Friday, April 20, 2007

Avatars for Architects

There is a yearly conference for IBM's client-facing technical leaders. During the lean years when money was in short supply for training, being selected to attend this event was especially coveted. For a long time, the only way to be guaranteed an invitation was to get selected to speak at the event. Speaker selection became quite competitive.

I am happy to report that after about four years of trying, I actually got to speak at the 2007 Technical Leadership Exchange held in Anaheim, California.

I am a firm believer in sampling something really off-the-wall every now and then to knock the cobwebs off of some unused brain cells. I saw that a favorite speaker of mine, David McDavid, the source for a previous post The Role of the Business Transformation Architect was giving a talk on the business implications of Second Life.

I naively thought that only a few crazies like me would show up for such a thing. Wrong! There must have been 500 of my peers there to check it out. The entire conference was about 4700 people and you had to arrive by 1PM Sunday afternoon to attend the Second Life talk.

As a speaker, I was privy to the pre-registration numbers. When I sorted the 420 or so elective sessions, the Second Life presentation was the one that more of IBM's technical leaders wanted to reserve a seat to attend than any other. At the session I learned IBM is quite a land baron in the Second Life "megaverse," owning many Second Life "islands".

David talked about how he played around in Second Life and found himself wanting to set up his own place and how he intentionally chose a location with interesting neighbors including a small software company and East Coast artist. He raved about all the interesting people he had met thru Second Life. It began to sound like an endorsement of my unoriginal theory that it is good to check out off-the-wall ideas and hang out with interesting people not like me every now and then.

The message to my readers is that smart people are either taking Second Life and the business implications of it very seriously... or they are afraid they aren't taking it seriously enough and might be missing the next big thing.

I decided I must already be behind the curve. If you log into Second Life and find a boy next door looking avatar named Caleb Schumann who doesn't know what he's doing in the megaverse, it is me fumbling around trying to catch with the train that has already left the station without me.

Me over the volcano that is about to errupt and kill me if I don't do the hula for some character on a training island for newbies.
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