what if someone invites you to a meet and greet with the new ceo of the company behind the most amazingly empowering [and sustainable] digital product coming out of silicon valley in over 10 years & you show up?
well i admit: i put all these qualifiers into the opening sentence to get some google search love but since i have no idea how seo works i am basically throwing spaghetti at the wall…
seriously though, jo and i really do feel genuinely passionate about second life, why would we otherwise hang out in-world all the time and produce these shows?
[don’t forget to subscribe on stitcher where you can fast forward quite easily through my incessant ramblings!]
linkage as usual to deepen the debate:
– our giveaway continues: answer the following question = what are the two types of creating animation for games/vw’s? one software-only, the other involving physical world stuff.email answer to firstname.lastname@example.org & win a humanoid animations dance ball = 3200 l$ value
– dio, creatorverse and versu axed….
– vr headsets, vr headsets and some more headsets
– our guest harvey crabsticks
– do techies live in a bubble?
– bryn oh’s latest work:
– madpea auction for feed a smile
– sl video on youtube with highest view count is not esteban: it is a birthing video [no not birther!!!]
– bill maher on comcast / time warner merger [and bill moyers on the same thing]
– it was drax’ rez day [yesterday]…
….so time for some timewarp:
– jo’s rez day also 2/20 so wish her a good one will ya?
the drax files radio hour [with jo yardley] is a weekly production of basicdrax entertainment.
the show is supported by ciaran laval, inara pey, daniel voyager, mona eberhardt, victor mornington, justin esparza, yordie sands, strawberry singh, vintage retro historical marketstreet and editorial clarity.
special thanks to karl stiefvater for providing the station ID this week.
music by lydia yalin
contact the show via skype draxfiles, avatar draxfiles or email email@example.com
40 Comments Add yours
Beautiful music at the end! I love it! Btw, by checking Lydias profile I see a sentence that I see over and over and over in peoples profiles every day: “MY IMS ALLWAYS CAP. PLEASE SEND A NOTE IF YOU NEED TO CONTACT ME.” This really has to be fixed, Ebbe!!! It is a pain and I loose so much business because of that and it causes so many embarrassing moments. The IMs of people who log in every day should really not be capped.
Oh my, is that ever true. Our communication system in world (when not online) is severely limited, and I can’t really think of a reason for it. Sure, I get offline IMs in email, but the cap even stops that! Similarly, inventory objects like notes don’t even survive the cap… they get in there alright, but you have to know someone sent them or else they just sit in your inventory hoping to be stumbled upon. Couldn’t everything be redirected to email without a cap. I’m not expecting notes to be transcribed, but a least an alert?
It depresses me and infuriates me that we are now at CEO No4 and like those before him, vows to figure out why more people don’t stay after trying Second Life. It can’t be that difficult to figure out with a bit of focused professional research?
I commented on your blog Loki, won’t repeat here! I totally agree with focus grouping – it must be done. But an easy to solve issue it ain’t = too many factors they can’t control: people overwhelmed with choices, folks stressed out beyond normal in work-life – must have easy spoon-fed entertainment while warming up TV dinner, bad internet infrastructure in the US blablabla…I am NOT making excuses for not really scientifically researching this and a future podcast we will interview a BUNCH of folks why they came and went BUT again: it is not that easy when you have a product that does everything and means a million things to a million people!
ask me why I came and went, then came back
It is my belief that it’s Welcome areas or orientation areas that need fixing for New Users to come back, its Second Lifes communication tools that need an overhaul. Groups need better told and better visibility and better unified communication. The truth is people stay if they find something that inspires them to explore or create, and i feel that comes from the communities of SL. If Linden Lab improved the visibility, functions and communication of the many SL groups then New Users will connect with the subjects that interest them and give them the reason to stay.
Speaking about communication. I just created a new alt and therefore was dropped on the orientation island. There were quite a few real newbies, a lot of them seemed stuck and lost. I felt sorry for them and tried to help, but whoever I talked to, almost nobody answered. My impression was that they couldn’t figure out how to chat. And that should be the most basic feature in SL. I think CHUI sucks. At least there should be a limited basic chat bar that is always there, so it is very easy to just say something, without having to open a new window and figuring out the different tabs. If newbies can’t even figure out how to say something, how should they ask for help or make new friends?
Exactly, we must help new users to find a place they fall in love with, somewhere that will make them understand how Second Life works, what its potential is and why they would want to stay.
Once you do that, they all accept the bad and complicated sides of SL, look at us, we do!
This can only be accomplished with human resources IMO: automation does not help. However Jerry points to a depressing fact that even basic chat may be too hard. But then again: I have had SIX YEAR OLDS figure out in 10 minutes the difference between local and private chat! Oh wait…is that illegal??? 🙂
Well if the CEO’s son can do it… 😉
Yes, that is why kids and teens are called Digital Natives. I am not worried about 6 year olds figuring out chat, but about 60 year olds. I would like to see a text field in the toolbar, that can be removed like the other buttons if people don’t want it.
Happy belated rezday to you both! ❤
Listening to your great podcasts every week, even though I sometimes don’t have time to comment. There actually was something similar to your live web cam idea, Drax. It was an experimental inworld live still cam back in the ‘old’ days. If my memory serves it was around 2004 or 2005. It was just one still cam that refreshed every 50 seconds or so, set up on some public Linden sandbox land near the old Linden Labs main area, outdoor amphitheater and bulletin boards. The web lag on it was about 3 minutes, so you could go stand in front of it for a minute — wave or do some other pose, maybe put out something you built — then open the web page it was streaming on to see yourself.
We did a project in 2007 called Destroy Television that wandered the grid and broadcast the camera view to the web as video and still images tagged with the names of the avatars “she” came in contact with – http://www.flickr.com/photos/destroytv/
Johnny I ping you for taping convo..sorry so busy – hence delay – but: now that SL is stable and just a joyous universe of creativity it is possibly time to revisit these ideas. You guys had to deal with GRID DOWN WEDNESDAYS and such other things as I recall hehehe….like Jo always says: if we succeed to communicate how awesome the possibilities are, folks won’t mind to invest a little time upfront to learn it. And NO: I will NOT again talk about how many hours I practiced arpeggios and scales in my little bedroom…sigh…. 🙂 in re EVE Online: I very much respect that game and I can see how folks get totally into it but compared to SL it really is a total niche [unless you could leave your spaceship and colonize a planet and build whatever you want and sell it and have spatial chat blablabla]..ok back to practicing scales now….
Wow! Never heard about this one, Johnny — the pictures are a great time capsule of the grid from back then! Thanks for the link. Ü
Happy belated rezday, Drax! Now, regarding the new user experience… First of all, it’s a good thing that new starter avatars are on the way. Personally, it’d be a great idea to get people like Strawberry Singh and Penny Patton to design the new starter avatars. That way, they’d be (a) more proportionate, (b) equipped with better clothing. Let’s face it, shoes (either sculpted or prim-based) that rely on invisiprims rather than alpha layers are no longer relevant – and they’ve never worked with Advanced Lighting Model (formerly known as “deferred rendering”).
Second, I think it would be a great idea for the Lab to overhaul the issue of camera placement/camera offsets. The default camera offsets don’t serve the purpose of offering an immersive experience and, as documented by Penny Patton, lead to people building disproportionately large objects and designing avatars with eyebrow-raising proportions. Let me take the opportunity here to recommend interviewing Penny for the show on the topics of avatar proportions and camera placement.
As a matter of fact, her ideas are quite influential among people who want to improve their Second Life experience and have been covered by Inara Pey, Ciaran Laval and yours truly (I’m honking my own horn a bit here) – and I believe other SL bloggers have covered them as well. Last summer, I suggested at one of Oz Linden’s Open Dev user group meetings the idea of new default camera and focus offsets and also offering users the option to easily change them and store them as presets, without having to dive into debug settings. Unfortunately, Oz was concerned that such a change would cause an undesirable series of complaints and even content breakage. Now, I do expect a fair bit of drama over such a change, but giving users the option to revert to the “legacy” defaults (along with the option to edit and save them) would certainly address this. As for the “content breakage” worry, I don’t think this is an issue at all; it would simply render certain content obsolete (like furniture designed for avatars who would dwarf NBA players), which will happen anyway once more people use devices like the Oculus Rift. The other misgiving is increasing the number of options provided to the users; would it be confusing for users? Would it be another headache for developers?
Third, on the topic of getting new users up to speed… I don’t oppose the idea of an online, browser-based application for this (BTW: HTML5 is the way to go here, as Flash is dying), although it may be better to get the user straight into the viewer and offer a “learning mode” with tutorials that the user will be able to revisit at will. I think the Lab could do well to have a look at what is done in MMO games like Ikariam, Grepolis and Travian. My idea, however, is to not only offer a basic, “getting started” tutorial, but offer more such tutorials that will help the user learn the more advanced functions of the viewer.
I know lots of people don’t like anyone even using the word game in a sentence with Second Life, but I think LL could learn a lot by looking at games and see how those teach new users the basics.
Check out how the Sims does it, one of the most successful games of all time yet in many ways similar to SL.
Oh, I know. I’m not particularly fond of the term “game” for Second Life, as its scope is entirely different. But games can teach LL a few things.
I had high hopes for Rod with his gaming background, especially when Will Wright joined the board.
Will knows a thing or two about creating good games!
I wonder what happened to him, his leaving had no publicity at all.
I wish I knew.
I do think my comment about the “post back-lash era” [I know – really not a great term!] was misunderstood. I do maintain [based on anecdotal research that shall be documented via audio from the man/woman from the street for a future episode] that many people have NO opinion on SL whatsoever – they either simply do not remember the hype or did not really pay attention OR never thought they were potential stakeholders aka customers!
As Ebbe eluded during the interview, the challenge for Second Life is providing a frictionless new user experience that becomes rewarding within the first minute of use while keeping the depth available to those that are inclined to use it.
When we put Second Life on television for two hours and asked millions of people to try it, only hundreds of thousands were interested enough to fill out registration on the web. Less than 20% of those made it through the client download. Less than 20% of those made it into the client and rezzed an avatar. And less than 20% of those had Internet connectivity and graphics cards sufficient to run it properly.
The industry’s reaction was to make browser-based systems that removed all the friction but also reduced the experience to a chat room with avatar chess pieces. Linden Lab also tried to make a new user friendly version of the client but they were not ambitious enough with the project and the result was a bloated download that ran slower.
I’m skeptical that Second Life can escape its own inertia as the EVE Online of virtual worlds. EVE has been around about as long as Second Life and it has consistently lost most of its new user sign ups every month (the orientation can take over an hour!). But, the few that stick around, become subscribers and go very deep.
Ebbe seems like a thoughtful leader from the interview. However, it didn’t sound like he was given a mandate by the board of directors to make radical changes in an attempt at mainstream success. If I’m wrong, Ebbe should contact me so we can talk shop 😉
Johnny hope we can do an in depth interview with you in the future about all this. What are you are saying is in line what I think about often: an environment that is so free and demands folks to be self-motivated and perhaps have a bit longer attention span that all these other distractions out there, to make their own luck etc, is just not for everyone and perhaps just speaks to the folks who do NOT run away from the blank canvas, folks who do enjoy tinkering with things. However compared to back then when you guys had a lot of eyeballs at least looking at the menu SL has simply improved in a great many ways and residents make amazing content/experiences that is/are completely ignored by the mainstream media. So many potential stakeholders [older folks, musicians, artists, educators] that have weird perception and wrong information or no information about what it is and what it can do. Now is it a matter of combating this via better PR? Perhaps. But if folks are dropped into the most amazing new user experience [and btw today SL runs beautifully on current machines] I am just not convinced that in today’s world where people are overwhelmed by entertainment choices, stressed out because of work/life balance folks are ready for a creative place. That is a sad statement and I wish someone would proof me wrong. I am trying to proof myself wrong by working with children and producing SL documentaries showing the wonder of a creative life!
Oh Johnny – you mentioned orientation in EVE takes over one hour: well – I could not resist commenting in elitist mode: I am aware that that is an eternity for the marketing folks [when they want to make a sale] but for a creative person who practices 8 hours of scales and arpeggios and etudes on any given day AND reads thick big books and goes for long walks, the value in a one hour orientation that leads to a great and fulfilling and meaningful experience is very very short an “investment”. Perhaps we should go the route of showing how amazing the “value” of SL is and then an hour don’t seem so long? Heck folks at Six Flags Magic Mountain stand in line for LONGER THAN THAT in the heat on top of it 🙂
The guy seems nice enough.
But, “acta, non verba.”
We’ll see what he actually does.
Hi Drax & Jo… wow am I late to the party here. heh. I enjoyed the interview with Ebbe, but more importantly I was encouraged about Second Life’s future for the first time in two years.
The fact that Ebbe is actually communicating with its customers in this format is an outstanding way to begin. Dumping three useless products and upgrading the choices for entry level avatars is also a great sign.
I’m especially glad the subject of the narrow focus of the Lab came up and I’ll be interested to see if there is a move toward identifying who their customers are and what they want, as opposed to what Lab developers prefer to develop. SL is no longer the playpen that Philip Rosedale believes it is, it’s a business with customers whose needs have been ignored for years. Ooopsss, did I say that? hehe
Another great show Drax. I’m still planning to drop by and visit with you someday.
Kindest regards, Yordie Sands
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