Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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Linden Lab COO/CFO Bob "BK Linden" Komin Leaving Linden Soon, Say Sources

Bob Komin CFO Linden Lab

Multiple sources tell me that Bob "BK Linden" Komin, Linden Lab's CFO since early 2010, and Chief Operating Officer since Philip Rosedale departed as CEO in October 2010, will leave Linden Lab soon -- perhaps before the end of June. He's still listed as COO/CFO on the Management page, so I've reached out to Komin for a comment and will update this post when and if I receive any. If confirmed (and let me stress it hasn't yet) this would be the biggest departure of a chief executive at Linden Lab since Rosedale left his interim CEO role, and would probably signify major changes for the company. At the moment, Linden is diversifying its portfolio of products beyond Second Life, such as a game code-named Dio, and some other secret projects that will resemble SL in spirit (far as being user-generated to some extent.)

Whatever his future status, what's Komin done for Linden Lab and Second Life? According to insiders, this:

He's widely credited for shoring up Linden Lab's revenue base after the departure of former CEO Mark Kingdon in 2010, following 30% of Linden's staff, who were also laid off, and even increasing the company's profit. While the company has lost market value in the last few years (an opinion BK Linden disputed on this very blog), it does remain the case that its main revenue source -- private land in Second Life -- has been gradually eroding. However, that revenue model existed before Komin came to Linden Lab, and it's been difficult to replace.

In addition to stabilizing Linden Lab's revenue (for the next 2-3 years at least), many credit (or depending on who you ask) blame Komin for instituting a more traditional corporate command and control structure on the company, which has done much to change the "Tao of Linden" Philip Linden implemented as founding CEO. The Tao once included the ability to choose what about Second Life they would work on, for example, an option that reportedly no longer exists at the Lab. This is probably part of the rancor on Linden Lab's Glass Door entry, as former and current Lindens debate whether the company has since lost its soul.

In any case, while I consider the several sources that say Komin is departing to be highly credible, it has not yet been confirmed; until then, consider this post a precis of Komin the Linden Lab CFO/COO (past, present, but likely not the future.)

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Shockwave Yareach

Shoring up the numbers isn't hard. But it requires LL to do an about face on a number of their worst errors, and the board would rather see the ship sink than admit they were wrong.

Little Lost Linden

Start the drum roll! Start the drum roll!

Connie Arida

At the risk of sounding shallow....
Who would have thought the accountant would have the best looking AV :)

caramia Mizin

I have been in SL since Nov 2007, I did't anticpate still enjoying as much 4.5 years later, for LL to continue as a successful business a first priority should be its customer base, no people in world, not business.

Toxic Menges

BK was open and accessible on Twitter, and because of this was liked and respected by the community there. He will be missed.

Is this a jump from the ship or merely a move to a better position.. either way it's a loss for LL, and a big chief going after big all hands meetings and other changes we've been hearing about lately .. rattles the nerves somewhat.

Good luck in the future Mr Komin.

Ezra

Wouldn't really be surprising if he was just moving on. I wouldn't be surprised if he indicated a long time ago to Philip and others that he wanted to go. I always found it odd that not only was he COO and CFO at the same time, he was basically CEO when Philip left his interim position to hunt for a fulltime CEO in Rod. Seems like BK was either passed over or declined any such long term tenure.

Either way, he has no rungs to climb at Linden Lab.

Indigo Mertel

@Ezra, when Bob took the role of CEO it was made clear that it was a temporary position until a new CEO was found. So, no, he was not passed over.

I second what Toxic says: Bob was open and accessible on Twitter. Hey, he was the only Linden who acknowledged my suggestion of overhauling groups... :)

He did a good job at taking the helm in difficult times when many were concerned about the future of Second Life (well, more than usual...). I see this move as a change in career to a better position, so I am not surprised.

I wish all the best to Bob for his future.

Ezra

@Indigo That's what I meant Indigo, maybe he indicated as far back as then he wasn't going to be at the Lab long moreso than he was passed over.

Hitomi Tiponi

If it is announced that he is taking up a better position then no drama and good luck to him. If it is announced he is talking a sabbatical or some other weasel-words then that is not good news.

Emperor Norton

If it was bad it would be a done deal by now Hitomi. Companies don't leave "disgruntled former employes" is positions like the Chief Financial Officer (as in the guy who handles all the money) This sounds like Komin gave notice because has another job now.

Pussycat Catnap

"for LL to continue as a successful business a first priority should be its customer base, no people in world, not business."

This is why M Linden was shown the door. He was brought in to destroy the customer base and bring in a different customer base instead - he had marginal success with the first goal, but little with the second... :)

While the present dancing chicken has been amazingly good for us in terms of the changes made and improvements to the system - its been like screaming at a wall to get them to say anything or speak to us.

Right now I'm not in the mood for shakeups like this.

We're seeing a shrinking ownership in land, this Cloud Islands thing, and a perception of trouble in the community's grognards.

- are things stable or not? I don't know. And its not good when people don't know.

Did this guy just push numbers around so investors could be happy - or did he work to help revenue? Or both? Is it important if he goes - because he's helped planned things to a better path? Or was he just a guy in cubicle #357 filling in form AG286?

Don't really know.

Kim Anubis

"He was brought in to destroy the customer base...."

Ridiculous.

shockwave yareach

I have never understood why anyone with the vision to create SL in the first place cannot grasp that it can be many things to many people. You need not throw current users under the bus to get new users. And new users are for some strange reason leery of joining a service that's willing to throw its users under the bus.

You don't improve traffic over a river by dynamiting the existing bridge and announcing you are starting to build a new bridge. You improve it by having two bridges side by side. At the very least you get the second bridge built first before destroying the original one. But since those interested will see how many people are thrown to their doom when the first bridge gets foomed, it's only LL's fault when the potential customer sees how the current customers are treated and walks away with their money.

Ezra

M seemed to neatly divide up the customer base rather than target it for destruction.

M seemed to think there were enterprise users, education users, and I guess regular users. That the teen grid should continue, Zindra be created, maybe other divisions I forget.

Philip's return as CEO saw the education and non-profit discount go and teen grid close.

Rod doesn't seem to be interested in any divisions other than premium and tier payers and customers of tier payers.

In ways I liked M's style better. Even if he was mistake, he was at least willing to try and identify what his customers were and facilitate them best. I simply hate when a Linden hides under the excuse "I don't know what Second Life is" "You guys surprise us!" and those kind of sentiments. I rather an exec get me wrong than either feign confusion or really not have a clue what Second Life is and what its users are trying to accomplish..

shockwave yareach

I like some of Rod's acts. I dislike others, like his completely ignoring the request for last names. Seriously, how hard could it be to put back as an option something we used to have?

If land ownership is paying for the party, make it so more people can own said land. Let anyone own a homestead without an island first. Lower the tier a flat 20% on everything. Let those who lost islands in the past few years get islands again for no fee just by picking up the new tier again. Simplify the TOS so you don't need a law degree to join SL.

And most importantly, fix the viewer so when people try to enter the first time, it doesn't crash their computer. Wanna know why people creating accounts don't enter? A good number of them can't start the program because certain very common video cards put the viewer in modes that the card can't run in. Have buttons for LowQuality, MedQuality, and HighQuality as well as LastSetting, so more people can enter.

foneco zuzu

Well, if any i can say, is that since my return to SL, on a regular basis, due to Nvidea latest drivers that allow Me to use 16hqaa and 16aa with ultra graphics serttings, with the help of Niran's really amzing in all aspects, viewer (Does not crash, rezzes all much faster then any other and gives me the best graphics quality) i found that sim crossings are muhc improved, even allowing me to finally drive on mainland with my bike, crossing all the Nautilius and Corsica Continent with out crashing once and more, using Full Shadows and Deferred rendering at all times!
Also now i can sail on Black sea, go to Sl9b and enjoy it in its full glory, cause nothing now looks dull but rather alive (Linden lab windlight settings only now, as with shadows they just make SL seems so real.
Trully i still hate the greed and commercial part of SL, but im enjoying it again as i thought i couldn't anymore!

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