Jun 27

Enterprising Games – Introducing Second Life to Your Business

mobile notes – detail to follow

Introducing Second Life to Your Business – Lead by David Burden, Daden Ltd. David is running a very interesting operation providing consultancy on using Second Life as a place for professional meetings, training and business. In a fast paced and changing space, David is providing a balance of entrepreneurship and thought leadership.

All slides on web page. Active worlds platform to create new universe (90 ppl online) but still interesting – voice, data etc. Croquet gives more flexibility – portals & hubs between worlds, window on another world. You can even embed excel and create, edit and manipulate in real-virtual. Kaneva (could be indicative of Sony Home) and you can import other social worlds into Kaneva. With a 150Mb update and good 10min login, very laggy. Embed YouTube video etc. (can do the same in 2nd life wit mpg4 formats) (30 ppl online). Has NPC avatars for running shops etc, conceivably possible to write sophisticated chatbot behind npc for fooling people (popular on US blogs but still beta). Second Life running at 30k to 40k users simultaneously. Very easy object creation process – no programming experience. There.com (issues over maintaining identity between worlds the same log in does work between worlds) very good physics engine, better than SL. Probably want to be in 3 worlds at once (biggest, bespoke, and pre-teen).

Virtual worlds for presence in video conferencing, and visualisation & shared space for collaborative analysis / exploration. Using for emotional experience where that’s not possible (field trips to experience different cultural awareness). Sloodle (SL moodle mashup). Visualisation of RFID usage to see where it makes sense and where it don’t. Virtual worlds mainly synchronous and experiential & immersive. Marketing in VW more like real world marketing campaign – there tends not to be ‘word of God’ way of letting people know what’s going on. Potential for inclusion and digital access, Simon (Wheelies nightclub). Guardian running Second fest. Wimbledom ball tracking data used by IBM to replay matches.

In sorting out business case, determine compelling use case before choosing the platform. Typical start up costs are around £20k but shouldn’t just be prototype otherwise becomes valueless.

Second Life used to be a development platform where most people could do most things. Now people are becoming specialised and highly skilled modeling & scripting. Currently around 13 specialisms.

copy of slides

Jun 27

Enterprising Games – Social Media

Social Media – Join the Revolution; lead by Ron Edwards, Ambient Performance. I met Ron at a Futurelab Research Update event last year where he was showing off his Gizmondo and it’s ability to use the camera to resolve relative movement indoors. The result was a convincing AR experience that could have very cool serious (and not so serious) gaming implications. So I’m really looking forward to what he has to cover.

Virtual tour on del.icio.us (ron777- socialmedia – be where the eyeballs are – probably needs to qualify eyeballs?) – wikipedia entry for Social Media links to Scoble (16 Feb 2007)! One of the limitations of live presenting with Digg is you have to go with what the echochamber is talking about, which may not be what you’re trying to get across. It also demonstrates the dangers of information overload.

Lots on read web, some on the write (YouTube) not much on the conversation. USA Today , every story has comments as an example of some social interaction (though obviously you can’t submit in the same way you can on Digg. There are case studies about business value of social media (need to find). Can you have a virtual presence or representative of the market – game character’s blog. PwC tried blogging and ended up driving their Google ranking. Big challenge for corporate knowledge management being the redaction of content into usable content / knowledge.

One site identified as interesting & relevant (among many) was e-clippings & serious games on NING, just beginning to see cross over 3D & data driven social sites, building cultural library of gestures to make more realistic virtualisation of real world. Monetisation through ads, speaking, book links – but isn’t social media media about the conversation rather than the money (because of rather than for; I think – check Ajit)? My bad it was from Confused of Calcutta, just can’t find the specific conversation thread….

What about the echo chamber? Danger of not actually getting to the audience you’re hoping to.

more links to follow – 08:24, 03-07-07 (some links added, more if/when I get time)

Jun 26

WordPress rocks

Ok, not the most insightful blog post title/topic but having seen the WP2.2.1 upgrade a couple days ago, and remembering the weirdness I had with my config.php I was putting the whole thing off.

Anyway, just downloaded the new files, followed the 5 Step upgrade – and low, the blog is upgraded.

Now to go through and switch those pesky plugins back on and we’re sorted!

Jun 12

Canadian start up story

This is a cross post from my personal blog John’s Musings.

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog front, haven’t even been tagging so much on del.icio.us mainly because two new projects has rather taken up a lot of time. The first was setting up a new company jbsh LLP that actually took a lot less cognitive effort than I’d expected. This post (and a few others) will be cross-posted. If things work out (how often does that happen?) this will become more of a personal blog and jbsh will become my professional / work musings.

So the other thing that that’s taken my time has been helping a start-up get through the business plan writing and raising finance process. They’re based in Canada which has led to rather more late nights (thank God for Skype) than is probably healthy but a fantastic business proposition so worth it. Actually there’s a third project looking at a new innovation / funding support network mechanism in Bristol (oh and applying for jobs in case the previous 3 don’t pay the mortgage)!

In working with Howard and the team I’ve given myself a crash course in Canada’s education system, their Provincial structure (and I mean that non-pejoratively) and also looked in some depth at different funding options. I’m not a financial advisor so I’m not in a position to tell Howard what to do, but I can read widely and offer perspectives so that when he does talk to a qualified advisor he’s already prepared.

Fortunately, in this day and age, there are loads of great resources and people that are sharing their experiences (as I will in the coming days/weeks/months). Wil Schroter has a great new blog / venture called Go Big! that has been a source of information and moral support. I’ve been a long time reader of Rick Segal and his thoughts, comments and notes on the Canadian scene. I’ve recently found (through Rick’s blog) Suzanne Dingwall Williams and her Venture Law Lines blog. Nivi and the team over at Venture Hacks have been another fantastic source of Term Sheet Hacks that have been chock full of ideas, comment and humour.

So I’ve got a draft business plan, an executive summary / pitch proposal, some financial spreadsheets and a digital address book of contacts. Lots of meetings (virtual for me, face-to-face for Howard) and with a fair wind and following sea we should be working up the full product for release next year. There’s a hybrid version that should be ready for the end of this year to kick-start the revenue. More to follow…