Second Life’s Transformation into Profitable Chicken Farm Seriously Threatened by Second Life Users’ Hate and Fear of Change

I was recently talking to one of my very good CEO friends with whom I regularly hang out at exclusive meetups and other trendy events, and while I don’t know if he agrees with me about everything, I do know that many present and former Lindens, US Presidents, and the prophets of all major religions, including Philip Linden, probably do, because after all I am right, and Second Life is doomed unless it changes completely.

In particular, Second Life will inevitably vanish into oblivion unless it does three things:

  • Implements “click to move your little person around” like the Sims,
  • Integrates intimately with Facebook,
  • Transforms itself into a chicken farm.

And I don’t mean some stupid virtual chicken farm, I mean a real-life chicken farm, with chickens and stuff. Have you seen the profit margins those places make? It’s insane!

The chicken franchise is, after all, orders of magnitude larger than the Second Life franchise, or even the Sims franchise. Everyone eats chicken! mmmmm, chicken!

Of course Second Life’s current stuffy narrow-minded piggish repulsive decaying stupid users, who don’t listen to me and even satirize me in their weblogs even though they have probably never even talked to Rodvik, will moan and whine and kick their little feet about this, because they hate and fear change. And chickens. They are chicken-haters!

The inevitable changes to the UI that will allow you to click and move your little person to the window where they can buy Linden Lab stock, the only necessary operation once the company is transformed into a profitable chicken farm, will be met with stuffy narrow-minded piggish repulsive decaying stupid whining, but I will counsel my good friend Rodvik (who I call “Rod”, or even “Roddy-baby”) to ignore them, since one’s current users are always less important than the millions of users that one might have in the future if a miracle occurs.

And you should by no means read or pay any attention to people who advise listening to current users, because they are wrong.

21 Responses

  1. Great post!!! That’s not mystery meat, I tell ya! That’s Chicken! Everything tastes like Chicken!!

    Isn’t it fascinating that the 80/20 rule — 20% of the customers provide 80% of the revenues — doesn’t seem to be in the Lab’s mindset at all? “No No…It’s all those gazillion people out there who haven’t invested a dime or an ounce of energy who will, I tell ya!”

  2. In my experience, when a CEO asks security to escort you away, they believe you’re being taken to a party.

    In other words, it’s a good sign.

  3. *laughs so hard almost pees his pants*

  4. As Botgirl states: you nailed him. Er, it.

  5. Ha ha ha ha. Real chicken farm!

    But, that aside, every single business needs to make those choices. Do they follow a more profitable business model — and turn into a different kind of business — or stay the course with one that maybe isn’t working so well?

    It depends on what you see happening in the future. You look ahead, and you try to figure out where your company — with all its strengths, expertise, and customer base — can fit in. If you get it right, you’re a visionary. If you guessed wrong, you’re an idiot who drove his company into the ground.

    IBM transformed itself (so far, successfully) from a hardware company to a services company — not quite as dramatic as turning into a chicken farm, but still a pretty big move. Especially for a company of its size.

    Linden Lab does have to do something — its land area is slowly shrinking, concurrency is trending down.

    Does it do what it does now, only better? That’s what current users think, and that’s because they’re still finding value in Second Life (otherwise, they would no longer be current users). Fix search, eliminate lag, fix voice problems, improve anti-piracy efforts. It will make the current users happy, possibly cut attrition rates, and make the company grow again in a slow-and-steady kind of way.

    Then there’s the Facebookification campaign. Bring in casual new users. Lots of them. Hope some of them stick and spend money. To do this, you need a decent Web-based viewer. Like the ones that Rezzable, Tipodean and 3Di are working on. If they can do it, certainly Linden Lab itself can do it.

    Then there’s my idea — embrace the hypergrid. Make Second Life the gateway to the metaverse, make the Linden $ the default hypergrid currency, the SL avatar the default metaverse avatar, SL search the default metaverse search (once its fixed, of course). This way, Linden Lab can continue to make money even as OpenSim grows. And if you want people to come to your OpenSim grid from SL, you’ll want to put some hypergates in SL, maybe some promotional booths or land stores — and this means renting land from Linden Lab. It will mean adding a new permission setting to objects “single grid” or “multi grid” and only allowing users with approved viewers (that honor these permissions) to buy or get stuff.

    But that’s because my vision of the future is where hypergrid rules. If the hypergrid dies away, though, or is replaced by something totally different, then I’ll look like an idiot.

    If the Lindens turn out to be right about the whole Facebook thing… well, it could happen. So I’m not going to make any promises to eat my hat.

    But the original vision – that Second Life would BE the metaverse — is clearly not coming true. It wasn’t compelling enough to become ubiquitous before the competition arrived. (The way that Microsoft, say, dominated the desktop.)

    So if they want growth of any kind, they’ll have to get a new vision.

    — Maria

  6. Phunny!

    If click and walk is created, it should be implemented in such a way that there is a popup menu where you get to choose if you will run, fly, teleport, sashay and walk like a chicken – with checkboxes to let you update your Facebook page with the results.

    I actually think click and walk is kinda dumb, because there are so many clickable objects in the environment already. I am always trying to click on moving people to see their profile and often hit the ground; if I start bum-rushing them because of a misclick they will know I was peeping!



    Dale, you hit the nail on the head with class and comedy. You’ve also proven that there is no need to be a “troll” to get a point across.

    Hey Hamlet… it IS personal… you schmuck!

    Thanks for making me laugh Dale… five star funny!


  8. I loved this. I think Breedable Lindens would do well too… but currently…. there ain’t no one here but us chickens.

  9. i think SL needs breedable bagpeople. you know, breed your bagman and baglady and you get bagbabies. i’m telling you, it would sell!

  10. Hamlet who?


  11. […] Users’ Hate and Fear of Change (1st of a Series)“, inspired by Dale Innis’ “Second Life’s Transformation into Profitable Chicken Farm Seriously Threatened by Second Life User…“. If you would like to do one of your own, you can find the snapshot without captions here, […]

  12. Thank you for inspiring me, I just wrote my own follow up and made some Rod and Wagner shapes, if others want to contribute to the cause.

    Thanks a lot again,

  13. I’m giving you the rock-concert “horns” (do people still do that anymore?) over here.

    Do you remember that ad campaign for Windows Vista, when they were trying to save face, and they called their OS “Mojave” and had unsuspecting customers try it out? One on-camera convert said, “People just need to learn how to use it right.”

    That’s right; your product isn’t flawed; it’s the fault of customers who don’t know how to “use it right”, or else are just “resistant to change”.

  14. Technochickenist.

  15. Boy… When Dale clowns you, your *deadman walking*.
    Darn it, this is a wonderful new side of you Dale
    Spot on!

  16. Thanks for all the validatin’ replies. :) There are all sortsa 80/20 rules that might be interesting for SL: 80% of the profit comes from 20% of the people, 80% of the noise comes from (a different) 20% of the people (more like a 99/1 rule there). Finding out what the actual customers (not just the loudest ones) are experiencing is vital (see the link at the end of my post).

    It’s definitely the case that this is really all about what SL is to become. Something that it isn’t today? (Like a Sims 4 Online, or a chicken farm) Or something that it is today, only even better?

    I will post here verbatim what I posted in the comments of Hamlet’s latest ‘SL should be more like The Sims’ post; I think it’s appropriate here…

    I have no strong opinion about the Basic viewer; seems like an experiment worth trying. It could have seriously bad, or seriously good, consequences if and as more new users use it; my crystal ball isn’t good enough to tell me.

    The important question here, I think, is where SL ought to be going. Hamlet suggests, as he often does, that it ought to become more like something else that is already very popular. More like the Sims, in this case, which is probably the most popular PC-game brand in the world.

    But does this make sense? EA/Maxis is not going to sit on their hands. Trying to make SL more like The Sims means trying to compete against EA on their own turf. How could that be a good idea?

    EA are the experts on the “click to make my little people move around and do funny things” field. SL are the experts on the “let me immerse myself in a virtual world where I can interact with other people who are doing the same” field.

    Should SL try to be more like the former, and less like the latter, in hopes that lots of Sims fans will choose SL over The Sims 4 Medieval Online or whatever? Or should it work on doing what it’s already expert at even better? That seems much more reasonable to me.

    Although I find an “is my AV hot or not?” app for cellphones completely uninteresting myself, it’s worth noting that the Blue Mars folks didn’t move to that because there was already a huge market for “is my AV hot or not?” apps for cellphones. They did it, presumably, because they decided they couldn’t complete with SL in the “immersive virtual world” business, so they moved out into a place where there was more room to grow.

    The idea that SL should try to compete more directly with EA (or Facebook, or Blizzard, or…), by moving away from its core strengths and into a different and already occupied niche, seems strongly implausible to me. Of course it’s probably not irrelevant that SL’s core strength, providing an immersive virtual world built around user-generated content, is something that I personally love! But if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t even care enough about the issue to comment…

  17. *begins hoarding eggs*

  18. I love the way you think Dale. Always have, always will.

  19. Well said that man! I mean in both post and comment to Hammy (who is so wrong as to be almost ironically right. Almost).

    I’d also like to say how much I loved what Maria said about LL opening up in such a way as to position themselves as the glue that holds the emerging metaverse together – it’s that kind of long range thinking that Microsoft & Google engage in and I only wish LL could move towards. Ditching hacks like Hammy and concentrating on a) making SL work, and making the Linden Way Of Virtual Life the backbone of the metaverse. I’m just not sure they have the vision, money and balls to do it.

  20. Very funny ! .. and Maria Korolov’s comment is very interesting, too !

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