Friday, January 24, 2014

« Good Advice from a Second Life Veteran - What's Yours? | Main | Indie Sandbox Phenomenon Starbound Promises No More Character Wipes... Ever! »

Rod Humble Leaving Linden Lab CEO Role to Start New Art/Entertainment Company, Reports Rod Humble

Rod Humble Leaves Linden Lab

I'm seeing social media reports that Rod Humble, who has been Linden Lab's CEO for about 3 years, is leaving the company to start an art and entertainment company of his own. I just contacted Linden Lab for an official statement on this, and will update this post soon. Meantime, you can read this interview from when Rod Humble started in 2011.

UPDATE, 3:48pm: Just got Rod's permission to share the Facebook update he made about an hour ago. He also gave me a message to relate to NWN readers:

"It has been an honour! I wish LL and all our wonderful customers the very best! Good luck man!"

Please share this post:

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bf74053ef01a73d6118be970d

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Rod Humble Leaving Linden Lab CEO Role to Start New Art/Entertainment Company, Reports Rod Humble:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Metacam Oh

Good luck to Mr Humble. I believe he did all he could with what he was given from the Board. Begs to ask the question has there ever been a CEO position that has been such a revolving door as Linden Lab?

JoJa Dhara

What a day for virtual worlds.... first cloudparty is gonna stop ...and now Rod Humble leaving Lindenlab ... is it blue virtual world friday? Anyway personal note wish him all the best and that secondlife tought him good things to move on ...specially collaberation with all kinds and how wonderfull 3d creation together can be...

Ezra

Will Wright has disappeared off the Board of Directors as well http://lindenlab.com/about

Philip's not around to be an interim CEO, and isn't apart of the board for the next CEO search.

Am I understanding it correctly that basically four VCs will decide the future of Second Life now?

ostensiblysilly

Why does this feel like a harbinger of sorts to something 'not good'? Maybe it's nothing, but my gut is saying 'not good!'.

JoJa Dhara

P.s. we are not costumers .. we are communities

Iggy

Actually, JoJa, we are "costumers." Every avatar is a costume its driver slips on.

But to LL, we're customers. Just that. They can pull the plug or sell (and sell out) our community whenever they wish.

Good luck, Mr. Humble. What's next at the Lab will be most interesting to watch.

rodvik

Hey all, thank you for the kind words and all the support the past three years. I know with such fabulous creators as yourselves the future is bright!

Ajax Manatiso

3 years is pretty standard for a CEO to show results or get shown the door. Concurrency has been flat and revenue has fallen so the writing was on the wall.

Lani Global

Good luck with your next gig, Rod.

See you in OpenSim, where we make "...art, entertainment, and unusual things..."

-Lani Global

Eddi Haskell

Hamlet, I have a thought. I might be entirely off base. Could this possibly be a board power struggle? Phil Rosedale, who still have a great deal of clout (and as far as we know, ownership) of privately held Linden Lab is doing great with High Fidelity - they are raising money, and Linden Lab and Google are investors. They are getting a great deal of publicity and seem to be reviving investor interest in the moribund virtual world category. I would not be surprised if this has something to do with this since Rod Humble has been investing in other projects and not Second Life. Second Life has been a cash cow for other projects, and perhaps Mitch Kapor (who is also investing in High Fidelity) and some of the other vc's wanted this to happen. Again, it is just a thought.

Toysoldier Thor

Well IMHO... Thank Goodness that Rod is leaving. Since Rod arrived, he executed a policy to shut down almost all communications between LL and its SL Residents / Customers. He tried to deployed performance and stability improvements which most residents know have been a big failure as Lag and stability on the grid is worse now than before tech like server side baking was released. He executed a new TOS that highjacked the IP Rights of SL's creators that are the main reason for SL's success.

Its time for a new CEO that understands the SL customer. One that respects the SL Creator and their IP rights. A CEO that will re-open LL-Resident communications (like restoring the public JIRA). And one that will TRULY ADDRESS the horrid lag and non-rezzing mesh content, and long broken functions.

Good Riddance Rod.

elizabeth (irihapeti)

Dear Toysoldier,

thanks for your kind words. you are awesome as well

ps. is a new viewer 3.6.13 which fix everything that was ever wrong with lag and stuff. I know bc I stop playing for nearly 1 year bc of them troubles. is pretty good this viewer. like pretty really good

I started playing again since. I got retained again bc of this viewer

shirc desantis

For all his later silent running, Citizen Humble was at the helm for some pretty neat upgrade stuff. The fact that my old laptop (with which I first signed up at the end of 06) now runs viewers faster and more reliably...is rather impressive.
Best of luck to him. Now...who wants to step up to be vilified next (because we are so supportive are we not =^^= )

Ciaran Laval

@Eddi Haskell Philip Rosedale left the board of directors some time ago, I don't think this is anything to do with Philip. Linden Lab invested in his project whilst Rod Humble and Will Wright were still onboard.

SecondLie

So Rod's leaving to form a company that will make art and entertainment?

I guess he was worried about the new Terms Of Service, too.

Hitomi Tiponi

Thanks to Rod for all the good work he did during his time @LL. I wonder what will happen to all the other LL ventures now that he has left. And I look forward to the announcement of a new CEO of equal pedigree soon.

Emperor Norton

@ SecondLie

Using my vast imperium I declare you the winner of this thread.

Hanno Tietgens | Xon Emoto

Sorry to see Rod Humble go. I liked the quiet, professional way in which he handled being CEO of Linden Lab, letting us have a glimpse at the thoroughbred, vivacious creative he is at the same time, with a strong sense for community, not to mention his humor.

Thanks for sharing, Rod!

Especially sorry to see him leave the Lab at this special point. I would have liked the ToS–debate with parts of the creative community come to a good solution, and for Oculus integration to see the virtual lights of Second Life under his leadership. The latter raises some questions as to what really to expect from this in terms of a growing user–base etc., and I am not talking about the Oculus experience—it's mind–blowing.

What I did not like about SL in recent months I do not blame on the CEO. I've seen it all over the Internet, from Second Life to Wonderland, from OpenSim to Blue Mars (using Cryengine) to Avayalive Engage (built with the Unreal), from applications based on Unity to CloudParty (sent to rest in peace on Feb 21, 2014) to flat 2D classrooms even, in Adobe Connect.

To this day, I believe Second Life and its software are the leading Avatar–based 3D technology available to the public—taking into account the sum of all they offer, including spatial voice and user–gerenerated content. (This in itself being a bit of a disappointment; no real competitor has come along in almost a decade. Maybe High Fidelity can regain the momentum. Or whatever Sam Thompson and the Cloud Party team will bedoing at Yahoo.)

So it was even worse for me to be thrown back to the user experience of 2009 or 10 in Second Life last year, with constant updates and glitches, endless lag, reliability deteriorating instead of increasing.

Having consulted on others and having enabled them to do so before, I took up teaching a regular course myself in 2013 in the virtual classrooms of HWR Berlin. I took groups of 32, then 37 Business Management BA students through their internship semesters abroad, distributed all over the world.

In weekly classes, we faced ongoing voice issues, vital for the role play we'd included, crashes in the middle of lectures, student motivation dropping to next to nothing ... it's been a challenge.

To raise student's spirits again and again took time and efforts on the teacher's side no one could (or would) pay for. So despite the beautiful moments, laughs and insights we shared when things worked, I simply had to refuse the kind offer to teach the course for a third semester.

As for disillusionment, I'm not talking about the foreseeable difficulties a student might have participating from Nepal who'd wisely named her avatar "Slowinternetinkathmandu". My benchmark is my personal experience: logging in from the heart of well–developed Hamburg, Germany, with the same machine, more experience, and better bandwidth than I've had in 2010.

I hope the fabulous technology of avatar–based interaction in immersive 3D web–based environments will be taken out of early Beta soon to unfold its true potential.

Because an early, open Beta it is, if you think mass adoption.

I'm coming from a background of journalism and publishing, brand advertising as lead agency for the likes of German public television ARD Das Erste and corporate communications for Munich Re and others. I appreciate the abundance of creativity I have come to see in those petri dishes of a virtual world, as Edward Castronova once tagged Second Life in a lecture on our Campus Hamburg in 3D.

Even more: I love being a part of that creativity!

Yet, I also think mass adoption. Or at least easy access to the Avatar as an interface for immersive 3D experiences, for next to everybody.

Oculus Rift and Google Glass and yes, SL/OS/CP/etc are showing the way. Just imagine the integration! But it won't be enough to combine the functionalities of either two of them (or something like them) to really make it big. We've seen them now: it's got be all three. In one.

I'm afraid it's going to be a few more years before this really happens at your desk, in your living room, anywhere you move—with the richness and endless opportunity me and my Avatar have come to see as a promise, and cherish as a vision, in the virtual 3D world of Second Life late in December, 2006.

But I am sure it's going to happen, maybe even in this decade.

TheresaAnne Kohime in SL

I'd not sign the final song on this. Yes this might mark the beginning of the end of SL and even virtual worlds - AS WE USE AND THINK OF THEM NOW. But that's not totally a bad thing. Virtual reality isn't going away. Its morphing into a new form that is more mobile, elastic and easier for the semi pro's to make their own version of SL if they want. Give me a few paragraphs to map this out for you.

Check out this article form the Guardian, written by Kevin Stuart talking about the future of virtual reality - thanks to Ixmal Supermarine of AirisApps.com for the heads up. PLEASE READ IT FIRST >>> then come back here for more juicy bits.

http://gu.com/p/3mx87

Pretty forward looking blog that isn't dismal and no snide remarks about virtual worlds being just for naughty. What a refreshing change from the media to actually .. finally see VR is more than what SL became. Rah rah to them!

They are also pointing to new technology for VR/VW's that a new challenges the current Occulus product by resolving the resolution/pixelation problem, making it work with any HDMI enabled device, and OMG making it a mobile thang!

In other words, if you didn't read the article on the link above, GO BACK AND DO IT DUDE! LOL This new player has heavy hitters investing and speaking out on their behalf, including Phillip Rosedale and his High Fidelity, NetFlix and others. If you don't' believe me and refuse to read the article here's this nifty disrupter company's kickstarter video:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/avegantglyph/a-mobile-personal-theater-with-built-in-premium-au

So, that's one part of the future that doesn't even require the platform and engine coders to change a thing to make it work. If its designed to work with HDMI video cards the game will be seen in glorious 3D. I think this is extraordinary! It could even breath new life into the PC bound SL, but i think we must face the reality that a ANY DEVICE solution needs to be made. Iv'e spoken to a few coders in the know know who say Unity's API's would allow for a interface to be layered over it, giving many of the things needed to make it's functionality very close to what people have experience with using OpenSim and SL. I know ... coders will say .. trash that SL interface! Make something totally new. That is a valid argument, but the reality of the consumers are that unless there is a MUST HAVE stampede to that product, as there was in the 20006-2008 age of SL, they will not invest a lot of time learning new skills. They demand it be familiar and almost automatic. SL's build interface at least is something that should be re-utilized to keep the casual user in the creative loop no matter how "crappy" their builds seem to pros.

Now, lets look at the possible future of LL and Second Life, in regards to their most recent movements. Sme of you might remember that LL purchased Desura. a game portal like Steam, but with the focus on helping indie games designers collaborate more effectively with others and help launch and market their games - not just a distribution point. Here's how they layout what they do:

http://www.desura.com/development
and here is LL's announcement they acquired them in
http://lindenlab.com/releases/linden-lab-acquires-desura

Then, just a little ways down the road LL changes their SL TOS to the presumed "content grab TOS". Is this connected to Desura? Could they be moving towards making the newly sellable content from SL to become available to the Desura developers? It would help lower their dev costs, speed up deliverables and ultimately allow the game designers to focus ON THE game level design, rather than the labor-some content creation side of things. Question is ... Will Linden Labs share those earnings from content sales with the original creators? Would this legally add up to UNJUST ENRICHMENT?
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/unjust+enrichment

A general equitable principle that no person should be allowed to profit at another's expense without making restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other benefits that have been unfairly received and retained.

If so, then the only legal legs LL would have to point to, to support their new TOS would be that the content developers utilize the SL grid, and therefore company services and resources to make, test and sell content to their audience. I'd e wiling to bet that this legal argument becomes considerably weaker in the eyes of a court if teh content isn't reliant upon SL for its production, but rather on a complimentary platform, like an OpenSim grid.

The crazy about all this guessing games is, if LL was more transparent and worked with everyone, yeah there would be the typical hyper panic reaction, but after they saw the sky wasn't falling, they find a way to make the transition from just a SL vendor to a provider to game designers around the world and thank LL for creating a resell track that expands their customer base beyond SL. *shrugs* LL's way of moving forward ... the execution of their actions and making changes ... its always been a colossal mess in communicating that to that new community.

Sadly, one can never really know what LL is up to or planning. For all we know this leave of Ron might very well herald in the beginning of the end of SL, which would be a HUGE thunder tree falling in the much thinned out forest of the Metaverse. Especially if coming on the heels of these other closures.

I'd like to hear from others here about starting up a open source project for a Virtual world Interface creation to apply to the Unity Engine to give the community and SL-esque experience, and make it available to all devs including the SL team so we can all grow with the movement to mobile and more sophisticated workings. I'd be happy to volunteer some time to help the word out and get it going from an awareness POV. Could save not only Second Life as a community, but OpenSim too. Its pretty clear if we don't get out of the pc box and make what we do available on all platforms we're not going to survive into the next decade, I don't know about you, but I'd have a big empty place in my life without these communities.

TheresaAnne Kohime in SL

Dartagan Shepherd

Not about to give credit to improvements that should have happened regardless of who wsa CEO. Employees worked the changes, under all CEO's to bring about improvements of some kind.

As CEO, wasted money in acquiring and developing dud products, double digit percentage region loss year after year under his stint.

Bad legal decisions with the ToS and some reports that he mostly stayed in his office not engaging. Obviously his mind was elsewhere.

Bailed on a "creativity" company to go be umm, creative on his own.

Marketplace that still multiple bills customers for the same ads.

Closed down a data center, etc.

Moving on, thankfully. Never fell for the look at me in a toga on a raft, love-this-passionate-community schtick.

toysoldier thor

Yes Dartagan, its so amazing I have read some of those that are praising Rodvik for accomplishments that supposedly did happen (and that would have with or without Rodvik - like mesh).

They defend Rodvik for blunders that happened under his reign and say "well its not his fault" like the TOS. Rodvik was the CEO - of course he has leadership say - who is naïve enough to think this was a play by legal??

They say that Rodvik's call to gag the Public Jira and restrict communications to the small elite developers at weekly server meetings that could only be attended by those that seem to have RL time during North American Office hours (when a large portion of SL residents work) - ASA GOOD THING. What they fail to recall is that even LL Engineers at these weekly server meetings said they were not in favor of Rodvik gagging the JIRA.

Those that post and brag that during Rodvik's reign the grid has become less laggy and more stable.... these are the same people that have NO CLUE about life on the grid. They don't go to live music events, art exhibits, club scenes, or any large gatherings and see how Mesh and prims and avi's don't rezz at all. How venues are often crashing at events because of these "Rodvik" performance improvements. If they would only try stepping off your private region sim with only themselves on it, they would see how bad lag, mesh rezzing, sim stability has become.

And then there are the major unresolved experience bugs that remain unresolved since LL weekly support engineers nor those that often attend are aware of it nor care, and, no JIRA for the general community to use to show LL what are the REAL bugs. Why? Because Rodvik gagged us all.

So, those that are in the inner circles and close to the LL staff and Rodvik might call him a hero. For most of us that actually actively use and experience ALL that SL has to offer... Rodvik has done more bad than good.

and... on we go to the next CEO of LL... to ignore the real problems on the grid.

Desmond Shang

Some might remember me calling for executive desks to be emptied out, because of horrific issues that remain to this day.

~ The abuse of content creator rights... which was, and remains, mind bogglingly anti~creative. If an evil genius set out to harm creators, that would be plan A.

~ The inability to even *speak to a supervisor* with regard to billing, concierge &c. When cable and telecom providers have better customer service... that's a major warning sign!

~ Blocksworld. Hey, it's a great little game. It's also emblematic of what the company *learned* from Second Life. Go have a look at that, really.

* * * * *

All that said, we don't know Rod's relationship with the board, what was expected of him, the constraints and so forth. It *could* have been that much worse.

What could any of us done, if handed Compuserve, or AOL, or Star Wars Galaxies? There's only one thing *to* be done, and that's disruptive change. Creative destruction. Tier's too high, but it can't be lowered either? Then shatter the paradigm, leap into the unknown.

Unfortunately, CEO carries an implication ~ that you are actually running something that already exists. And not likely to start smashing it to pieces, even if the writing is on the wall, and that's what it *needs*. Genius isn't necessarily repeatable either; anyone who disagrees can argue that over at my Coffee and Power account.

Was it Rod's desk that needed cleaning out? I'm not so sure. Yes, he was ultimately responsible. But somehow, with his exit I don't see a whole lot changing. Which speaks to larger issues than what Rod could fix.


If I ever see him in a pub, yes I'd buy him a beer. And ask: what the hell was going on? Not that he could tell me.

But as a generally not bad judge of people, I have to say... Rod is not evil. Never was. And that counts for a lot in this world.

Fair winds, Rod.

Estelle Pienaar

Good luck with your next project, Rod! Good luck SL!

2014

the sky is falling

Masami

Here's my prediction for Second Life's future:

By the time Linden Lab's next CEO leaves office, the OpenSim-powered Hypergrid will be the largest interconnected virtual world ever.

Seymore Steamweaver

Definitely liked Rod. Good luck.

Pussycat Catnap

From the official forums my comments:


As a CEO, a person sets direction - so I give that kind of credit for setting a direction that led to things like mesh and SSB getting done. I do not recall if the shift that moved us from viewer 2 to viewer 3 was instigated by him or already basically done by the time he'd stepped in. That shift more or less saved the viewer for a lot of people and has shaped what even TPVs are today.

Mesh has had a massive impact - and even for those who hate mesh fashion, in buildings, landscaping, objects, and 'body parts' (not just that one, but an assortment of them) the change has been nearly universally seen as an improvement for the end users (but as a major problem for many slow-to-reskill content makers).

Before Humble, I could teleport around the grid and likely randomly run into 1 to 3 lindens a day. If I knew where to go - I could guarantee this - as many had office hours inworld. Here on the forums and blogs we could be sure to see a post from one, and on a regular basis a blog. On third party blogs we'd see them commenting.

- This is now perhaps the ONLY social media platform where that does NOT happen. Even when I include other MMOs.

And I think this is the biggest problem facing SL today... It outweighs every other concern I can come up with. The lack of a public presence from the lindens is crippling the platform.

Other major problems during his reign boil down to the linden homes wrecking devastation on mainland and estate community, the shift to marketplace causing so many sim closures and empty land lots...

On the plus side I credit him for overseeing many technical improvements:
- server side baking
- mesh
- Viewer 3
- stabilizing viewer inconsistency with the 'common experience' rule
- numerous improvements to lag and sim crossing
- linkset scripting (remember resizer scripts in every single prim - and how a single avatar could crash a sim just by wearing hair?).
- rendering improvements that have made windlight much more common.
- materials

Pathfinding I always read derision of, so I don't know if I should list it as an improvement.


But if the culture of Linden Lab doesn't change - if they don't start getting more open and chatty, the platform will seriously suffer...

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.