Why Second Life failed: How the “milkshake test” helps predict which ultrahyped technology will succeed and which won’t.:


How did we misread the future so badly? Mind you, this Second Life hype didn’t involve distant, sci-fi predictions about the future. (“Someday we’ll all commute to the moon using unisex RocketCrocs!”) This was just five years ago. We were just months away from the iPhone.

After enduring a lifetime of mega-fads that flame out—the Apple Newton and PointCast and the Segway—why are we so quick to extrapolate a few data points into a Dramatic New Future? Well, here’s the frustrating part: Sometimes the Dramatic New Future arrives, exactly as promised. The mega-hyped Internet? Yep, worked out OK. Ditto Google and Facebook and iPods and iPhones.

This predictive crapshoot is rough on business leaders—your employees are going to bug you, every time, to greenlight the corporate blog. Or the storefront in Second Life. Or the special on Foursquare. Which efforts are worth it? How can you know, for sure, in advance?

» via Slate