Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Its all about me!

So why should you read this blog?

Some background on myself, professionally of course....

I started in IT after completing a B.Sc. Honors Degree in Computer Science. The difference between the theory and my first job just proved that uni is a place to prove you can learn.

My first employment was with the local council (I'll leave them nameless for now). And it showed me its not the number of people working in IT its how the IT works. I learned more from this mess than I did in 4 years at uni.

I then moved into IT in the Oil and Gas sector. Living in Aberdeen there is not much else. But it was great. Well rewarded and tolerated no slacking, so I was happy to work every hour I could as the results were always positive. Spending money was not a problem if you could show the return. Which has translated into my motto

Show the return and companies will show you the money.

5 Years ago I became IT Administrator for CAD in a very large engineering company. My role was to look after the 200+ CAD designers, all of which used different CAD software packages.

So I started by trying to get people to use the same package. The return was that people then could move from project to project without the need for retraining. It went great.

Next was a document management system. As we now had 200+ CAD designers using the same package we had to make sure we didn't have people using the same drawing. Again this 1/4 million project was approved and saved the company millions.

It was at this time people were starting to ask for 3-d CAD drawings. P&ID were already using semi 3-d but for those big players they wanted the shiny toys. So we looked at the £24k a seat packages and I was blown away with how RUBBISH they were.

I started researching 3-D and came across Linden Labs Second Life. An internet based 3-D virtual world. I wrote a presentation and paper for the director. However it was shot down in flames, for reasons at the time I thought were poor.

A year later after making quite a bit of money for myself in Second Life I resigned my full time job and setup a private limited company. Our first big break was Jimmy Carr Live in Second Life.

It was great! This was at the height of the Second Life media love in. I loved SL and what was possible. I was involved in some of the largest builds in SL. I even created a RP game over 10 islands. I was getting cheques from LL every month for hundreds of pounds and we had signed up some nice companies.

However at this time there were other "companies" who grabbed the larger names in the world of marketing. And got them into SL. It was the "you just have to do this" line. Companies came in and looked happy. But after 3 months someone pointed out to them that there was no return. It was just money out the door. They got no marketing material, no personal information, all they got told was that x amount of people came.

Other large companies were employing "wee joe" working out of his bedroom, and some massive disasters were caused.

In 2007 80% of our business came from companies who had used XYZ and they had let them down or their event had been a failure due to bad security, bad management, bad marketing.. or just BAD

We always had our businesses create communities throw a minimum of weekly events, we would supply security (your inviting the public into your brand). This was before twitter but we had 30 people turn up to talk to a marketing director of a small advertising agency in Scotland just because they could. Twitter now shows us that everyone is important to other people.

So the SL Bubble burst and the companies walked away. We still had ours and most of them are still there doing events keeping people involved.

Education is a market that I see Virtual Worlds as being the answer to a lot of problems. I have an 8 year old who comes home and wants to play Club Pengiun. TV to him is a punishment, something we do as a family.

He comes home from School hyper the 1 day in a blue moon they get to use the computer. This generation no longer wants to sit and be lectured to, they want to touch it, see it.. BREAK it. And there is no reason they can't.

However SL is not a place for children to play. The teen grid was just silly. And with all the benefits of SL I was not going to let my kid play in SL without me over their shoulder. Anyone could be anyone!

People have said that is why SL is great. I don't argue that point. My point is that Parents and Companies WANT TO KNOW exactly who people are.

The birth of OpenSim was just wonderful. It gave us as a company exactly what we needed. Schools, businesses etc could ask the questions they wanted before people could enter their world. It is based on SL so people don't have to reinvent the wheel. It could be hosted by us so we could supply the client with SLA's.

OpenSim has opened a market for the public outside of SL, cheaper and imho better.

But I am not here to celebrate public grids, I am happy to celebrate public grids that use OpenSim as proof what OpenSim can do. Or any other virtual world out there.

I am here to push the developers, the dreamers, the brains that although the public are important you have to prove to companies the educators that there is a secure, private, stable virtual world platform and company out there that has 5 years experience of Virtual Worlds in all shapes and forms. Have seen the right thing to do and more importantly THE WRONG THING.

So I hope you read and watch what we are doing as a company, what the market is changing into, how you can use virtual worlds, how others are using it and remember

2011 is the year of the avatar.

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