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Thursday, June 10, 2010


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I had to choose other, because while it really doesn't change the fact that I believe LL are spiraling round the bowl, it does have an impact on what I feel my future role is in Second Life. As I said in my blog post this morning, I won't be leaving SL until they unplug the servers. But I won't be investing like I have the last 3 years, nor will SL be the only place to find my products or even use my products. I won't allow bad management of a service company to destroy my business along with theirs. They are only a utility after all. In the end, there are always better utilities.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Hopefully someone from LL's PR department reads this poll and learns the lesson on How NOT to write a press release :)

One does not communicate good news (a focus back on the residential market) enveloped in a package of doom and gloom just to catch the attention of the media :)

Crap Mariner

There's only one line from the official blog post that I needed to read to get me pessimistic about Second Life's future: the last one.

"M Linden"

He is the wrong man for the job.



Vaneeesa Blaylock

Mark "Gil Amelio" Kingdon

Ordinal Malaprop

It unfortunately confirms my outlook.

Otenth Paderborn

I started selling land last night. I hope that's a response M can actually hear, but I doubt it.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

"Mark "Gil Amelio" Kingdon"

How apt. I had been calling him John Sculley. The Amelio era was when I briefly stopped using a Mac.

To continue the Apple analogy, maybe we need the Second Coming of Rosedale to set matters straight?

Not feeling very optimistic about that option, either, as much as I respect Rosedale's vision.

Samantha Poindexter

The only way I could see this as grounds for optimism would be if it preceded a sale to a white knight who'd actually make the world better.

More likely, it precedes selling off the servers, the copper wiring in the walls of Linden Lab HQ, and any other scrap they can find for liquidation. (Or, just about as bad, a long, drawn-out process in which the remaining members of LL somehow find all new mistakes to make before the company goes under.)

It seems clear from yesterday's developments that LL's plans in the M Linden era failed. They failed badly. Whether they were intended to fail is debatable—I tend toward "no," myself—but either way it's really, really hard to spin this as a positive development.

(About the only way of doing so would be Gwyneth's hope that Linden Lab has just learned from its mistakes, and will now somehow manage to reverse the many, many screwups they've made with regard to the residential market, and usher in a new golden age of Second Life. Granted, pigs can fly in SL, but I still can't see that happening.)


"LL are spiraling round the bowl"

Genius phrase, but my question would be - are they taking SL with them? I honestly wouldn't be sad the see the demise of LL as the company behind SL, but I'd really lament the loss of SL itself. As a company they've demonstrated a kind of corporate Attention Deficit Disorder that has crippled SL and frustrated most of us within it. Nothing gets finished, they just appear to stumble around cluelessly 'making their own work'. I'm afraid this latest announcement does nothing to inspire confidence, just makes them seem even more directionless than before. Maybe the death of the mother can save the child?

Samantha Poindexter

The comment above is that of Samantha Poindexter, private citizen. Putting my collar on...

The First Church of Rosedale does believe in the Second Coming, though what this means is up to the individual parishioner.

While you're free to believe in the literal return of Our Lord Philip Linden to active involvement in the world, I personally see it as a more metaphysical return, one involving other people -- perhaps on other grids -- inspired by His original vision, and striving to achieve it even as the original land has fallen into the clutches of the Beast.

More on this at my next sermon. Ideally that should be on the 13th, but it's short notice and I'm swamped... so probably the next services will be on the 20th.

Rev. Samantha Poindexter
First Church of Rosedale

Alberik Rotaru

The problem with the Jobs analogy is that he did not come back from the desert empty-handed, he bought NeXTSTEP (which ultimately became OSX) as well. SL needs a software injection like that. LL may have a King over the Water, but it's not obvious that His Majesty has solutions now, any more than he did when he exiled himself.


The other problem with the Apple analogies is that Rosedale is already on record saying he does not consider himself a messianic Jobs-ian figure - he's right too, Jobs actually understands how to run a business.

Amelio, on the other hand, was put in charge of a company already in directionless freefall, just as LL is now, and has become a favorite Apple scapegoat, whether he deserves it or not.

Either way, as Alberik says, the analogies sound very smart but really don't tell us much about the current situation. Why should we wait to be rescued in a second coming? We are the content, why don't we become the network too?


In the near term, it makes me pessimistic. It will fuel the fears of many that virtual worlds are a flash-in-the-pan and can't reach sustainability or mass market.

In the medium to long term, if LL can make do on their strategy to integrate their world with the web more seamlessly, I'm optimistic. That's the Holy Grail, as far as I'm concerned.


Yeah, Otenth, I was selling parcels to bots early this morning as well. However, that doesn't matter to LL, because they are still receiving tier. Land bots are now paying no more than .7L/sqm for any size parcel, and this has been the max rate for at least 2 weeks, which is when I started watching the rate. Fact is, when people begin abandoning parcels, en masse, that's when LL will hear. It won't help or change anything, but they will hear.

Arwyn Quandry

I'm very scared for where the Teen Grid is going with Blue and many other TG-supportive Lindens gone. These layoffs have made me uncertain for the future of SL as a whole.

Rob Knop

In my opinion, making a way for people to more casually be able to get involved in the world is crucial. Whether it's a talk that somebody's giving that people can come to without going through the multi-hour pain that is figuring out how to use Second Life right now, or just being able to futz around for half an hour, a quick and dirty way to get in would really help. However, this must be done without sacrificing the depth of experience for those who already are in and who really want to continue to experience the immersive nature of the world.

If the "browser client" goal is to create a *second* "light" client that will allow people to quickly jump into the world without the current rigamarole, that will be positive. If the goal is to *replace* the current client with something that's more causal social media, then SL will fail because it's losing what it does well (providing an immersive virtual environment) and because it will be competing with other things that are intrinsically more lightweight.

"Social media" is a buzzword. What do they really mean? If trying to make it "facebook 3D", they're doomed. If they mean trying to allow casual visitors to sample Second Life, it may be what saves SL.

However, I also have to say that I agree with the blogger who found the press release about the layoffs deeply insulting. It's insulting to those who were let go-- people whom I personally know are rock solid, amazing people. It's also insulting to the general public. You don't lay off 30% of your staff when things are rosy and happy. You don't get rid of *those* people because you're refocusing. You get rid of them because times are bad. The ONLY way in which times are not bad is if the REAL goal is a "pump and dump" scheme, where Linden will look profitable because somehow in our system companies look profitable after "downsizing". Then the company can be sold. And, indeed, the new management may well come out ahead in this sale, and will have another "success story" to add to their resumes.... I would like to think that this isn't what they're really doing, and that the press release is standard corporate bullshit you hear in our society where truth (when it's not all positive) is anathema.

Cisop Sixpence

While the layoffs and the closing of an office is tragic, certainly for those impacted by it, the hope is that this is being done so that Linden Labs can focus on taking Second Life in the future.

The indications that Second Life will be accessible by a web browser is met with mixed emotions. While this may make it seem to be more accessible by some. Others may see this a loosing their favorite viewer for accessing Second Life. Not every one uses the actual Second Life Viewer, some favor third party viewers for their different features (i.e. Emerald, Kirsten's, and Radegast). To expect Third Party Viewer makers to be port everything over to a common Internet browser, may be asking too much. We can't even get all the browsers to view a web page the same way.

Hoping Second Life is on the right path and we can all see them long into the future.

Bubblesort Triskaidekaphobia

I've been wanting to see SL in a browser for years. Remember when some high school girl in the UK did it about 4 or 5 years ago? It can't be all that hard.

My concern is that LL is going to fuck it up again, like they did with viewer 2.0.

That's the problem with how LL operates. They burn through user confidence like a neocon burns through political capital.

Less than a month ago they were telling Cnet they were looking to expand and hire more people, now they pull this. Days before they nuked woodbury they were telling them everything was great and they were going to sell them two more sims at an academic discount. Anybody remember the void sim pricing bait and switch debacle? LL brings this on themselves because every time they open their mouths you know they are going to say the opposite thing the next time you talk to them. That is no way to do business. I understand having to time when you release certain information, but releasing contradictory information all the time is counter productive and inefficient. If you can't say anything, don't freaking say anything! No need to lie about things.

The focus is moving to open source grids like open grid and open cobalt, among others. I know, those grids are not ready for prime time yet. I'm not even a huge fan of open grid, to be honest. That said, LL can't keep their leading position in the market place if they keep going the way they are going. They are driving away the innovators who can make or break a grid.

What do you think the effect of 100 ex-lindens moving to OG would be?

The party isn't over, it's just beginning, and it's going to leave LL behind. Good riddance, Kingdon.

Marianne McCann

I have a hard time seeing how a focus on Residents is possible with the community, RESI, and LDPW team gutted. I'm usually able to see the bright spot in all things, but this time it eludes me.

Metacam Oh

I don't know why people are so upset about this housecleaning? Everyone here usually acknowledges SL's downfalls and its been in a state of stasis now for 3+ years. We've gotten Sculpties, Windlight, Flash, and we will get Mesh but the underlying structure of SL is the same and thats the issue. Linden Labs hasn't done a good job in the past 3 years. Bad communication, lack of fixes etc. I'd be more worried if they continued doing what they were doing with who they were doing ti with because whatever it was it wasn't working. Now I'm not an insider and have no idea if these cuts were for economic reasons or performance reasons or both, but Second Life hasn't grown in months and cannot scale and these issues haven't been fixed quick enough. It was time for a house cleaning, it leaves me optimistic that they realize there is a problem and they are trying to fix it. I'm not happy anyone lost their jobs, Im talking strictly from the business aspect and client aspect, I have no "attachment" to specific Lindens.

Moebius Overdrive

Their focus on the mobile market is well placed. Years ago, the social media was desktop, now it is carried with us.

Evolve or be left in the dust.

Sad to see so many employees/inhabitants sent away.

Ordinal Malaprop

> I have a hard time seeing how a focus on Residents is possible with the community, RESI, and LDPW team gutted. I'm usually able to see the bright spot in all things, but this time it eludes me.

Ms Marianne: "concentrating on the residential business" means mostly "killing the B2B aspect and linking things to Facebook", I think.

Ann Otoole

PRO TIP: When entering as a new CEO you purge right then. Not wait 2 years to do the evil deed.

Oh well. Will Kingdon redo Sl from the ground up like it needs to be or turn LL into a second rate facebook gamelet dev company chasing the other dogs leading the pack to set LL up for a buyout?

He doesn't really bring any serious game or entertainment dev experience to the table so I doubt he can do a damned thing. All I will do is wait and see if the Lindex dies and L$ goes to zip. The day traders, who ironically were the cause of the massive L$ transactions volumes, have stopped and pulled out. Bummer for the numbers Mark. You had no idea did you?

Hitomi Tiponi

The direction is correct - the person leading that is wrong. I believe that he has been given a fixed time to turn things around and if not he may also be shown the door.

Not You

Maybe they will start thinking about an OnLive web client? Think about the possibility, having servers with wide pipes into the rendering clients to allow faster loading!

This is the ONLY way I can foresee squeezing SL into a web format remotely easily too. I have also seen demos of another product running Grand Theft Auto 4 (Crushes most PCs) running in a web browser without the need of a downloadable client.

I urge Linden Lab to partner with a service like these, it would cut down on internal development time, probably take a lot less resources too!

Sad to see such a large chunk of Linden Lab evaporate. Just hope they do right by their customers, or else SL will wither away and die.

Not You

Maybe they will start thinking about an OnLive web client? Think about the possibility, having servers with wide pipes into the rendering clients to allow faster loading!

This is the ONLY way I can foresee squeezing SL into a web format remotely easily too. I have also seen demos of another product running Grand Theft Auto 4 (Crushes most PCs) running in a web browser without the need of a downloadable client.

I urge Linden Lab to partner with a service like these, it would cut down on internal development time, probably take a lot less resources too!

Sad to see such a large chunk of Linden Lab evaporate. Just hope they do right by their customers, or else SL will wither away and die.


At the moment it's hard to see how decimating 30% of the company is positive for LL or SL, but time will tell. So I voted other, because...

First, whoever decided on yesterdays press release and blog post should be fired. That alone could do more damage than the reduction of staff will. That is an example of horrible PR that can have unintended consequences.

Second, the strategies put forward by the current management team have failed (enterprise appliance, viewer 2, and so on), so I think what people are concerned about is that M Linden and his executive team have shown little to no ability to understand how to foster and grow a community, which is essential to growing SL.

If the board fires the management team and brings in new blood, that might excite people again. If not, and they stick with the same old failures dressed up in new clothes, people won't buy it.


LL seems to be walking alone on all this changes, of course like tons of changes. I don't get it why this strategy don't mean grow exponentially, maybe it can happen, but my big question is: this is what M Linden call human condition or is it only a matter of company reaching the massive users on a web browser version of SL? (remember that web based 3d content might not give us the quality we used to.... just a tought).

So why inworldz kept my attention today? I realize that they created a VW but with the SL initial philosophy (might change a bit while they are launching). So this changes and layoffs makes me refrain my attention to SL Grid (or whatever it will be called on the future)

Galatea Gynoid

FWIW, it seems to me that unless they unplug the servers, there's no big problem here for SL. History shows that LL can't kill SL no matter how hard they try. If they head off in the wrong direction, the users just refuse to follow. Thats the danger, and the glory, of a user-generated world. It's largely irrelevant how competent or incompetent Linden Labs is, since they're not the most significant factor in the success or failure of Second Life.

Ragitake Takakura

I have a mixed response to the announcement. On the one hand, radical change and redirection might result in positive change and scalable growth. On the other hand, the immediate loss of team members responsible for critical community, educational and markeplace services will seriously compromise the resident experience. Only the future will tell whether or not this strategy results in SL longevity or leads us all to seek out other virtual worlds.

William H. Langeman

My guess is this is all just part of the natural evolutionary process both in terms of technology and it terms of socio-anthropological development.

I think LL management made a few mistakes in the last 1.5 years. However, the demand for this type of artificial world is real and the technology to enhance it will continue to develop producing synergies which will lead to an ever more complex and engrossing SL.


It's time for LL to give up and embrace what they really are:

A place for vampires, lycanthropes, whatever you call those people who shoot each other is dingy urban centers, Goreans, a few Na'vi and their antagonists, and whatever else is actually fun.

Otenth Paderborn

@ELQ: I should have said, more accurately, that I set land for sale. I'll bump the price down until it goes, and if it doesn't, I'll abandon it before my next tier payment is due.

But you're right, as long as *someone* is willing to pay tier on that land, LL won't see it.

Dave Bell

Browser access would be a good thing. I could have stayed in touch with people when I was in hospital. Depending on how it's done, it might allow more, but a 3D world in a Browser feels like bleeding-edge tech.

There are tools, external to Linden Lab, which allow browser access, but they depend on passing all your traffic through an external server, including password. That isn't a good idea.

Mark Kingdon has certainly talked a lot, over the years, about digital marketing. It's maybe one of the reasons why he got the CEO job. There's maybe some limits on how he could have announced this, but he's not talking to customers. For me to spend more real money on SL, I need to be confident the place will keep running.

There was a slow trickle of layoffs, but there were plans being blogged. There wasn't anything unusual. There were hints that some things were fall-out from recent events, such as the accusations made over the Woodbury affair.

This 30% is a huge drop. It is, I hear, just under a limit set by law, beyond which more notice had to be given, and more paid out to those laid off. The trickle of job losses over the last couple of months might have kicked Linden Lab into that territory--who can now know if they had some other reason?

It's a gamble Linden Lab can't afford to lose. The money I've already paid--advance fees and Lindens purchased--I can afford to write off. I'm not expecting to get enough Lindens for anything I do that I can justify getting it out. But I don't see the point in "buying" land until there's something more than an MBA-speak press release and speculation.

The Linden Lab silence could be the the suicide note in this affair.

Alberik Rotaru

I disagree with some of the anti-M feelings in this thread. SL had massive problems long before M came on board and many of those problems flowed directly from the software design. The pity is that M could waste so much effort on a bungled mishmash like V2 and not address the underlying problems.

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