A Message to M Linden

This is the note that I sent to M Linden. It is a collection of thoughts about fashion and SecondLife that pushed me to write this out. Enjoy…

M –

I’m sure tons of people send you millions of notecards per day, so I’ll try to keep my thoughts as concise as possible. My current problem here is wrapping my brain around something that was expressed in an early article about your joining the Linden Lab staff as CEO. I specifically remember in the article that Linden Labs would focus on developing in-world brands rather than bringing in real world brands. Well, I happen to be an avid follower of fashion in-world (yeah I have a male fashion blog) and I just wonder why Linden Labs has not devoted more time to in-world fashion. I understand that there was a Linden employee devoted to in-world fashion, but I actually don’t even see her listed as a Linden anymore. I tend to go to a lot of fashion shows and they almost always pack the sims to the brim. Most of the time you can’t even fit into the sim and you can only get in once somebody has crashed. And then even when you’re in, it’ll take a while to rezz (don’t worry I’ll try to keep my reservations with that part of SecondLife to a minimum). These fashion shows and demonstrations of new designs are so big that it makes me wonder, “Where is the Linden presence and where does the Lab stands on fashion?”

After a long conversation with a friend who runs one of the most-read male blogs in all of SecondLife, we came up with a few ideas. Trust me, I completely understand that some of these are pipe dreams, but in a perfect world we’d like to see some these:

#1 Web Brand Space

The purchases of the web retail entities XStreet and OnRez will definitely help with providing content over a multiple of SL platforms (Openspace, etc.), but what is the next step? Ideally I would hope that Linden Labs could provide or host websites for individual clothing designers, furniture makers, building constructors, and other businesses that promote on those websites. The blue-featured, marketplace items tend to just get in the way of the shopping experience right now. Currently the collective group that runs the Armidi brand has their own website (http://www.shoparmidi.com) where they sell their designs. I’d love to see something like that be offered from LL. If nothing else just an added fee to place their items in a dedicated brand web space for the designers to create and Linden Lab servers to provide the delivery system.

#2 The Lag Factor

Fashion shows and trade shows (hair fair, shoe expo) can get really out of hand with the lag and crashes. It would be amazing if it were possible to create something like “supersims” for these events that can be rented out. A supersim would be a sim where you can pack in 100+ avatars and the models don’t have to worry about the stutter-steps they take down the runway. It’s a perfect opportunity for brand promotion that gets flushed down the tubes by lag and objects not rezzing. I don’t know the logistics of it or how easily it can be done, but I know that sims carry an inherent restore point that you turn a sim back to. It would be perfect if some of these locations that have many stores could have their stages created on the home sim, a restore point created when they’re finished, and have everything completely transferred over to a supersim that can handle the load of a lot of primmed up avatars demonstrating how fashionable they are. I used to walk around with a tag that read “Fashion knows no ARC”. I know that a lot of it is dependent upon one’s computer specs, but a sim that’s able to handle an average ARC of 2000 per avatar would be fantastic. I’m also not sure how much LL has dabbled into the grid computing zone whereby unused resources from empty sims are transferred to sims that are dragging because of the amount of avatars.

#3 Respect Fashion As An Event Category

Another thing that tends to create a disservice and feeling like the fashion is pushed aside is the fact that there’s no Fashion category in the event categories. The only category close is Pageant and that implies a competition and not a fashion show. Thus, many will not even put up anything in Events. Currently there are external blogs like Runway SL and Second Style that carry lists of fashion show events because SL does not provide them with a category. If there was a category for fashion show events users would not have to check 4 different calendars to make sure they know of all of the events going on. Case in point, today there was a show for LeLutka that I had no idea was even going on until a friend of mine mentioned it in passing. Thankfully there’s another show tomorrow that I can catch, but had there not been I would never have been able to see the designs on an avatar and simply on a wall. (It’s so much better when you can see how a design looks on an avatar, especially when it had flexible prims). It would also give newer designers access to creating events for their own shows if they do not know about the current locations that they can provide their event information to.

Now, as I explained before some of these are a bit of dreams (like the grid computing idea), but I really just needed to say these so that they don’t fall to the back of my mind to be forgotten and then nobody speaks up. I think the Showcase is a great start to this, but it needs to be more interactive i.e. a fashion show calendar with images derived from events posted in the fashion show category (the straight text on the Event page is really boring). Fashion is a major industry in SL and it really needs to be brought to the forefront. Provide the tools to succeed and the designers will come. I would have gone into a few more things, but they’re not about in-world branding. Thanks so much in advance for any time that you took to read all of this and you have a most excellent rest of your day M.

Best wishes,
Oscar Page

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