Brief Thoughts on Ebbe’s Keynote at VWBPE 2014 in Second Life

It was good to hear Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab’s new CEO, speak at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2014 Conference in Second Life today.

Ebbe addressed a number of pain points with the educator community in Second Life and brought some healthy visibility into how he sees things moving forward on a number of technical levels.  I really appreciated the time and effort he spent in addressing educators.

But I have some constructive criticism.

Cultivating any community requires a lot more than just understanding its technical requirements for a particular piece of software or to be “listening to needs.”  Communities are organic and constantly evolving entities with complex interdependencies that are often far from intuitive.  And when you give communities new technological tools, they typically use these tools in very unpredictable ways.

In other words, it’s not just about collecting technical requirements and reading submitted feedback when you have the time.  It’s about taking the time to actively investigate and participate in a community so you can cultivate its success and identify completely new market opportunities in the future.

There’s a reason people dedicated to sociology and cultural anthropology and community development exist.  This stuff is important and hard and requires focus.

It’s the same reason why companies that focus solely on engineering goals while ignoring complex sociological factors tend to find themselves perpetually running after a community rather than leading it into the brightest possible future.

-John “Pathfinder” Lester

About John Lester (Pathfinder)

John Lester is an expert in Multiuser 3D Virtual Worlds, Immersive Learning, Knowledge Management and Community Development. His background is in neuroscience research and medical education, and he previously worked at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Linden Lab. John is currently the Chief Learning Officer at ReactionGrid Inc., helping clients develop new systems for immersive learning using web and mobile-based virtual world platforms. For more contact info please see http://about.me/pathfinder
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8 Responses to Brief Thoughts on Ebbe’s Keynote at VWBPE 2014 in Second Life

  1. draxfiles says:

    Would love if you care to share these thoughts on the podcast with more than 1000 listeners! We do a show on Ebbe next Friday. http://www.draxfiles.com

  2. Excellent assessment :) I agree.

  3. Pingback: Brief Thoughts on Ebbe’s Keynote at VWBPE 2014 in Second Life – Hypergrid Business

  4. Thanks Drax. It’s always good to amplify Pathfinder voice as he speaks for so many.

    I can’t wait to hear the podcast. As always it’s more about the community ran the technology.

  5. Pingback: Brief Thoughts on Ebbe’s Keynote at VWBPE 2014 in Second Life | Amazing WWWorld

  6. Thinkbalm Decision-Making Guide – sponsored by Linden Lab

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3r0rcAUJHFQUUJIRFNUU2t3Q0k/edit

    A Use-Case-based guide designed to aid in the immersive software selection process.

    Educators regularly make the grand mistake of asking for the Tool first, then for Use Case Requirements.

    This is like asking, what Barber Chair do you use in your Barber Shop, and that completely misses the point – it’s about Haircuts first, the utility Barber Chair deployed is secondary.

    Your Educational Use Case Requirements govern what Tool you choose, it is not vice-versa!

    Requirements Elicitation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Requirements_elicitation

    Education Grid Requirement Specifications http://mediagrid.org/groups/technology/grid.ied/specification/index.html

    Technology Agnostic Approach > The U.S. Army Learning Concept 2015 (PDF) does not focus on any particular TECHNOLOGY, but rather focuses on the OPPORTUNITIES presented by dynamic virtual environments, by online gaming, and by mobile learning. It speaks of access to applications, the blending of physical and virtual collaborative environments, and learning outcomes

    http://www.tradoc.army.mil/tpubs/pams/tp525-8-2.pdf

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