I guess if you persevere long enough you will find that things will start coming your way. Case in point: Second Life. I have been a proponent of Microsoft involvement in this area pretty much since the day I started. And I have been seen as a crack smoker for suggesting it pretty much since the day I started. Yep, good times! While my peers are obviously major techies and geeks like me and highly intelligent many still think a presence in SL isn’t a good idea.
To be fair there are valid reasons for feeling we should stay out of Second Life. Not only have they traditionally been very bad when it comes to performance and support but they are also on a compete platform. Certainly, at first glance, it would appear that a Microsoft presence would be not only unwise but unwelcome as well. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth.
I had joined SL a long time before I came to work at Microsoft. At the time I was feeling it out as a new learning environment for a training business. It turned out at the time that the technology just wasn’t mature enough to warrant an investment in time and energy. It showed promise though and I resolved to return later and see how things had improved.
So eventually I got the job at MS. I decided that I wanted to revisit this virtual world to see how things had improved. Service and support hadn’t gotten far but they were beta testing using voice in-world so you could actually TALK to people. I mean, I dig the text chat but it just can’t convey as much through text as you can with voice. Even today there are problems with using voice. For example, you can’t restrict who can speak and who can’t but I’m sure the Lindens will fix that eventually.
Overall, I was impressed with the progress so decided to see if there was any Microsoft presence in-world. Imagine my surprise when I found several Microsoft groups inside. I got in touch with some of the groups, had some con calls, and viola I was helping get the .NET Developers Group going. It was great! Tori Ashe, the head of the group, and I built the group up from around 40 members (if memory serves) to over 400 members.
So that brings us to the present day. I have many MS folks either joining me in Second Life or at least willing to listen to what I have to say. Event my good buds Rob Bagby and Larry Clarkin are starting to open up. I think we will all have a group hug next 🙂 Heck, Larry even wrote an article about it. Granted there are still many detractors but I find that as I “keep the faith” on SL people will at least begin to listen. I think in the end that is all I really want. I don’t need total acceptance just acknowledgement.
So on to the moral of the story: if you have something that you are trying to get people to understand don’t expect them to get it out of the gate but hang in there and you just might find people will listen.