is a English company that does information analysis and communication in virtual worlds. It's an example of one of many start ups that are launching to capitalize on the opportunity that they and others see in virtual worlds. It is interesting that there seem to be almost as many companies showing an interest in virtual worlds as there are other companies that have set up to help others in virtual worlds! Skeptics liken this to the dot Com boom where any sort of crazy idea got loads of seed capital. And, it is true, there are any number of fly by night companies doing Second Life development. I met one person whose entire business plan was based around a system very similar to something I had written in a few hours. But this is going to happen in any environment where there is sudden new development and interest. I remember clearly the days when companies were looking for programmers with 5 years of Java experience only two years after the language debuted. And that's what it comes down to: we live in a post dot com boom world. Anyone active in the business now knows about it, most likely lived through it, and is very away of the mistakes made during it. Dismissing all of the current start up activity around virtual worlds as the next dot com boom is disingenuous. An over hyped market and a market full of opportunities produce almost the same reaction. Assuming the actions imply one and not the other risks passing up on a true opportunity. One has to judge all business opportunities, but one should not rush to judgement.But it can be hard to make an objective assessment. At this stage of development someone with good graphical design skills can create a presence in Second Life that outshines dramatically someone with good business skills. I occasionally have the urge to dismiss any business I see that exclusively deals in Second Life unless they have something I can see in the real world. But that doesn't help either. The ability to create spectacular web pages is no more indicative of business skills than fabulous virtual offices.As with many things, the truth comes out in dialog. When assessing a vendor you have to listen to what they say. Either in interaction with them, or by reading their literature. You need to seek the substance of what they are saying. If they mostly talk about how wonderful they are, you have good reason to be suspect. But if you can ask them hard questions, and get more than a stuttering "I don't know how to do that" (like in my favorite IBM commercial
!) then they may be worth listening to.In coming semi-randomly across DAEDEN
LIMITED, I had a look at their website. It was well presented and laid out. But that just shows they know a good designer. The clincher for me was that they linked to a number of overview and detail documents about Second Life and virtual worlds in general. In particular they have a well argued and succinct article
on six ways that individuals businesses and organizations can use virtual worlds. If the first step to determining your company's involvement in virtual worlds is assessing the return you expected for your investment, then a vendor who very clearly lists the benefits you can derive is definitely someone to add to your short list.