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 finish...it 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.