SL entrepreneur Profile : Riddik Straaf on SL Money, “To keep it in-world is easier.”

March 19th, 2008  |  Published in SL Entrepreneur Magazine, SL Entrepreneur Profiles  |  3 Comments

SL Entrepreneur Riddik Straff

Riddik Straaf began his Second Life in May 2007. Although nine months in real life seems like a fairly short span, SL time is more compressed, and the rapid learning curve means that he is a long-term resident. He works as Realtor for Viking Estates and Realty, but as an entrepreneur, Riddik is involved in other ventures. For this interview, Riddik chose to share his thoughts as well as those of his close friends who, as will become apparent, are a significant factor in his success as an SL entrepreneur. With his partner, Lizzy Debevec, Riddik is making an SL living that can support his SL lifestyle. And that’s important. As one of his colleagues, Krasa Slade, said, “Any money I make in SL stays in SL.” Riddik and Lizzy agree.

“I think we are pretty well on the same idea that SL money is nice, but to go and think it will attain RL money status, well, none of us is hopeful,” said Lizzy.

“To keep it in-world is easier,” added Riddik.

Exclusive SL or Global SL?
Riddik represents one type of entrepreneur that might be called, for want of a better label, the “exclusive SL-focused” individual. For this type, business is based on the notion that Second Life represents a domestic economy where the linden is the unit of exchange and that there are no “international” operations or any foreign exchanges. This contrasts with the “global SL” executives who factor in the in-flow and conversion of dollars into SL and the opposite transfer of SL profits into real life dollars.

Both groups are entrepreneurs but their fundamentally different economic assumptions lead to differing operational strategies.

“I work for a multi-sim firm in rentals,” explained Riddik. “With us representatives it is commission driven and obviously the bigger the parcels we move, the better our weekly is going to be. Working for the firm I do–they pay very well!”

But Riddik is keen to increase his SL income. “On the sim Lizzy and I live on, along with Krasa, Draxxe, and Myranda, we are starting a small rental development there. If you own your own land, any profit is 100% yours from rental or sale, ergo why Lizzy and I are developing rentals on our property. That also goes along with our business of building. Again, (the aim is) to keep money in SL to use, instead of digging into RL pockets. The land is the key; having the land is the major step as you can buy homes or build them yourself or give the renter the option to do so themselves as well.”

I asked if the top three tips for budding entrepreneurs in Second Life are Land, Land, and Land? Lizzy answered first.

“If they are looking to make RL money, yes.

Riddik expanded slightly. “I would agree – and building as well; getting to know the functionality of pieces and what you are able to create within the world.”

“But to make SL money to support SL habits,” said Lizzy, “just about anything goes.”

Cooperation: A Key to Developing Business
Like many entrepreneurs, Riddik is not afraid to diversify. Along with working for Viking Estates and Realty and developing property, he also works with Lizzy to “create whatever the mood takes us to create, everything from fountains to furniture to frames – just about anything.” Their store is located in a small mall owned by Taylor Kamachi. But the word “mall” is really an inadequate description. What really appears to be happening here is a family-run collective of ventures, each one different yet with everyone supporting each other. This may sound touchy-feely but it is an interesting business model that evolves partly from that exclusive-SL focus. Riddik and his colleagues aim to make enough profits to keep them in Second Life and to keep their community together.

It doesn’t take long to see that there are some significant business-to-business interactions going on. As a case in point, Taylor owns a club – not an uncommon pairing with stores in Second Life – but it not only serves as a place to enjoy the fruits of SL work, it also functions as a site to showcase and promote each other’s products. First prize in a current contest is a limited edition motorcycle, provided by Draxxe Slade, the owner/designer of the bike store there. And Draxxe’s partner, Krasa, is a photographer who is able to provide images for any of the people in the group. And as she said, “In RL it’s all about getting the sale, but here, if someone shows up and I am the only one here and they ask ‘Where can I buy a fireplace?’, I will show them Riddik and Lizzy’s store.”

Lessons to Learn
Krasa explained what she does in SL. “I have a small odds and ends store as a side business, but my main business is as a photographer. And I take LOTS of photos. My gallery can be found at I take profile photos for other people, and I am a photographer for the Nefritti Modeling Agency. I do model portfolios, weddings, offer portrait packages, couples photos, and weddings. I edit all photos outside of SL and then upload them to SL for the customer.”

The lesson here is that if you have SL skills, don’t be afraid to leverage them in different ways. Just as Riddik works part-time for someone else and part-time for himself, so Krasa can work for a modeling agency and offer other photographic services.

SL Entrepreneur Riddik Straff and Draxxe Slade

Draxxe Slade, Krasa’s partner in both SL and RL, uses his SL business to achieve a RL dream. “My RL dream is to build bikes but as a devoted husband and father, I have chosen a stable RL career path. So I build the bikes I want to build in RL here in SL. And after taking six months to learn to build my first one, the rest more or less exploded out of my mind into the SL bike life. Each bike I build has, and tells, its own story.”

I asked how much his bikes sold for. “L$1000. I have noticed that in SL, that even if a person loves your product, they will not purchase it unless the price is right in their eyes. I studied other bikes built in the style I use and on average the price was between L$2000 and L$3000. After experimenting with price I have discovered that L$1000 is a good price. People will buy it and it is also high enough that they are proud to own a Loco Lobo cycle.”

More lessons to learn here: Turn your RL dream into a SL passion, use competitor analysis to help set a price point, and don’t “undersell” or the perceived value of your product drops.

Myranda Beaumont has a weapons store, specializing in bladed arms. Her choice of SL business came from her SL interests. “I got into medieval role-play before I built my first one. I have been trying and failing to come up with a marketable idea for months. Then after a day of fighting with a sword I had bought, I was in a bar I hang out in, talking about swords and how it would be neat to try to build one. Then a guy I have never met loudly announced ‘I, woman, can’t build weapons.’

“So I tried to make one during a sleepless night. Then with the help of an investment, I purchased some scripts and animations allowing it to be compatible with the DCS combat system. That was my first – four months ago – and now I boast 30 different weapons with 13 currently in the prototype phase of construction.”

Another lesson: Turn your SL interests into a SL product, be that objects or services. And be prepared for sleepless nights!

Sim owner, Taylor Kamachi, owns the Succubus Club, which acts as both a draw to the stores and a focal point for fun. “We play rock and metal and what ever else the DJs decide to crank out. I’ve tried to do two things here – well maybe three.”

“First, it’s a late night club, usually after 9:00 PST because most events end then. Second, we try to do unique events things you don’t see anywhere else. Everyone has the same tired ideas and just rehashes them.” This includes such things as a masquerade ball, creatures of the night special, vampire toga party. The theme is definitely geared toward the darker mythologies of werewolves, vampires, ghouls, and other such characters. As Taylor remarked for his third point, “This is a place for creatures to hang out and have a really nice kick-back time.”

Two more lessons: Aim for some level of novelty, and never forget to have some fun.

Futures for the SL-RL Interface
I asked a final question: Do you think SL will have any effect on the way business is done in RL?

Although the consensus for now is that SL and RL businesses are effectively separate domains, there is also recognition that this will change. They noted that some real world companies were already advertising in SL and buying sims to act as a gateway. Nissan and Orange County Choppers were cited as examples. Lizzy pointed out that some RL companies were already hiring through SL (see last month’s SLentrepreneur Article –

Krasa also said that “SL provides a way for people who can’t work in RL to get out into the world and live. I know several people who are disabled in RL who work and live a full life experience here in SL.”

Riddik offered his observations. “I have run across various people and companies within SL looking for properties to start their business on line, whether it be an outfit for helping new people ease into SL or a full-blown business. So the factors are there to combine the two worlds all the time.”
Last Words
I ran together a parting set of quotes from Riddik and the team, choosing not to identify who said what in particular because what they said really did seem to be an example of group-speak:

“We are all family here. We support and feed off each others’ businesses. We all take care of — and look out for — each other and promote each others activities. We all help one another out. If bikes draw them here and they buy a sword from Myranda, a fireplace from Lizzy and Riddik, then hang out in the club, we are successful.”

Final lesson? Define your own criteria for “success” – and it doesn’t have to be simply a numerical profit or return on investment.

Key Points

• Be aware of whether you are Exclusive SL focused or Global SL focused.
• Define your own criteria for success.
• Leverage your SL skills in different directions.
• Cooperate with colleagues at a B2B level.
• Turn your RL dream into a SL passion.
• Use competitor analysis to help set a price point.
• Don’t “undersell” or the perceived value of your product drops.
• Turn your SL interests into a SL product.
• Aim for novelty.
• Have fun.


  1. Shaylynn says:

    March 19th, 2008at 10:36 pm(#)

    A pleasure indeed, as i walk by the shops everyday on my way to work – there is always the need to peek to see what’s new!!Riddik, Lizzy, Draxxe & Krasa – you are part of my SL family whether you know it or not – keep the dreams alive ….

  2. Player Dagostino says:

    March 20th, 2008at 3:30 pm(#)

    Excellent article. I totally agree in every point. The differentiation between exclusive and global sl focused business is very interesting.
    And turning your RL dream into an SL business really gives a boost to your will to do.
    Many people in sl often show to ignore such concepts and thats too bad for their business.
    Great article mate, tare care :)

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