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Abstract

This teaching case considers the challenges and opportunities faced by an entrepreneur in Second Life, one of the more popular virtual world environments. Second Life provides the economic and technological platform required for immersion, social interaction, and the potential of private enterprise. Many entrepreneurs have taken advantage of the various business opportunities offered in Second Life, and a number have earned significant income through their in-world creations and services. Stuart O'Brian, the CEO and founder of VirtualCircle, was one of the early pioneers of virtual commerce. Over the last three years, his organization faced multiple business and technology challenges while negotiating the hypercompetitive and turbulent environment within Second Life. However, he now questions the sustainability of the ever-changing and agile business model that enabled the success of VirtualCircle. Stuart also faces questions regarding avenues of future growth and is grappling with issues concerning interoperability and the replication of his prior success in other virtual environments—and the real world.

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