Home > General stuff.. > Research firms go mad in Second Life…

Research firms go mad in Second Life…

I left the office reading about the sheer madness created by some numbers crunched a touch too roughly by a renowned market analysis firm, number that were related to the monthly usage of Second Life…

The path to despair left a track, here, here, here… and tons of other articles are hitting the same chord..

Now, I do believe that quite often people use numbers to hide behind and avoid some harsh confrontation on contents, ideas or hypothesis, and numbers are also used to justify events and phenomena that sprouts from the intangible realm (this is a ludicrous attempt in the first place..), let alone those people not able to have the tiniest decent sparkle of genius and thus base all the analysis and answer on a “rock solid” bed of numbers.. cut is short, numbers are not holding the truth of all the things and events under the Sun… or, better, they potentially would, provided that you do analyse and compare ALL the possible numerical scenarios that are applicable to a given problem..

To analyse and come out with strong statements about a market condition, a social event, a complex phenomenon would entail to crunch a ridiculous amount of data… technology, finance, macroeconomic, social, whatever you want.. it is all entwined in a complex ecosystem of relationships, cause and effect, it is all living at the very edge of chaos..

The evolution and impact of Second Life in everyone’s lifestyle is not related to the present relationship between users / usage-nr. of hours spent on line.. it is ALSO related to the combined marketing efforts of “n” companies pushing together to position SL deeper into a larger customer base life experience, thus encompassing an increased user-friendly and more efficient technology, a larger distribution of “access” method (including mobile.. why not..), the availability of a straight-forward relationship between access/experience fee and customer return… and long you could go along these lines.. message is that a complex and highly influenceable system cannot be framed by a single set of numbers (only). Period.

Think about this: this huge flow of information, counter information, j’accuse, excuses, and miles of lines of blogging, including mine, are all stirred because someone somewhere did a major cockup on something related to Second Life.. now, that’s the power of SL, it is already a social hit, it is something so embedded that is almost becoming sacred, or better sacral, go and measure this!!! Maybe the hype is not paralleled with commercial results (not that SL is intended to become a supermarket, this is something companies would like to believe, since all the other channels are bleeding given that the normal market space has been squeezed to death and “whoever had to buy, bought” as a friend of mine used to say..and also since opening up other markets would prove more costly than squeezing some money from an online markeplace someone else did put in place… ) (complex analysis…), but the impact of VWs and SL goes beyond that, it is more like “reality is not the way you used to think it was”, thus opening up for communication, ideas, possibility that the establishment may not entirely perceive or intercept (kind of Huxley came back via bytes..).. it is altogether difficult to predict the outcome of something we do not entirely understand, and since we do not entirely understand it, we tend to frame it into numbers (the thing we do understand) to discover it does not make sense, and thus we trash it all as “foe”… sacred text do not explain the entire world around us, nor do numbers.. and relying on a partial view of reality lead us to wrong, massively wrong conclusion.. Vision, ability to combine and make plausible scenarios, willingness to challenge the standard thinking and a massive helping of curiosity are more than anything quite necessary qualities to display when discussing about “the future”..then, eventually, the numbers…. otherwise we will be very much like the Cardinal Bellarmine against Galileo.. and we, as humans, made that poor display of stupidity once, better not doing it again..

PS About supidity.. it is, however, pretty stupid to analyse a phenomenon using a “month: August” data set, particularly when considering an ecosystem with a large user base located in Europe, since in Europe August is holiday time and, most likely, those numbers are not a good sample, nevermind what they are telling you…

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