« The quality of peer production | Main | No room at the data center »

Does the truth pay its invoices on time?

October 23, 2006

So there's this new company named crayon (not Crayon, mind you, but crayon), and its claim to fame is that its offices are located on Crayonville Island in the imaginary world of Second Life. Ok, fine. You've got to have a shtick, and you can't get much more shticky than that. But I'm asking myself: What does a company called crayon with an imaginary headquarters actually do? What business would such an enterprise be engaged in? Fortunately, one of the company's founding employees has taken the time to describe "what crayon actually is" in a post on his blog. Here's what he says:

We’re not an agency nor a consulting practice as is traditionally defined. What we are is whatever you want or need us to be.

I like to think of us as a true mash-up that combines the best in traditional and new thinking about marketing, advertising and PR.

We’re a solution provider. We’re an extension of your team. Consider us a new breed of partner – one that keeps everyone honest and on the right path. Our client is not the consumer: our client is the truth.

Now, come on. What we are is whatever you want or need us to be? Our client is the truth? This is a joke, right? I mean, it has to be a joke. If it's not a joke, then we've definitely gone through the looking glass and are headed down the rabbit hole.

Our client is the truth? Hell, that doesn't even pass the Turing Test.


It is surely a business "for carrying on an undertaking of great advantage but nobody to know what it is".

I'm sure it will work as well today as it did in 1720.

Posted by: Chris Edwards [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2006 05:38 PM

Damn, wish I had thought of this business model.

Did they file for a patent?

Posted by: Howard Owens [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2006 08:06 PM

In a flash of genius, Andrew Orlowski and Lucy Sherriff at The Register have christened Second Life as "Sadville." There's also more amusement by following the "furry" link in the article.

Posted by: David Hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2006 08:11 PM

You don't have to search long to find an increasing scepticism from the virtual worlds crowd and online gamers about the ongoing hype of SL. It's interesting and a great idea, but more people are admitting they like the idea of SL more than the actual service or the organization running it. Main concern is their scalability and uptime and some of the content.

Posted by: Adam MacDonald [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 23, 2006 09:53 PM

Definition of a Consultant - "Find someone more stupid than you are and charge for the difference" ... speaking as a consultant.

Maybe Neal Stephenson was onto something when he wrote "Snow Crash" (a cyber-punk SF novel about a place called the Metaverse ...). We havent quite got to the direct brain implant stage, although there are evil mega vendors that inhabit this parallel world of ours called reality.

Keep up the good work

Posted by: Derek Miers [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2006 04:10 AM

But I thought no-one could handle the truth?

Posted by: Kasteera [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2006 04:13 AM

Quite independently I asked similar questions on Neville's site. I know him personally and he's a decent chap so this is all a bit weird.

I now want to know where I can get some of that dope they're smoking!

Posted by: dahowlett [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2006 04:53 AM

SL is an interesting playground to see what kind of real world business models can survive in a virtual world. The fact that you may use real money in their creates a very different type of game play. In fact, you're not playing a game, but really living a lifestyle to some degree.

With a company like Crayon providing in-game consulting-like services, I wonder how billing would work and if there are collection services set up in SL. Companies, such as Electric Sheep, that provide real world consulting work for development in the virtual world use a traditional, but proven business model.

Posted by: Jp Checa [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 24, 2006 04:10 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

carrshot5.jpg Subscribe to Rough Type

Now in paperback:
shallowspbk2.jpg Pulitzer Prize Finalist

"Riveting" -San Francisco Chronicle

"Rewarding" -Financial Times

"Revelatory" -Booklist

Order from Amazon

Visit The Shallows site

The Cloud, demystified: bigswitchcover2thumb.jpg "Future Shock for the web-apps era" -Fast Company

"Ominously prescient" -Kirkus Reviews

"Riveting stuff" -New York Post

Order from Amazon

Visit Big Switch site

Greatest hits

The amorality of Web 2.0

Twitter dot dash

The engine of serendipity

The editor and the crowd

Avatars consume as much electricity as Brazilians

The great unread

The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock's avatar

Flight of the wingless coffin fly

Sharecropping the long tail

The social graft

Steve's devices

MySpace's vacancy

The dingo stole my avatar

Excuse me while I blog

Other writing

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The ignorance of crowds

The recorded life

The end of corporate computing

IT doesn't matter

The parasitic blogger

The sixth force



The limits of computers: Order from Amazon

Visit book site

Rough Type is:

Written and published by
Nicholas Carr

Designed by

JavaScript must be enabled to display this email address.