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Thursday, March 13, 2014


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Adeon Writer

LL acquiring things is always grave. I am still worried about Desura, as I am a customer and had a library before LL came around.

Ever since they bought Avatars United and promptly shut it down, I have viewed LL's acquisitions in the same way as Yahoo's.

Iris Ophelia

@Adeon If they ever closed Desura, I think I would just be done. Full stop. Wrap it up, close the set, DONE. BYE. But considering Desura's success (prior to and post acquisition) hopefully it just won't come up.


Yes this is an incredibly sad tale. Linden Lab didn't really promote Dio or Versu. Dio seemed to lose its way completely and went from being an interactive fiction and photo sharing site, to being just a photo sharing site with some bolts.

Whereas LL have Flickr pic of the day for Second Life, they didn't have anything for Dio.

Versu was full of promise, one of the comments on Emily's blog was from a former Linden who said of Versu:

"The Versu underpinnings are genuinely revolutionary; my jaw dropped in the meeting where you explained how the engine works. "

So much potential but it seems to have struggled to find a footing.

Linden Lab do have course have the right to do what they want with the product, they paid for it and Emily has certainly been supportive of Linden Lab in public, pointing out they spent money on the project.

However why they want to keep it on a dusty shelf when others were prepared to develop it further is a bit of a mystery, some have suggested that even though its dormant, it still has value as an asset in the valuation of the company.

Whatever the reasons, it's a sorry state of affairs and also emphasises why the TOS issues should be rectified sooner rather than later. Linden Lab have the right to do what they want with creators content and whereas they would be foolhardy in the extreme to go down the roads some of the more vociferous have suggested, they absolutely could if they wanted to. This is why their intent needs to be reflected in binding words.

Pussycat Catnap

It always felt to me as if these products were brought to LLs by its last CEO as personal perks to his friends, and maybe the rest of the company resented that, and what we're seeing now is a bit of sour grapes over it.

The products should never have been with LLs to begin with - not a fit really for the culture of what they had before. So the lack of a fair shake could also just be from not really grasping what they were dealing with.


I worked on Dio for the last of my six years at Linden Lab. It was the most satisfying engineering experience I ever had there, with a completely awesome team: a smart and talented game designer, eager devs doing good peer review and test coverage, really good QA people, all working remarkably well together under a decent agile process. Unfortunately, during my entire time on the project, the people who told us to build Dio never gave us a consistent explanation of what it was for, or who it was aimed at. The last time I looked at it, they seemed to be pushing it as a photo sharing system. (It's a product evolution that sounds ridiculous, until you remember that Flickr came about almost exactly the same way. I don't think you can do it twice, though.)

If you don't have a good product vision, even the best implementation in the world won't save you. Or, as a very rich and now very dead man once said, "Design isn't what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."

Versu was different. I was lucky enough to spend time with Emily & Richard when they first arrived at the Lab, and I honestly can't praise them or their work highly enough. I'm too used to seeing supposedly innovative platforms created from just throwing stuff together until it just about works; the LTP engine, on the other hand, is an audacious, brilliant technical design with a new kind of programming environment to support character-based IF. I find it highly unlikely that LL is hanging onto it for anything other than financial reasons, but hey, maybe they'll find a way to glue it onto SL or some future incarnation. (I never saw Blood & Laurels, but given Emily's unmatched talents, I'm certain this is a huge loss to the IF world.)

Overall, I don't think all the acquisitions and new projects were necessarily a bad idea. If LL were simply to focus on "fixing" SL, improving the experience, and getting it to a place where all its current users were something approximating "happy", then it *still* wouldn't be enough to guarantee the company's future. You have to try radical new projects, you have to get them out to the public to see if they work, and even then it's almost certain that most of those projects will fail. You learn from those necessary failures and you do something better next time. Occasionally, one happens to succeed. (In this case, Blocksworld.)


Eastgate Systems worked so well with the academic customers who developed their own IP using the StorySpace tool set. It's a pre-Internet hypertext technology, for those who have not tried it.

What a shame that a tool like Versu was in Linden Lab's, not Eastgate's hands. It might have re-ignited the mostly dormant market for literary hypertext, a technology that lacked the interactivity that Versu provides.

LL has a proven track record of doing exactly the right thing to alienate academic customers, who have long memories since their annual evals might be tied to these projects.

Pussycat Catnap

"The last time I looked at it, they seemed to be pushing it as a photo sharing system. (It's a product evolution that sounds ridiculous, until you remember that Flickr came about almost exactly the same way. I don't think you can do it twice, though.)"
You see this all the time in the web - people try to copy 'those famous guys' or 'be just like that popular tool/app/site' and fail to reason that the fame and popularity that other place has came about from innovating something.

Even if it's just minor like tweaking mySpace into Facebook. You have to be different (it also helps to be second, not first, to the idea. Second to the idea, but first to knowing who the right audience is - that's the perfect combo: the iPad and iPod for example (tablet computers were on sale at the campus bookstore of my undergrad in 2003, iPad is not original. But its the first one to know who to sell it too. The one's on my campus bookstore came bulky, in laptop gray, and with excel pre-loaded rather than something like angry/flappy/drugged birds. :) ).

LLs has/had an innovative product in SL; and even had the hype train at one point. But they've never been good with marketing - the hype train arrived and they seized all the wrong parts of the bull, and got trampled.

The thing about buying acquisitions is you better make sure you are a fit for it before you do so, and know what you're going to do with it. Or you've just wasted resources on both ends.

The prior CEO's choices seemed motivated by who his friends were, and not so much by what there was a solid plan in place for. And that's ended up hurting his friends when he left.

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