Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fortune on Second Life

David Kirkpatrick, Fortune Magazine, on why IBM's Sam Palmisano and other tech leaders think Second Life could be a gold mine:
... what's beginning to catch the attention of IBM and other huge corporations is ... the ability to use Second Life as a platform for a whole new Net - this one in 3-D and even more social than the original - with huge opportunities to sell products and services
Among the initiatives announced by Palmisano: a $10 million project to help build out the "3-D Internet" exemplified by Second Life.
The company's backers include some of the world's smartest, richest, and most successful tech entrepreneurs. The chairman and first big outside investor is Mitch Kapor, creator of Lotus 1-2-3, the spreadsheet application that helped begin the PC software revolution. Other investors include eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Microsoft chief technology architect (and inventor of Lotus Notes) Ray Ozzie - each credited with a seminal networked product of our age.
At first, ... Only 1,000 people were regularly visiting after five months, and money was running out. Smith and Kapor, who had invested the lion's share, considered pulling the plug. But they were astonished by the creativity of Second Life's few denizens.
Impressed by this passion, Kapor wrote another seven-figure check, and Second Life relaunched in January 2004, this time with more focus on user creativity and in-world entrepreneurship. Linden took the advice of Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford Law School guru on intellectual property, who recommended letting users own their own content.
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