stae has created a place within which he can stage memorable personal experiences for his guests that evoke emotions and sensations that might not even be available in the real world context. Stae also shared with me that a number of his guests are soldiers in Iraq who wanted to feel closer to their loved ones on the other side of the planet.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. In the future Content may be still be king but Context will be the Kingdom. All of us need to become far more adept at creating contexts that engender true generative learning experiences. 2L is a true Context Creation platform. Let’s promise each other not to leverage 2L or any other 3Di platform for what it is and not just apply this incredible technologty to create fancier 3D page-turning environments.

Stae works for IBM as a Learning Architect. We are in the process of building out a showcase for IBM that shows what can happen when you apply 3Di sensibilities to create contexts where learning happens through a series of experiences. Stay tuned for more on this in a later post.

This is the entrance to our showcase. We’re still in our Tuxes as we had just ported over from the Agora.

Stae and Wada at Learing Showcase

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  1. What an incredible story! I’ve been waiting to hear this type of story for a while. I knew they would be coming I just didn’t know when. This is beautiful! And its the type of thing that is going to start taking 3Di mainstream. I work for Hospice of the Valley now (after 10 years at Intel) and my head has been spinning with possibilities of 2L and palliative care…especially with pediatrics and those in our care who are still functioning well. Studies have shown that playing video games reduces pain in patients and I’m certain the escapism of 2L can do the same, if not more.

  2. Tony,

    Great piece and welcome to the world of blogging…..BTW…most folks refer to it as “SL” v. “2L”… 😉

  3. Hey…How come you never told ME that? 😉

  4. I’ve lived a similar story, someone I met, let’s say S.H., that has muscular dystrophy, 26 years old, and no other possible reality than SL. He married two sundays ago, with a lot of friends around him, and it was the happiest day of all his life.

    In a few days he will be moving to Arizona, with his parents, that will take care of him in his final stage.

  5. Tony,

    Thanks for the interesting post and welcome to the blogosphere. I am really interesting in what IBM is doing with SL so whenever you can add insights into that process, that would be great. Love this story about SL and its impact.


  6. Hey
    sory to write to you like this, but i could not find the contact form. I really like your blog and i was wondering if you would maybe like a link exchange with my website . It is not really that big yet as yours, since it is not up so long yet, but it is gaining visitors soon and i am putting in some advertising campaign in next day as well.

    Another option is, if you would maybe like to publish some of your articles on my blog? You can of course post a link to your blog under the article!

    Well let me know on . I would really like a link exchange.
    Thank you in advance for your reply. Sory about this post again, just delete it once you read it 🙂 .



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