Last evening, eleven bleeding-edge wine and tech geeks converged on Capozzi Island in the virtual world of Second Life to discuss Wine 2.0. Since some of us didn’t get out for the real-world meetup in San Francisco a while back, it was the first time we had “met” many of the attendees. After some early troubles finding the right place, or getting on the island itself (sorry, Calben Gastel), we settled in for a group discussion.
For readers not familiar with Second Life, it is a video game-like virtual world with 3D avatars representing each person in the group. A chat interface is used to communicate along with gestures of the avatars. Second Life has it’s own economic system that you can buy into to collect goods for your avatar or virtually, setup shop. But just wandering around and using the service is free. Josh from Pinotblogger/Capozzi Winery kindly let us use his island (still under construction) for the meetup so we wouldn’t have to contend with others stumbling into our conversation.
Like El Jefe blogged last night, getting adjusted to this brave new world is a bit of a challenge for us aging Baby Boomers but I still think this is the way the internet will be in just a few years. Instead of clicking links and visiting websites, we’ll be wandering around and interacting with other users which presents some interesting marketing issues. More on that in another post over the weekend.
So my takeaway from the session last night was we just scratched the surface of the issues at hand and didn’t really advance the dialog much. The best outcome was the willingness to try this again in another venue later this month and the establishment of a Google Groups for the subject.
After reading the chat transcripts, I get a slightly different view of some of the ideas proposed that somehow I didn’t have a chance to process in realtime, such as Joel’s comments about a wine store in Second Life (or something like it). Imagine the ability to browse such a store with unlimited shelf space, interact with other wine lovers and talk with store staff who could recommend wines to try. Combine that with an online store and fulfillment process and something like this seems not so far into the future.
Another idea that has me intrigued is the notion of connecting communities of interest through wine ratings, like what Cork’d, TastyDrop and WineLog are trying to do. I think this and the subscription mechanism of RSS make for a powerful combination as RSS readers show up on mobile phones. I can imagine finding a wine at a restaurant or wine tasting and immediately call up the same wine on one of the Wine 2.0 sites and adding my score, all via my mobile phone. I could later add my tasting notes when I return to my computer. It will work in the other direction, as well, as I look over the wine list to decide what to choose in a restaurant. Again, call up one of these social wine ratings sites and narrow down the choices.
A lot of interesting ideas where tossed out last night, but not a lot of discussion happened due to the venue and the level of familiarity with the interface. We are looking to schedule another session, this time in Campfire, for Tuesday, December 19th at 9pm EST/6pm PST/2am (Wed.) GMT/1:00 pm (Wed.) AEST. More details to follow in coming days.
Thanks to all who made the journey with me in Second Life and to Josh for allowing us on his island. I think in a few weeks we will really get down to the bottom of this Wine 2.0 opportunity and have some very interesting new announcements.