This article (“The king of alter egos is surprisingly humble guy”) is mainly a profile of SL founder and CEO Philip Rosedale. In the process of giving a good feel for where SL came from, it includes a quotation that shows succinctly why SL matters:
IBM’s Wladawsky-Berger suggests that the magic of the original Internet and Web has distracted users from an important question: “We never said: Where are the people?” he says.
Now, Wladawsky-Berger and other powerful Internet players are starting to see Second Life as a better, people-centric way to navigate the Net. It might be a leap like when the Mosaic browser first brought graphics to the Internet. Eventually, Internet users might go to Amazon through Second Life instead of through a browser, walking into the Amazon store and interacting with shoppers and clerks.
The article is not all artificially rosy, putting the challenges into perspective. The upshot is about the same as what we’ve been saying locally: it may or may not be Second Life, the company, that comes out on top (they may turn out like Google, or they may turn out like Netscape), but the 3D Web is likely to be the Next Big Thing.