The slogosphere is on strike! The Lindens have conceded too little, too late! The avatars want no more of your virtual cake, monsieur! In the wild spirit of these times, we at Tiny Dancing will strive to fill the void of Second Life-related entertainment with this epic story chronicling Philip 'Philip Linden' Rosedale's adventures in France.
The man in first class had sandy blond hair, a salesman's smile, and the rugged yet boyish good looks of a GQ model, provided the GQ model was modeling something that appealed to paunchy guys past middle age: like a watch or something; a De Beers diamond for the second wife.
But this man was no wristwatch model, forever doomed to smile with interest and pleasure at a metal band coiled around his own forearm. This was Philip "Philip Linden" Rosedale: technological visionary, founder of Linden Labs, and sperm-father of the metaverse. As the jetliner touched down at Charles De Gaulle international airport in France, he was busy keying a new 'To Do' list into his Blackberry: "1) Visit louver 2) buy Kanomi flowers 3) get a big win-win sale like the IBM one!!!"
This was going to be a good trip. He could feel it. He was meeting with the president of the largest consortium of winemakers in France, and he brought with him that same sense of euphoria, like back in the go-go days of the Internet Nineties. This could be big, RealPlayer big. Just think of it: Virtual vineyards in Second Life. He could change the world. Again.
The plane landed. Customs was a formality, a chauffeur gathered his bags, and he was whisked off in a limousine to his appointment. Along the way he placed a quick call to his cohorts back in the States: "Hey guys, I'm down in Paris. Yes, let's have that meeting about the rogue bloggers like we planned. It will impress the client, okily dokily? Talk to you later."
His call complete, during the long, slow ride afterwards, he noticed how Paris traffic was deeply inefficient. Musing at first, he then began to furiously fulminate ideas, comparing the traffic on Paris streets to packet traffic on the net.
Ideas came a dozen a minute, and he furiously made notes into his Blackberry: "Parisians should use virtual taxis to attend virtual jobs. Using multi-agent learning algorithms to route virtual traffic. Download a new client each day, before journey. Talk to Mitch ASAP!!! Maybe call him? Impressive!!"
Shortly thereafter he arrived to meet his host, the president of the winemakers. Monsieur Claude du Vin was a prototypical Frenchman: portly, with a sweaty Gallic nose and the florid countenance the hue of a fine Merlot. The man's breath wafted through the luxurious office like a supermodel's vagina, freshly tasted.
Philip 'Philip Linden' Rosedale stepped forward and squeezed the man's offered hand with a firm, steady American grip, the kind of grip you can invade a country with: "Howdy-doody, my friend. Let me begin by talking to you a little bit about 'virtual worlds', what they mean for the winery industry, and why I am so excited to talk to you about virtual wineries today." Without further ado, he began to unpack his laptop.
Monsieur du Vin waved his arms emphatically. "I am familiar with the 'virtual worlds.' My son, he likes the Warcraft, no? Or the buggy, European equivalent. Now I would like to see this virtual world as a business idea. And please hurry, I only work four hours a day, for three days a week, as is our custom here. So if you please, get right to the part that gives me money."
Philip 'Philip Linden' Rosedale gave another gracious smile "Yes, yes of course," he said, smoothly shifting gears deeper into his well-practiced pitch: "Second Life is the perfect evolution of the traditional working environment. 'Space' as we know it no longer needs to constrain the ambition of the corporation. Economics has become 'Metanomics.' Dollars and Euros are just electronic entries on a computer screens.
"We at Linden Labs are boldly pioneering this global move towards virtual business spaces, not only by developing these cutting edge technologies in concert with our user community, but also by employing these tools ourselves in our corporate culture everyday." As he spoke, he powered up his laptop.
"We hold all of our company meetings within the world of Second Life, allowing colleagues who are traveling or working remotely from home to fully participate in our planning sessions. Company wide notices about our parties, holidays, and not parking in my parking space, are all handled by the in-game 'Groups' and 'Announcement' functions.
"Each worker has a real life cubicle and a virtual one, with the complete freedom to customize and decorate their virtual cubicle with as much freedom as the real one. Even our customer service teams work strictly inside the world, carefully answering each customer service email in world, using an 'instant messaging to email' interface and monitoring our Forums one post at a time, using HTML on a prim."
Monsieur Le Vin interrupted: "But monsieur, isn't that inefficient? Can't your workers just walk down the hall to talk to their colleagues?"
Philip 'Philip Linden' Rosedale shook his head. "No no, not at all," he said. "Our coders are busy coding. Our concierges are busy concierging. Our communications team is busy communicating. It is completely inefficient for them to get out of their desks and walk down the hall and into a conference room that has to be booked in advance and may not have enough chairs, and so on, when they can simply rez as many chairs and conference rooms as needed in the virtual world."
"Allow me to demonstrate," Philip 'Philip Linden' Rosedale said, as his laptop finished booting up. "I am about to attend a crucial staff meeting with our marketing and public relations team. This will be a real meeting with real people in a virtual space, and I think you will be impressed. Once I log in, you will see how easy and effortless it all is." With a flourish, he fired up the Second Life client, typed his username and password, and waited to log in.
After several minutes, his host asked: "Why does it not let you log you in, monsieur?"
Phili 'Philip Linden' Rosedale pounded his rugged wrists on the keyboard: "Because it's a fucking piece of shit!!!"