Thursday, October 18, 2007

Video Game Venture Capital blogs the book and my answers to questions about SL entrepreneurship

I just got back from a long day hanging out with the Maker Faire folks here in Austin--I'll have a package up on CNET tomorrow morning--and found that the kind souls over at Video Game Venture Capital have an entry up this evening about my book and my thoughts on entrepreneurship in Second Life.

They had sent me a list of 11 pointed questions a few days ago about SL entrepreneurship, and I had to stop and think about how to answer. They were good questions, strong, pointed and giving me the opportunity to opine on some of the most pressing issues facing Second Life these days.

For example, they asked, "Pardon us for saying so, but it sounds like an email scam: make millions while sitting at home in your underwear! Why should anyone believe that investment in virtual businesses will ever pay off? Second Life has already been overhyped, called by some pundits a ghost town corporate strip mall. Sure, some exceptions have done alright, but aren’t an inordinate number of these businesses doomed to failure?"

To me, that question was a great way to get at the chief thesis of my book, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life: That making money in SL is not easy, and that only those willing to put in a great deal of time and energy and effort are going to succeed.

My actual answer was: "Absolutely they are. And so are businesses in the real world. The first and most important point I want to make with this book is that a Second Life business is just like a real world business in the sense that to succeed, you must have a plan, be committed, have the talent, the time and the energy. Most will definitely fail. Those that succeed will be the ones that have the right combination of skills. But it is not an email scam: No one who is worth listening to is saying that SL is a place where you can just show and make money. If someone is saying that, they’re talking out their ass."

Now, pardon my French, but that's totally true. One of the perceptions of SL--spread in the media and not altogether refuted by Linden Lab--is that it's an unmitigated entrepreneur's paradise. And that's just not so. But there is great opportunity there, and that's why I wrote my book: To help put people interested in taking advantage of that opportunity on the right foot.

And no, I haven't created a successful SL business myself, though I suppose I would say that my ability to make a living that is at least partially based on my reportorial coverage of SL is a form of entrepreneurship, right?

Well, that's a debate for another time. But look. I'm a journalist. My job is to report. And that's what this book is: reporting on the experiences of those who have been successful at this. And I think that a lot of people who read this book are going to have a much better sense of how they can go about building a business in SL than if they tried to do it on their own. Did I get it all right? Absolutely not. But I'm pretty proud of what I wrote. And when the book comes out in a couple of weeks, I hope you will appreciate it, flaws and all.


GameJobHunter, Inc. said...

This is a well written article and i consider picking up the book.

Andy Williams | Biz Dev

jimmy said...

this is not always true because ongoing companies create business plans, project plans, new product plans, and plans for acquiring and integrating other ventures. General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” jimmy