Thursday, January 20, 2011

Competition in the Marketplace

Lots of crap flying through the metaverse as of late. Accusations, conspiracy theories, paranoia, and flat out lies being throw about like stale jelly beans being spit out of a kid's mouth. Those hurt btw, I strongly advise never hang out around kids when they are checking their Halloween candy for whatever might still be good!

Something emerged from my brain though through all this mudslinging the last week or two: Competition. That's a double-edged sword, for anyone who tries to make a buck. No matter what business you're in, it revolves around that almighty dollar (or equivalent for whichever country you reside in). Even charities have to have money to continue functioning on a day to day basis. And even charities compete for it. So what am I rambling about competition for?

Well, there are two thoughts on competition. You can either fear it, or embrace it. There's no real middle ground there. You can't embrace and fear something at the same time when it comes to competition. Which direction you choose to go, will make all the difference in how you behave in the marketplace. Now, while I don't stand for anyone outright lying about InWorldz, for the most part, we happen to embrace competition. Look at our largest competitor... we don't fear it. We embrace it.

Competition is not just a one way street where corporations get to make all sorts of moolah. Although, in today's world, you see most corporations trying to clear the field of any competition, which usually signals something bad to me. For example: I recently left my ISP. They  had a stranglehold here in the Chicago area on internet. For years we had been with them. And every year, they hiked our prices up. It got to a point where I had to call every 6 months to get them to discount it, til one day they told me "I'm sorry, but you'll need to move to our "Blah" package" which was buying all three of their services. I didn't go through dismantling them over 5 years from all their services cause I wanted all their services. I did so, because other companies did the same job, or better, for less. So finally, another provider offered the SAME service, much cheaper, without a "discount deal for new customer". Let me state, this company has already been through the mill and at one time was so huge that the government forced them to break up to start competition. This is what Americans can do when they get really irritated... but that's another blog, for another day.

It is by far, one of the most solid principals that we are founded on: Competition is good. It's good for consumers, it's good for companies, it's good for innovation. It's all around a win for everyone... with one caveat: You gotta embrace it! The minute you start to fear it, you're doing something wrong.

We are starting to see some of this in the Metaverse itself now. Changes being made by grids to offer up something new to their residents. Which is excellent. Why do I say this? Well, we stated long ago who our target market is, that has not changed. We're not looking to be the end all be all of grids, we have seen where that leads to. This technology has amazing potential, and it needs to be fostered and developed. This is starting to happen. There are entire groups, we'd much rather send to other grids, because we simply can not try to handle all the varying issues they will bring with them and detract us from our main big picture. And we have done this, without a qualm inside us whatsoever based on those companies track records. Are they competing with us? I suppose, it really depends on your viewpoint really.

What we're seeing is rather interesting developments though. I wouldn't say this is because of InWorldz by any means btw, but because of the entire Metaverse itself. Each grid doing their utmost to offer unique solutions to their residents. We're seeing changes in the Legacy grid, to changes through out the other grids in how they compete. This is a good thing. It offers Metaverse hoppers the opportunity to really explore out there and find what's right for them. And it promotes grids to get on the ball and really do things their residents want. Which should be unique to them. Not every grid can offer everything. It's simply not feasible. And it drives the grids to rise to those challenges and develop that technology they need to better fit their marketbase.

Even in software, competition drives the technology. You can look back to MicroSoft for a primer in that, with Linux. That brings us to another point though in competition. And it's one that utopians hate hearing  ;) Commercialism drives competition. Anyone remember the government looking at MicroSoft for too large a marketshare? Well there was little Linux, plodding along, opensource, and free. Now, it's a $1billion dollar company... RedHat that is. They were competing with a commercial product, a giant in the industry, because they felt they could do it differently and more in tune to their needs. And they did. They laid down solid groundwork, set up policies for commits and worked it right up.

I'm not saying VW techology is on the same par as the above paragraph, but it IS vital to have a commercial product or two in there to compete against. Or else, there's no end goal... no "drive" to finish it. Unless you're just independently wealthy and have this burning obsession to create competition. Which has been done as well.

So, this is like one of those moments where you sort of have to say "gimme some love" or well.. "give em some love", cause in the end, the competition is good. I suspect we'll see quite a bit of it emerge in the Metaverse over the next year.

Til we see ya InWorldz!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ya Know You're Doing Something Right When...

Happy New Year everyone! I didn't blog last week as didn't really think anyone would care! And now that we're in a New Year, of course all the new stuff starts. Fresh year, gotta have fresh rumors after all! And I'm feeling pretty spunky today so I figured I'd address these cause they really are funny!

Over the recent months we've heard all sorts of fun stuff. So let me start knocking them out for your consumption and hopefully humor!

#1. We're closing our doors in February. Now, I heard this a while ago, I found it immensely funny. Really? Predicting our doom as early as February? Tranq's gonna be bummed out, I better tell him that dev we're working on hiring isn't gonna happen...

#2. Our concurrency numbers are fudged:  This is really funny too, and Tranq posted once about it. Why on earth would we NEED to fudge our numbers? To make ourselves look good?!?  I could be way off base here, but I'm fairly certain if we had a number issue, such as they were way off, we'd be hearing about it from our residents. To date, the only thing we've heard complaints about is the fact their friends don't show online when they are or vice versa in the friends list.

#3.  We use what others fix to make our grid look superior:  This is one of the nastier ones, I've heard about, and I won't lie, it bothers me. To those who seem to think we're merely taking OS diffs and running them into our code, you might want to step back, take a look at where we've said our code can not be merged to OS at this point. You might also want to read some of the posts in our forums which outline exactly we've done, without giving out too much information.

#4.  We have strong marketing people:  Yeah ok, we do no marketing, so every one of our residents has to stop talking about InWorldz NOW! That's right, you heard me guys and gals, you're too good at marketing, so stop that! Oh and we'll have to stop paying you I guess too... what does zero from zero equal again?

#5.  We use our currency funds to fund our grid:  Wow, this one really is humorous. We use our currency funds to fund our grid?!?! Is that the LAMEST idea you could come up with? This shows how little these people know about a grid (and to think they actually "run" one) or the actual costs involved. Newsflash: while currency is profitable for us, it's not enough to fund 760 regions on almost 40 servers. Get a clue... please?

#6.  We are a "technical nightmare": Another one of my favorites has been this one. Really... compared to what? Compared to an empty grid that has no useage going on with it, where there's no uploading, no building, no storing of assets, no events going on? If comparing to the other world, then I guess it's 6 in one hand, half a dozen in another as to what users consider a technical nightmare, but as they have not called us that... I'm gonna dump this one in the recycle bin where it belongs.

#7.  We were the original creators of Legend City Online (LCO):  False, false and again false. We had nothing to do with the grid, not when it started, was running, nor when it was shutdown. There is some interesting facts to be found out there however for people to dig up in regards to it. Even more interesting is knowing which of our "competitors" started that rumor.

#8.  InWorldz will be part of a "multi-grid empire":  I hate to burst these people's bubble... wait no I don't... but no, we're not. We're not for sale, and I highly doubt the perpetrator of this bit could pay our price if we were.

Now, while most of this is tongue in cheek, it does prove something: We're doing something right. So to our detractors, those who are upset with us, those who have started these rumors: Thanks! Let me also point out, we know exactly where each and every one of those rumors originated from... which grid operators said what, and when. So with that said, let me offer my bit of New Year's advice to you...

Stop trying to figure out how to put us down, or make us look bad. Don't you have code to write, or a grid to run? Or is it more fun to fight like a pack of dogs over every bit of resident you can? Well, newsflash, it's a free Virtual World (well, for most of the grids out there it is anyways), and people will go where they want. They'll live in whatever grid they want, they'll visit their friends where they want, and they'll spend their money where they want. It's called competition. Deal with it. If you're too busy bemoaning that we won't give up our code, do you think whining is going to endear us to release it? Instead of whining, how about you figure out what we're doing, and fix the stuff (cause contrary to the above, we really do actually CARE about stability before shinies, which I know is anathema to everyone else), and maybe work on how best to get your grid to do what you want it to do and stop worrying about InWorldz.

To our residents... you guys rock. If it weren't for you all, they wouldn't be doing all this. Til we see you InWorldz!  :)