SLCC 2010


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Keynote presentation at the 2010 Second Life Community Convention. For video and more details, see

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SLCC 2010

  1. 1. Pioneers in Virtual Worlds and why your time is always now. John Lester Strategic Planning and Market Development for Online Communities, Virtual Worlds and Social Media Second Life Community Convention Boston, 2010
  2. 2. This presentation is Well, not really.  But there is some adult language and violence.
  3. 3. John Lester         Pathfinder Lester
  4. 4. <ul><li>5 yrs @ Linden Lab </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evangelism and market development in education and healthcare. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Started Boston Lab. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>12 yrs @ Mass General Hospital / Harvard Medical School </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online communities for patient support and education. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Virtual worlds, neuroscience and emotional bandwidth. </li></ul></ul>Who am I?
  5. 5. What have I been doing since leaving Linden Lab?
  6. 6. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>Exploring cultural evolution and adaptation. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do people share knowledge? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do cultures grow, adapt, and evolve? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can one help them succeed? </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>Helping build a Tibetan Buddhist library. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online system for collaboration between monasteries. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Preservation and evolution of cultural heritage. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diaspora can lead to new opportunities. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>I'm interested in orgs and tools that connect people. </li></ul>I want to build this. <ul><ul><li>How to build the tools that support communities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to integrate the online world with &quot;reality.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How to cultivate creativity. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>I'm still very interested in Second Life. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Immersive Narratives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploring Game Design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Art and Neuroscience </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>Immersive Narratives in Second Life. </li></ul>Frank Lloyd Wright Museum in SL. Potential to build interactive stories. Advisory Board.
  11. 11. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>Exploring Game Design in Second Life. </li></ul>Designed by a pro game designer. Amazing community and customer support. I'm one of hundreds of addicted players.
  12. 12. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>Education and Support in Second Life. </li></ul>Rockcliffe University Consortium. Nonprofit group helping universities succeed in SL. Advisory Board.
  13. 13. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>Intersection of Art and Neuroscience. </li></ul>Oddfellow Studios. Tools for entertainment and therapeutic/nootropic applications. New art forms. Advisory Board.
  14. 14. My Life after Linden Lab <ul><li>But still looking for more. </li></ul>I'm currently a free agent looking for a major gig. I love uncharted territories. Hit me up on LinkedIn. Plus other advisory, speaking and writing gigs.
  15. 15. Now you know my perspective. Enough about me.
  16. 16. Let's talk about you. Yes, you.  The Pioneers.
  17. 17.   Two Essential Pioneer Strategies <ul><li>It's tricky being a Pioneer. </li></ul><ul><li>Let's be thoughtful about what it involves.   </li></ul>
  18. 18. Two Essential Pioneer Strategies <ul><li>1) Predicting the Future  </li></ul><ul><li>2) Remembering your most Precious Assets </li></ul>
  19. 19. 1) Predicting the Future <ul><li>Some Pioneers solve this </li></ul><ul><li>by inventing the future. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engelbart and the Mouse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invention of Virtual Worlds </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Much of the time the Future simply happens, and we need to adapt to it. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OMFG <insert new feature here> changes my plans! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How we work with change is how we succeed. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Really Hard <ul><li>We usually get it really really really wrong. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extrapolation errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wishing vs Reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disruptive Innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Beware ... </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Beware Pretty Pictures <ul><li>Impressive graphs usually tell us only what the creator wants us to believe. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Beware Empty Words <ul><li>The only thing worse than no strategy is meaningless strategy. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Apply repeatedly for proper inoculation <ul><li> </li></ul>
  24. 24. A valuable lesson from Tuco
  25. 25. A valuable lesson from Tuco <ul><li>When you have to shoot....shoot. </li></ul>Don't talk.
  26. 26. Pioneer Strategies <ul><li>1) Predicting the Future </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ignore Noise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take Action </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. 2) Remembering your most Precious Assets <ul><li>You probably forget these assets all the time.  </li></ul><ul><li>Please stop doing that. </li></ul>
  28. 28. A valuable lesson from Frith
  29. 29. A valuable lesson from Frith <ul><li>Whenever they catch you, they will kill you. </li></ul>But first they must catch you.
  30. 30. We forget what makes us Awesome <ul><ul><li>The things we are best at doing tend to be things we take for granted. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;Oh, I can do that with my eyes closed.  It's no big deal.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We forget who we are. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And how lessons learned enrich our Wisdom, which is always with us. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. We forget the Communities around us <ul><ul><li>Communities we have built. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communities we belong to. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Power of Adaptive Culture. </li></ul></ul>
  32. 32. Hope or Despair.  Both are a choice. No, not that kind of hope. Try again.
  33. 33. Hope or Despair.  Both are a choice. No, that's delusional hope. Pretty funny. Try again.
  34. 34. Hope or Despair.  Both are a choice. Perfect. Optimism + critical planning. That's the kind of Hope I'm talking about. The kind worth choosing.
  35. 35. Pioneer Strategies <ul><li>2) Remembering your most Precious Assets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wisdom is Portable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hope (optimism + critical planning) is a Choice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Summary of Pioneer Strategies <ul><li>1) Predicting the Future </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ignore Noise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take Action </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Remembering your most Precious Assets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wisdom is Portable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hope (optimism + critical planning) is a Choice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul></ul>
  37. 37. But what about the future of Second Life and Virtual Worlds? No, I'm afraid I'll need a bit more convincing. And some inspiration would be nice. 
  38. 38. Second Life is not dead If &quot;SecondLie&quot; didn't truly care about Second Life, he'd be tweeting about something else.   Attention means you care.  And parody is thoughtful attention. Watch the Colbert Report and you'll see what I mean.
  39. 39. It would be silly to pretend that these are not Challenging Times Time will tell.  Meanwhile, focus on things you can control.
  40. 40. Virtual Worlds are not dead Airplanes do not exist because we are clever. They exist because we have always yearned to fly .
  41. 41. Virtual Worlds are inevitable Our minds yearn for the freedom to shape and share dreams . And so Virtual Worlds will always be.  In some shape or form.
  42. 42. Here's the Secret “ If you want to build a ship,  don’t drum up the men to gather wood,  divide the work and give orders.  Instead,  teach them to yearn  for the vast and endless sea.”  - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  43. 43. Quiz: What do these Pioneer Strategies all have in common? <ul><li>1) Predicting the Future </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work with Change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ignore Noise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Take Action </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2) Remembering your most Precious Assets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Wisdom is Portable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hope (optimism + critical planning) is a Choice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. Answer: They apply Everywhere Linden Lab's customers may be smarter than anyone. Edison invented motion pictures , but brilliant directors invented what became  cinema . Do you watch movies because they move , or because they move you ? Use the tools of today, but plan beyond them.  Or build new ones. Mind the storms, but focus on reaching your goal.
  45. 45. You have goals, right? When the going gets tough, we tend to focus on tactics. It is deadly to focus on your  tactical goals without being clear on your strategic goals. Write them down before you go home.  Seriously. &quot;Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.   Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.&quot;   -Sun Tzu
  46. 46. Everyone Here is a Pioneer You're already a Pioneer, an explorer of unknown opportunities in strange new worlds. You wouldn't be here today if you weren't.
  47. 47. The time for Pioneers is always  now. In Second Life. In Virtual Worlds. In Life.
  48. 48.   Just be cunning, and full of tricks. And your dreams will fly.
  49. 49. Thank you Twitter: Pathfinder Email: [email_address] SL: Pathfinder Lester Slides: