Escaping the valley may be the best way to develop the next great tech product.
There has been much discussion lately, most of it negativeÂ (you can read more comments on Technorati), about the comeback of boo.com and once again, I find myself on the opposite side of the shared wisdom. Before I go into reasons as to why I think a comeback by Boo.com (a boo.comeback?) makes sense, let me first go into my unique qualifications to make such an assessment: I happen to have worked at Boo.com in the past and I was the insider who exposed some of the challenges the company had faced. I spent a fair amount of my time, in 2000 and 2001, talking at conferences about the lessons learned from this failure and I think that some of those are now fixed. Looking Back In the ensuing 6 years, I’ve been going over and over what went wrong and discovered more lessons along the way: the market conditions were wrong, we were young and arrogant, and, for the most part, we didn’t really understand the magnitude of what we were trying to accomplish: to remind people, our goal was to launch a website in 16 countries (15 EU countries + the US) on day one, localizing our site for…Read More
Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to get a better understanding of what is happening with the concept of virtual worlds. Let me go into more details as to why I think this phenomenon has some real potentials. In this first entry in a series, I will explore the economic activity surrounding this phenomenon. Size of the market When talking about virtual worlds, I am focusing on the new space created by the gaming industry that allows to create online avatars and interact with other players in a fully immersive environment. From an economic standpoint, estimates range from around 100 millions to a high of US$1.5 billion a year. These are not insignificant numbers and they point to an emerging phenomenon and potentially the rise a new industry, with its own set of marketplaces, gathers, owners, creators, and marketers. Marketplaces To understand virtual worlds marketplace, one must first understand what si going on in those virtual worlds. When a player sets up an account, he’s given a basic set of skills. As he or she progresses and interacts with the virtual world and its denizens, the player gains more and more skills and goods. However, this type of…Read More