I'd been introduced to Nasus Dumart by a mutual friend several weeks ago at a party. We spoke briefly that evening and she'd informed me of the impending release of her first book, "The Unofficial Guide to Building Your Business in the Second Life Virtual World". The book is being published by the American Management Association and is soon to be released. We spoke briefly after the holidays and she readily agreed to meet for an interview. So, having arranged a date and time, we met at her newly established shop front in SL from which she is planning to promote the book.
"Good morning. We're dressed well for so early in the morning." I said seeing how her avatar was attired in a sleeveless red cocktail dress.
"Yes, well a girl has to look her virtual best, no matter the time of day." She said and then added, "So, this is my little shop to promote the book, the revised book cover is behind you. I am still setting things up. I have to load the website and the endorsements."
"If you're ready we can get started, what was it that brought you into SL?"
"Apple MacKay (Jay Mahar in RL) is my husband. He is a tech guru, always on the cutting edge. When he started in SL, he got very excited. It got my attention. He said it was the biggest new thing to come along in a long time. So, I started to observe and then I saw how he interacted with others. I got a little jealous and decided there was nothing stopping me from joining so, I did. I had never played online games, never even been in chat rooms so, SL was a huge step for me. Apple asked me, as I created my avatar, 'what do you want to do with your second life?' That was a HUGE question. So, I made a few decisions about the track I wanted to take. I have a degree in Media, and my journalistic training kicked in. This was a big topic on which to explore and write about." She replied.
"What was your most memorable moment in SL?"
"So many … well, I think I can say the first was hearing live music. I don't recall the performer but when they spoke to the room, mentioning my name, it was a big deal. That's when I realized this was a largely undiscovered medium. That's when I realized we were experiencing something special and we were one of the first to do so."
"Let's talk about the book ... I think you'd mentioned to me it was your first, right?"
"Yes, it is my first book. I have been writing since I was a teenager and educated in media and journalism. After the big question from my husband, what do you want to do with your SL, I answered I want to be a writer again. So, that Christmas, he gave me a website."
"I've been out to your Sensible Sue Blog." I commented.
"Actually, Sensible Sue launched my career as a writer. Sensible Sue got a following and it gave me the confidence to do it professionally."
"How was it you'd come up with the idea for the book?"
"When I had enough material, I pursued Joelle Delbourgo, Literary Management, with the idea to bring SL mainstream in a book, a great topic. She loved it, and so did the American Management Association. They are now my publisher. I decided to write about SL to a mainstream audience, bringing it out of the underground. Being that I am a 'regular' person, with no previous online interest and Jay with his expertise, I wanted to write about the ability for everyday people with any interest in SL to try it."
"You're being a 'regular' person allowed you to be more objective?"
"I turned to the big name companies in SL, the entrepreneurs, etc., to tell about how they are using SL. I spoke with Dr. Colin Parris and Grady Booch of IBM, Dr. Larry Johnson of The NMC, Susan Tenby of the NPC, and Sibley Verbeck of ESheep. I included different sectors; corporate, education, entrepreneurial, and entertainment."
"When you approached the AMA how receptive were they to the idea?"
"Our manager, Joelle Delbourgo presented us to the AMA. They'd heard of SL, but didn't realize how much there was to it. They were very excited to have us write this for them and now they know more about it. Some of the editors have created avatars and will attend the release party at Molaskey's Pub."
"There were several notable SL'ers you'd mentioned in your Linkedin profile ... was there anyone you wanted to chat with but didn't connect?"
"Most everyone I approached was more than happy to participate. But there was one that stays in my mind for passing me up. I cannot disclose who, but they were with a major University. Anyway, most everyone was very cooperative. I turned to the movers and shakers of SL for the book most notably, Philip Rosedale, Mitch Kapor, Dr, Colin Parris, Grady Booch, Steve Prentice, Princeton U, to name a few.
"Was there any one notable person who you'd interviewed that was the most helpful with your project?
"Well they all were really, surprisingly so. They're all behind me in bringing this topic mainstream. The people I spoke with all agreed I was writing an important work for the mainstream audience and fully and whole-heartedly cooperated."
"In your LinkenIn profile you mention that SL as a new media is misunderstood by RL business. What is it that they misunderstand?"
"Well I am referring to the notion that SL is a game, a 'get rich quick' medium, etc. So many businesses came to SL looking to use traditional marketing methods and then bailed out because it wasn't a fast enough ROI. They didn't understand the complexity and simplicity of SL … SL has a community that interacts, no one here wants a hard sell. Grady Booch, of IBM gave me a great understanding of SL. He said SL introduces the 4th dimension that is the HUMAN factor. They want to connect, it's personal, it has personality and it is a near face to face interaction that is unmatched anywhere except for RL." She replied and then added, "SL is still pretty far out there for most people. I just hope I can take the fear out of it for the uncertain mainstream audience."
"Besides this site … what other plans do you have to promote the book within SL?"
"Well, we are using Molaskey's Pub for the interactive part of it. We have http://Molaskeys-Pub.com , plus some RL appearances, a podcast with the AMA, social networks, book signings, etc."
"When is the release party?"
"We are planning the release party during Molaskey's Pub 2nd anniversary event, the week of St. Patrick's, March 13-18. I hope you can make it Nazz."