A Greater IBM…(A Virtual Book Club)

It’s nice to reminisce about the IBM of years ago. I have many cherished memories that stay with me. It was different. It also wasn’t perfect. There were struggles and deeply felt changes—and big giant transitions that shook the very soul of it all. Sound familiar? What I remember most in 21 years is that it taught me that things were most fun when they were dynamic — in the constant state of renewal and IBM became very good at reinventing itself and taught many of us how to do ourselves.

Today, the IBM’s global strategy, new products and services, and IBM’s continued leadership, reveal the new promise in the future and a whole new host of opportunities. Additionally, I personally see a more open, friendlier, more hip IBM. The Greater IBM Connection is a good example. It is hard to imagine if the old IBM would ever have built a business and social network that included current and past IBMers — "outsiders!” And an innovative IBM Business Center at Second Life? Can’t imagine it!

DebbedaeOn July 18, I had a chance to personally experience this new hip IBM first-hand at an event that was hosted by Greater IBM. It had some very special attributes. First, it reflected IBM’s world-renown pioneering spirit. It demonstrated global collaboration and leading-edge technology that brought Greater IBMers together across the world. It also was a shining example of an act of pure kindness and consideration I will never forget.

Greater IBM hosted a "virtual book party" for me at IBM’s Business Center at Second Life to help me celebrate the release of my new book. It was a perfect reflection of a putting-our-differences-to-work experience. There were a few IBM Second Life experts mentoring and teaching as this grand experiment came to life. At the helm was a master IBM Intern, Esteban (from El Salvador) leading the way for everyone. For the most part, it was a group of pioneering innovators from our Greater IBM community across the world showing up to step inside a new way to experience connecting with one another. Adventuresome. Curious. Willing to explore — willing to be vulnerable to go where you might not be an expert. That is what it took.

Gibmdkbookparty2We all had to learn how to operate in this 3-D environment — how to show-up, invest ourselves, talk with one another, experiment with dialogue, and have a  party with free-Putting Our Differences to Work-T-shirts they made for the day, refreshments, and even learning to dance. Imagine that!!!

Flor Estevez, Greater IBM Operations Manager and Producer hosted the event (at the mic). Add to that special guests speakers, Mike Wing, IBM VP of Strategic Communications, J.T. (Ted) Childs, former IBM VP, Global Workforce Diversity, and futurist and filmmaker, Joel A. Barker. All three of them, along with Greater IBM, are featured in my book as exemplary leaders of innovation in the art of putting differences to work. Each of them helped to seed the beginning of a conversation. Most of all, seeing Greater IBMers gather from places around the world to be there to share the conversation and experience was truly moving.

It was a special gathering of firsts for everyone at a Greater IBM! History recorded it…and it touched my heart! Thank you!

Did you attend? What was your experience?

Have you joined our growing Greater IBM community? Learn more here…

We’ve got some new events coming up you won’t want to miss!


Dkatdesk2Debbe Kennedy
Contributing Author
Greater IBM Connection
Founder, President & CEO
Global Dialogue Center and
Leadership Solutions Companies
author, Putting Our Differences to Work
IBMer 1970 – 1991 L.A.; Anchorage; Seattle; San Francisco

IBM’s Virtual Worlds Guidelines


[In the interest of speed, I’m going to reblog Roo Reynolds fine post on the virtual worlds guidelines, from IBM’s eightbar blog.]

But let me add one qualifying note at the top: we created these guidelines collaboratively and bottom up, and as suggested best practices, not as hard rules. IBMers are entrusted by our three corporate Values to be responsible and use common sense. We also hope these guidelines, which you are encouraged to read, will foster a global conversation around the smartest way for corporations to encourage their workforces to investigate virtual worlds. By the way, we also followed a similiar, open approach in 2005 to developing blogging guidelines to help IBMers move into that innovative frontier, and those guidelines have become the gold standard in business.

The world is positively abuzz this morning with news of guidelines being released by IBM as a code of conduct for IBMers in virtual worlds.

Lots of news sources (including TIME, USATODAY, the Examiner, the San Jose Mercury News and more) are carrying an Associated Press story talking about the guidelines. Since nobody seems to be linking to the guidelines themselves, I’ll provide a link to the guidelines in full.

What’s in them? Let’s see. The introduction begins

    IBM believes that virtual worlds and other 3D Internet environments offer significant opportunity to our company, our clients and the world at large, as they evolve, grow in use and popularity, and become more integrated into many aspects of business and society. As an innovation-based company, IBM encourages employees to explore responsibly and to further the development of such new spaces of relationship-building, learning and collaboration.

There is a summary section of guidelines, which I’ll reproduce here

   1. Engage. IBM encourages its employees to explore responsibly – indeed, to further the development of – new spaces of relationship-building, learning and collaboration.
   2. Use your good judgment. As in physical communities, good and bad will be found in virtual worlds. You will need to exercise good judgment as to how to react in these situations – including whether to opt out or proceed.
   3. Protect your – and IBM’s – good name. At this point in time, assume that activities in virtual worlds and/or the 3D Internet are public – much as is participation in public chat rooms or blogs. Be mindful that your actions may be visible for a long time. If you conduct business for IBM in a virtual world or if you are or may appear to be speaking for or on behalf of IBM, make sure you are explicitly authorized to do so by your management.
   4.  Protect others’ privacy. It is inappropriate to disclose or use IBM’s or our clients’ confidential or proprietary information – or any personal information of any other person or company (including their real name) – within a virtual world.
   5. Make the right impression. Your avatar’s appearance should be reasonable and fitting for the activities in which you engage (especially if conducting IBM business). If you are engaged in a virtual world primarily for IBM business purposes, we strongly encourage you to identify your avatar as affiliated with IBM. If you are engaged primarily for personal uses, consider using a different avatar.
   6. Protect IBM’s and others’ intellectual property. IBM has a long-established policy of respecting the intellectual property of others, and of protecting its own intellectual property. Just as we take care in our physical-world activities to avoid infringement of intellectual property rights and to provide proper attribution of such rights, so we must in our activities in virtual worlds – in particular with regard to the creation of rich content.
   7.  IBM business should be conducted in virtual environments only with authorization. You should not make commitments or engage in activities on behalf of IBM unless you are explicitly authorized to do so and have management approval and delegations. If you are authorized, you may be asked by IBM management to conduct IBM business through a separate avatar or persona reserved for business use. You should certainly decide to use a separate avatar or persona if you think your use of an existing one might compromise your ability to represent IBM appropriately.
   8.  Be truthful and consistent. Building a reputation of trust within a virtual world represents a commitment to be truthful and accountable with fellow digital citizens. You may be violating such trust by dramatically altering your digital persona’s behavior or abandoning your digital persona to another operator who changes its behavior. If you are the original creator or launcher of a digital persona, you have a higher level of responsibility for its behavior.
   9. Dealing with inappropriate behavior. IBM strives to create a workplace that is free from discrimination or harassment, and the company takes steps to remedy any problems. However, IBM cannot control and is not responsible for the activity inside virtual worlds. If you are in a virtual environment in conjunction with your work at IBM and you encounter behavior that would not be acceptable inside IBM, you should “walk away” or even sign out of the virtual world. You should report abuse to the service provider. And as always, if you encounter an inappropriate situation in a virtual world which you believe to be work-related, you should bring this to the attention of IBM, either through your manager or through an IBM internal appeal channel.
  10. Be a good 3D Netizen. IBMers should be thoughtful, collaborative and innovative in their participation in virtual world communities – including in deliberations over behavioral/social norms and rules of thumb.
  11. Live our values and follow IBM’s Business Conduct Guidelines. As a general rule, your private life is your own. You must, however, be sensitive to avoid activities in a virtual world that reflect negatively on IBM. Therefore, you must follow and be guided by IBM’s values and Business Conduct Guidelines in virtual worlds just as in the physical world, including by complying with the Agreement Regarding Confidentiality and Intellectual Property that you signed when you became an IBM employee. It is obviously most important to do so whenever you identify yourself as an IBMer and engage in any discussions or activities that relate to IBM or its business, or use any of IBM’s communications systems or other assets to participate in a virtual world.

It goes on to discuss the following topics in more detail

    * Launching Digital Personas and Disclosing Their Identities
    * Appearance
    * Digital Persona Ownership & Responsibility
    * Identities that Span Multiple Environments
    * Protecting IBM Intellectual Property Assets
    * Respecting Intellectual Property of Others
    * Doing Business in a Virtual World
    * Export
    * Encountering Inappropriate Behavior
    * On Your Own Time

All of which make a lot of sense to me, but you can read them for yourself to see if you agree. The document concludes with a common sense summary:

    IBMers are encouraged to engage, to learn and to share their learning and thinking with their colleagues. That is what it means to be part of an innovation company. As we do so, our best guideline is to approach virtual worlds in the same way we do the physical world – by using sound judgment and following and being guided by IBM’s values and the Business Conduct Guidelines. Remember that IBM’s integrity and reputation, as well as your own, are in your hands. If you are unsure of the correct action or behavior at any stage, speak to your manager, your HR partner or an IBM attorney.

If you’ve ever heard of IBM’s blogging guidelines here you’ll recognise the pattern here. (Incidentally, I always loved the introduction: “In 1997, IBM recommended that its employees get out onto the Net — at a time when many companies were seeking to restrict their employees’ Internet access. We continue to advocate IBMers’ responsible involvement today in this new, rapidly growing space of relationship, learning and collaboration.”). Things are not so different now.

The baseline is that every IBMer agrees to to a code of business conduct, the Business Conduct Guidelines, which define and expand on IBM’s values as well as giving concrete examples of what it means to act ethically. Building on that, the blogging guidelines explicates the conduct guidelines in the context of blogging, outlining how we interact in blogs. It’s exactly the same story for the virtual worlds guidelines; they simply expound on the same code of practice and ethics we all agree to, putting them in the context of virtual worlds. As with the blogging guidelines, they were not written by a drone in Armonk but were written (collaboratively, on a wiki of course) by the virtual universe community inside IBM which was already exploring virtual worlds. That has to be A Good Thing.

When IBM published its blogging guidelines, many companies quite openly borrowed and adapted them for their own use. I wonder if we’ll see something similar with the virtual worlds guidelines.

Powering a 3D Internet

I’ve reblogged this from Mark Wallace’s fine 3pointD blog, must reading for anyone interested in virtual worlds development. Because virtual worlds are an extension of social networking efforts, such as Greater IBM, as well as an IBM strategic front, this latest hardware news is particularly exciting.


Posted Thursday, April 26th, 2007, at 1:21 am Eastern by Mark Wallace

Following the news of the new mainframe platform for virtual worlds
that IBM is working on, I had the chance to talk to David Gelardi,
IBM’s vice president of industry solutions, who is heading up the
effort. “This is a brand new way to support the needs of virtual worlds
in an environment that begins to look like 3D commerce,” Gelardi said.
“Think more in terms of a future state where there is a transaction
taking place that is a buying experience of some kind.” The “hybrid
environment of immense power and flexibility” that IBM is creating will
rely on the Cell’s processing power for rendering, the mainframe for
cryptography and its ability to handle the processing needs of a
massively multiuser enviroment, and Hoplon’s software for physics and

“I would argue that the world doesn’t yet understand the promise of
[virtual world] technology,” Gelardi said. “We see this technology
moving into banking and retail and anything where the consumer is
involved in a transaction of commerce that they would today do over the
Web, online shopping, online banking. The problem is that rendering is
kind of weak. We haven’t figured out how to accelerate that yet, and
how to marry that to transactions.”

Gelardi said the new mainframe architecture would provide a seamless
development environment, “so that the application is just asking for
services” via the Hoplon software. The mainframe project, according to
a press release

intends to create an environment that can seamlessly run
demanding simulations — such as massive online virtual reality
environments, 3D applications for mapping, enterprise resource planning
and customer relationship management, 3D virtual stores and meeting
rooms, collaboration environments and new types of data repositories.
It plans to achieve this goal by parceling the workload between the
mainframe and the Cell processor.

“The project capitalizes on the mainframe’s ability to accelerate
work via ’specialty processors,’ as well as its unique networking
architecture, which enables the kind of ultra-fast communication needed
to create virtual worlds with millions of simultaneous users sharing a
single universe,” according to IBM. The result will be “a hybrid that
is blazingly fast and powerful, with security features designed to
handle a new generation of ‘virtual world’ applications, such as the 3D

Hoplon software will be ported to the Cell to handle message passing
and physics simulation, IBM says. “We have experimented with trying to
figure out what the right technology is to run a virtual world,”
Gelardi says. “In this particular case, Hoplon came to us as an
existing client and we said, Let’s go another layer deeper, because you
have a software environment that’s interesting.”

The mainframe will run a Hoplon virtual-world middleware package
called bitVerse, which is “currently under development using WebSphere
XD as the underlying runtime environment, along with DB2.” Also
included on the mainframe end will be “administrative tasks for the
middleware and the applications . . . logistics (billing, etc.), and
connectivity to third parties as well as to multiple clients, which
might include PCs, consoles, mobile phones, music players, TVs, and
other devices.”

IBM is also open to working with other worldbuilders: “I expect us
to partner with many different kinds of clients and aid them in
creating a world that exists on top of a fundamentally strong
infrastructure,” Gelardi said.

Gelardi also stressed that the mainframe architecture should make
running virtual worlds more energy-efficient. “Usage of a large-scale
System z enviroment gives you an incredible amount of power
efficiency,” he said.


Tips on Cool Places in Second Life to Visit (Trippin’ The Verse)

Where Do I Go? Michael Welcomes back Ian Hughes, one of IBM’s Metaverse Evangelists, who offers a few tips on cool places in Second Life to visit.

Here’s the latest installment of Greater IBMer, and fellow Virtual Worlds pioneer, Michael Rowe’s podcast series, called Trippin’ the Verse,
which features tips and tricks on using the Metaverse (Second Life,
There, etc.)  that we are proud to host on the Greater IBM blog.

Some of those must see places are (links are “SLURLS” that will take you to map of destination and enable you to teleport directly into the sim):

IBM Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/IBM%206/67/253/23/
Hursley Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Hursley/179/100/24/
IQ Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/IQ/129/102/25/
Dogear-Nation Recording Studio: http://slurl.com/secondlife/IQ/32/21/25/
Almaden Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Almaden/68/126/25/

Jessica Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Jessica/49/54/26/
Austin Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Austin/133/121/25/
ThinkLand Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/ThinkLand/128/69/24/

Reebok: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Reebok/111/100/97/
Sony Island: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Media/105/115/21/
Spaceport Alpha: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Spaceport%20Alpha/47/77/24/

Do you have questions about Second Life, Entropia Universe, There.com or other virtual worlds? Please share them with Michael and us here so that he can take your queries up in future episodes.

The Machinimania Challenge Review – A Second Life Filmmaking contest for Greater IBMers

You will remember that last year we set Greater IBMers a challenge to create a 2-min video promoting Greater IBM, using Second Life.  ‘Machinima’ is the ability to create films inside of virtual worlds, or 3D film-making.  This challenge for The Greater IBM Connection was to create a short (less than two minutes) video trailer about Greater IBM that would explain the network and some of its main features, using the 3D virtual world Second Life.  The videos had to be produced by a team of 2-4 people from The Greater IBM network, and teams had to include at least one alumni IBMer and one current IBMer.  Teams received some support tools, including ‘The Art of Machinima’ book & CD, and there were some training sessions in Second Life to share tips and ideas.  The prizes offered were as follows:

First prize:  An Archos
AV500 mobile digital video recorder.

Second prize:  A Fabjectory model of their Second Life

Third prize:  A
$25 Amazon gift certificate

The judging criteria emphasized innovation, concepts and storyline rather than editing skills, to make the challenge accessible to all.  A recap of the final awards ceremony follows.

On Friday, we held an awards ceremony to reward the winners followed by an afterparty featuring a disco and Theme Park.

We started the event with the video intro which one of the teams had kindly prepared for us.

People started arriving in “I Auditorium” on the IBM innovation islands over an hour before the event started.  The dress code was smart, so many people had gone out and bought virtual tuxedos and ball gowns.  As we started, we welcomed the finalists up the red carpet with a round of applause and then watched their videos on the big screens we’d setup.

Next, I pulled out a golden envelope with the results in and announced the winners.

The winners were (click to watch their videos):
1st Lets Connect
2nd The New World
3rd Introduction to Greater IBM and Second Life

A kind attendee posted this video of the event from their perspective here!  Thank you!

Here’s some of the snapshots I took of the event and afterparty:

Finalists watch their videos on the big screen.

The crowd in IBM 7.  Note that people a long way away are not drawn.

The afterparty disco…  Boris on decks…

As part of the GreaterLand Theme Park, Timeless Prototype kindly placed his replica of the London Eye for us.

Bumper Cars at dawn!

162 people attended the premier – a record for a single location IBM event.

Thanks for all the kind comments from everyone, including the nice
people over at Eightbar.

The launch of the new virtual IBM islands in Second Life

Well, the big day has arrived for the launch of the new IBM virtual islands complex!  Sandy Kearney the leader of the new 3D internet EBO (Emerging Busines Opportunity) launched the IBM islands
with a rousing speech in Theatre 1…

After that there were some tours around the islands.  We then formally opened our new Greater IBM Virtual Connection Center.


We served up cocktails at the bar, thanks to Doug:

And ok… I had one too many shark attack cocktails ;)

and went to sober up on the viewing platform in seminar room 3…

Feel free to come take a look at the virtual connection center on IBM 7 island in SL.

The Great Machinimania Challenge Meetup

The Greater IBM Connection Machinimania Challenge
(make a video trailer for Greater IBM using Second Life) kickoff
meeting went really well on Friday.  We have loads of uptake and Jacob
Hall lecture theatre was the fullest I’ve seen it.  The island even
maxed-out and people were pinging me saying they couldn’t get it as
there were so many people!

ran through the slide deck for the challenge, and explained how the
challenge would work.  Wayne Smith then gave a live demonstration of
the very cool Bijo Cam tool for doing multiple camera angles.

We had to clear out of Jacob Hall as there was another meeting right afterwards,

suggested we go somewhere else, so what we were not blocking folk from
teleporting into Almaden.  Someone suggested going to Narnia (where
else ;) !), so we all teleported to Cair Paravel without a fur coat or
wardrobe in sight!  Thanks to the owner, who is an IBMer.

there, I gave out some more Greater IBM keyboards, and gave people an
opportunity for people to split up into teams.  Here’s looking forward
to some fantastic submissions for videos.  If people have any
questions, please let us know.

Kevin Aires
Project Manager
The Greater IBM Connection