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Take 2 for Second Life creator

posted 27 Aug 2012, 07:11 by Mpelembe   [ updated 27 Aug 2012, 07:11 ]

After creating the virtual world Second Life, serial entrepreneur Philip Rosedale is now looking to create tools to help the entrepreneurs of tomorrow in the real world. Reuters Technology Correspondent Matt Cowan reports from San Francisco.

USA-COFFEE AND POWER - Remember Second Life?

A virtual world populated by avatars, with its own currency...people used to talk about it like it was the future.

It's next big thing status was relatively shortlived but it's creator Philip Rosedale is still around and thinking big. His focus right how to best equip the workforce of tomorrow.

As you'd expect, there's a robot.

Philip Rosedale, Serial Entrepreneur, saying 

"The difference between Skype and a telepresence robot is you have to schedule a Skype call. You don't have to schedule interactions in a real office."

The new company is called Coffee and Power.

Philip Rosedale, Serial Entrepreneur, saying

"When my co-founder Ryan and my co-founder Fred and I started thinking about what we were going to do, we insisted we were going to live entirely in cafes because that's where the energy was. That's where the creative energy was and one day across his laptop Ryan looked up and said 'you know, there's only really two things we need. We need coffee and power. And by power he meant electric power for our laptops and those were the only two things we needed to get by at work."

The original Coffee & Power app allowed people to use their smartphones to buy and sell small jobs. The new version puts social tools to work.

Amber Wolf is the general manager at pariSoma, a San Francisco coworking space and she's been testing out the app.

Amber Wolf, Entrepreneur, saying

"I'm the only person who's checked in today but you have some insight into all of the people who've been in this space. Who's hear now. Their areas of expertise are sortof highlighted because it's automatically connected to their LinkedIn profile. It's a nice insight into who's in the space and what their up to."

Matt Cowan, Reuters Technology Correspondent, saying

"The list of Coffee & Power's investors reads like a who's who of the technology space. It includes Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos, LinkedIn's co-founder Reid Hoffman, Mitch Kapor who helped set up the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Kevin Rose who started Digg and now works at Google and while the idea may be a little less out there than Second Life. The belief is that it addresses a very real problem."

Philip Rosedale, Serial Entrepreneur, saying 

"I think today, we think of work and projects being companies. We get together. We form companies. We raise funding and we pursue goals of one kind or another. I think in the future that's going to change. I think we're going to start to think more about projects than companies. We're going to think more about relationships. I think the resume of tomorrow is going to be less about I worked for this company from 2009 to 2011and more about 'I worked with this person on that project and here's the thing that I did."

Matt Cowan, Reuters Technology Correspondent, saying

"Your new project seems very rooted in the real world for someone who's best know for creating a virtual world."

Philip Rosedale, Serial Entrepreneur, saying

"You know, building Second Life and then watching what people did in the virtual world taught all of us at Second Life the limits of what we can do online in a way that I don't think many people have gotten to see and I think from that I was inspired by perhaps the many things we can only do in person or we most naturally do in person. And that is what brought me all the way around to this fascinating question of how work is going to change and how working with people face to face is going to change in the future."

That said, the visionary behind Second Life still believes in the transformative potential of virtual worlds.

Philip Rosedale, Serial Entrepreneur, saying

"So something like Second Life. I think Second Life and the things that come out of Second Life, I believe will have a far more profound implication on the nature of human existence and work and commerce and everything else than frankly anything we've seen so far on the internet, but the amount of time between then and now is very hard to say."

In other words, the future's already here. It's just being largely ignored. For the time being at least.

Philip Rosedale, Serial Entrepreneur, saying

"I'm so struck by how rapidly things are changing now.I think that technology is creating new opportunity for us much faster than we as individual entrepreneurs can exploit it. And I think that's a really novel moment in human history."

Coming from someone looking to build a business by serving the needs of entrepreneurs, that is a remarkable statement.

Matt Cowan, Reuters, in San Francisco.