The first book is MassivelyMultplayer Online Game Development 2 published by Charles Media in 2005,and edited by Thor Alexander. The first edition of this book was much more focused onthe programming issues around this topic, but this edition also has a number ofchapters—almost a third of the book--on managing the overall community,building guilds (groups), policing/managing member conflicts, analyzing memberbehavior, reward and punishment methods, and even pricing policies and marketadoption strategies. I’m surprised by the amount of detail they have in here. I have not seen a copy of Richard Bartle's Designing Virtual Worlds around here but that is also something to add to the list.
The other book is Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class …andhow its transforming work, leisure, community & everyday life. Thislatter book is interesting due to new ideas that I learned the other day on theimportance of Services and the service industry.
IBM has an ongoing focus on what we call Services Science, Management and Education (SSME)which is a look at the science (or business theory) behind the serviceindustry. The reason is because in leading nations and even some emerging ones,Services is becoming a significantly larger portion of the overall GDP versusAgriculture and Industry. We’re talking 70-90% of the Gross Domestic Producthere version less than 5-20% for Agriculture and 10-30% forManufacturing/Industrial output. It’s hard to describe, but for example,Starbucks is a service company (a café or caffeine delivery service) eventhough it produces caffeinated input for others; grocery stores are the same:they sell stuff, but selling is a service action not a production action.
The word “Service” in terms of an industry is difficult todefine; it is generally considered is different than a physical (or virtualproduct), although products are sometimes outcomes of services (and is oftencalled ‘consulting’). Even much of IBM’s revenue comes from services.
So if you look at the stats, the real “business” in topnations is in the service industry, producing stuff for the other customers.Yet, there is still a lot of vagueness about the subject (even after 200-300years). The Communications of the ACM has a special issue just on the subject,contributed by social scientists, business folk, technical folk, and more,indicating the wide range of applicability of this new science.
For the community side, services have a lot of impactespecially on measuring the value of each service provider. Any community is aninformal (or formal) environment for brokering knowledge or other services. Soa greater focus on this can only help us.
In any case,