December 31, 2012

Resolutions... Some things that have worked for me

New Year’s resolutions, we all make them, I know I do. Every year it's stop this or start that. I can't tell you how many of my own never panned out and it can really get frustrating! But over the years, they've gotten better, well maybe it's ME that got better. Better at understanding WHY they don't work. For me, more often than not, it's simply because the resolution itself, while meaningful and approached with full intent, is unrealistic or unspecific.

First, ask yourself this: Why does it take a New Year to start to try and make your life better? Is it because the boob tube commercial on New Years eve is offering a discount on joining a gym?

I've done just fine setting and achieving big or small goals in June, probably more so than the horrific "New Years Resolution". Uh oh... New Years... I better diet and shape up! If you want to improve, then improve! It shouldn't matter when, should it?

To be clear, I'm not by any stretch saying there is a miracle cure to achieving resolutions and this may or may not help, but maybe a few people might take something away from it. Over the years, I've tried to do many different things myself, I'm sure you have too. Some were smashing successes while others crash and burn failures. But I've learned. I've definitely picked up some great ideas along the way. One of them, I think the most important, is asking myself the right questions like "WHY do I really want this change?"

So here's what I know. I know myself and I know that if I say I'm going to do something, I usually do it. For me, its all about being realistic with myself and realistic with what I'm trying to achieve. Many people set weight loss for example as their New Years resolution and that's great to want to get healthier if that's what they feel. So how about this, instead of saying "I'm going to lose some weight" or "I'm going to lose < insert realistic amount > pounds"... but also adding the "HOW".... Very specifically. Without knowing "How", how then is it even possible to KNOW what is a realistic amount. Forget even about losing weight, how is it possible to set ANY goal without knowing "How" it's going to happen?

It may be simple sounding but bear with me, there's more to it. If I'm going to even bother making plans to change something in my life, I want to have a plan. Not only that but a plan that ITSELF is achievable. So if the plan is to lose weight, then I better make damn sure that I can even AFFORD the gym, or meal plan or whatever it may be that I've decided to use as my weight loss plan. Similarly, if the plan is someone who wants to quit smoking, then research the best methods with proven success because I can't tell you how many of my own friends have failed at it. I remember two friends who bet who could go the longest without smoking. They made the bet literally over a beer keg! They had no plan and just tried to quit cold turkey. I remember thinking how doomed this was from the get go (even though going cold turkey does not have the highest proven success rate). Needless to say, it didn't last very long, I think it was a few days!

So whatever it is you want to do better, gain, lose, mute or erase as your New Years resolution, or any resolution for that matter, if you'll permit me, maybe have a look at the following and please, consider what I'm trying to share, maybe some of it will help. I've also been able to apply this to other areas in my life for different goals I've set out to achieve.

The first thing I try to do is get as detailed as I can about what it is I want to achieve. More than that, I really dig and find the WHY. Why do I want to make this change in my life? Then I get detailed about the WHY. This might take some time and some serious soul searching, maybe even a little painful, but its completely worth it.

I also like to talk to a support team, namely, my friends and family and PUBLICLY tell them what I'm planning. This really gives me greater incentive to not let them down. If I tell my friends that I'm going to do something, then I have people that can hold me accountable and if I start slacking, then I'M the one who feels like I let ME down. Plus friends are always good for giving you a good kick when you're down, at least mine are! That's a pretty strong motivator.

Here’s another suggestion that really helps me a lot. Write it down... everything... as much and as detailed as I can. If I’m being honest with myself and I’m going to spend the time on this, then I’ll spend it and make it as specific as I can. The more detailed and fine tuned I can get, the more it will motivate me and the more I’ll understand WHY I want or need to achieve something.

Stay at it! Don't quit! Give 110%! And enter any other cliche you want right here. Just don't give up. If you’ve tried and didn’t succeed before, then maybe this is the right time to try again. It’s taken me several tries before as well to do some of the things I've set out to do. But I’ve learned these few things that I’ve written down here. Once you get a good grasp on your goal and an even better grasp on yourself and your real reasons for wanting to do something, then in my heart I really believe you can and WILL succeed. This has all really helped me in my life and I truly hope it can help you who may be reading this.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you set out to achieve. If any of this helps you, then I'm happier than I was five minutes ago.


Have a prosperous and successful New Year!


September 9, 2012

SLoupon Update



Since original launch, SLoupon has had a major change to the business model. SLoupon is now - through September 30 - only $L1 to join, after which will be significantly reduced from $L350/mth to $L99/mth which can quickly be recouped on just one SLoupon purchase and which is affordable for even the newest of noobs. SLoupon now has 150+ members and roughly the same on the website/social network. It continues to grow daily with both members in the SL group and on the website.

What is SLoupon?

DEFINITION: SLoupon (sloo-pon) Noun. A group discount system in Second Life whose members can enjoy a discount of up to 50% and more on merchandise from SLoupon member merchants all across the grid. SLouponer - Noun. SLouponing - Verb. IE "Hey, let's all go SLouponing!"SLoupon is a monthly subscription based service in which only members of the SLoupon Group will have access to the reduced price items by registered merchants. Each SLoupon Merchant will place items substantially discounted for SLoupon Group members only... things like apparel, hair, animations, skins, and more.

You must be in the SL SLoupon group to purchase from the SLoupon vendors at merchants' locations.

By joining, you will be entitled to discounts of up to 50% and more on many products and services we shop for every day like clothes, hair, animations, skins, home & garden, textures and more. To become a SLoupon member and start saving, you'll need to join the inworld "SLoupon Group" by visiting one of the SLoupon Kiosks and joining. After you've become a SLoupon member, you may also register on the website to stay on top of all current deals (now at over 350), join the Forums, create your own Profile, network with other SLouponers, get a list of all Kiosk Locations and more.

Visit the SLoupon Website. Please note that you must register before you can get "into" the website and see all the available Discounts:
http://www.sloupon.biz

SLoupon currently has over 50 participating merchants including Gizza Creations, Paris Metro Couture, Sassy!, MEB, Evolve, Alice Project, X-Clusives Animation, PipSqueeks, KO Textures and many more!

SLoupon was created by myself, Seth Regan, and Brandy Maltas (Mankind Tracer & Kalli Birman in SL). The goal of SLoupon is to offer great deals for residents and at the same time, provide Second Life stores more exposure to the SL populous.

If you are interested in becoming a SLoupon Merchant please go to this link:
SLoupon Merchant Information

Find a SLoupon Kiosk at Club Graffiti in The Village:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Good%20Day%20Sunshine/158/59/50

SLoupon on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/SLoupon





July 18, 2012

A Different Approach: Tip Splitting and Sponsors - Reducing Second Life Venue Costs

In an effort to assist live music venues, many of which pay for their overhead out of their own pockets to provide live entertainment, I have recently started offering venues something which we believe to be a reasonable solution.

The first idea was to have only one tip jar for venue and musician. Since the majority of audiences tip the artists considerably more than the venues, I'm offering to automatically split the tips I receive with the venue and remove the venue tip jar completely. This could work to the venues benefit in several ways.

The first benefit of splitting the tips, using only my tip jar, is that with a full audience, it can get very laggy. This way, people only have to find one tip jar.

Another benefit is that there will be less "tip that, tip this" in local chat. This allows people to socialize more in chat with less interruption.

Further, since most audience members tip the artists more often than the venue, the venue will likely see an increase in tips due to the split.

During the week, Brandy and I approached the venue, Ground Zero, owned by our friends Thea and G Metal, about this idea. After explaining the idea on a Skype conference, they were both very open to trying a something new. We decided to try it out that coming Saturday.



After the concert, we all got back on on Skype, discussed the outcome and worked out the numbers. We found that the venue saw a 33% increase in tips. Also, Thea and G Metal reported that several people expressed to them how they enjoyed the lack of "tip spam" in local chat and it was a much more fun and relaxed show with greater audience interaction.

With this success, I spoke with Brandy to revisit something we had discussed in the past: Sponsorship.

We then approached long time live music venue owner and friend, Liz Harley at Key West, where my next show was scheduled. We asked if she was open to the idea of not only having paying sponsors to reduce my booking fee, but to also try the tip split as well. After informing her of the success at Ground Zero, Liz was also very receptive to trying a new approach.

Brandy and I got to work and quickly found three sponsors for the Key West show.

I'm happy to say that this show was also a really good success! The venue made good tips from the split. Further, the reduced booking fee kept money in Liz's pocket. After all was said and done, Liz was very pleased at the outcome, as were the sponsors and the idea of having sponsors was well received by the people attending the show.

We have decided to continue on with this model of splitting tips and getting Second Life businesses to sponsor shows. We are also continuing our brainstorming to try to come up with new ways to help the venues that spend a significant amount of money to book live performers and of course their other overhead like tier, paying hosts, etc.

While this model may or may not work for every venue and performer, I felt it was worth mentioning to perhaps encourage more ideas but also to just inform people on how it all worked out.

On a side note, I have to say it's very cool to have open conversations with venue owners who are open minded and willing to try new things. So once again, my sincere thanks to Thea and G Metal from Ground Zero and Liz Harley of Key West.

If you are a business possibly interested in sponsoring my shows and helping live music venues to continue providing live entertainment by the many talented live performers in SL, the please send a note card in Second Life to either Brandy (Kalli Birman).



July 13, 2012

"Paper Cup" - What it means to ME




Back in April, 2012 I released my latest album entitled "Underground". Within the album, there are a few darker undertones inspired by and reflecting upon a particular person in my life that has been going through a rough patch. As an artist, I draw inspiration to write from many sources, most often from within but from time to time, something on the outside, especially something close to me personally, draws my attention.

To that end, I felt I might explain a bit of what has been going on, behind the writing, behind the lyrics.

This person I am speaking of, he is a very smart, highly intelligent guy, very close to me in my life, but with all that smarts, he just can't seem to get out of his own way and push forward, through the muck and mire, which has been bogging him down. As much as I've tried to help him, throwing him a rope here and there, his lack of motivation to accomplish has removed his desire to even reach for it.

I am a firm believer in helping people, especially those close to us, but there must be a limit, a point in time when we have to consider that they simply don't want the help or for whatever reason, they are unable to reach out to the hand that's reaching out for them.

In "Paper Cup", I am speaking about the same person as I've mentioned in "Underground" and "Do it Again", namely, this person close to me in my life. "Paper Cup" also reflect on me personally. Sometimes we all fall down. Sometimes we all need help. I have fallen and a few times, I reached out for help.Sometimes I've fallen hard and my real friends were there, without me needing to ask.

"I'm kneeling down and I can't breathe, the price is high and I'm not free I'm half the man, half the man that I should be." This is the opening line of the song that captures how I felt at my lowest point. The term "Paper Cup" came to me after seeing a crumpled piece of paper on the floor thinking how little we care for something as quickly consumable and discarded as a paper cup. It gets one use for about 30 seconds or less, and is then discarded, without care, without thought and without any sense of hesitation.

Below are the full lyrics to the song. If you can relate on any level, then I truly hope you realize you are not alone... WE are not alone. We all have struggles but we must maintain our sense of pride and belief in ourselves that we CAN get up and get out of the struggles we are going through. Sometimes, we just can't do it on our own. With the help of a friend, a family member or even a kind stranger, we CAN get through.

"Paper Cup" speaks of how grateful I was personally after being helped when I was the one who needed it. ".... I would be there for you with a symphony behind me..."


Paper Cup
Words and Music by Seth Regan

Verse 1

I'm kneeling down and I can't breathe
The price is high, and I'm not free
I'm half the man, half the man that I should be

Verse 2

Well I take pride in things I do and say
And when I feel, I sometimes
Pray for guidance and patience to learn from my mistakes

Chorus

And Oooh…. if I could
Oooh…. if I could
Oooh…. I would be there for you
With a symphony behind me

Verse 3

I'm torn apart I'm crumpled up
Discarded like a paper cup
I have nothing left to give
Except this stolen heart

Verse 4

I lost the battle and the war
Then you appeared and cleaned me up
So I could go out looking for another

Chorus
 
Bridge

OOOOHHHHH

Chorus

And Oooh…. if I could
Oooh…. if I could
Oooh…. I would be there for you
With a symphony behind me

Playing through the night
So we could rise above it all
… just for a while.


May 29, 2012

SL9B Street Fair and Pub Crawl!

(Grab this image and help spread the word by posting it where you can)
Second Life is celebrating it's 9th Birthday. The Tracer | Birman Agency has decided to produce our own event. "The SL9B Street Fair and Pub Crawl" will take place June 19-24 in Second Life.


Since Linden Lab will not be hosting an official SL9B event this year and instead have chosen to promote resident's SL9B events....


The Tracer | Birman Agency is coordinating an SL9B Street Fair & Pub Crawl, a 6 day event from June 19th - June 24th.


Over the course of the 6 days, each participating venue will take one day to be the "Featured Venue". Each venue will host 3 hours of live music on their day with three different Live Performers. See each venue for other events happening that day on their sim beyond the official hours of 6-9PM SLT (PST).

PERFORMERS:

June 19 - Club Graffiti
6. Mankind Tracer/Seth Regan “Live on Video” 7. Damian Carbenell 8. Darkshore

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Good%20Day%20Sunshine/141/73/22
____________________________

June 20 - Gwampas Dance Kamp
6. Mandoaa Dragonash 7. Christopher135 Quan 8. AcousticEnergy Nitely

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Gwampa%20Castle/202/138/3015
_____________________________

June 21 - Boom Pony
6. Ganjo Mokeev 7. Noma Falta 8. Andreas Gustafson

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Amardon%20East/7/170/26

_______________________________

June 22 - Ground Zero
6. Dragonfly 7. Vodoo Shilton 8. Mulder Watts

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Atlantizz/28/223/21

________________________________

June 23 - Key West
6. David Csiszer 7. AMForte 8. Edward Kyomoon

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Key%20West%20Island/48/71/22

_______________________________

June 24 - San Diego 3D
6. August Moons 7. August Moons 8. Max Kleene

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/San%20Diego%20City/240/205/33


Thanks to our sponsors:
Second Friends, Gizza Creations, Island Dreams Realty, [Cynful] Clothing & Co, Angel Manor, Miss Darcy!, Snowpaws, LYRICA, House Of Dragovar, VelvetRythms, Time Lost Land, The Alice Project.


This event is Produced by the Tracer | Birman Agency in cooperation with all participating venues.

We'll see you at The SL9B Street Fair and Pub Crawl!


Brandy Maltas/ Kalli Birman in SL
Seth Regan/ Mankind Tracer in SL



March 29, 2012

Second Life Music Venues VS Artists: Who's doing WHAT?!?!?

To be or not to be? No wait, how about to promote my own business or let the artists do it for me?

Sounds silly right? Well don't be surprised when I tell you that I have personally come across music venues in Second Life that do absolutely zero promotions, zero events listings and pretty much zero across the board, relying solely on the artists to do it all. In nearly five and a half years of constant performing in Second Life, I've pretty much run the gauntlet at least a few times, of the different venue types and venue owner types. I'll simply categorize the latter into A and B. OWNER A does the work... OWNER B can give a rats ass about their own venue, its marketing, promotions, and just complete ignorance when it comes to the business side running of their venue.


Recently, Brandy (Kalli Birman in SL) who you know as my manager and business partner in SL, booked me a gig at a venue. Mainly because it's fitting, we'll call this venue Deuchebags! Now Deuchebags is more of a shopping spot but they wanted to try some live music to add to the DJ events they currently have.


Of course at the time of the booking, Brandy gave Deuchebags the notecard which indicates that, prior to the event, we ask that the venue do X, Y and Z, simple and not time consuming tasks for the betterment of the event and what any rational person would consider, such as listing in SL Events, posting in social networks, sending to their own SL group(s), and other simple and obvious marketing.


Three days before the scheduled event, the event listing is finally listed, but for the wrong time. Brandy politely asks for a correction. A day later, Deuchebags replied saying they were having difficulty. Ok that's possible, I guess, SL gets borked at in some way least 3 days a week. A day later, the correction is made with an entirely new event posted in Events, and the first, incorrect event, is still there. Hmmmmm. Red Flag number one.


Heading over to the venue, Brandy asked "where would you like Mankind to setup for the show... where's the stage?" She was met with "We were hoping you guys could provide one!" Hmmmmm. Red Flag number 2.


After repeatedly trying to contact them over and over and not getting any reply for about half a day, I realize that these people are seriously lacking in Communication Skills. I mean ok people have to work RL, I get it, I do too. However, if you're going to bother HAVING a "live music" venue, then it's not plug and play like simply turning on a stream to play a radio station or streaming a playlist from iTunes. Hmmmmmmm. Number 3.


So it dawns on me, Deuchebags has absolutely no clue what they're doing and no idea of how to run a venue. More than that, they are sadly lacking in business and yes, personal ethics... and they're not alone. I'm sorry to say there are others who, put bluntly without any powdered sugar, have no clue how to run a venue. The simple proof of this is in the venue turnover rate. How many venues have come and gone in the past 2 years alone? 


So this leads me to the point of this post.



In nearly 5.5 years of live performing in Second Life, and as a business owner in RL for many years, I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on what the role of the venue and the role of the artists should be. As a professional business owner in Real Life for a long time as well, I also believe that many things carry over from RL to SL.


Here's what I'd like to share. I offer this to any live music venue, new or existing, with the hopes that you will read between the above sarcasm, and take it seriously. Honestly, it's only meant to help. 




The Venue:


The live music venue is a business... plain and simple. A business like any other. A business needs to promote, market otherwise display what it is they are offering, their products and/or services. Like any other business, a good Business Plan and Marketing Plan are very helpful when starting out but many businesses have succeeded without. Regardless of what type of business you plan on opening, one thing that is always needed is... WORKING CAPITAL! The venue owners will hope to recoup all or at least part of their investment in the first year, less than likely in SL so be prepared to not earn anything. To increase your chances, you might consider only booking artists that draw a crowd. If after a year, a performer isn't bringing in more than 20 attendees, it's probably doubtful that will change at your particular event with this performer. Go for the better known draw as this will translate into greater numbers and greater tips for your venue, that's what most venues rely on. If you have something cool, a niche, some product or very cool logo that you can brand on wearables and other premiums, offer them for sale to help offset costs.

When a venue sets up live events, they need someone to handle the publicity and PR so they need... MARKETING! Aaah the Marketing. Sadly, many venues I have played personally do not do a THING with respect to marketing. They rely on the artists. I mentioned in a recent Facebook Post that live music venues should take cues form those that have been in SL for a long time and those that might be newer but have very strong visibility. Places like Key West, The Whisky a Go Go, The Source, The Boom Pony, Ground Zero, and other... these are venues with very professional minded owners who recognize that, among other things, they NEED to do their own marketing in concert with that of the artists.


Part of your marketing plan should be researching the best and most appropriate places for your venue to appear. A Rock Club probably won't have a lot of click through on an ad placed on a classical themed website. 


Remember earlier I mentioned a venue needs working capital? A good chunk of it really needs to pay for marketing and advertising. I own a web design firm as one of my RL businesses. One of the services offered is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which helps websites get higher results on searches. I tell my clients, without proper SEO, even if you have the coolest website, it will be like a water fountain in the desert.... without a "map", no one will know it exists! You need to be FOUND. The venue NEEDS to advertise, just like any business.

There are many great sources to advertise but always check with the website owners about THEIR traffic before you spend money. Find out how many "unique monthly page views" their website receives. I can tell you, as the creator of Second Friends, we see roughly 20,000 page views per month and personally, I probably would advertise on a SL devoted site that has 10,000 or more, provided it wasn't too specifically directed IE a website about virtual pets. Talk to Brandy if you're interested in Second Friends ads. There are not many available at this time but a few good spots are open.


For Brandy and I, well we are marketers to begin with so when I perform, it goes without saying that we do our  marketing for each and every event. Between SL, Facebook, Second Friends, websites, etc., roughly about 400,000+ eyes will see our marketing material but we make sure to work WITH the venues, to make sure we  are marketing along the same design avenues, that we are using similar or the same marketing collateral, to ensure a consistent flow for the event planning and promotions.


Not everyone knows the ins and outs of marketing, granted. Most artists, in both RL and SL want to get on the stage, perform and be on their way. I firmly believe that when at all possible, an artist really should play a more active role in the marketing and promotions of their own events... it just makes sense?

In order to have live music at the venue, an artist needs to be booked so it makes sense for someone employed by the company to be the scout to seek out talent appropriate for the venue. The venue definitely needs a... BOOKING AGENT!

For now, let's assume this is a new live music venue that wants to open in Second Life. A live music venue offers Live Music performed by a live musician, track singer, whatever you like. The musician they hire will need a place to perform so a Live Music Venue needs... a STAGE! Silly? Not really. Look at Deuchbags. They asked ME to provide a stage for THEIR venue! Enough said.


The Artist:

Like a venue, there is the business side to being a Second Life performer, but many artists in the world lack some of this important knowledge and rely on the venues to spread the word about their event. So here's the obvious scenario: The Venue who doesn't know business/marketing booking the artists who don't know business/marketing. What do you think the outcome will be?


This is why it's so important that both sides take an active part in the business side of what they do. There are SO many talented artists in SL that aren't getting the attention they deserve simply due to lack of knowledge on basic strategic marketing.



The artists, as I see it, should in the VERY least, do the following (and these are things I try to do myself):


• Promotional Poster - Make one yourself, hire a graphic designer, just get one for each and every event. It should include the artist's name, her picture (SL, RL or both), web address if applicable, even have it give out a link or notecard when clicked.

• Event Listing outside of Second Life - This can include creating an event on Facebook and inviting your friends. You can also post on Second Friends home page where you can list your event for free and include audio, video, text, photos links, etc. in your post. Post on your other websites and so on.

• Group Notices - Send an early notice to your group during the day (if it's a night show). Keep in mind there are many people from many different time zones in SL who may not have received this early notice, but you're going to send notices a half hour before the event anyways. This way you're covered.

• Personal Fan Group - Every artist should have started a Fan Group at the start of their performing in SL. Use it. Stay in touch. They are your friends and your family. They deserve the first crack at special events, to arrive early at shows and thus receive and earlier notice than the other music groups and general SL population.


• Second Friends Groups - Not to beat a dead horse but you have this free tool at your disposal. Why not use it? Create a Group on Second Friends. Once you do, contact either myself or Brandy and we'll get you a small banner you can place on your stage when you perform. It will link attendees right to the SF Group page where you can post just about anything a website can handle... like photos, videos, music, and so on. To be clear, the reason I created SF in the first place was because Second Life doesn't allow much in the way of media to be included in group notices or on notecards. A group notice in SL can handle text, textures, links and a notecard which is also limited to the same media. Second Friends allows you to share much more in the way of media, plus it ties in with your other social profiles like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. IT's a big time saver too as you can "push" your events to your other social networks with a few clicks. 
I'm not trying to push Second Friends in the post, do what you want. I just honestly feel it is a great tool. That's why I created it to be SHARED with everyone!

• For Bigger Events - We like to start promotions at least a few days ahead of the event, sometimes even a week or a few weeks. It really depends on the event itself. Events that you really feel are bigger and more deserving should have promotions started earlier. Just keep the same marketing material on all posts. What I mean is, try to keep the design of all marketing consistent from place to place, website to website, etc.



Well there you have it. I have a deep respect for those venues like the ones I mentioned above, who have taken it upon themselves to not only promote their business, but also help the artists you have yet to learn how to do it themselves, or find a great manager who knows how to handle the marketing. I am very fortunate with Brandy who is a true professional. We have become best friends and work very well together on many projects. As long as a manager understands you and your direction as an artist, then you are already ahead of the curve.


As always I wish you the best and if Brandy or I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to get ahold of us. Check out Brandy's Blog with some very useful info on the topic as well.


In closing, let me just give one more shout out to Deuchebags with a very high spirited "GET A CLUE!"



March 15, 2012

ManKave: This One's for the Guys!

Women's clothes. Women's hair. Women's jewlery. WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN!!!

Everywhere you turn in Second Life, you see so much content available for women. Well what about us GUYS? We like cool clothes too! We like getting "stuff"! We just don't like the whole hours and hours of shopping to GET the "stuff"!

Truth is, most of us guys would rather hang out with our buds and give you your freedom to express your God given right to shop in peace, instead of watching you go through hours of shopping rituals while we're stuck twiddling our thumbs, or even our smart devices!

Enter ManKave!

The Grand Opening of ManKave will be on April 15, 2012

That's right... enter it. When you do, you will enter a place with a mentally suggested little boy's clubhouse sign that says "NO GURLZ ALLOWED!" Upon completion, expect to see some of the finest content creators offering stuff for us guys! All the "stuff" for sale will be rock inspired like clothing, jewelry, hair, skin, tatoos, etc.

There are also PLENTY of games to keep us occupied. There's a fully functional pool table, video games, poker table, a big screen TV pulling videos from all over, even YouTube! Plus the beer is cold and always fresh on tap!

Seated in The Village, a very unique build designed to resemble the late 1970's Greenwich Village, where you will also find Club Graffiti (the very cool underground rock club modeled after CBGB's), Brandy's Attic and other fine shops like Gizza, Paris Metro among others.

Once we launch, we'll hope to get a lot of people inn the Group to take part of some cool contests and events we already have in the works! Seated right next door to Club Graffiti, ManKave is a great after hours hangout if you just wanna relax with your buds after a show, or after a long day in Second Life! The doors will ALWAYS be open!

As for the shopping, well how about the fact that nothing will be priced over $L200! And truth be told, ladies, you can forget about the "NO GURLZ ALLOWED" sign cuz we think you'll want to come over too and pick out something very cool, very awesome and very affordable as a gift for your guy!

For the launch, we'll have some great live music and a few cool freebies for everyone that attends! Are you a really good content creator? Well then we might want YOU! We're expecting to launch ManKave on April 15, 2012 with 16 of Second Life's top content creators providing their wares and there's about 4 or 5 open spots left.



Get in touch with either myself, Mankind Tracer, or Kalli Birman via NOTECARD in Second Life. Please include your name, company name and a SLurl so we can check out your fine creations and maybe we'll invite you to be among the selected few to be a ManKave vendor.

All content in ManKave will be exclusive, meaning not available anywhere else. So for content creators, if you're interested, we'll need something for men, designed specifically for ManKave and MUST be rock inspired!

For everyone else, well Brandy and I hope you will enjoy the new shop and take advantage of some nicely priced very awesome creations! And guys, just so you know, I'm designing this place myself (ok Brandy helped a little) so expect it to be cold and shallow with lots of hard edges... you know, like us guys get while we're hanging out with our best buds... or after we get very little sleep!



So mark your calendars and stay tooned for noticed about the Grand Opening of ManKave!

March 5, 2012

Second Friends - A few points to help


Second Friends has been seeing rapid increased growth lately. We have now smashed through the 2000 member mark and growing daily. I have been receiving some questions lately that I thought a Blog Post might help to answer to others who might also have similar questions about Second Friends and what it can be useful for.


Second Friends has been called "Facebook for Second Life!" It is "THE" SL Social Networking website tool for musicians, DJ's, fashion and other businesses and of course SL residents to be able to network with each other in different ways. Joining is as easy as using your Facebook, Google, Yahoo and now even your Twitter ID! 

Join Free with your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Yahoo ID!

On Second Friends, you can upload your video, pics, create groups, send group notices, create and publicize your events, public and private chat, play over 50,000 very cool free online games... even customize your own profile page and lots more. As a performer in Second Life for over five years and a professional in business, I also use social networking seriously. Second Friends is also a very helpful marketing tool that really saves me time! I can easily send all my posts, events, blogs to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and others with a few clicks! 



GROUPS:

Every members of Second Friends automatically has many tools at their disposal. Some are suited better for different needs. Second Friends Groups are a very useful means of reaching the growing Second Life population to inform them of what it is you do in SL. If you are a performer, venue or any kind of business, you can create a Group which will allow you to create a Group Page, somewhat like a "mini website" to display whatever it is you want, PG rated of course. Then you can also send out Group Notices to your members.

Once you've created your SF Group, it will have a unique URL. Get in touch with me, provide me with your business name and your SF Group URL in SL and I will create a square banner for you, full perm, with a "goto URL" script built in. You can rez it out at your business, venue or if a performer, on your stages. Upon clicking it, people will be taken to Second Friends where they will be prompted to join easy and FREE, and then they will be able to join your SF Group.

BLOGS:

Blogging is great as you can share yours or your other favorite blogs with the other major Social Networks like MySpace, Twitter, del.icio.us, Facebook, StumbleUpon and Digg with one click. Even email blog posts to friends. ADVERTISING IS NOT ALLOWED IN BLOGS. This is a decision made by the votes of Second Friends members. You are however free to post your your own products on your own profile page, Grouppage in your photos or videos.

CHAT:

Chat with your friends and other members right on the home page, or "pop-out" the entire chat box into another window while navigating around, staying the loop of the conversations. If you are away from the home page, look on the bottom right of any other page of the website and you will see the Second Friends Chat strip that you can maximize at any time!


Second Friends Forums:

Second Friends Forums are now live and kickin'! Head over to the Forums and do your thing. There is also a Discussion Forum where you can post free ads. Please read the Admin post for a few guidelines. See The Forum Here 

Donations:
Second Friends doesn't really sell anything other than a few ad spots. To that end, we accept donations through the Donation App. Your support is very appreciated and helps keep Second Friends free for all Second Life members who wish to join. The Donations Page can also be found here: MAKE A DONATION 

FACEBOOK:
Second Friends already had close to 2000 members on the Second Friends Fcebook Group. Join Second Friends on Facebook: JOIN SECOND FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK

If you have any further questions, contact me directly or Kalli Birman who can also assist you.

Thank you and I truly hope you enjoy Second Friends :-)

Seth Regan / Mankind Tracer
CEO - Second Friends
"Friends of Second Life Unite!"
http://www.second-friends.com




February 29, 2012

Second Life Business Contract Obligations

Some of you might have seen what Brandy posted on her blog the yesterday. She spoke of generalities of doing business in Second Life and cited a very good example, that about contractual obligations between artists and venues who hire them.

http://brandymaltas.blogspot.com/2012/02/bad-business-practices-in-second-life.html

I wanted to elaborate a bit more on what she wrote. When I am contracted to perform in Second Life, I take on the responsibility of more than just playing for an hour and leaving. Oh no... there is MUCH more to it than that and it is with respect to other performers and managers that I offer this.

Before anything, there is the marketing side that is addressed for all events and shows.

A big reason that I still have solid ground under my shoes after over 5 years of performing in SL is that when I am hired to play a show, all venues know that they are getting quite a bit  more than the show itself. What I mean is that between Brandy and myself, we take on and accept the role of "Marketing" the event, promoting it and publicizing it as best as we can. We make use of Second Life group notices, Facebook Groups, Twitter and also on Second Friends where there is now a thriving community from many SL industries with over 2000 SL residents as members. We also create "Events" on Facebook and Second Friends and invite our friends.


After all is said and done and utilizing all avenues, we promote to well over 350,000 pairs of eyes for every event. When a venue approaches us inquiring about me performing for them, we might hear from some that it's out of their budget, and at first glance, the venue is probably assuming that all they are getting is my performance. (Truth be told, I can't say I blame them as they have probably been conditioned to expect nothing more than the performance. They may have dealt primarily with SL performers which may not provide the marketing and promotions that we offer.) At that point, we will remind them that besides the show, they are also getting their brand out in front of all those 350,000 eyes, and that Brandy and I are working hours before the events to promote THEM, their venue, their sim, their content... their event… whatever it may be. Attendance may vary from day to day, hour to hour, and is never a certainty. It's just not in anyone's control as to how SL will be behaving, if the venue is having tech issues and so on. What IS in our control is spreading the word about the venue and event and THAT is the contractual obligation we accept for each and every event I play.

Getting back to Brandy's post, a venue hires me to perform but it is clear that they are also relying on our promotions. Of course the venues themselves need to be doing everything they can to promote the event and the artists they hire. Without that it looks completely one sided as if the venue has zero interest in promoting themselves and THAT comes down to the point. It's a matter of professionalism and understanding that YOUR venue is your BUSINESS! PERIOD! If you don't understand the basics of running a business, well guess what will likely happen to your venue very quickly.

Both Brandy and I are ALL for helping venues as much as we can, and those who have worked with us on our various projects can attest to that fact. The venues and businesses in Second Life that we have contracted, or been contracted by, all understand from the get go exactly what it is they will be receiving. We in turn also make sure we understand the terms of the contracts and expect the Contractor to live up to their end.

The fact that so many people have viewed and commented in support of Brandy's Blog post reassures me that Second Life residents agree that there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to contractual obligations.

I would like to respectfully suggest to ALL who do any form of business in Second Life to simply remember "Business Ethics". Without proper ethics in business, we will ultimately revert back to trading stones for rabbits.

We consider ourselves business professionals and that being said, would like to offer any guidance and help that we can. Brandy and I own The Tracer | Birman Agency, a full service marketing and PR firm offering professional business services including Website Design, Graphic Design, Other Digital Design, Social Media, Marketing, Social Marketing, Brand Creation, Event Planning, Brand Introduction, Logo Design, Corporate Identity. More specific services geared towards Second Life include, Social Integration, Custom Second Life Builds, Event Planning, Marketing, Product Design and Sim Layout/Design.

As always, Brandy and I are happy to help if you have any questions, just shoot us a note card or email info@tracerbirman.com.









February 25, 2012

Marketing your Second Life: For SL Businesses, Musicians and Managers.

Any business, big or small, regardless of location, target demographic or any other criteria, is IN business. Being in business simply translates to the fact that you have a product and/or service that you are offering for sale or some other form of trade.

In order to find those who are interested in your products or services, a business needs to publicize or do the necessary "marketing" to advertise what it is they are offering.

For Second Life businesses, the same facts hold true.

All businesses in SL, regardless of industry are similarly IN business. They are seeking to sell a product or service in exchange for money or other forms of trade merchandise.

Musicians in both real life and Second Life also have to run their business. They are in the business of providing both product and service. The service being their performances and their product may vary from CD's, clothing or other branded "stuff" and so on.


As a business owner for many years and as a Second Life performer, I understand that it can be a tricky undertaking for performers to get the word out about their offerings. Within SL, we are limited to Group Notices that can only house note cards, textures, or links. This was the underlying reason I created Second Friends. Personally, I wasn't satisfied with not being able to have proper marketing for my businesses in SL.

After creating Second Friends, I decided that it would be a great tool to help others in various businesses and industries within Second Life. I contacted musician friends first and then realized that other industries could also benefit from the great free marketing tools Second Friends offers.

Join Free with your Facebook, Twitter, Google or Yahoo ID!
http://www.second-friends.com

Today we have blown passed the 2000 member mark. I wanted to take a few minutes to share this blog in case you might have missed the  marketing I've been sending to as many SL'ers as I can reach.

One of the most important things you can do for your business is get your brand in front of as many people as possible. Branding. It goes hand in hand with just about every single marketing campaign I've been a part of.

I think one of the most important features you will find on Second Friends is the ability to create your own "Group". This it not limited to musicians, just to be clear. Any business or industry can utilize and benefit from creating a SF Group.

When creating a SF Group, you are creating a mini website of sorts. I own a website/graphic design firm as one of my real life businesses so I'm very clear when I label it this way. What I mean to say is, when considering what a website is, basically it is a blank canvas that you can "decorate" however you like, but more importantly, with components that will express your vision for YOUR business.

Join Free at: http://www.second-friends.com

A SF Group is VERY similar in this regard as it too can house just about anything a website can. This reflects back to the limitations I mentioned above about Second Life Group notices. On your SF Group, you can post links, photos, text, Javascripts, etc. and yes, even video. If you use your SF Group right, it can be quite powerful. Contrarily, SL notices cannot do much more than include text, links and images (or other notecard containing the same limitations).

I'd like to invite all Second Life businesses, regardless of industry, to create your own SF Group. After you have, you are welcome to contact me and I will create a Second Friends banner that you can rez out at your SL business, shows, events, etc. whereby people can click on it and will direct them to your SF Group page.

For example, in the fashion business, there are many places to advertise among the fashion mags, blogs and so on. Second Friends is not a fashion magazine. It is comprised of many different people from many different industries. My point is, why advertise your dresses on a medium where many other designers are also advertising their dresses. What I mean is, why CREATE your own competition?!?!?!

Create a group on Second Friends. If you are serious minded, and although space is limited, you can contact me about placing a specialized Ad on Second Friends. I don't use the word "limited" lightly. I will not have Second Friends become over saturated with ads so yes, space is limited and more will likely not be added. I will gladly extend this invitation to performers as well and for that matter, any business in SL seeking to break free from the mundane that has become the norm.

Second Life business and artists can also create Events that show up right on the Second Friends Home Page. With 20,000+ page views per month and growing, many SL'ers are turning to Second Friends to get more detail about upcoming Events. Whether you are having a fashion show, new venue launch or a live performance or DJ event, SF Events are the place to list  them. Events can also include many web features like video, pictures, links, etc... once again, much more than SL notices or SL Event listings can offer you.

For now, Second Friends remains 100% free (other than paid Advertising) I created it and this is how it is!

I truly care about my SL friends and family and hope you'll take advantage of what could be a really helpful tool for you and your Second Life business endeavors.



February 20, 2012

A Great Marketing Tool for Second Life Businesses

If you do any kind of business in Second Life, venue, content creator, performer, etc., take a few minutes to read this in its entirety.



Whether you are a Content Creator, Performer, Music Venue or Business Owner, no doubt marketing plays a big part in your business. These days, there is no faster and more effective way than to utilize social networking as a major part of your promotional campaigns. Using social networks can be a quick means of reaching a large number of friends and fans without doing any coding or hiring someone to do it for you.

But social networking doesn't stop with general social networks like Facebook and Twitter where only a fraction of a percent of their members are Second Life residents. What about a more specific Social Network, one created directly for Second Life, one that can really help grow your SL business and fan base?

Now at over 2000 members, Second Life is growing faster and faster and we need a Social Network that can meet the needs of its members, business owners, content creators and everyone who is in any way involved with doing business or just socializing  in SL. Meet Second Friends.

Second Friends has been called "Facebook for Second Life Members". As a member of Second Friends, from the moment you've joined, you automatically have some great tools at your fingertips. One in particular is the ability to create a Group, using whatever name suits your needs. As the creator of Second Friends, I'm always trying to come up with ways to help grow our community and help the members and of course businesses who are engaging the growing Second Friends community.



If you've already created your Group on SF (and there's over 200 already) head over to The Village and grab the free "Second Friends Square Banner" on the easel outside Brandy's Attic. This is a Full Perm Square Banner that you can set out at your shows, events, even inside your businesses to send people to your Second Friends Group.

When you get to Bandy's Attic, just click on the Second Friends banner on the easel out in front. There will be a very short and easy to follow notecard of instructions on how to simply change the URL ins a very short script to reflect your own Second Friends Group URL. We've made this as easy as peanuts and nothing more needs to be changed.

Click Here to Visit Second Friends: "Friends of Second Life Unite!"


Once your new members have joined, they can then interact with other group members and also receive valuable information and updates from you, the group Admin. For example if you're a clothing designer and want to share a new item you are making available, simply send out a quick Group Notice. on the Group page itself, you can post  pictures or even videos! Or you might want to just or update your group with a "Comment" that can contain also pictures, videos, a SLurl, or perhaps link to your website, blog or anywhere else. If you know some HTML, you can get VERY creative on your Group Page!

••••  Just follow this SLurl to get to Brandy's Attic, click the Second Friends Banner on the easel to grab it, read the one simple instruction, make the quick edit and set it out.


I think you'll be surprised how fast you can get a new stream of fans to your Second Friends group. There are of course other great tools on Second Friends including the ability to create your own unique profile, create events, upload photos, videos, music, public/private chat, free games and everything you see or post can be "Liked" and/or linked and added to your other major Social Networks like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. This is a great time saver when you hold a lot of events, like a performer for example or constantly release new clothing or other merchandise. Plus with unlimited photo uploads, you can always add fresh contact to keep engaging your audience.

If you haven't yet joined Second Friends, it's fast and it's FREE! Many big and small Second Life businesses, musicians, and Second Life residents are already making use of Second Friends for business, pleasure and Social Networking. Are you in?

"Friends of Second Life Unite!"


If you have any questions or need any help, please feel free to email info@second-friends.com.


February 7, 2012

Go Aden!

You might be wondering how Aden did today with his audition. Over the past few months, we've been trying to get him seen by the most recognized children's talent agent in the US. When big name brands are looking for child actors, models for commercials, film and print, this is the agency on the top of the list that they reach out to. 


So for the past few months, over and over, he kept saying he doesn't take kids under 4 (Aden is still 3 till May). Since I happen to love my son more than anything EVER, and since I'm not one to take "No" very seriously without at least pushing a little more, he finally agreed to see Aden. We drove up to LA today and arrived at the building on Sunset Blvd. They gave us a sheet with a paragraph for Aden to become familiar with, something along the lines of " are the best potato chips, etc." So I sat with Aden in the waiting room, going over his "lines". This all while all Aden wanted to do was go talk to others in the waiting room! They called him in, on his own first. Not 5 minutes later I was sitting in this agent's office who immediately, after a big smile and solid handshake, told me he was very glad I kept pushing him to meet Aden in person. 


The thing is, Aden is truly a very bright little guy, and it's not just the proud Daddy in me saying that (yes, of course I AM a proud Daddy). But I didn't want this or any other agent to assume they can tell who/what Aden is about only from 2 dimensional pictures and a bio, without actually meeting him and seeing his amazing and charismatic personality and hearing for themselves how bright Aden is. 


Long story short, they signed Aden on the spot and are sending us to his first audition tomorrow morning for a very known brand! Mr. Agent Man promised with Aden being who he is, that he could definitely get him many more auditions. 


On the way out, he looked at me and said "We think Aden's going to do VERY well!" So congrats to my little man for beings freegin' awesome today and who knows, you might be seeing him really soon! Thanks for the good wishes! I'm VERY happy for him!


PS. We also stopped at the toy store on the way home!




February 1, 2012

Brandy's Attic - Grand Opening!


You are invited to the launch of Brandy's Attic, the first of a planned string of vintage clothing stores featuring quality content creators, where everything is priced L$200 or less. Located in The Village, the launch will be held in the park right outside the store today, Wednesday, Feb. 1st at 1pm SLT (PST). I will be also performing a live set, so bring some friends out and just enjoy the Grand Opening!


I think it's truly a great thing that top Second Life content creators are willing to place their merchandise, which might normally sell for much higher, into Brandy's Attic.

The Village, owned by Brandy Maltas/Kalli Birman and myself, is a 1/4 sim build that we have modeled after Greenwich Village, NYC of the '70s. The build features several great designer stores and a clive music venue, Club Graffiti, based on the famous CBGB where the punk movement began.

Brandy's Attic will feature designs from: DeeTalez, Cynful, Sassy!, La Flat, Angelwings, Mashooka, 1 Hundred, Callie Cline, 24 Shoo Shoes, Paris Metro, Vanity Hair, Azoury. Lou Lou & Co, Siss Boom, Evale, Sakide, Snowpaws and The Jewllery Exchange.


Join us for the launch by clicking HERE!


January 31, 2012

Second Life... Only a Game?


Angel Manor Estate: Design, Build and Video by Kaya Angel - Tracer | Birman


In considering the idea of a "Virtual World", (myself included at least when I first heard the term) I would imagine many might associate it with a "game". I believe I first heard the term back in the 80s'. Remember those video game places and those goggles which placed you in the heat of the action! Back then, donning those oversized specs would open your eyes to little more than a wireframe scene. We were able to scan around. Turning left, right, up and down would do the same respectively while immersed in the game.


It would be an understatement to say that we've come a long way since then. We've left those ocular devices far behind, having entered a new realm of technology decade after decade. Taking one virtual world in particular, Second Life, as an example, we simply log in and are immediately immersed into a completely three dimensional space, still on a 2D object (our computer monitors) but with all the perks of being in the 3D space.


While those new to Second Life might think of it as checking out the scene, attending a virtual live concert or other event, buying clothes to dress their newborn avatar, there is far more involved than it just being coined as a "game".


To date, many big name brands have entered Second Life in the hopes of creating a presence. Why? Well a brand, other than providing its products and/or services, should always try to stay current and find new ways of marketing itself in the hopes of creating more consumer to brand interaction. As new technology and available marketing options open, it is a wise marketing team who explores these available options to research as to whether or not there is a market for their... well... marketing. Will their efforts be received? Is their target demographic also utilizing it? I'm here to tell you that the idea of Second Life being simple a "game" is far from accurate.



In Second Life, people from all over the world live, create, play and many work, earning a real life income and more from their efforts. While many brands have chosen not to enter the virtual realm, I might think mainly due to misconception, I would hope that the video above might just shed a little bit of light onto the real possibilities when a truly "professional" approach is taken to not only "building" in virtual space, but marketing. As you watch the video, you will see many examples of professional architecture, design, use of space, layout, light, color, texturing, and you will also see, more than anything, what IS possible.


Given that, according to Second Life founding company Linden Lab's CEO Rod humble, there are on average 16,000 new registrations per day, this cannot be easily overlooked. This translates into huge numbers and there's no doubt that Second Life is the forerunner of virtual worlds by a long shot. Furthermore, there is a near 50/50 male to female ratio in memberships with many of the female members considered to be "power players", meaning they spend much of their time in Second Life be it designing, building, running their businesses, etc.


The long and the short is, Second Life is a far cry from being simply a game and it would be a good move for major well known brands to take a closer look.


Brandy Maltas and I own The Tracer | Birman Agency, a full service boutique offering everything from brand identity design, website design, social and digital marketing, PR, sim design, custom builds and event planning. This applies to not only those whose brands are already in existence in Second Life, but even more so for real life brands who don't know the "how to's"or aren't readily prepared or able to setup.


We invite you to give strong consideration to entering your brand into Second Life. Along with our network of key contacts, we also have the tools necessary to consult with companies with respect to the proper approach to introducing the tens of millions of Second Life members to their brand.

Click the banner below, setup your free account and have a look around and by all means visit the amazing build of Angel Manor Estates. Once inside you are welcome to contact Brandy who is Kalli Birman in Second Life and myself, Mankind Tracer. Initially, you can also email us at info@tracerbirman.com. Please include contact info and any pertinent information about your goals and expectations. We look forward to speaking with you.







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