Virtual Worlds and London 2012 Olympics

After all the intial work at Wimbledon on sports events in virtual worlds I was often asked about the London 2012 Olympics and what it migh mean for them. I wrote a document with some ideas, almost a little dated now but it was November 2006.
After a recent event explaining all things metaverse I was prompted by a note (thankyou J) asking about the implications and potential for 2012 to try and get some more traction on this.
There are lots of people in companies on loan to 2012, but there is also still a good few years to go development wise. So, to capture our thoughts as a community I just set up a PBWiki.
It is here as an extended open to anyone eightbar project. If you want to come and share some ideas about how we can get people to represent sports events in a richer way, and if it does not cuase you any commercial conflicts and you want to do the right thing, then please come and join in. We have 4 years ๐Ÿ˜‰
So, virtual world, mirror world, augmented reality, gaming, social media, crowd content creation, 3d printing etc, all up for discussing. (yes this really should have been a superstruct type project, but lets try and grab some people into this who dont normally do social media too ;))
* also if I could figure out how the london 2012 website let me blend with it, trackback, or hook in anyway I would !

Irving and Obama – Fantastic Innovation News

Some fantastic news is zooming around the internet right now. A former IBM Vice President and now MIT visiting professor Dr Irving Wladawsky-Berger is now on President Elect Obama’s Technology and Innovation Panel.
This is significant because Irving is a great visionary and for us here at eightbar has been a very key supporter from the very early days of virtual worlds. Sandy Kearney was working closely with Irving when we first met and serendipty kicked in.
Irving has been trying things out and blogging for many years too. So we can all rest assured that he “gets it”.
Quite a day given our CEO Sam Palmisano has joined in on an exciting discussion around social media inside IBM today.
(Thanks aneel for tweeting this news in the first place )

Little Big Planet is even more flexible than I thought

I realized stickers could be put on Sackboy, and that using the camera you could make sticker. Hence.
epredator little big planet style
Here is a little epredator, also wearing an 8 for eightbar. That is just a bit of avatar customization but immensly powerful. I am sure we shall see some amazing decorated sackboys.
Little Big Planet on PS3 powered by the co developed IBM, Sony, Toshiba cell processor ๐Ÿ™‚ with an injection of eightbar.

Global Entrepreneurship – The end of the beginning

Yesterday I “jetted” off to Manchester to speak at an event sponsored by the MIDAS group. I was up to speak about the future, about virtual worlds, about 3d printing. I also decided to make sure I adjusted a little to speak more about the power we all have as people. Inspired by hearing and being with lots of social entrepreneurs at chain reaction at the start of the week, and really feeling they were kindred spirits, it made sense to illustrate both eigthbars rise, the personal aspects of getting things done regardless of the obstacles and being proud of my community and how we have all come together at the right time both inside and outside IBM.
I know that many people sticking to the status quo, saying things should stay the way they are, saying that we are all idealists in the way we communicate and share to cause innovation to happen across the world will just think its more “kool aid”. Well it might be, however we might just be right.
The web seems to have been able to unleash and remove some of the fear people have had for getting things done. The web now really gives a place for a first step, sharing an idea with one other person, asking one person for help or their opinion. It is those first steps of gathering and affinity that are the most important to break the apathy. It does not matter if its hooking up over a game like WoW or even and shooter on Xbox Live, a chance meeting in Second Life, spotting a twitter on the same subject, a blog post comment or trackback or whatever there is to come next. People are really forming to get traction make connections and take action. For me this is the personal side of creating a smarter plannet, more devices, more connections but incorporating people in that.

After my pitch along those lines there was a barrage of excellant question there was another brillian pitch by Imran Hakim. He was famously backed on the BBC Dragons Den programme for his iTeddy idea by Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis.
Imran Hakim and iTeddy
Imran talked about how the idea even came about, his brother betting him it would never work. Imran is a real entrepreneur, iTeddy was not his first nor his last business. He spoke very personally about a restlessness, striving to make things happen, not just make money. Our stories were very much the same, one of battling and believing, of making the most of serendipity and contacts. He also shared some insights into just how long a Dragons Den pitch is, in his case 3 hours!
After both our pitches we were both swamped with brilliant conversations over lunch with everyone. I love to hear that people have felt moved, or enthused by what I have to say and that came across in all my conversations.
I also managed to have som time talking to Imran as the hall emptied, and it was a fascinating personal insight upclose with a very successful and connected business person with ideas and drive. Very inspiring I must say.
Thanks to all who attended and got something from this including my IBM colleagues.

Google Lively set to shut december 31st

It is official Google have decided to close Lively at the end of the year. This will no doubt create a great deal of discussion about the future of the virtual world industry, maybe give some nay sayers some ammunition to be negative.
I do feel somewhat sad for those people that were the allowed developers and beta testers who created content, who spent time and effort making things and creating. They now have to make do with video and photos of their work.
Google does of course still have the mirror world Google Earth, which as I have said before we looked at a good few years ago when sat in the Wimbledon bunker and said “wouldn’t it be great to put the tennis scores and rallies on that”. Earth of course also has user created content, the 3d warehouse. It does not have the presence of other people as such.
Lively had the presence of other people, used a plugin in the browser but stuck to the room approach and only let a select few develop on it. This isolationism certainly stopped me from “having a tinker building things”. Yet the more open worlds, ones with UGC, with the ability to see the potential by using the creation tools, they are the effective ones.
Not everyone needs to build, but they do feel they need to have some sort of creative control over the world around them, or potential too. Its an important point and one we proved to ourselves on the Torque metaverse.
Anyway, well done to the Google Lively team for having a go, what you, and we have all learned can make the other worlds better.

AM Radio does it again in Second Life

AM Radio is a fantastic artist and designer and fellow eightbar in Second Life. I was sitting with twitter zooming past and Malburns twittered Hamlet’s article on New World Notes saying AM Radio had a new build, so I popped along and was once again amazed at the intricate detail that AM puts into things. Astra Thorne was there, so the beauty of the immersion of Second Life and having a common friend in AM we got talking. Astra mentioned some of the delightful details and mid west references on this project. The hood ornament in green is just brilliant.
AM Radio 1948 car and Astra Thorne
So once again, I popped into a place, based on a feed recommendation from a friend and made a new aquaintance, another person who feels the same way I do. The serendipty engine was in full flow. It cannot be ignored, the number of times these connection happen, in this case midnight for me whilst tidying up some late night work items.

Inspired by the social entrepreneurs – 3d Printing for the world

I have just spent 2 days fully immersed in the chain reaction event in London. At this very vibrant event I was expecting to spend most of my time explaining to people how we use the web and virtual worlds to communicate, to get things done, to power change in business. I certainly did get to do that, but I also got to meet and talk with a whole host of people from very varied backgrounds who had fantastic stories and goals.
Chain Reaction
Many of the people at the event were social entrepreneurs. People who work for change in the commnuity and an better world, not merely profit. In fact seldom for profit.
There was of course a balance as there were some very important business leaders at the event and the prime minister at one point. They spoke of generating wealth, of running successful businesses but then setting up foundations and mentoring schemes. There were also a large set of the attendees(contributors) who were of a much younger demographic. Young people who were willing to hear about how they can make a difference, or more often those that already were just getting on with it.
One of the huge messages, and the biggest take aways from this was that you do not have to wait to get started doing anything. As Dr Victoria Hale (founder of One World Health the not for profit pharmacutical company) said, just when is it that you will have enough money, resources, people or power to do what you feel you need to do to change the world for the better? You just have to start.
There was a meta layer to the event in talking with production team called in to help with the social media reporting. All very experienced web 2.0 people. So we all had a lot in common and had some breakout sessions on where this is all going, and what the best way to produce events, gather whats happening and distribute it.
Finally the chain reaction is about the links people have made sparking ongoing work. The third sector (a very strange name but its a tribal label) is there to make a difference to the world. I wrote a commitment to be placed on the wall, one of many that were added that I want to get the technology of 3d printing, local manufacture to be distributed and practical around the world. Being able to manufacture designs from 3d data held elswhere in the world could allow local communites to manufacture the things they need from simpler raw materials. Imagine being able to fix a broken water pump, or create new water carrying vessels without the need to have products shipped to remote, deprived areas. Think one laptop per child, people finding the parts they need online or co-desiging them in a virtual world with remote engineering experts and add local 3d printing manufacturing abilities, making the virtual designs real to fix any problem. Now that can change the world, and I can help make that happen.

Chain Reaction – Changing the world tomorrow

It’s time to go and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs at a 2 day event in London called Chain Reaction. “Chain Reaction is a unique and challenging project based on a very simple idea – that none of us on our own can change the world, not governments, not businesses, not charities. We succeed when we work together”. Sounds familiar doesnt it ๐Ÿ™‚ Tribes? Smart Planet? Eightbar? well thats why I am heading along to share my experience and learn from others too.
Well a whole host of industry leaders will be offering their time and their insight to the audience of 1,000+ people, mostly under 30 years of age apparently.
Our UK Chief Exec Brendan Riley is in a session on the monday. Also Andy Dean ( a fellow eightbar from Hursley and I) will be in attendence for the full event, probably running the odd workshop here and there, mingling and helping people realize their full potential.
For me to be able to either talk about life online, the rise of metaverses or the story of eightbar and Godin’s tribes approach should keep me failry sparked and busy for the event. If I can persuade even just one person to just start doing, dont wait, dont overplan, start. Then it will be a success.
The main speakers are really awesomely impressive, including the great Richard Branson
So if you are going to be there, come and say hi.
Chainreaction in on twitter and spread over the web as you might expect and I am sure many of us will be live twittering, webcasting etc as its that kind of event.

I liked Godin’s tribes so much here are some more thoughts

This started life as an internal IBM post, to my tribe there, however, I liked it so much I wanted to share it more widely, just changed a few words.

As I have mentioned before I am so pleased that Seth Godin’s tribes book is as good as it is. Seth states these 5 things to do and 6 principles that as leaders (which we all can be should we choose to connect with people and care about something) we should do.

life at the moment

Every leader cares for and supports a movement, that movement can now be 10 people, 10,000 people, community, work colleagues, global or local.

The 5 things to do really should resonate for anyone who has chosen to associate with eightbar and/or the internal IBM Virtual Universe Community. If you have a passion and want people to gather around then this helps (as this worked for eightbar out of instinct it may help to see some structure to let you know how doable this is to make change).

This is particulary interesting given the doom and gloom at the moment. This is precisely when the leaders of the future will already be working the networks.


Things to do

1. Publish a manifesto (it does not have to be written just known)

2. Make it easy for follower to connect with you

3. Make it easy for followers to connect to one another

4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement, it exists to enable it. The moment you cash out you stunt your movement

5. Track your progress, publicly



1. transparency is the only option

2. movement needs to be bigger than you

3. movements that grow thrive

4. movements are made most clear when compared to the status quo i.e. when they are noticebly different not the same as another movement

5. exclude outsiders (a powerful force is who is not part of the movement)

6. tearing others down is never as helpful as building followers up


If you consider the first 5 things to do and think eightbar.

1. Publish a manifesto – we exist to explore virtual worlds and web2.0, to look out for one another and help as best we can.

2. Make it easy to connect with you, well, blogs, Second Life, phone, email, inside and outside the firewall. everyone is important.

3. Make it easy for followers to connect with each other. as above. Thats the beauty of the virtual world as the movement enabler.

4. Realize money is not the point. There may be some corporate arguing on this, but as with Linden their mission statement is to improve the human condition. There is profit in this, but the purpose is to make life better, for us to connect more to be able to share ideas and get things done. If those things are ‘business’ then great, if they are philanthropic then great too. (This fits nicely with smart planet I think)

5. Track your progress, publicly….. Er yes. and this blog and all the other blogs and twitters etc. The worst thing we do is keep things to ourselves.


On the principles I think they are fairly obvious. The exclusion (5) may seem a little strange,but if you think about it, eightbar was for IBMers as a group or movement to join. We have a few external advisors, alumni and guests occassionally. However the flag we rallied around was IBMers with a passion for change, and enabling that with virtual worlds.


So, anyone, absolutely anyone has the ability to share what they are doing and gather people interested in that around them. The web lets this happen. So next time you are thinking I wish x would happen or y would get going, dont wait. Web 2 is Web do. Start now. If you have an excuse as to why not, protecting your position, too many emails, the world does not work like that, thats the way it has always been etc. well you are missing out of making a real difference to a whole lot of people.

Its not easy to carry on leading, you may get laughed at, criticized but that usually indicates you are doing the right thing. I also dont think the people hammering on you will ever stop either, if they do you need to take it further.

So what are you waiting for. Get on with it.

From Little Big Planet to a Smart Planet

As you know we don’t usually do press releases or “official” stuff here on eightbar, but the very recent words from Sam Palmisano around the drive for a Smart Planet do fit in rather well with what we have been doing over the past years.
Firstly Smart Planet is not directly named after our very own Rob Smart, but just as Second Life surnames act to aid serendipity we should not ignore that link.
Secondly, this is not really related to Little Big Planet as such, but there are parallels that can be drawn.
However the main drive behind the Smart Planet is around these three themes.

First, our world is becoming instrumented
I often talk about things being instrumented, but this fits in with the approach we took to Wimbledon in SL(first blogged in 2006), an instrumented world re-envisioned and experienced. It fits with Andy SC and DCJ’s work with sensors, actuators, current cost meters etc. It was the core of my business process management pitch at VW London. If we have the data, openspimes, facts, figures, messages then we can do a whole lot with it.

Second, our world is becoming interconnected
Well…. if you are reading this blog you know this is the case. This is not just about the data but about the people. Web2.0 and virtual worlds have connected us all in incredible ways, formed new tribes of interest, brought eightbar into existence. Being able to create and share across company and cultural boundaries, breaking geography, all fit into this from what I can see. This is where Little Big Planet fits too, even Sony dipping their toe into the great creative power of user created content.

Third, all things are becoming intelligent
This is the extra leap, but we can apply compute power to vast amounts of data as a service. We can also apply human power, the wisdom of crowds. Things are not isolated units of processing. We can gather insight and points to innovate on with more simulations and visualizations at a global level.

So bring on augmented reality, transparent sharing across interested groups, remote rich interaction between people and information at distance and new ways to determine what is happening in the real world.

So to finally quote Sam Palmisano “But I think one thing is clear: The world will continue to become smaller, flatterโ€ฆ and smarter. We are moving into the age of the globally integrated and intelligent economy, society and planet. The question is, what will we do with that?”

Tell me that does not fit in with all the drivers of virtual worlds that we and our fellow tribe members inside and outside of eightbar have been pushing?