"I'm on top of the world" I thought, Sunday afternoon, grabbing my luggage from storage at the Hilton Chicago, site of SLCC 2007, right before heading to O'Hare to catch my flight.
SLCC is very personal to me. In July 2005, Jerry Paffendorf and myself thought it'd be fun to get 12 or 15 people together at a bar in NYC with all SL'rs. After putting the idea past FlipperPA and his wife, JennyFur, and ultimately, Valadeza Anubis, we 5 decided to be a bit more ambitious, maybe get 40 or 50 people together for a "convention". We happened to have already planned a trip to San Fran the following week, to visit Linden Lab, and so I had the opportunity to ask the big man, Philip Rosedale, himself, if it was cool to have an "official" SL convention. He happily agreed, and after getting an overwhelming response in the forums, we moved forward. Thanks to some good timing, some very helpful people, and a lot of hard work, SLCC was born.
I haven't been actively working on SLCC for a year and a half now, and it thrills me so much how fast it's grown. This year's was overbooked, had major media show up, and was fully split into 4 different tracks. Amazing. I wound up having known about 2/3 of the people there, and had met about 1/2 of that number already. It's great to see the same community of people, and also to see it grow. There really are a lot of talented, smart, good-natured people.
I also noted that the ESPN Chicago fantasy football finals were held next to our convention. It was funny because:
- SL is probably considered nerdier, except that the difference is that SLCC is about people who love a virtual world come together to socialize, whereas the fantasy football people are people who love their virtual world of football and come together to ... not socialize, but instead to continue what they do online.
- There were way more many women at the SLCC, and of nice personality and looks. So, which is nerdier? Eh?
The masquerade ball was risque, but nothing overtly adult. Men were handed porn as door gifts, and most people showed up at least in all black, many in leather, many in costumes. I fudged mine with various elements given to me, and wound up on a picture in CNet. Awesome, hahaha!
Philip's speech was good. He showed up wearing a "image missing" shirt, and spoke about how dedicated Linden Lab is to fixing SL. I would tell him later that developers are his best friends and biggest critics. Then, randomly later, I would bump into him again, and he said he *might* have a way to fix missing images textures on avatars.
There were lots of musicians, which is great. There was a handicapped individual who thanked Philip for how Second Life enables him to relate with other people and not feel judged. I thought it was terrific that it also enabled him to come to the convention and speak. (Not even non-handicapped people are all courageous enough to speak in front of a room!) There were lots and lots of people who truly love what the platform enables the world to do and become.
Our company found a good deal of success. Our name change and ARG made the front of the real-life Metaverse Messenger, and we had a lot of people asking and interested about it. Our Chief Creative Officer, Ian, and myself spoke at a business panel about how we go about making builds into attractions, and disclosed much of our design philosophy.
Other developers were also very open. Glenn Linden and Phish Frye hosted a developer round-table on Friday afternoon, and we spoke about how to better communicate and share ideas and obstacles in the industry. I rubbed shoulders not just with clients and fans, but with my competition. And it was both encouraging and fun.
I was energized all weekend. I had the chance to meet and relax with so many people I've known online, met previously or didn't. There was an overarching positive vibe over the whole convention, and if this is any sign of the people leading the metaverse, it will be a bright future. I'm happy, thrilled, excited, jazzed ... what other words can I use?
Special thanks -
CC Chapman, for making it clear to SL critics that their Coca Cola campaign was a huge hit.
Linden Lab for being a strong part, listening to our needs, and loving the platform as much as us.
Phish for spearheading some developer communication.
SLCC organizers for the ton of hard work.
My company colleagues for their involvement in our personal success, and covering the booth when I was elsewhere.
Loki Clifton who has a lot of guts and is a good guy.
All the friends I had time to hang out with between all the meetings and speeches. You made the convention fun!
Everyone who listened to me speak at my panel. I'm really, really flattered considering the talent present at the room.
A certain renoun griefer for being a gentleman.
And I endorse the following products and/or services:
- First bling (great necklaces!)
- Fabjectory - the fabs look better in person than they appear on images online
- Metaverse Messenger
- The various SL musicians and DJs who played music for us
- Tuna Oddfellow the magician, who impressed me with his sleight of hand right before my eyes.
Now, I'm off to sleep. I can't wait to hear more about others' SLCC experiences and check out all the pictures!