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I came to SL as an early adopter (2005), looking for the next generation (3D) interactive web interface for business. The platform was intriguing, but definitely not ready for prime time business use. The problem, Philip Rosedale and his band of merry faux socialists/capitalists, created a platform based on Open Source tools, with a completely foreign user interface, no viable APIs or access to data or support of existing standards for sharing productivity data (Word, Excel, etc.).
When I returned about 18 months later, little, except the quality of the graphics and physics had changed. Despite this, my company made a "Valiant" (pun intended) effort to use the platform for virtual prototyping and actually achieved some success. We were even featured in one of those infamous "Business Week Stories.
Linden Lab's brief foray into the "Enterprise" space was a laughable disaster. Enterprise-level IT Pros quickly determined the cobbled together platform was a nightmare to maintain, a resource pig and was virtually impossible to integrate into their existing infrastructure.
Ironically, while wasting millions on failed Enterprise efforts and addressing the demands of legions of "Digital Freeloaders" (non paying users), Linden Lab has completely ignored the SMB (Small to Medium-size Business) market and VAR (Value Added Reseller) channel. Creating a VAR channel and equipping them with the tools, training and profit incentives to service the SMB market, could still generate a significant, stable, paying user base for SL and foster the type of ongoing innovation and solution development that would justify the investment in the platform, as a tool for advanced collaboration, prototyping, interactive 3D data visualization, training, machinima production and simulation.
I remain in SL, because of the friendships I've made and my love of the incredible virtual art and design that although vastly diminished, can still be found there. I'm still hopeful Microsoft will take all the best parts of SL, combine it with Office 365, SharePoint & Facebook and a Kinect-enabled interface and give us a REAL platform for both serious business as well as the incredible educational and recreational uses so many have come to love in SL and other Virtual World platforms.
9 months, 2 weeks ago on Philip Rosedale: The Media Is Wrong, SecondLife Didn’t Fail