Second Life founder Philip Rosedale is no longer on the board of Linden Lab, Rosedale just confirmed with me this week, something I only noticed recently -- though as it turns out, he actually departed earlier in 2013:
"I left the board around the start of the year [as] I was starting High Fidelity," Philip tells me by e-mail, "but on great terms -- both Mitch [Kapor] and Linden are both investors in High Fidelity, and I'm still a big shareholder in Linden." (High Fidelity is a new kind of virtual reality platform that's still under wraps.) While Philip left the CEO role in 2010, he still maintained a position on its board. Having left the board, however, he no longer has any more input on company management decisions, overall direction, or policy formation.
I see this as a major milestone in the company's history:
Second Life is still responsible for most of Linden Lab's revenue, but with Philip gone, no Linden board member has direct, day-to-day experience with SL as a product, or personal memory of its development, and the growth of its hardcore userbase (which still makes up the bulk of its total users). For that matter, neither does Linden Lab's current management, most of whom come the traditional game industry (Sony, Electronic Arts, Eidos, etc). This is not necessarily a bad thing, and I've argued before that Second Life should be more explicitly developed and promoted as a game (at least for new users). It also suggests a very different direction for the company that Philip started. And veterans of the traditional game industry tend to take a very aggressive view on intellectual property, which may at least partially explain the draconian new Terms of Service.
And speaking of which -- yes, I also asked Philip if he had an opinion about the ToS that he wanted to share, but for whatever reason (which may include being too busy to reply), I received no answer there.
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