I’ve been following Botgirl’s blog for quite some time now and it’s always a good read. It explores issues of virtual identities in depth and the wide variation in human adaptation in Second Life. A couple weeks ago the blog included an insightful video of Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble’s speech at SLCC. I hope you’ll read Botgirl’s post, but I’ve borrowed that video for this blog.
|Rod Humble from IGF site.|
In this video I find that I’m liking Rod Humble’s point of view more and more. I think he gets Second Life; in particular, he understands that SL is a place where people come to be different people, to do different things, to create, to socialize. He has taken steps to immerse himself in SL and find the “secret sauce” that makes SL so appealing.
I remember Mark Kingdon’s tenure as CEO, but I don’t remember anything he said that told me he appreciated what Second Life actually is, only what he was pre-determined to believe it is (perhaps this was driven by LL board directives). Mark seemed content to get a couple changes of clothes for his avatar and wander around SL once in awhile with his camera. I could be wrong about Kingdon, of course, but when you look at his completed projects, he contributed nothing (Avatar’s United, Viewer 2 (Kingdon’s Curse), SL Business grid) to the Second Life I want to live. I will give Kingdon credit for one thing, the Destination Guide improved dramatically during his rein.
Of course, Philip Linden is still in our hearts, and I believe that Philip created SL with a definite purpose in mind. Afterall, he is our Creator. (/me giggles) In recent times, Philip has said that his goal was to create a virtual economy and he feels that he achieved that goal. However, I believe Philip also wanted to have fun with this virtual world. I think his early vision was what SL is, but somewhere along the line SL became something Philip didn’t seem to realize was happening. Possibly his role as CEO, and LL politics caused him to get fed up and he moved on. Philip may have understood what SL was, but I’m not sure he realizes or cares where it is headed now. But he’s still a heartbeat (/me blushes).
Point of View is Everything!
Computer scientist Alan Kay once remarked that there was a slogan at Xerox PARC, “Point of view is worth 80 IQ points.” So, I can’t help feeling that someone with the right POV will discover SL’s magic sauce, and from comments and actions that Rod Humble is making, I believe he has a point of view that recognizes he’s searching for it. I think that’s very different, isn’t it? He doesn’t claim to know. He hasn’t got it all figured out. He’s trying to figure out what it is.
Personally, I doubt that it’s the same magic sauce in Facebook or the MMORPG games or any other type of game for that matter. Humble notes, no one has tried to compete with SL, except Google who failed miserably. Humble says, it’s because no one can figure out what it is yet. That is POV! And I’m rooting for Humble.
Ok, I’ve been reflecting and now it’s time for my point of view. Do you remember when you first came to SL? Do you remember stating who you are in your profile and maybe listing some of your rules, or even making statements about what SL is? If you study profiles, I think you’ll find that many new avatars seem to find that important, figuring out what SL is and how you relate to it. I believe Humble understands SL is not about any one thing, perhaps it is different across a wide range of demographics. Perhaps SL is even different for each person. I want to believe that somewhere in that observation is the key to understanding the secret sauce.
(These are just my humble opinions. No pun intended… well, just a little).