Sunday, March 7, 2010

it's like I'm eye-to-eye with a wild lion

I still don't think Second Life gets it. Idiots--over here--she's STILL BLUE. That means you're still trying to pimp the MOVIE TIE-IN. Which you DON'T HAVE.

Dusan Writer wanted to point people to a comment by Wiz Nordberg, owner of TreetTV on his blog.

To cover that, I'd first suggest you go read Fred Wilson's post on how Apple shifted from a "we" company, to a "they" company. (I'd also direct your eyes briefly over here, on how if you were an average investor today--and I think the question is just as relevant in 2010 as 2005--and you wanted to invest, would you pick an automobile manufacturer, with struggling support, beleagered workers, union and healthcare issues, who wanted to turn the company around...or Microsoft? Who was late to the game on developing a search engine, late to the game on developing blogging software, late to the game on so very much they wanted not to be late to the game on.)

"We" companies are, as Wilson said, amazingly sustainable. Why? Because the companies give back to the users, the customers, the people who pitch in funds to keep the company going. It doesn't have to be financial kickbacks--in fact, it usually isn't. But strong contact with customers, with the concept of keeping the conversations open, of giving back to the communities that form around those companies, of customer loyalty, of customer appreciation--it all comes out of two very important words: "customer service". And "we" companies mean that, in all sincerity. They want their customers to be happy. Because they know happy customers will support them. It's symbiotic.

Apple used to be a "we" company. Starbucks is, much as I hate to admit it, starting to convert to a "we" company. Runes of Magic is run by a "we" company.

Contrast this with "they" companies. "They" companies are not invested in customer support, customer service or even customer quality. They want to sell product. That is their bottom line. And they dream up many ways to do it, some of which will fail, some of which will fly, but more and more, they will overreach their goals, go over budget, and--slowly or quickly--die. Because they do not have that loyal base of customers to draw from. They either have a transitory population of customers, who leaves when they realize they're in the hands of Big Business--who thinks of shareholders before customers, always--or, even worse, they have an embittered population looking for the next big thing, who do nothing to support the company they see as screwing them over, rather than helping them out. It's parasitic.

Microsoft is a "they" company. WalMart is a "they" company. And some of us are starting to think, so are Linden Labs with Second Life.

Right now, they're still in transition. Right now, some of the Lindens still function on "we" modes of thinking. Right now, several Lindens are deeply unhappy and want the company to stop changing.

But the direction of a company comes from its leaders. And M Linden is, very much, a "they" company man. And once Second Life is led by a "they" company, start to will not survive. It may take a decade to curl up its fronds and fold away; but it will not survive.

More on the Allods story, for anyone who's been following along. Richard Aihoshi covers a bit of the background of what caused Russia's premier game-making company to rise. I'll let you know when other stories are published.

Also from MMORPG, Warhammer 40K: the MMO is coming. Garrett Fuller goes over what the company behind it needs to get right, or they'll fail in their venture. Here's hoping they listen.


Tateru Nino said...

Curious. The face is blue, but the exposed midriff appears to be more of a flesh-tone.

That suggests that the blue face was a marketing gimmick, but not a very competently executed one.

Makes me wonder if the avatar was actually that way in the photo, or if the blue tone was applied in post.

Emilly Orr said...

It really does.

First of all: Linden Labs could have spoken to James Cameron and gotten a legal standing; it just looks unethical as hell that they'd chase makers of Na'vi skins off the grid on one hand, and then pull this on their own.

Two, it's not like that shade of blue can't be found on the grid. It's not easy, but sky-colored skins are out there, from more than one maker--Nomine springs to mind, and Sin Skins had one, I believe, at least as of last year.

It seems like the current ad campaign is two-headed: the first being the IMVU pitch, of creating an avatar that looks !!just like you!!, and second, being the random iterations of the "Free AVATAR--you know, like that movie you saw!".

Either way--incompetent Photoshopping or incomplete skin paint--it doesn't help the Labs stand out as caring about copyright protection.

Tateru Nino said...

Indeed, I've got a skin about that shade myself from way back.

But yes, doing it this way doesn't look great. Though, not nearly as blatant as what IMVU are doing in their own ads at the moment. They've gone a few steps further from sea-monkeys to more readily identifiable Na'vi.

Emilly Orr said...

I'm sure, but then, this is the second go-round with the concept for the Labs--in the first version, they were pretty readily identifiable Na'vi, too.

Trinity Dechou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trinity Dechou said...

Excellent blogpost, thought provoking and made me do a post on the subject as well, as can be found here