As many of you know I currently work for IBM(have done for 18 years). I have since 2006 been driving forward the ideas and needs for everyone (us, customers, competitors, family, friends) to get involved in both virtual worlds. This made me a metaverse evangelist, and I still am. I have also for many years been exploring the impact of social media both inside and outside of the company.
The explosion in virtual world interest led one part of IBM, and one particular visionary to invest in my time. This was a complicated arrangement. I work for IBM UK at Hursley Labs in a cost recovery group. People often assume a corporate is a thing, a single structure with single decisions points. It is really a collection, an eco system of small units, many of them effectively vying for contracts with one another to deliver things to customers.
I effectively had a short term contract from a part of the US company to pay for my time to be a metaverse evangelist both inside and outside the company. It was originally a year, but ended up being 2 1/2.
That internal contract finishes, but I am still an IBM UK employee in cost recovery with a services group.
Ideally I would have like some other funding, contract, role or project to be able to simply pay for my time in one lump sum so I could continue my evangelizing with one less thing to worry about. I have not been focussed on me and my career though as this is about all of us and about the industry.
It is not the case for most people to be funded in this wat, and I have been incredibly lucky to have been able to push this and pursue it for this long.
I wanted to let people know that this is more about my personal situation than any plan or direction that may be inferred. I knew that come jan 1st when I may end up doing something completely different during the day to pay the bills for my department that I would not be able to officially attend the various events and share my thoughts as I have been doing.
It also indicates that we may well have moved past the need for pure evangelizing as so many people now get the basics. I will still be pushing and publishing thoughts and ideas, and going back into skunkwork mode.
I have learned a lot about who I am the past few years and what I can do. How to bring people along on a journey and dare I say it lead. Finding a career role somewhere to play to those strengths will take a little time, I am but a humble techie after all ;)
Evangelizing is a complicated thing to explain to people, it is not a department thing, it is something that spreads across lots of interactions with lots of people. It is by its very nature self destroying.
So, the future for virtual worlds, well they are not going away are they! There is a demand for secure behind the firewall enterprise level communications far in excess of simple IM and phone. There is still a huge cultural change, that may mean than evangelist roles become more obvious to more organizations for the next waves of disruption.
So no one panic :) It's just where the world is at the moment and this is all much bigger than one individual. I am still committed to this, as far as I can tell so is everyone else, but change is good.