To Linden Labs,
In your article, "How Meeting In Second Life Transformed IBM’s Technology Elite Into Virtual World Believers", I found the discussion about IBM's involvement in virtual worlds very interesting. It was particularly surprising seeing how involved the company has become with Second Life and how they even held an entire conference within the virtual world. This virtual conference not only saved the company a ton of money but there were many other benefits that came along with this successful event.
Personally, I completely agree with the idea of a virtual conference in Second Life. IBM would certainly agree with this as well seeing as though "The organizers and volunteers unanimously agreed that the Virtual World Conference was a complete success and far exceeded their expectations." One of the most shocking aspects of this conference was the amount of money that was saved by hosting the conference online: "With an initial investment of roughly $80,000, IBM estimates that they saved over $250,000 in travel and venue costs and more than $150,000 in additional productivity gains". This fact alone should convince companies of the advantages of online meetings, and yet there were more benefits that they found. As the conference commenced, it became clear that users were taking to Second Life fairly quickly and began networking and socializing with each other. Rather than just signing on, partaking in the conferences, and signing off, these individuals took advantage of this virtual world to strengthen relationships and expand on possible business opportunities.
One of the most important take-aways from this event was the fact that individuals got to experience first hand just how beneficial a virtual environment can be. All too often, I believe those who aren't familiar with a certain type of technology will just dismiss it and claim that it wouldn't improve their lives at all. This is especially so with a "virtual world" like Second Life where some people would just classify it as a video game and completely ignore it in terms of any type of serious uses. However, the Virtual World Conference has taught us otherwise. It shows how the proper planning and implementation of such technology can bring a company countless benefits and an overall successful venture.