SECOND LIFE: A debunking, in five acts – Valleywag

SECOND LIFE: A debunking, in five acts – Valleywag

“At Valleywag, we’d long had an inchoate irritation with Second Life and, more specifically, with the uncritical press coverage that the virtual world enjoyed. Often, a company’s publicity can get ahead of mundane reality; it’s often more the fault of a credulous press than an over-eager PR operation. But, when a virtual land baroness in Linden Lab’s online game claimed she was now a millionaire, it was clear that Second Life was begging for a takedown. The story arc, a recap of Valleywag’s more cynical reporting, after the jump.”

The anti-Second Life bandwagon grows more crowded. Last week yet another proposal to move into the virtual world crossed my desk, but I invoked the “I only discuss Second Life inside of Second Life” and of course that conversation hasn’t taken place yet as me and the other party send each other off-line instant messages and have yet to determine when and where the discussion will take place.

The proposal seems to focus on using Second Life as a more difficult version of WebEx — which I also thinks sucks — for internal briefings, training etc. I stand by my position that Second Life is solving a problem that doesn’t exist.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “SECOND LIFE: A debunking, in five acts – Valleywag”

  1. I find it amusing how folks like valleywag are jumping on the Anshe Chung “million in virtual assets” when if they really looked carefully at the usual XX richest billionaires list, they’d see that quite often a huge percentage of assets for those folks is fairly illiquid. To take one example, if it’s tied up in a company that the billionaire manages, any attempt to liquidate a major stake would cause an inevitable market panic/selloff. It is amazingly difficult right now for a CEO-owner of most companies to sell more than a trifling amount of shares in the public market.

    Frankly, both should be taken with a grain of salt rather than getting into a debate over relative liquidity (so I’m kind of agreeing with valleywag but also saying, let’s be fair about it).

    By the way, I think there are exceptions to the corporate collaboration/training issue you raised where you have teams that are working together constantly but at geographic distance. I know it helps the operation of our company. I also think any situation where 3D becomes a relevant asset to learning, SL can be useful. Imagine training someone on large-scale heating/AC systems where you can view slices of a building’s duct work, or walk inside a giant unit to examine the pieces. Of course, there are other tools to create 3D models, but SL lets you do it faster, cheaper, and it has the added benefit of being collaborative both in building and in doing training walkthroughs.

    Being somewhat technical, I always get roped into solving hardware issues for friends like replacing a hard drive or figuring out why some switch on the motherboard needed to be on or off… I can tell you that searching through webpages to find an obscure photo or drawing makes the whole thing a lot harder, but if I could have seen how to replace that hard drive in 3D, and really seen what all the parts were, etc. it would have made life a lot easier.

    All this said, the web remains the fastest, cheapest, most widely-accessible way to distribute self-help information, but the question folks are grappling with is whether SL makes an interesting extension. It’s bumpy in there still, however.


  2. Illiquid is something not easily converted into money. Much different than moving a market. All the public companies of the top 20 billionaires have great liquidity.

    For those billionaires of public companies, yes, selling a chunk of their stock could indeed move the market — by signal or by volume or both — but by no means is the asset illiquid. The liquidity of the stock — check the shares sold daily averages on Microsoft or Oracle — allows that billionaire to engage in any number of transactions, asset loans, collars, selling covered call options, etc to monetize or protect the asset. The best part? It’s already in $US. Larry over at Oracle has a huge mountain of debt to finance his, um, lifestyle, all backed by his stock.

    Linden bucks is a currency and as such the currency exchange liquidity is what comes into play even more than the evaluation of asset liquidity. Back in 1993, one could one trillions of rubles of USSR real estate but the issue wasn’t selling the asset for cash but how to get the rubles into dollars. FX is huge.

    BTW: big block trades occur frequently but they are off-market. If you have $200m of Microsoft stock to sell, you call Goldman and they take care of it by placing it with one or two purchasers. You don’t put a sell order in with a broker. These trades occur after market close and besides the “signaling” effect, the actual trade usually puts very little downward pressure on the stock.

    Try selling 250 million Linden Dollars on the Linden FX market. The illiquidity that matters here is the Linden FX market and I have no idea on the daily volume it does but I’d doubt it could absorb a large shift.

    BTW: The REAL world’s FX markets do about $1.7 trillion in daily volume


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