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Thursday, April 26, 2012


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Pussycat Catnap

Your advice there is what M. Linden tried. It didn't work so well.

making bold moves needs to be considered in light of who your customers actually are, not who you wish they were.

Hamlet Au

Actually, Mark Kingdon did consider his SL customers in his strategy -- specifically, the enterprise advocates at IBM and other big corporations who had a large SL presence at the time, and were pushing SL to be an enterprise platform. It wasn't a bold move per se, just a move that seemed logical to who LL's most prominent paying customers were during that era.


@Pussycat, just because the right thing was done the wrong way doesn't mean it's not the wrong thing to do.


Sorry, rephrasing:

just because the right thing was done the wrong way doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.

Hamlet Au

Also, not all bold and radical moves are the same. Some of them, I think, will grow SL and save it. Others, such as, I don't know, "Sell SL to a developing nation and make L$ the country's official currency", are bold and radical... but probably not a great idea.


I've always wondered how much change could happen at Linden Lab if customers stopped blaming "Linden Lab" and crucifying frontline unfortunates like Charlar all the while giving Rod all the praise in the world.

Reading those employee reviews, it seems a lot of them understand and sympathize with what we the customers go through but "senior management" doesn't. I wonder how different things would be if Rod caught all the crap and backlash rather than the more easily blameable Lindens at user groups, on the mailing lists and JIRA?

Maybe if it was Rod that caught flak about the mesh deformer for example a crowdfunding wouldn't have been necessary. He'd have known we care more about resources being devoted to that than an interactive fiction company being bought.


Just shouting DO SOMETHING in bold doesnt really count as advice. SL is SL

Dartagan Shepherd

I agree with both sides of the fence from employees. I've never believed that they weren't intelligent and creative people.

Can't really disagree with any particular management style, as any of them can work when done properly (although I'm a huge believer in keeping teams focused, supported and informed and letting product decisions and features being only within the realm of product managers who know how to deliver a product for their users).

Remote workers? Sorry guys, just yuk. Doesn't work well for something like SL.

The core problem has always been the board. Phil and his televangelism, the spread of culture in the first place. Culture shouldn't have been about anything but a solid work ethic striving to excel, not a boiling pot for creativity and ideas.

Main reason is that all SL was and will ever be is a virtual world. Just like the ones that have gone before it and the ones that will come after it. It only needed features integral to a virtual world, and that didn't need a heck of a lot of creativity. It needed technicians, not artists. They only needed to look as far as the nearest game engine to know what features would be compatible with SL.

All these add on features, trying to farm social engineering algorithms, blah. A complete waste.

Some things were just a farce like the exchange. That wasn't ever about anything but pulling more money in fees on both ends and sinks to take even more from purchased currency and ways to get around various restrictions involving real money.

Google (which has since seen the light) can afford daycare/creativity time for their users, they have the revenue spread and the sheer amount of employees to do it. LL does not. That type of culture isn't a fit for a company of 200-300 employees unless it's a startup.

Which is what Phil always thought it was, a startup. His takeaway of what he thinks was the success factors of SL are seen to this day in coffee and flowers. It was about crowd sourcing, developing your own stuff more cheaply, virtual currency/finance games, churn, user generated product, etc.

The whole time their success was just about a better virtual world than the last one.

A shame management could never pull their heads out of their asses long enough to come to terms with their own reality.

Krinkles Q Klown

Advice to Senior Management:

Be grateful for the market you have and stop treating your current customer base like sh*t.

Stop focusing all your attention on going after markets that will prove fruitless. You tried that with business and SL behind the firewall.

Your users are becoming increasingly fed up with your screw ups. Stop building new features on an unstable platform.

Stop trying to attract new users with bells and whistles and meaningless pap not relevant to the core experience of the product. "Everything you do doesn't work as expected or is broken in some way. Fix it. Then build on it."

Change the perception that whatever you make doesn't stay up over time (Yes, there are people out there who have built software systems that last years!)

Stop the "Throw it over the fence" design anti-pattern.

Lower prices until you start delivering value instead of largely broken software.

elizabeth (16)

seems they have nice lunch there. nobody complaining about that. even the grumpiest ex-employee had a nice lunch

will be bigtime serious problems for us residents if not have a nice lunch seems like

so my advice to senior management

make more nice lunch

Ann Otoole InSL

Way too early to judge how effective rodvik will be. We don't even know what he has them working on now. However there are some consistent cons mentioned in the reviews that, IMHO, rodvik needs to assess. As for reality a startup can't stay a startup forever. Also I get a sense from some of the reviews that suddenly people were having to deliver on a timeline. This is evidenced in one case by the commerce team's year long direct delivery project that suddenly was thrust in with a short finish date requiring all merchants to drop what they were working on to transition. The result of that is epic. But it will get done finally.

Dave Bell

The Marketplace fiasco seems to have come after a long period of repeated complaints about marketplace operation.

Partly, the problem is poor communications. I am not sure the JIRA system is a solution or a problem. It may be the wrong sort of communication.

I've certainly seen Lindens claiming a long-standing bug has been fixed, and the fix deployed, when it is glaringly apparent that it just ain't so. Maybe they have just been told the code has passed QA, and don't realise it takes a few weeks more to finish deployment.

I'm not sure that programmer geeks are imperfectly socialised, but it would explain a lot. Some Lindens are good at it, some aren't, and some of the best Lindens, good communicators and on top of their jobs, have vanished from sight.

I think they're still around.

As for the official blogs, some haven't been updated since last summer. And where has Torley Linden gone?

Linden Labs are not selling software, they are selling a service, and a lot of what they seem to be doing would be bad however they are supposed to be making money.

foneco zuzu

Watch Kitely, that's how the virtual commercial grid will look like and will follow soon!

foneco zuzu

Any can open an account by signing with their own Facebook, their own twitter or directly on the site in less then 3 min!
A simple plugin, that is not even needed if you follow the steps about how to log in, Firestorm or Imprudence as base viewers, but any viewer will work as well.
And most important, No lag, stable as a rock, unlimited hosting space.
And as any can upload a Oar already done, some amazing regions build on Open sim are already there, The HMS Titanic on Belfast is a must, ported from OSGrid and many more!
And a currency available, Amazon TOS rules , sooner with the new Hypergrid supervision of content, connecting to other grids and a amazing Platinum plan, USD 100 meaning unlimited time, 100 regions, each with 100.000 prims, that sooner can be converted in 4x4 mega regions (As they are becoming as stable as reg sims) and the possibility to save Oars directly to Kitely database!
The future and already some are enjoying it!

Adeon Writer

So I can't be the only one who noticed the side comment about tablets, right?

Metacam Oh

Rodvik can only be so bold. He still has to answer to the board of directors who only care about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Dizzy Banjo

Reading the reviews on that page was very depressing. If they are truly indicative of whats going on there, I can't really see how there can be any kind of bright future for SL or LL.

They need energy, innovation and risk taking. They need freshness. Those reviews describe the opposite.

Pussycat Catnap

On Kitely:

Pay per minute internet died in 1996, the same year it started.

Trying to bring it back is epic fail.

Even cellphones give unlimited minutes these days.


"Pay per minute internet died in 1996, the same year it started.

Trying to bring it back is epic fail."

Never heard of Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure or Rackspace?

Forget the abstractions of a simulator as land and sky. It's just running software no different than Apache in that it eats up CPU time, bandwidth and disk space, and those are the ONLY things of actual cost and value.

There's nothing archaic about web hosts charging customers by the minute of resource used instead of a giant once a month fee regardless if the resources were used or not. Linden Lab and OpenSim hosts are just web hosts. They aren't governments or gods; they provide software as a service, and the more modern their business models are the better.

Linden Lab is a customer of Amazon Web Services and they're privileged to be able to control their costs by only paying for resources they actually use, so what's so "epic fail" about Kitely attempting to extend their equivalent to tier payers the same privilege?

Kitely is doing something that if it existed in Second Life, a whole lot of sims wouldn't have to close and many more would open due to not being forced to pay for resources of having a simulator online 24/7 regardless if its useful 24/7. To pay the same per minute for having 5 people in the sim vs. some sex islands 40+. An art museum of a sim that only exhibits on weekends doesn't have the option of only turning on for the weekend and avoid weekday costs. This makes Linden Lab's architecture and business model "epic fail" as you put it.

Because people are so caught up in the abstraction of land and Linden Lab as a government, they forget Linden Lab is only selling bandwidth, CPU and disk space. They're a web host and these are things that have gotten exponentially more powerful, plentiful and cheap over the last decade and will continue to, and thus why a blog like this is cheaper to host today than it was a year ago, and a year before that. Yet for some reason it makes all the sense in the world Linden Lab is the only technology company in Silicon Valley incapable of occasionally lowering prices and making them more flexible in the same way their web hosts do for them.


One of the best, and probably most radical, changes that could happen right now would be to get rid of all global chat (group chat specifically). Make the world smaller and get rid of global chat. Force people to congregate together and socialize. It would be the best thing for SL.. and for the Lab because it would force them to recognize and fix the problems involved in sim's with many avatars.

Stone Semyorka

What really did happen to Torley?

Ener Hax

elizabeth said: "seems they have nice lunch there."

i can attest to that first-hand, at least how it was 4 years ago when i got to tag along to a conference and visit to LL and have lunch with two managers. it was the first time i've had fish tacos and they were good and LL paid for them!

maybe LL should run a food truck! =p

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