On being a CEO

Those “CEO” group tags are widely disliked for a reason. I’d like to expand a bit on that reason, though.

Just like I’m normally the first to say that there is nothing about Second Life that is any less real than the First, so I will be the first one to say that there is a limit to claims of professionalism in it, and there’s no contradiction, both are the sides of the same coin.

Pretty much every Second Life business, with very few exceptions, is essentially a garage operation. One, possibly two or three people, perform all the required tasks. There are very few people out there for whom Second Life business amounts to a day job. Notice that these are usually reluctant to say the words “CEO” or engage in much corporate marketspeak.

The definition of professionalism is not in getting paid for work, nor does work commonly called professional somehow magically become better in quality than something done by an obsessed amateur — obsessed amateurs tend to do better on many an occasion. Professionalism is about taking responsibility for results — delivering the work promptly and on time, consistently, and with a certain expected quality, and obeying a certain code of behavior towards customers, wherein a customer may not be always right, but once they are a customer, they get the exact same treatment as any other customer.

A public image of a corporation offers a certain insulation between the customer and whoever actually does the work — now the worker is absolved of the need to be professional, because if they can’t be, someone else will pick up the slack.

Now, if you say you are a “CEO” in SL, you are essentially asking to be protected by a public image of a noncorporeal corporate entity that still cannot be more professional than it’s individual participants, because at heart it remains a garage operation — there’s still nobody to pick up the slack. There are many reasons to do it, naturally, but the desire to avoid responsibility in case it arises would be the most common, or at least, the most perceived, whether present or not. A garage operation that pretends to be a corporate monster is amusing, if not outright suspicious.

Well, don’t you think we have enough of that in the First Life?

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One thought on “On being a CEO

  1. I don’t think the “protection from responsibility” is the key, but simply the naive wish to impress. The group tag I mostly use is simply “Babel Translations”. Ther eis a “Babel Director” and a “Babel Secretary” tag that were created by my associate Tina mainly for teasing purposes – we never used them in business situations. I never felt the reason to impress – hell, some people think I even do all of Babel alone (including the translation work).

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