Thursday, November 15, 2007

Residents Speak: Wynx Whiplash


When it comes to cool Second Life business innovators, you'd have to put Wynx Whiplash on any best-of list.

Wynx is the inventor of the "tiny" avatar, which, if you're not familiar with them, is just what it sounds like: avatars that are, well, tiny.

These days, there are tinies all over the place: bunnies, cats, dragons and so forth, and even people, and her store, Wynx's Whimsical Wonders is still tinies ground zero. But when Wynx first created them, it caused quite the stir.

Even today, there are those who hate the tinies, and they would probably be loathe to grant Wynx any respect. But for the rest of us, her ability to break the mold, and to really shift the paradigm is a great example of what can make a difference for a would-be Second Life businessperson.

I talked to her for my book, The Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life, and among other things, asked her for some important suggestions that anyone going into business in SL should be sure to follow.

And from that interview, I've chosen one of her suggestions as something well worth sharing here. Befitting the suggestion itself, the advice might not occur to a lot of people.

"Add surprises" to products," Wynx said. "Something folks wouldn't expect."

It's quite the simple suggestion. But it speaks volumes about what can make the difference between a product that some people buy and one that everyone has to have.

A good example might be the tinies themselves, which are just another take on the custom avatar. But it was a total surprise when Wynx first came out with them because it's not something that had been done before, at least not in any formalized way.

The point is to look for things you can add to an existing product line that will set your products apart from others like it. It can something small and simple, like a script that animates your product, or maybe something hidden inside a product that someone might discover by accident. Whatever it is, if it's not something expected--and it's cool--it will likely delight your customers and get them talking about you and your products. And as I've noted many times before, this kind of word of mouth is invaluable.

Of course, as I've also mentioned, you need to ensure that the surprises you include are good ones, and not things that are going to make your customers unhappy or uncomfortable. Because then, as I've said, the word of mouth you'll get will not help you.

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