Virtual World and Game Change Update

I have been out on vacation then down with some crazy bug and on top of that my notes has been crashed for two days. Choosing to be off-grid for vacation was fun. Not being able to be on-grid to deal with the deluge of mail due to me being off-grid is not.

e-mail truly is a killer app. It is killing the CIO because as technology gets wiz-bangier folks love to send around flash and ppts that weigh the digital equivalent of a ton and the digital highways that the CIO must fund are stressed to the max from all the heavy traffic. More importantly, e-mail is a killer applicaiton because it is killing us humans. OK, maybe not killing us, but certainly dramatically reducing our ability to focus for any reasonable length of time. e-mail is probably the biggest contributor to the fact the most of us have been reduced to having the attention span of a nat, or a ferrett on two cappucinos.

Anyway, on to other things. Virtual Worlds Day II was great. It focused more on the meat and potatoes side of the potential for this technology. Joe Miller of Second Life was kind enough to use one of my charts to describe the evolution of the web:

A lot of folks seemed to resonate with this chart although as I mentioned in an earlier post, many well known thinkers in this field like Henry Jenkins warn against continuum charts like this. You can read more about this from my previous post on entrepreneurial capitalism here. BTW, I got a nice surprise while on vacation….A note from none other than Joe Pine of “Experience Economy” fame where he said “I recently caught up with your post on Second Life and the Experience Economy — and, yes, the former is absolutely a platform for the latter! A platform I’m increasingly enamored with for its potential. I actually think it not just a platform but a new medium for experiences.”

OK, back to task – I did mention I have ADD Right?

Upon reflection of the two days at VW, I am seeing a similar meme to what happened in Web 1.0. Back then, the SIZZLE was all about Business to Consumer (B2C) which focused on Marketing/Branding/Advertising. Remeber the Sock Puppet from and a ton of other similar ploys to establish presence and leverage brands with little or no back-end to crazy valuations? The STEAK was in the Business to Employee (B2E) space where companies leveraged the differentiating capabilities of this technology to enable self-service for employees allowing better access and usage to information and services by employees at dramatically lower costs. Finally the SPECIAL SAUCE for Web 1.0 (and the place where the biggest bucks were made) was in the Business to Business (B2B) space.

My colleague at IBM, Peter Finn came up with the terms Intraverse and Interverse to bring a 3D flavor to the 2D concepts of intranets and internets. Metaverse is reserved for Neal Stepenson. BTW Ruben Steiger of Millions of Us had a very funny story of how he met Neal and told him that they had created the Metaverse with SecondLife…Neal’s response…”cool.” That was it, nothing more.

Coming out of the VW conference, I think that MTV is bringing a lot of Sizzle to the B2C space. That being said, it is intersting to note that they are building their Laguna Beach, The Hills and Pimp My Ride destinations on the There Platfrorm and working with Game Designers to get the production/addiction quality where they want it to be and to have more control over the worlds. In a way, Secondlife is the ultimate B2C play as the consumer is the producer (or prosumer as Tapscott would like to say). Joe Miller reckons that residents contribute over a billion dollars worth of content creation a year to SL as things stand today. That is prosumption at its wildest!

On the Business to Employee side, players like Forterra and Proton Media provide industrial grade 3D worlds built to reside behind a company’s firewall and integrate with other enterprise apps which is a core requirment to deliver value in the B2E space. Finally, Multiverse’s notion of universal browser that allows folks who use their platform to connect worlds through that browser gives us the first notion of the Interverse and is well worth keeping track of.

So when it comest to 3Di there is Sizzle, there is Steak and there is Special Sauce. We need the sizzle to create the interest, we need the steak to show how real business to employee applications can be achieved via the application of 3D technology and we will ultimately (3-4 years out according to most panelists at VW) get the special sauce that allows all of this to connect in a seamless way.

Don’t know about you all, but I got my Fork and my Steak Knife and I am ready to chow down on the 3D future!