Thursday, September 27, 2007
Residents Speak: Foolish Frost
Among those who know Second Life really well, Foolish Frost is a name worthy of respect and admiration.
He is a builder, par excellence, and a scripting magician. These days, he works as a contractor doing full-sim builds, and envisioning what makes a better experience for Second Life residents.
I spoke with Foolish while I was writing the chapter in my book, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life, on running a building business--meaning constructing houses, castles, domes and other structures--and on his own, he had a book's worth of wisdom to share.
I thought I would share one of the suggestions he had made and discuss it briefly.
"Never treat people as lesser," Foolish said. "You never know who they are and what they know."
It's an interesting comment. The idea he was getting at is that in Second Life, people are who they choose to present themselves as. You encounter an extremely well-dressed country gentleman and he may, in fact, be a homeless woman logging into SL from her local library.
You really can't possibly know, is what Foolish is saying. And as an entrepreneur, trying to build a business that depends on a good reputation for, among other things, treating your customers right, you want to be careful to treat people, as the cliche goes, as you would like to be treated.
The thing is, some people might encounter a sultry fox wearing trashy clothes and decide, for whatever reason that they don't need to respect them the way you would respect a conservatively-attired female human avatar. In a world where people can be whatever they want, after all, there are class issues. But Foolish's approach to that would be to say, No matter what this person looks like here, you have absolutely no idea who they really are. They might actually be someone with a lot of money who is ready to drop a lot of it on developing two or three full sims.
Ultimately, the lesson that you'd be wise to follow as a businessperson in Second Life is that you simply cannot afford to make judgments about people purely based on what they look like. You have to remember that everyone has a sense of wanting to be someone they're not, and SL is the perfect environment for that. But just because you're a sultry fox in a virtual world doesn't mean that when it comes to business you're not a valuable customer that should be taken seriously.
And more to the point, as a businessperson, you can't afford to make the kind of mistake of judgment about someone that could come back to haunt you if people find out that you treat your customers--no matter who they are--with anything less than respect.