A Brave New (Virtual) World

Date - Tue Nov 15, 2005
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

6:00 pm: Registration, Networking Reception & Demos.
(Light food and refreshments will only be served until 6:30pm)
7:00 pm: Panel Discussion (Q&A)



A Brave New (Virtual) World

Commerce and Community in Virtual Societies




Event Description:

To an increasing degree, personal self-expression and social interaction are migrating from the physical world to on-line virtual worlds. By breaking down geographic limitations and providing greater control of how one is perceived by other users, virtual societies have proven an increasingly appealing environment for social interaction.

Numerous business models have emerged to capitalize on this virtual interaction and character personalization. Key questions this panel will explore include what opportunities exist to monetize this shift, what are the underlying social implications for increasingly living in virtual worlds, and what tensions are likely to arise as a larger percentage of social interaction and commerce moves to the virtual domain?


Philip Rosedale Click to Google Philip Rosedale
Founder & CEO
Linden Lab

Philip Rosedale has an extensive background in the development and pioneering of streaming technology, having built his first computer in 4th grade, and started his first computer software company while still in high school. In 1995 he developed FreeVue, a low-bitrate video conferencing system for Internet-connected PC’s, resulting in the acquisition of his company in early 1996 by RealNetworks. For 3 1/2 years, Rosedale served at RealNetworks as Vice President and CTO, where he was responsible for the development and launch of RealVideo, RealSystem 5.0, and RealSystem G2. In 1999 Rosedale returned to San Francisco, joined Accel Partners as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, and began the basic research that would become the technology behind Linden Lab. Rosedale holds a BS degree in Physics from the University of California at San Diego.


F. Randall Farmer Click to Google F. Randall Farmer
Virtual Worlds Pioneer & Community Strategist for Yahoo!, Inc.

For more than 30 years, Randy has been connecting people with each other
using computers as the mediating technology. He co-created: one of the
first forums, the first Trek MUD, the first graphical MMOG with the
first avatars, the first virtual MMOG currency, the first virtual
information marketplace, the first fully distributed virtual world
platform, the first no-plugin web session platform, Yahoo’s 360 project,
and more.


Bill Gurley Click to Google Bill Gurley
General Partner
Benchmark Capital

Bill Gurley joined Benchmark Capital in 1999 after spending two years as a partner with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Before entering the venture capital business, Bill spent four years on Wall Street as a top-ranked research analyst, including three years at CS First Boston focusing on personal computer hardware and software. His research coverage included such companies as Dell, Compaq, and Microsoft, and he was the lead analyst on the Amazon IPO. In both 1995 and 1996, Bill was a member of the Institutional Investor All-American Research Team.

Prior to his investment career, Bill was a design engineer at Compaq Computer, where he worked on products such as the 486/50 and Compaq’s first multi-processor server. Before Compaq, he served in the technical marketing group of Advanced Micro Devices’ embedded processor division. For the past seven years, Bill has authored the Above the Crowd newsletter which focuses on the evolution and economics of high technology businesses.

Investments: Avamar Technologies, Business.com, Crossgain (acquired by BEA Systems), Engim, JAMDAT (JMDT), Linden Lab, OpenTable, Nanosolar, Nordstrom.com (acquired by Nordstrom), Shopping.com (SHOP), Tropos Networks, and Zillow.com, Inc.

Other Affiliations: Advisory board of the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas.

Education: MBA from the University of Texas, 1993; and a BS in computer science from the University of Florida, 1989. Chartered Financial Analyst.

Above the Crowd
"The Revolutionary Business of Multiplayer Gaming"

Will Harvey Click to Google Will Harvey

Will Harvey is the Founder and CEO of IMVU, the maker of the world s greatest 3D instant messenger and also the Founder of www.there.com, the maker of the first 3D virtual world for socializing online. Will has an academic background in computer science and search, a professional background in networking software, and an artistic background in video game development, stretching back to when he wrote a world wide best selling video game at the age of 15.

Before founding There, Will ran the dynamic media products at Adobe Systems, including AfterEffects and Adobe Premier, the world’s leading video editing program. Will came to Adobe when Adobe acquired Will’s previous company, Sandcastle, which Will had founded to develop network technology to enable low latency interaction over the internet. Prior to Sandcastle, Will served as Vice President of Engineering at Rocket Science Games in San Francisco, where he led the company’s transition from full motion video based games to games focused on

During school, Will founded and ran several successful game development companies while simultaneously earning his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in computer science from Stanford. Will’s doctoral thesis introduced several important search algorithms that are now used commercially in manufacturing scheduling. Will’s game companies produced Platinum and Gold game titles including Zany Golf, Immortal, and Music Construction Set, with combined sales of over a million units. Will has filed 8 patents related to networking, graphics, and automated scheduling. He wrote his first commercial video game, Music Construction Set, at the age of 15.

Job Lawrence Click to Google Job Lawrence
Product Manager, Market Intelligence
IGN Entertainment (Div. of Fox Interactive)

Not Available.