10 fears to let go of in 2016

OpenSim is taking off. Active users grew more than twice as fast in 2015 than in any other previous year.

Based on Kitely Market stats, exportable, hypergrid content grew faster last year — five times faster — than non-exportables.

And virtual reality is set to explode. With more than 16 million Google Cardboard-compatible headsets already in use, and Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR all hitting the consumer market this year, it’s never been a better time to be virtual.

Plus, OpenSim is currently the only peer-to-peer, open-source, infinitely scalable virtual reality platform out there. Plus, OpenSim allows for user-generated content, and has the most diverse team of developers working on it of any open source project I know.

We here could well be the future of the metaverse. It’s our time to step up and grab the opportunity!

What’s stopping us? The fear of failing, of course. But by not acting, our failure in this is guaranteed. You’ve got to be in the game in order to have any chance of winning at it.

scary dinosaur on Cookie II

Here are some other fears that I hear a lot from readers about why they’re not stepping up and creating content, services or platforms that will move OpenSim and virtual reality forward.

1. Don’t be afraid of not being the best.

Your stuff doesn’t have to be better than the best stuff out there — it just has to be either different from what’s already out there, or better than the worst.

2. Don’t be afraid of people stealing your stuff.

The thieves aren’t your target customer base anyway. Your target customers are honest, law-abiding citizens who want your content and are willing to pay for it.

3. Don’t be afraid of negativity from potential competitors.

Especially those who are doing a bad job and can’t find customers. Of course they’ll want to reduce the competition and try to get you down.

4. Don’t be afraid to give stuff away.

It helps build your brand and lets you find out if there’s a customer base for your products or services. If people don’t even want your stuff for free, that’s a sign you need to focus on something else.

5. Don’t be afraid to raise prices.

An easy way to do this is to upgrade your products or services, and set a higher price for the upgrades. You can also warn customers ahead of time that price increases are coming, and offer to grandfather in everyone who becomes a customer before the deadline.

6. Don’t be afraid of success.

Sure, the more people value your content, the more attention you get, and the more people will bad-mouth you and steal your stuff and copy your ideas. That’s what happens when you’re a famous, successful celebrity. Do you have any patience for it when Hollywood stars complain about all the attention they get?

7. Don’t be afraid to spend money.

Hire other people to do the work that you can’t do, or that you don’t want to do. You might be surprised to find out that your least favorite task is someone else’s favorite thing in the world. Don’t be afraid to buy advertising, building tools, or other stuff your need to build your business and customer base. But also don’t be afraid to stop spending the money as soon as you find out it’s not working.

8. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Write reviews on other designers’ content. Suggest destinations and events on the various Google Plus communities. Share links and opinions on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. Write advice articles for Hypergrid Business and other blogs. Yes, some people will disagree with you but many — especially those who read and appreciate your words silently — will agree with you, or be greatful for the links and advice.

9. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something.

Many creative and technical types, for example, are scared of sales and marketing and deal with it by acting like sales and marketing doesn’t matter. But you all know of great products and technologies that failed despite the fact that they were the best. Fortunately, sales and marketing isn’t hard. Complete idiots do it, and often quite successfully, and the basic principles are always, in retrospect at least, self-evident. It does take time. Expect to spend about a third of your work time on sales and marketing, until your business takes off to the point where you can outsource it.

10. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

In fact, allocate a certain amount of time each week to experimenting. Try new products, new distribution channels, new marketing strategies. If they work, add them to your regular workflow. If not, learn from the experiment and move on.

This column is a version of a speech I gave at YrGrid today, on the occasion of its first anniversary. YrGrid was one of the fastest-growing grids in 2015.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Alex Ferraris

    I was never afraid to speak up and to say how it was. I always did say I learned alot and each of the time I tried and failed for me those were steps in the right direction. Happy about that.

  • This one, ” 8. Don’t be afraid to speak up.” contains two things of interest for others to take note of.

    One is that I would love to see more people talk up others’ talents, builds, creations, etc. Over the last couple of years there has been a flowering uptick where more and more people are doing this which is really nice to see.

    I do less and less of such things but within my blog are several, such as:

    http://minethere.blogspot.com/2016/01/hyperverse-destinations.html

    Nowadays there is Thirza and her informative blogs:

    http://pingsfromtheafterlife.blogspot.com/

    There is (tho not any active lately due to her being busy irl):

    http://virtualchristine.com/

    There is the VisionZ Magazine:

    http://hg-visionz.com/ (disclaimer for those who like such things. I am on the staff)

    And some Kitely folks have started a newsletter:

    http://signofthekite.com/

    And there are others. While I like and appreciate those who promote only themselves and their projects it is very good that others promote the hypergrid in more general ways highlighting other peoples interests-) This way we get a growing diversity of people whose interests (and shares) show a much larger audience the wealth of talent available.

    Sharing other peoples interests helps us all to grow. And it is a nice thing to do-)) (who doesn’t like nice, I asks ya?)

    Not one to police spelling errors as I am unworthy (and often misspell tho some are intentional), but yours is a business site, so:

    http://www.gingersoftware.com/english-online/spelling-book/misspelling/grateful-greatful-greatfull

  • Da Hayward

    Open sim is taking off!!! I also believe it will be the future as long as the individuals involved can forget and forgive, working together will be the key to open sims success. Lets grab 2016 by the horns and get this moving people.

  • Joe Nickence

    The thing about AR and VR right now is that is chomping at the bit so much right now it’s crazy. And the markets are ripe. Besides opening an opensim world, there are businesses that could be run just supplying equipment. I’ve considered dropshipping headsets for a while now. I’ve been attempting to find time to set up a shop that caters to bots and avatars. Don’t forget that AGI is also on the horizon. You know that they will be appearing inworld sooner or later. Even a billboard offering your services inworld will have an impact. Inworld franchising still exists. While FinCEN is still leashing 3rd party exchanges, that market isn’t totally dead. I can go on, but you get the idea. It’s time to jump in now, folks.

  • Tony Anytime

    Good Article Maria… As VR becomes more mainstream we also don’t have to worry having to explain to people what we do on the computer for countless hours… but like some ancient occult practice VR is still looked down by many and even considered weird. So glad to see this is changing.