Thursday, September 13, 2007


The Dutch SL blog writes about Metanomics, the "study of business and policy in the "metaverse" of virtual worlds". Metanomics looks like a series of events, lectures, on all sort of aspects of virtual worlds, mainly focusing on the business side of things. Metanomics is an activity of Metaversed.

The Metanomics activities seem interesting enough for me to sign up, there's some very interesting topics and speakers on the list. Well known virtual world visionaries, the much talked about Anshe Chung, representatives from other companies and even someone from US Congress, who will discuss US Congress' involvement in virtual worlds regulation, will appear at Metanomics events.

The events take place in world, and are hosted by professor Robert Bloomfield from Cornell University; he will also provide lists of preferred reading material. .

The second Metanomics event, which takes place on September 20th, 2007, features Sandra Kearny, IBM's global director of 3D internet. She will discuss IBM's involvement in virtual worlds. This event will take place in the real world, at Cornell University; it will be streamed to Metanomics' island in SL, and it will be broadcast at the Second Life Cable Network. Truly a 'mixed reality' event, which can be viewed by anyone with a web browser and an internet connection!

In preparation for this event, the professor has suggested reading this IBM report: "Virtual games, real leaders".

In this report, IBM says that MMORPGs are a virtual training ground for leadership skills. In these worlds, one can learn how to communicate, how to sell decisions, who to recruit (and when, and why), how to stay on top of things, and many other things - in short, how be a leader. But, being a virtual leader isn't a permanent thing, according to IBM. Fast paced and ever changing, virtual environments don't match well with the traditional view of leading and managing, where someone, once he or she's a manager, usually stays a manager forever, quietly making their way up the corporate ladder. In virtual worlds, someone can be a leader for ten minutes, a week or a couple of months. Transparency in a persons' qualities, ease of communication, the task or project oriented way of handling things: these (and other) factors, create an environment where leadership comes and goes, to whatever person is most suited for the task ahead. TCorporations could learn from this agility and flexibility, says IBM. The report has an intruiging story about such a change in leadership, about young woman, who was part of a Worl of Warcraft guild out on a raid. When the raid went wrong, the guilds' leadership failed too- the leader didn't know what to do and went silent. In the ensuing vacuum, no one dared to take leadership, until this young woman pressed her talk button. She spoke, rallied the troops for another attack, and that's when she assumed leadership of the guild. She went on to lead other, more advanced guilds later, and held a top rank in WoW for months, until she signed off.

Metanomics promises to be an interesting series of events, for anyone interested in the business side of the metaverse.

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