Virtual Worlds & the Cognitive Surplus

How much work went into producing all the (language) versions of Wikipedia? The answer: much less than the total number of hours Americans spent watching TV over the last year. Listening to Clay Shirky estimate the amount of untapped cognitive cycles in his Web 2.0 keynote, reminded me of a similar calculation we did early last year. Amidst the flurry of media stories about Second Life, my immediate reaction to the hype surrounding Second Life was to compare it to the benchmark that Clay cited in his talk: hours of TV viewing per capita.


Nevertheless, the media stories combined with signals from a few of our technical indicators (online job postings, book sales, message lists, …) encouraged us to dig deeper into Virtual Worlds. We spent time in the latter part of 2007 understanding Virtual Worlds and earlier this year we released a Business Guide. This Sunday (10 a.m. PDT), I will be speaking in Second Life as part of the Virtual Business Expo and I plan to briefly discuss some of our most recent findings. The organizers are encouraging people to register in advance and you can do so here. Hope to see you in-world this Sunday.