In-world to Out: Dancing with the Issues by Uzo Dayafter
Uzo Dayafter makes juggling look easy (which anyone knows who does it well, it is not easy!) Prioritizing is important to reach a large audience, and he shares the secrets of how he masters the virtual world. —EM
Adding an entertainment center to my business mix helps to build a supportive community. In every business, the more members, the better. With a huge following, you can sell anything. The long term purpose of any venture depends on growing a community. Here are some ideas for how to integrate company and community:
• Develop an umbrella vision. Prim is one concept that holds all of my goals together. It is basically the shell—like having an ice cream store with 31 flavors. Prim is the community builder, and becomes the shopping power. Most people specialize in a certain thing and go with it, which can be rather powerful itself. I like variation, so I can basically have an “all you can eat buffet.” At least I never get bored.
• Keep it simple. The Prim mall is not at all close to realistic. This approach is opposite most builders. Its design is not detailed, but kept to the bone. Two main colors dominate. The place is not loaded with trillions of textures giving hell to the newly arrived person to rez. I try to do a lot with a little. So there is less lag. And it is very easy to navigate and remember. The sim has five main platforms—fully using up the region. Even the name is simple. Prim = Basic element of Second Life. This Prim is = Basic element of fun life. 🙂
• Diversify. When my wife, Peg, told me she wanted to do a club, I built Prim Dance Club on a small parcel. That soon grew into a whole multi-purpose sim! Prim is now a diversified entertainment center. In many cases, it is better to focus on just one thing at the start. But then expanding always brings in options—not to mention that it is smart to diversify in life a bit. For now the AP product line is what it is, but I have plans in progress to bring the relation between AP and Prim closer. For example, see all these trees? Someday I’ll just set them on sale right here, with my own benches, and the whole place becomes a buyable garden. This reaches out to more people. Not everyone likes vanilla ice cream. Some want strawberries. Similarly, the audience at the club may differ on the daily theme of the music offered. The change attracts more people. By diversifying a lot, I cover the most territory.
• Build audience. Notify people about products and events. Right now, between AP, Prim Dance Club, and Prim Entertainment Center, we are over 1,500 members, only counting the in-world groups. The web reach-out is about another 1,500. Growing constantly, I am confident that once we reach out to 10,000 people, the product profile being sent out in ads won’t much matter. Once you have a solid number of followers you can sell anything, because there will be someone there who needs exactly that offer. I think having a large community with ten awesome items to sell always beats having 1,000 items and ten subscribers. And by giving a social context, a DJ is an entertainer. This actually builds a more direct connection with people than just selling products.
• Make a balance. AP uses less direct tools to reach out to its audience. When you create a product, you have to make it only once. Unlike in real life, you don’t have to keep up production of the item. Once it’s done, and out to the market, you can move on to the next. When I sell trees, it is removed. I do gather loyal customers—but I never see 99% of the buyers. When you work with a community, it requires constant care. For a DJ, the focus is all on the guests. I pay attention to what they like, what they want. That’s why we have a different music style every day.
• Create an atmosphere. Prim is where people come back to feel good. It has a core group—pillars, if you will—of close trusty friends. This community gives direct contact with people, though it does demand more of my time and personality. As an entertainer, my job is to please those who come here. We become friends overtime. In that two-hour show, it doesn’t matter what happened before, or what will happen after. In that time, I am a show-man. People, especially here in SL, want to have fun and get away from the real life troubles. When they enjoy themselves, of course they come back. And we celebrate each milestone with them, both on the web and in-world. I often use a shouter to build excitement.
• Set up for permanence. Both AP and Prim Entertainment Center were created for long term stability. Regions in SL come and go. Clubs, come and go. This place, and AP, remain. And that makes them more powerful. Most people fail when they open a club, or any business, because they see success in some others that have been around for years and doing well. Then these new entrepreneurs realize that, after two months, they are not rich yet, and they quit. They under-estimate the work. Even in this fast pace, development still takes time, persistence, and focus.
• Prioritize. There is a million dollar formula on how to manage and get things done, yet have time for enjoyment too. I read it somewhere. Before you start anything, make a To Do list and set up a calendar. Put in all scheduled appointments or, in my case, sets for DJing, that are fixed. The rest is just put on paper, or in my case computer. Then take a few minutes every day to prioritize them: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5…… 100. Next, start with #1, until done. Then do #2, then #3, and keep doing it. You might not get everything done, because of whatever reason, but you take care of the most important things. Living in chaos can be fun and challenging. But living in order is more peaceful. My real life background, and the last 20 years, help me know when to do what. Of course I can still mess things up entirely too. (I still pick up the whole club sometimes when I do a wrong click!) With this priority method, it is very rare that I finish everything on the same day. But then I roll over to the next day, and again start with the most important. I never get behind on the important things. The not-important things don’t have due dates or dead lines, so those are fine anyway.
• Persist. Though I respond closely to what people want, I can still be surprised. I do have products that hardly sell. And I have DJ sets when only a couple people show up. You cannot please everyone. I don’t put too much thought in it, because you can basically simplify the whole formula. When you want to make something succeed, start doing it, and keep doing it. If a product doesn’t sell, then move on to something else. But I don’t throw it out, and it won’t put me down. I’m a very stubborn man.
• Use strengths. Mine are marketing and entertainment. I like to be on the Mic, cheer up people, or make them feel good. I don’t do “dry marketing,” which is keeping numbers, making stats, and drawing conclusions from them. I do the important research for what I need though, and improve. I learn something every day. Fortunately, I don’t make mistakes every day—I let others do that! The best part of SL is that when people lose faith in something or confidence in real life about job, skills, or relationships, SL has a chance to bring those back—to start again. It’s not a secret that 99% of SL residents are, one way or another, unhappy with real life. I can’t recall anyone I know that is fully satisfied with their lives. Bottom line is loneliness. It seems that those who find completeness in real life, leave SL entirely. Think about it logically. Why would someone sit at the computer playing Barbie games with pixel people if he/she had the same with real people? Many wives in here are just very unhappy with their real life husbands.
• Grow. SL brings more out of me—more potential, more dare, more boldness. Here, everyone can be more what they want to be than what they can be in real life—especially if ill or unable to access opportunity. The two worlds can shape both lives. When people find happiness in SL, lets say in a virtual relationship, even before it becomes a real life relationship, it makes the days better. You might smile more. Because you spent the night with your SL lover or with your friends or you had an awesome time in a club. You are happy, and it certainly affects real life, because it is still the same person. Or you run a business in SL, or create—try something that you have not done before. Coordination and focus and skills improve. So, obviously, that will result in real life as well.
• Collaborate. I have a wonderful partner. Every successful man has a woman behind him. Peg and I have a very clear understanding. We don’t argue on anything concerning Prim. She is like good whisper, an angel that helps look at things missed, even the best cheerleader. Prim would not exist without Peg because she is its inspiration. So having at least one very important person close helps. —someone real in an unreal world!
• Respect emotions. As the virtual world allows a direct personal contact, building a community can feel like family. There are no borders in friendship and love. Emotions enter and create some havoc because, with the lack of senses like touch or hearing, words are magnified as much stronger. By it’s original meaning, “drama” is the mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from Greek, meaning “action,” which is derived from “to do.” My definition: drama is a mess of feelings—sadness, happiness, greed, jealousy, anger, etc.—from a line of actions that create more actions, resulting in more feelings… until one player must leave the stage to set things back to normal. We all say we don’t want it in our lives, but we hunger for drama and get satisfied by watching a soap opera, follow the “Hollywood Village” scandals, or we create it ourselves. Either way, if you do not have drama in your life, then you are locked away alone, or you lie. So what I do, about drama is BBR: Block, Ban, Report if it gets bad. A lot of the drama in SL involves the club business because these are social hubs. This inspires our club to not be the only attraction at Prim. We continually add more attractions, more activity, more diversity.
• Keep a separation. I bring real life knowledge into SL more than the other way around. A virtual world is parallel to the real one—like a clone, with some extras, and some deficits (but we look over those things—well, we try). But knowledge and skills, techniques and strategies, ways to treat people, etc., these are very much the same. Though we cannot fully separate the two, I do keep real life separated for privacy and strategy. I like that Second Life is a second life—the name is perfect. People don’t even know my nationality. For the show business, mystery is an attraction and keeps people around. Mystery has power. In real life business, transparency is expected, but not given. Thats how the tabloids are born. In SL, it’s trickier because people are much “bolder” by hiding behind an avatar with no legal ID connected to it.
There is a lot to keep me here—both personally and in business. I was gone from SL for a year once. Real life provided me everything that I needed, wanted, and kept me busy. But there was a price I paid for that here by losing many friends. One year is a very long time in SL and a lot changes. When I came back, most of my landmarks had no destination anymore. I started new, kept contact with those I could, and here we are now.
I have to keep productive in networking, marketing, and creativity. How I am able to do all this? Other than the time management mentioned before, I don’t sleep much. So I have more time for things than most people. But I know what is most important: having trusty, good, and important people, especially that one person behind me. But loving what I do is definitely a strong factor too. You have to love what you do to be able to do it well. I love it.
Contributions are encouraged if they cover topics relevant to the real world readers. Comments and opinions are also encouraged.
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