Daniel Terdiman, friend of Philip Linden and CNET reporter embedded with Millions of Us in Second Life, has a book coming out -- right around the time that Uri and Walker have their book coming out, and it will be a veritable extravaganza of mutual admiration, you can bet!
Seeing and hearing about the carefully-calculated blog to flog the book, the events inworld like a chat with the Sheep's Forseti Svarog, I was slightly set teeth-on-edge, recalling the hours I spent with Daniel when he was putting this book together earlier this year (my, that was fast!). I guess it was that familiar feeling I always have with "famous journalists" who I know are going to get paid possibly even fabulous sums for their work, but who are working hastily, superficially often, and relying heavily on unpaid but enthusiastic informants, sources, people really doing the topic of their book, which in this case is entrepreneurship (I gather CNET doesn't make a profit from GreeterDan's perch in SL; he's more of a cost center, I imagine).
Well, that's how it is, you give some time to a journalist who asks to interview you, you patiently explain things, reiterate things -- in Daniel's case, I also spent a lot of time with him in real life, giving him a huge, backstory, blow-by-blow account of the infamous flying-penises presser with Anshe, because I felt he needed to grasp some basic things about the identity of the griefers in this emblematic story, which has done more to scare business and education away from Second Life than any other event, bar none.
Are we to accept the advice about Enterpreneurship in Second Life from a man who doesn't know how to turn autoreturn on to one minute on his sim -- or rather, can't control his sim because he's perching on a metaversal services sim that controls it, and they didn't think of this either? I guess we are.
I didn't mind explaining this, to general blank stares -- the account used to grief Anshe was in fact one in which my email (and possibly other RL information) was grabbed and spoofed by none other than Plastic Duck himself (Patrick Sapinski) who called me at home in real life minutes before making this account and perpetrating this attack, and confirmed my RL phone number. Minutes after *that*, I got a worried IM from Anshe Chung herself, asking her if this was really me pushing penises at the presser, since the avatar was saying he was Prokofy (the name of this day-old account was in fact similar to my RL name, that was part of the griefing). Of course I had nothing to do with this, Anshe knew it, and she then fled to her own sim -- to be pursued by Sapinski. The rest is history.
Of course, with all journalists, I'm happy to talk to them even if I'm less than thrilled with their work or their level of understanding, because they may benefit, and then the public benefits, from all our input. Somehow, I *did* expect at least a mention in some long list of credits somewhere, after spending some hours inworld with Daniel, and also in real life in May 2007 when he came to the Virtual Worlds conference.
Oops, guess not. Here's the list of people Daniel celebrates as his sources:
Alliez Mysterio, Adam Zauis, Nexus Nash, Dana Bergson, Sol Columbia, Laura Sachs, Sabrina Dent, Zee Linden, Hiro Pendragon, Moopf Murray, Twiddler Thereian, Munchflower Zauis, Hyasynth Tiramisu, Starley Thereian, Fallingwater Cellardoor, Jennyfur Peregrine, Professor Sadovnycha, Shiryu Musashi, Zabitan Assia, Chip Midnight, Kim Anubis, Neil Protagonist, Foolish Frost, Insky Jedburgh, Aimee Weber, Amethyst Rosencrans, Baccara Rhodes, Genevieve Hutchence, Nyteshade Vesperia, Stroker Serpentine, Giff Forsetti, Andrea Faulkner, Keiki Lemieux, Claudia Linden, Bambam Sachertorte, Francis Chung, Caroline Apollo, Wynx Whiplash, Trinity Cole, Katt Kongo, Ham Rambler, Jenna Fairplay, Deede Debs, Kelly Czarnecki, Nexeus Fatale, Kermitt Quick, Kaeman Demar, Aesop Thatch, Ming Chen, Anna Normandy, Cory Ondrejka, Qarl Linden, Sibley Verbeck and Jerry Paffendorf.
Reads like the FIC A-list, eh? (Actually, I call it FIC 1.0, many of them are has-beens). The SL Views regs, included. It's not so terrible that I'm missing -- I'm a mid-level mainland rentals baron with no big earnings out of SL -- even if Daniel did ask for and get an extensive interview with me for this book -- apparently it just didn't stick in his mind. Understood. I'm just not fabulous!
But...entrepreneurship in Second Life shouldn't just be about the stars, the very, very few at the apex of the pyramid who are the most fabulous designers or the most wealthy land barons and programmers, but should give more of an idea of what the average person starting out could expect?
Yet, since we ARE talking stars here, where are they? Where's, oh, Ginny Talamasca and Simone Stern? Frogg Marlow and Jaycatt Nico (don't they count as entrepreneurs?!) How about Barnesworth Anubis or Owen Khan? Hey, Cristiano Midnight is missing! Timeless Prototype?
Perhaps, when you write a book like that, you don't say, "Who are all the top entrepreneurs and how can I get to interview them," but you just go by who you know, because, well, they will help you for free the most and give you the most time.
Could it be that what all these people have in common is that they are on the MOU payroll or just personal friends of Dan's or something?
I'm amazed -- no, appalled -- that Anshe Chung and Guni Greenstein aren't in that list. How can there be a book called "SL Entrepreneurship" that doesn't have Anshe Chung as a source?! You mean even after the penis presser, Daniel didn't see fit to consult with Anshe about this book and thank her for the vast insights he gained, even, if nothing else, at that infamous occasion?!
And, once again, it has to be said, some of these people are merely famous for being famous; they're very long in the tooth and very unproductive, in fact. When was the last time Aimee Weber released any undies? Do people still buy Chip Midnight's skins? What has Jennyfur Peregrine produced, inworld or outworld, but misery and spite?
Of course, Forseti, Kim Anubis, etc. -- these are all the big developers. But that's just it...for Daniel...for big business that he is helping to usher in...entrepreneurship doesn't mean inworld craftsmenship, design, services, land management -- it mainly means those who USE THE PLATFORM in the service of big corporations who pay major real-life wages, not those pushing prims and pixels for pennies -- and getting penised. And in that sense, it's terribly misleading, as Second Life, if you look at the "positive Linden flow" page is about those smaller and even tinier businesses. There really are only, as Philip says, about 1000 people making $1000 or more a month, and frankly, he hasn't come clean about whether that's before after tier (it seems BEFORE).
It's only if you step outside the world of Linden-denominations, and into the spotlight of metaversal marvelousness, that you will see the 5 and 6 figure salaries some of these folks are commanding -- but then, you can't write a handbook about that for the general public, as only a very, very tiny sliver of the very qualified developers who enter this world will land in that category -- and not because they read a silly how-to, but because they didn't need to...
The artwork on this book uses a bland and prefabbed screenshot of an ugly, cross-eyed and chunky female avatar who looks like she just showed up at the Barbie Club for her first glamour lesson -- the shot is the very one now used on the Lindens' splash page, with that same sort of lame artwork that appeared on Hamlet's and Walker's guide to SL -- that's the company "look". The poor unfortunate on Hamlet's guide has man-boobies though he's carrying a girl on his shoulders in a pose I've never, ever seen available in SL, have you? But that's ok, having man-boobies is good preparation for what SL is *really* all about, which is males having female avvies lol. Gosh, are we going to see that on Walker and Uri's book too?
As you can see from the blog Daniel has started, his take on the SL economy is hugely one-sided -- because what has happened is that that sort of creator-fascism known and beloved by the FIC is all that has been piped into him.
That's why you get this dreadful entry touting freebies as a way to get started in business -- when what people really need to do is at least start with something cheap for newbies like themselves -- and what oldbies need to do is stop paralyzing the newbie-to-newbie market with their patronizing freebies and fake altruism.
Well, prepare yourself for the new few years of Daniel Terdiman, who has never run a business himself in Second Life, dining out on every single conference circuit from here to San Jose as the expert on entrepreneurship -- for having interviewed the old A-list of Second Life pumped and promoted by the Lindens, that is as faded as an old Betty Davis movie.
And all of us have to face the fact that the scramble to make Second Life "more like the Internet" and compete with all the other lighter and more portable (and hence less immersive and cool) VWs out there may be irrelevant.
Yankee Group says that it is precisely the tethered nature of SL inside a world that makes its growth slow, as most people want to have stuff on their mobile phones. I guess that's why you get Zero Linden raving in office hours about dialing even frozen avatars on cell phones, in that thinner, more spread out SL we're to accept as our future. No matter, some of us will keep making the world, wherever we can find it!