Ecoutee grand opening event

I’m happy to report that the Grand Opening of our organic clothing store in Second Life was a resounding success. Thanks to Jojo, William and the Etopia Eco-Village community, we had a nice turnout. Everyone loved Gigii’s designs and it was very gratifying to see folks wearing the freebie logo tee — and buying and wearing several of the others.

Completely coincidentally (I didn’t hire him, honest!), our very first official guest was jolly old St. Nick himself, who stopped by to take a snap in the wacky Double ee tee-for-two with Gigii. We had alot of fun with that gimmick — some really hilarious pairings (see for yourself in our Flickr photo album, which I see is just this minute rotating onto the main SL blog page). And we found a potential Ecoutee spokesmodel in Aiva Rayna.

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We aren’t quite sure exactly how some folks found out about us: whether from the main SL Events List or from the snaps we posted the previous week to the SL Flickr group. But we were happy to see so many friends (like Kalok with his scary insect outfits and Wii’s friend Vicki the blonde bombshell who was the first to alert everyone to the QuickTime exploit).

Maybe it was just the Friday primetime hour, or the new viewer, or the particle snowflakes from our Santa Bench… but things seemed unusually glitchy. I could see how that might really upset some commercial enterprises but really at that point what else is there to do but laugh it off and keep sipping virtual Champagne?

Prof asks “what you think you learned, what you are proud of, what you were frustrated by, what you wish you (or we) might have done differently.” Let me take those one at a time.

1.) What I learned: that a successful commercial enterprise in SL is less about location, location, location than it is about community, community, community. We never could have done this without the help of the good folks in Etopia, who checked in on us often, encouraged us, offered help, and ultimately “were there for us” when it counted.

2.) What I’m proud of: that I found Etopia early and that Gigii and I were able to secure a place there. The sim has since filled up completely with businesses and residents and they are already building a second sim called E2. I’m also proud of the little marketing tricks I discovered and employed — with the help of other people inworld who responded to my inquiries. I must have IM’d a dozen perfect strangers on topics that ran the gamut from “how do I get two different avatars to wear the same shirt?” to “where can I buy a kite?” In nearly every instance, people got back to me within an hour or a day. Amazing!

3.) Frustrated by?: oh, that one is easy. I wish we had spent more time inworld working collaboratively as a team. On those few occasions when we were actually there together, we really accomplished alot of good stuff.

4.) Done differently?: hmmm, I may have to think about this one for a while, at least as far as the project goes. Vis-a-vis the class, I’ve mentioned before that I think we spent too much time at the beginning griping about the platform. Let’s get with the program folks: SL ain’t perfect but it’s still the most compelling online experience today.

We should have focused our class sessions on voice lectures by the prof with typed Q&A (which worked well once or twice) and for honing our building and scripting skills (I’d still hate it — but at least people wouldn’t think that was because I couldn’t do it). Oh and don’t waste inworld class time going over the next week’s assignments. Just post it to the blog — or send it as an SL notecard!

And if this course is given again — as I hope it will be, since every time we told someone in SL that we were in a class they were extremely impressed (hooray for QU!) — don’t bother to book a classroom with lousy PCs. Right from the start, make sure each student has SL-ready hardware and a convenient private place to log in from. In other words, no logistical/technical issues (beyond those that everyone else using SL regularly has.)

Sure, let’s get together once or twice in person, so we know who’s behind the avatars, preferably at someplace with food in New Haven. But after that, see you all inworld!

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