Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Broadband poors - How to make your living in World 2.0 #3

Did you know that humanoids tend to drop more gold and items than any other creatures in the World of Azeroth.
Where in earth is that, Azeroth?, you may ask. And how is that supposed to be relevant?
Well, for us poors equipped with a broadband it may be. There is a growing crowd of us cyber-blebeijans hanging around in the virtual worlds and looking for an opportunity to earn a nickle or two, here and there. World of Warcraft - a virtual world with more than 6 million players is one of those places.
Azeroth is an Earth-like planet in the fictional Warcraft Universe, inhabited by a diverse array of species. Most of the action of the Warcraft games takes place on this planet. Due to the continual battle being waged in the Warcraft Universe there are plenty of opportunities for .. well let us put in investment terms .. for short term investments that may not be possible with real world financial derivatives.

It is kind of interesting to see how capable the capitalism is to reproduce the meat world financial stuctures and create mixtures of virtual and real - virtual and real Gold - as in this Azeroth case. You can of today buy or sell Azeroth virtual gold. While World of Warcraft doesn't allow their players to build gold with real dollars, there is an "underground" market that buys and sells WoW gold. Try it and be amazed you meat world habitant!
The obvious next move (of the invisible hand!) in this process of blurring virtual and real - gold, green bucks, plastic, trusted bytes, was introduced a few days ago at the MAKE News for the Future who revealed the secret plans of VISA credit card company to introduce loyalty programs and private label credit cards for the inhabitants of the cyber world.

Is this serious ... or not? Deadly serious, is the correct expression, I'd say. I will write my next story on one of the 2005 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA Winners, the Finnish SULAKE company who sells virtual furnitures for the kids through their Habbo Hotel. Yestardays news told us that the Cyworld US, the American version of the popular Korean social networking site has been launched. CyWorld is a closed social network with some blog-like features and its own internal economy. Each user has a “mini-hompy” - a pixelled room that can be decorated with furniture, wallpaper and other items. All these items must be paid for in Cyworld’s virtual currency, dotori (Korean for “acorn”). Users can buy virtual currency using their cellphones, or purchase vouchers in real-world shops. Some months ago BusinessWeek Online wrote about this money machine. Investor! What are you waiting for! Pack your showels and GO WEST, invest in World 2.0.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Purple Haze at Berkeley

scuse me while I kiss the sky...
purple haze all around...

there is a long 9 minute video Purple Haze at Woodstock recording here.

I am a Dreamer - but not the only one!

I have been wondering what is it that gives the music all the power it has.
How can a complete stranger, in 3-4 seconds, open a channel, make me stop all other things I am doing or thinking and, just by singing only a few notes and words, make me pick up my guitar and play and sing along....

F Am Dmin7 F
Imagine all the people

G C/G G7
Living life in peace

C - Cmaj7 - E - E7
You may say I'm a dreamer

F G C E7
But I'm not the only one

F G C E7
I hope someday you'll join us

Enjoy your Synaesthetic Brain!

An other boring day in the meat world? Here is a free advice #3.
How to enjoy the synaesthetic capacity of your brain? All you need to do is to focus on what you hear or see and - at the same time - keep eye on your brain, i.e. what is you brain doing. Example: you hear a piece of music and watch someone doing things and recognize that your brain is smiling. Why? The world suddenly is a very interesting place.

Here is a good excercise to start with!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Bubble 2.0 / Web 2.0 Workers Happily Exploited?

I heard money is raining again in Silicon Valley.

They say the drivers are: ubiquitous broadband, cheap hardware, and open-source software. "The Web is mutating into a radically different beast than it has been. And that is leading to the creation of entirely new kinds of companies, new business models, and oceans of new opportunity" write Erick Schonfeld, Om Malik, and Michael V. Copeland in CNN Money.

I loved to ride the Bubble 1.0 - I really wish I'll make it this time too - not for the money, but for the pure joy of surf. We have been brainstorming with the XFetch team (my current tech-company) with different business models and mashups but found nothing yet that would really work as a scalable business.
But we have found something!

Moneywise, I guess, the best idea this far has been the idea of combining the Amazon Mechanical Turk with a virtual farm of slaves. Because I think there is really something revolutionary in that idea, let me explain it a little.

Check the prices in the picture below. The prices are in Linden Dollars - a money used in a virtual world called Second Life. The customer pays in Linden dollars he has bought with real money. The Club owner takes his part, the Linden Lab gets their part, and - maybe - this is, afterall, cyber-capitalism! - the virtual escort gets her part as well.

Two years ago there was a discussion on the Second Life Herald Forums where the Club owner and some cyber escorts and their customers discussed about exploitation and the ethics of employing cyber escorts. "How is it possible to "exploit" these cyber escorts ( kind of sex slaves, thus) if the slave can always log-out and walk away (i.e. sign out from the computer game!) any time he/she wants to", asked the employer.

As Amazon Mechanical Turk's or Deveraux & Deloitte's idea of "Artificial Artificial Intelligence" shows us, we will see in the next coming years how a new era of cyber globalization starts to change the service sector, the biggest segment of the national economies of developed countries.
The offshore contact centers were only the first beginning.

Web 1.0 enterprise software and B2B-applications were the drivers blowing air into the Bubble 1.0. This time it will be a lot bigger. Bubble 2.0 will get it's energy from one billion anonymous users of web applications that look like games or handy free tools, but are in fact elements in huge virtual money making machines exploiting global labour in a new way.
I personally have been a Mechanical Turk employee (or slave) two weeks now and have earned $0.05. I used to work for Google AdSense Farm where I earned a little more but lost everything. They never paid me anything because they kicked me out before my first pay day. I have tried to enroll into Deveraux & Deloitte but without luck this far.

There are some things that are similar in these web 2.0 jobs. In both cases all I need is ubiquitous broadband, cheap hardware, and open-source software (i.e. Mozilla web-browser). In both cases I can walk in and start "earning" in 5-10 minutes where ever I am located. In both cases I get paid but this money flows not under the control of the tax officials of closed nation states but through global pipes completely out of the reach of the labour unions, labour market norms and rules and other socialdemocratic welfare structures.

Here is a free investor forecast and advise! The investors who invest in this megatrend will be sure winners. The Bubble 2.0 will not blow out but will grow and grow and grow - the real driver behind it being web 2.0 jobs!