When Philip Linden resigned as CEO last year, I asserted that "The Burning Man era of Second Life is over." But it is one thing for me to say that, and quite another for Philip himself to compare Second Life to Burning Man, and not just in the positive sense of a place that fosters freeform creation in an egalitarian community, as he always has -- but tellingly, also in its most limiting connotation:
Presently, Second Life still isn't very accessible - most people still don't have the time to get over the steep learning curve and get to the amazing stuff inside. Similarly, the total number of people willing to drive 3 hours from Reno into the middle of a barren desert carrying a week's worth of drinking water and food is limited.
At the moment, as Philip notes (having just returned from another Black Rock jaunt himself), Burning Man has reached a plateau of about 50,000 attendees. (As it happens, that's roughly the number of Second Life users in-world at any given time.) This, he says, must change:
Try not to cling too tightly to what we have now. The design, the UI, the orientation experience, the tools - all these need to change, a LOT, for Second Life to become accessible to hundreds of millions. Those changes are sometimes going to be disruptive and painful... But a bigger part of my heart wants to see it reach everyone, and so we must evolve.