24 April 2007

Phil Rosedale @ gartner symposium

Phil Rosedale - founder and CEO of Linden Labs i.e. Second Life - was interviewed today.

link to webcast - don't know if it's public

Some tidbits from his talk:

He has always wanted to build a virtual world since he was a kid - the enabling technologies (broadband and desktop 3D animation) were adequate in 1999 to get started. His initial goal was to recreate the real world in the virtual - if you can digitize everything, digitize the world. Realized early on that a real economy would be a key and that it had to allow considerable user autonomy and creativity with minimal control. He argued that the press coverage generally focuses on what people are doing rather than the platform and this is evidence of the success of this vision.

He spent a lot of time discussing the economic aspects, and how things like mortgages, insurance, and IP offer interesting challenges. He noted that they very much wanted the land to have real value, in part so it could be used to finance entrepreneurial efforts as it does in RL.

SL has 100,000,000 user-created objects.

The rate at which new land is being added in SL is so great that if you were on line 24 hours a day you wouldn't have time to see it all.

He described a very interesting experiment by Starwood Hotels - they built a 3D model of a new hotel design they had recently developed and invited people in SL to walk through and critique the design - a design review in SL!

He described the coming use of voice in SL - they are attempting to model the sound in 3D so you will have a full sense of presence, and he argued that this will be transformational. (I'm inclined to agree although it's going to be a bandwidth and processing challenge for the near future.)

When asked what he needs from the business world, he didn't hesitate - "Open your firewalls!" I did hear a significant number of "no"s from the audience!

Afterwards I spoke briefly with a CIO from a large hospital - he was pretty excited about the possibilities presented by virtual worlds.

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