Oh, and there’s an interesting concluding comment:
After holding the Virtual World Conference and the Annual General Meeting in Second Life, the AoT agrees that virtual worlds will have a big impact on business, on IBM, and IBM’s clients. And, the best way to learn about virtual worlds is to use them – which IBM is now committed to doing.
We don’t usually “do” press releases on eightbar, but this one is particularly interesting as it develops from trends we’ve talked about here for a long time, and has potential connections to both Second Life and OpenSim. More integration of the 3D Internet / virtual worlds into the enterprise.
Today is a day of mixed emotions. Today I resigned from IBM having been there for 18 years, 19 if you count my year out from university.
In all that time I have worked with some great people, and felt a tremendous sense of belonging.
Its been quite a journey, both in technical education and in personal growth. It is the extent of that growth and the speed that has not always been kept up to pace with by the system that I worked within.
I started back on green screens in 1990, very quickly moved to the PC’s and client server applications that followed shortly. Over the years the groups I worked with morphed from back office systems to customer facing ones, but in 1997 I made a break from what was traditional IT development. I threw myself into the web and the fantastic Interactive Media Centre. That itself morphed into the centre for e-business innovation but the group of people were known as Blueroom. An ecletic mix of can do people, graphic designers, producers and techies all bundled into one. That taught me that diversity of skills, coming up with ideas on the spot and good old fashioned teamwork for a common cause were what I thrived in.
For me that was the start of who I have become, the birth of epredator if you like.
When I decided that we should look in to the metaverse with Second Life back in 2006 I knew the industry was going to be big, but I was not expecting the evolutionary changes to happen to me. Getting this going turned me into a intrapreneur. The speed with which my fellow eightbars rallied and the spirit of innovation, just getting things done was simply amazing. It is something we should all be immensely proud of.
In leaving IBM I am not leaving eightbar, it is not something that can never really be left. The focus may change but I think we have made a decent enough mark in the history of virtual worlds.
Of course the question is what next? I left in order to be able to carry on and push this industry further. So in a few weeks you will see the birth of my own company, and I will seek to work and advise, speak and write just as I have done up to now. There are some significant projects that I already need to give some attention too.
There is, as I have told a few people, quite a story to tell on all this. The personal ups and and downs, the formation of our tribe and I suspect I will have to write that book after all. It will probably be called “Who says Elephants can’t Rez” or something similar.
So a huge thankyou and goodbye to all my friends, and thankyou for the support on twitter and see you all on Linkedin
I will also post this on http://www.epredator.com
See you all out there very soon.
***Update Feeding Edge is now live here, my new home
Last night I was invited to speak to a very diverse class of MBA students and entrepreneurs at Babson as a guest (Thankyou Linda for the invite). The conversation of course happened in Second Life, and also happened to be around midnight my time. That in itself is almost routine now, though for a change I was using voice and watching for text questions. However what was great was that the subject was not the metaverse itself, though I did throw in some futures like 3d printing and augmented reality. No the subject was the story of eightbar, the steps to get to the point we are at, how despite various things stacked against many of us we just carried on and did the right thing. ***UPDATE@abelniak who was at the meeting twittered that he had this post on his perspective as an member of the class. Once again the power of social media and willingness to share and build is in action.
Also some honest statements about the risk of being a pioneer, and the fear that self organized group can generate in traditional control structures.
I really enjoyed talking to the group, and there were some great questions from some clever minds.
We discussed leadership in particular, and what differs or is the same in virtual worlds. My general answer is a good leader will adapt, those true leaders already in traditional places of power have the emotional skills to lead and inspire anywhere. However the new connected world and removal of local as barrier unleashes the abilities in anyone who wants to lead.
Anyway, a huge thanks to everyone who came along, thankyou for listening, and following up. It became clear to me there is a huge value in sharing this story now, its constantly evolving for me, epredator, eightbar, metaverses, IBM. At any point in time it has things to learn from and things to share.
Thankyou to AnnieOk for pointing me towards the video and articles here on the MIT Fluid interfaces that got such a good reception at TED 2009. This is brilliant work. You have to see this and go to wired to read the rest of the article.
Projection, mixed with gesture and finger tracking, whilst looking a little cumbersome this is showing some very clever things actually working.
What I like about projection (though I do find the personal ways to get an AR experience relevant too) is the potential to share with others. Just as it has become common, as I have mentioned before, to see people gathered around and iphone on the table.
Its been quite a weeks for seeing things often talked about actually working.
Whilst we may have missed the advertizing-fest that is the US Superbowl, we do atleast get to see some of the great ideas courtesy of youtube. For me the most significant was this one. (Thanks Roo for finding it first 🙂 )
It speaks for itself, but does have some subtle little niceties. What is does show is a mainstream appreciation that we all have various avatars and visual persona’s that we engage with anywhere and everywhere, on mobile devices, in coffee shops.
Mainstream appreciation of the adoption of this way of interacting?
I moved offices today and having a bright new whiteboard I could not leave it clean for long.
Its not really a mindmap, just some association of thoughts and bits of linkages. I am sure it will alter, but right now this is what was in my head in a mad flurry. The underlying red part is really the substrate of the whole thing. Just my personal thoughts linked to some of the things I have seen and been involved with one way and another.
Note: edited to show smaller version of the board as it was cropping the right hand important side for those that did not click through to flickr. 3d printing FTW and high value professional social networks one there too !
A new video recently arrived on youtube featuring the voices of many of the people who work in the Digital Convergence/3d internet emerging business unit. It shows real integration between various elements of a regular workflow, including the realtime data feeds into a representation of a data centre.
It also shows some of the work done on various thought gathering tools. Its well worth a look as this is the sort of integration that should start to make sense to more of the business community.
There is of course a lot of opensim in there as its very flexible for these sort of applications.
Well done to all the team doing this and showing it at Lotusphere
BoingBoing has an article linking to danah boyd’s now public PHD thesis on Teen Sociality online.
What I have read so far has been very interesting, I was looking forward to seeing it as I got to meet danah at the Handheld learning 2008 event where she made some great points around the evolving of the generations coming through with social media as part of their discovery of who they are in the world.
Why is this relevant? Well for anyone who is a parent understanding the difference and the dynamics of social media in the context of teenage development should be understood. Also for those in business the emerging workforce will have experienced what danah has researched. To look upon all social media (and include virtual worlds) as irrelavent friend gathering frippery misses the point that the socialization of these young people is occurring in these environments. To extrapolate some of the conclusions for the enterpirse audience. They are not places to be demonized (as were the physical spaces when we were growing up) fill in you own parents worst nightmare, snooker halls, discos, amusement arcades, shopping malls, skate parks. The reason being that these virtual places, and the skills to understand them, negotiate and establish social norms will also be the skills of enterprise 2.0.
danah also makes the point that people are growing up with these environments, it is how they establish their pecking orders and social mobility, as opposed to many adults who are busy trying to translate their current order into the current social media.
Anyway, just as with the byron report I suggest you have a look at this serious piece of research, combine it with tribes and Tapscott’s grown up digital. Then start to work out what that is going to mean for us all.
danah has been snapped up by Microsoft Research (which had already happened back when I met her), so I wish her good luck in her career there.
Thanks again to Malburns for spotting this and tweeting it. Rivers Run Red have released an example of an application layered onto immersive workspaces in Second Life. In this case it is around retail planning and visualization.
This is an example of the next layer of toolsets that we can expect to see across virtual worlds, as those virtual worlds become a platform not just a place.
Producing what if scenarios, or mirror world scenarios does need the ability to simply sketch and examine the possibilities whether its a retail store, a machine room or an intricate business model that cannot normally be visualized.
The exciting thing about this for us here at eightbar is that it makes it a step closer to be able to then instrument the model with real live data via publish subscribe methods such as MQTT. Merging the data from a smart planet into immersive visualizations that can be explored together, not stand alone clearly is a direction we have been pushing since even before the 2006 Wimbledon. Hursley is (for those who dont know) the home of messaging, pub/sub reliable MQ messaging.