SecondLife might be a virtual world, but you've got a real-world a** to protect, so when the top brass sends you in search of innovation and you want to take a spin with SecondLife, you don't need another about SecondLife. You need the straight dope.
To be fair, the Accenture article is long on education -- which can be a good thing -- but it's short on "what the hell does all this mean to me," which, as you know is my area of speciality via this blog.
So, here are a a few points the Accenture article missed:
1. As you may know from previous blog posts, I recently went on a four-city speaking tour of the West Coast, and I came back with some interesting tidbits. While there, I had the opportunity to sit down with Bryan Carter, Director of Multimedia Services at Avnet and get a private tour of what the company's recent investment in SecondLife has netted. (Look for an interview soon with Carter.)
I was nothing short of amazed -- and that's no easy feat. Avnet has secured its own island and made an exact replica (from the graphical representation of more than 2,000 still pictures) of the technology museum in the company's lobby in SecondLife. A textured globe of the world with real-time weather patterns makes Avnet's SL efforts extra super coolio.
I share this to let you know that it's not just companies with monster advertising/marketing budgets like Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Procter & Gamble, and Toyota that are making investments in SL presences.
There are loads of other companies who are silently preparing for the right time to be a first-mover. Which leads me to my next point...
2. Now is NOT the right time to break into SecondLife, but now IS the right time to figure out if SL fits with your corporate strategy, how you're going to use the medium, start purchasing land, and building your company's SecondLife infrastucture.
Much needs to be done thin out the software client, normalize system maintenance cycles (so they don't interrupt the world), and keep porn away from corporate business deals -- to name a few things.
But, whatever you do, don't wait until your competition launches a hot SecondLife marketing campaign in 2009 to start downloading the software.
3. If you decide to do a "soft launch" in SecondLife, remember that the real world doesn't revolve around your company's brand and neither do virtual worlds. Try to figure out how your organization can be part of the SL community BEFORE expecting people to pay attention to you. Attend -- or better yet -- sponsor some local Metaverse meetups. Listen to what the residents of SL have to say. Read case studies about companies that have gotten it right -- and gotten it wrong.