Posts archived in Journal

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Say Thank You, Please.

I typically sit at a computer for 8 or more hours every weekday.  As a computer consultant my job is to solve other people’s problems, typically with better documentation, suggestions to business processes, and, most often, by writing new software.  I do it for a living because I like to eat and because, on a whole, the job is easy and the company I work for recognizes my hard work and rewards me appropriately with none of the ‘be thankful you have a job’ attitude I hear about from colleagues at other firms.

I generally do not mind helping people with computer problems outside of work, but it is not something I want to do on a regular basis and I have to be motivated to do it.  Motivated by a kind word, or a sense that the person actually appreciates it.  If do not get that sort of appreciation the only other motivation I respond to is the type of motivation my job provides me and that is generally of a monetary sort that no one is going to give me otherwise.

I have had multiple people over the last several weeks ask me for computer support and I have provided it (I’d say ‘happily’ but it was less and less so) and none of them have actually said ‘Thank you’.  These have ranged from simple questions to people needing server support.

I’m sorry if you ask me for help in the future as I am going to be reluctant to provide it, it’s just not worth my time any more.

Second Life is built, I think, for extroverts. This is not surprising or even a knock on the grid since most of the real world is set up that way as well. As a certified introvert myself I have to make special efforts to get out and socialize, to contact friends and say ‘hey let’s go do something’, a result of this is that people think I am a bad friend (I only contact them when I need their help) and after a time I get lonely.

I was thinking about this last night when I thought ‘hey, maybe we introverts need a club!’ so I started thinking about the logistics involved. Ok, so we would need a name ‘Introverts of the Grid’ sounded good. Then I sort of got stuck on some questions

  1. What would our group logo be? A comfortable hair and a book?
  2. What would our screening process be? Oh, you’re talking too much, you’re out.
  3. What would we do with our time? We’re introverts remember.
  4. What would the goal be? To be less introverted or just to support each other in our introverted ways?

While the group idea broke down into the above tongue-in-cheek exercise I did realize that I come across as unfeelng, uncaring, and a bit distant from my friends, so I’m sorry.

I’m also challenging myself to find stuff to do, to finding places to go, and to connect to other people more than I have.

Now excuse me while I go watch a movie, by myself 😉 .

Edit: I’ve created the group ‘Introverts of the Grid’ for those of us who feel so inclined to join 🙂

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Customer Service

I am sensitive to matters of customer service.  I put myself through under-graduate school with sales and customer service jobs, and doing it well.  I know that the key to good customer service and return business is relatively simple and boils down to being polite, keeping customers informed (before and after the sale) to minimize surprises, being competent, and owning up to your mistakes if you make any.  “I’m sorry” goes a long way.

The flip-side of course is that there can be bad customers and times when customers take all of your efforts at good customer service, ignore them, and in general become more hassle than they are worth.  I learned in real life that customers can cost you more than they bring in and that point you need to sever your ties to them.

Not long ago I had a customer who purchased a product and then a month or more later we had the following exchange (paraphrased):

Him: Hey, I bought this stupid game of yours and it doesn’t do such and such it’s useless.
Me: I’m sorry, that’s the equivalent of a house rule and not something I thought to put into it as I don’t play that way.
Him: Well without it the thing is worthless and I spent a ton of money on it [Note, the most expensive thing I sell at this point is L$ 250]
Me: Well, I was going to revisit it soon to make some other enhancements I can see if I can add it then.  You would get an upgrade then since I always upgrade my products for free.
Him: You should, it’s stupid without it.

It was at this point that I refunded the guy’s money and made a note to myself that he would not get an upgrade.  Basically I decided that less than US $1 was worth my time to a player who had already decided he was not going to happy despite the fact that I apologized, the fact that I offered another solution, and the fact that lots of other people had played this game with great success.

Contrast this to another exchange that I had, one that started via IM->e-mail while I was at my day job. Paraphrased again,

Her: Hey I bought your Shuffle Vendor and when I put in 24 hours for the interval or more the display is garbled, does that mean it is still work?
Me:
I’m sorry, I didn’t think of someone putting in more than an hour since that is what I originally used it for. It’s still working, when I get a chance I’ll take a look at the code.
Her:
Thank you so very much.

There was more to the conversation, but the customer was so gracious that I logged into Second Life on my lunch break, upgraded the Shuffle Vendor, and got it out to the customer (upgrades went out to clients later in the week).

My points (and I do have them) are:

If you are a customer and you have a question or a concern, think about the human on the other side of the grid who is generally working for play money.  Be as polite and professional as they are and realize that most ‘problems’ are simply minor inconveniences and over-sites that most people will correct given the chance.

If you are a vendor, recognize the fact that there are customers you are never going to satisfy no matter what you do.  You could transfer your inventory to them for free or work for them pro bona indefinitely  and they would find a reason to complain.  While you are dealing with this customer you are losing others though wasted time and wasted creativity.  Cut these customers lose.  This was particularly hard for me to understand as I saw it as a failure to have a dissatisfied customer.

Customer service goes both ways and it is perfectly acceptable, as a last resort, to cut them loose.

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Migraines, Good?

I’m wierd, but sometimes when I get a migraine (they happen less often now that I take daily medication) I can actually figure things out that have plagued me for months.  It generally works like this.

  1. I get the migraine.
  2. I try to sleep.
  3. My mind starts to race.
  4. Code starts forming in my mind.

Stupid right?  Well in this case I had to put pen to paper (because the light from the monitor burned my brain) and the next morning, barring some basic trouble shooting, I had the basis for a product I had all but given up on months ago.  I can’t wait to show it off.

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Playing with Dolls

So last night I spent a little time “Playing with Dolls” as a good friend of mine (not a SLer) calls it.  Basically this means simply flying around the grid and buying clothes and trying on new Neko ears, trying to find new places to hang out,  and that sort of thing.  I have to carve out my own Doll time, especially in times like this when I am working on projects that I do not feel like I can announce yet (maybe in a week or two?) but consume a lot of my SL time and I am busy in RL.

Doll time is not time that I am always good at providing myself, but it is something I always miss.  This is the time that allows me to step back and go ‘oh, right, this is why SL is so great and I stick with it’, and it also reminds me that SL is, at its heart, a time to relax and decompress.

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Four Years Ago Today

Four years ago today Alidar Moxie was born and became my main Avatar.  I say my main avatar because I rarely log in with my original account any more (Alidar Marten) despite the fact that I actually prefer her last name more to some degree (not enough to go through the trouble of buying her new wardrobe and so forth).  So why do I have more than one account at all?  Why are they so similarly named?

I joined SL way back in 2003.  At that time I was still in school but thought SL would make a pleasant enough distraction.  In those days (you young whippersnappers) you bought land, paid a tax on your prims in world, and got a bonus on your allowance based on the amount of traffic your land got and your ratings and other factors.  Chances were you knew a good number of the people online at once and if someone was having a party you went because it was polite and because if they liked your clothes or something they would give you a positive ranking on something.

I chose ‘Alidar’ mainly because I am Alidar on most everything else I do* and ‘Marten’ because it sounded like a real last name.  When I created the account I pretty much made up all of the other details on the account.  It strikes me as odd now that LL took my paypal account with these made up details, but I digress.

I ultimately left SL because I could not cope with it and going to school and decided to put it on hold for a while.

Fast forward a few years and a couple of degrees and I’m ready to play SL again, except for the fact that I cannot remember my password, at all.  I try resetting my password but cant remember any of those ‘made up’ details.  I e-mail LL and get no response after a day or so and I’m impatient, so, new account.  I again choose ‘Alidar’ because, ‘I am Alidar on most everything else I do’ and ‘Moxie’ because it started with an M (sort of pining after Marten) and away I went.

A year or so later I upgraded to a premium account, go concierge service and IM’d a nice support lady who was patient with me and managed to unlock the account, but it had been long enough I even had a product on the market and didn’t want to confuse things so I stuck with it.

I’ve seen SL change quite a bit and it still amazes me with how far things have come (really? we have prim hair now? and sculpties?) I can’t wait to see how things keep changing.

The amount of stuff I have done in this world has also surprised me.  I’ve joined RP communities, left some.  Started sims, left them.  Started businesses, sold them.  Started other businesses, and am working on other projects that I can’t wait to tell everyone about.  This, from someone who is a confirmed introvert.

* This is true to the extent that in college someone else in RL had my same first name.  Once my friends found out I went by ‘Alidar’ or ‘Ali’ online I was almost never called by my RL first name again.

Just when I was getting going again LL changes the rules on me.  I’ve had numerous people ask me ‘how do I get started selling things?’ or ‘how do I know if something to do well?’ and chief among my recommendations was always ‘put something up on XStreet’ and when I decided to change gears myself and give up my land and figure out what to do, its exactly what I did myself.  I kept my premium account mainly so that I would always have my mainland account and keep my little Xstreet box and be able to throw stuff up on the website and see what stuck.  Seymour was a benefit of that and the in-world store is a result of me knowing what would sell here and there and what would not.

The new rules that I am now going to be charged for just having items up on the site means that it will no longer be something I can use to get catalogs out to people or to distribute tools as I have in the past and makes a number of things much harder.  It also means I will have to re-think my strategy of what items get placed on XStreet (if any) and which become ‘in store exclusives’.

Frankly, this seems like a rather boneheaded move on LL’s part, but one that seems to be following a trend of late.  “Hey, let’s have some obscure office hours and then announce some stupid policy changes using those office hours as cover”.  Brillant.

I have half a mind to start a competing market place, it’s winter and I have some time.

There are times when I wonder if following people on Plurk is really such a good idea.  One of those times was today.

Today I found out that, evidently, many people equate me with being a Nazi and a ‘problem’ for the simple fact that I would call myself a conservative.  More than one person disappointed me today, labeling me as a Nazi, or stupid, and frankly it was disappointing.

I realize that being a conservative in the United States right now means that you do not get a lot of air time and the air time you get is ot very positive, but a Nazi?  No, I’ve never thought that being a conservative and asking that the government restrain itself from intruding into my life at every turn would brand me as some sort of revolutionary bent on the overthrow of the system.

I tend to believe in people over governments, in private enterprise over public enterprises, and am generally pessimistic about the government’s ability to manage things.   Do I align myself with Republicans who call themselves conservatives but who wish to use the name to intrude in your life in other ways? No, I think that is just as disingenuous.

I’ve come to realize over the last several years in Second Life that I am outnumbered from a political stand point, but its times like today that I wonder if I should be in a medium that brings it up over and over again.

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I Worry

I sometimes worry about the pace of my work.  I follow a lot of creators on Plurk and in general and many of them seem to release things much more frequently than I do.  Clothing designers especially will release a set of clothes several times a week and it seems that it takes me a minimum of a month to release anything.  I often tell myself ‘no worries, its because everything you do is heavily scripted and you have to worry about testing, and planning and all kinds of other things’, but sometimes I think that’s a dodge and I’m just fooling myself and that I should be quicker.

The truth is I don’t get much time in Second Life and I don’t allow myself to spend all of that time working on products (anymore) so I tend to go very slowly.  It worries me sometimes that I am going to get something done and people are going to go ‘that’s it?’ and that adds another layer of worry to the entire process.  I often even have several things I am working on at the same time just so I can release things while I am working on the ‘big’ project (like ID Lanyards and Hair ribbons).

I wonder if anyone else has the same issue and I hope I am not the only one.

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Plurking Again

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Once upon a time (you would never notice it by looking at my current Karma of just below 10) I was an active Plurker and logging in pretty much all day. For a variety of reasons I decided I needed to scale back my Second Life involvement and sold my sim, my business, and pretty much stopped logging in for a good while. One of the things I shed during that time was my Plurk account. I am slowing getting back involved with Second Life stuff (I’ve released a couple of minor products, started building some other things, consulting on others) and am generally re-engaging while trying to avoid some of the pitfalls that I made the last time.

To that end I am going to start plurking a bit, just to see how it goes. So if you want to get in touch with me, that is another way to do it. Talk to you soon.