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.

Maria Korolov