“Today Marks The End of Second Life” is the title of a blog post by Darrius Gothly. I recommend reading it but I don’t recommend going all the way with his plan, which includes: “4)Abandon your Sims and Rental Land.” But since this whole JIRA thing started getting to me, at least I’m considering “5) Look for somewhere else to enjoy Virtual Worlds.” Was September 6th the end of SL?
<Yordie Sands’ human speaks>
I was smart enough to become the 2nd in command of a software engineering organization, one which went public, raised nearly $150 million in public offerings. I was the only woman in the original seven who formed that company. I grew the software engineering team from 17 to 30, but I mention this because I had a very collaborative relationship with our chief technology officer. Our CTO was a visionary and he possessed those qualities of passion, relentlessness and inquisitiveness. He knew what our product was and despite all the noise coming from our CEO, CFO, marketing, product development, he never lost sight of what mattered. He wasn’t a Steve Jobs, but he was grown in the same soil. I don’t know Philip Rosedale but from what I know, I believe he was grown in that soil as well.
Technology visionaries create products so unique that everyone understands the achievement. They are not people who hang around in board rooms for a few days a month, brainstorming ‘big ideas’ and strategies and missions. They are people who engage — Engage — in the creative process. The funny thing is, these are the kind of people who venture capitalists try to discover during grueling interviews and background investigations.
I don’t know what happened with Philip Rosedale and the LL board, but it doesn’t take a genius to see the result. The board was still envisioning the 1996 vision of a virtual mall or some such thing, and they basically replaced their visionary with an adult, Mark Kingdon. Kingdon seems to have been a good exec and implemented the boards’ virtual business experiment. It failed completely but Kingdon’s legacy lives today in the Viewer 2 debacle. There are business and technology geniuses on the LL board, but there is no sign that anyone there is Engaged or even gives a darn about the product they created.
This is the last time I’ll say this, but I have to make this point one last time. In the 1970s and early 80s, the Xerox Corporation brought together the top computer scientists in the world at their Palo Alto Research Center. That group invented the future of technology for the next 20 years and even to this day. If you don’t know the story of PARC, you really should read about it because there was a day when they invited the young Steve Jobs to visit.
In the public television special, “Triumph of the Nerds”, Steve Jobs was interviewed about that day. He was electrifying in his description of what he saw. Jobs talked about objected oriented programming and revolutionary network technology. But Jobs said he didn’t care about any of that because all he could think about was Xerox’s graphical user interface, the windowed operating system. Jobs was handed the future! As you know, Jobs introduced the MacIntosh in 1984 and went on to create a new future of 21st century technology. The failure of Xerox management to understand what they possessed or how to capitalize on it has been written about by many. If you want to truly understand what happened, “Fumbling the Future” provides an explanation.
I doubt that the Linden Lab board has an understanding of their hallmark product. And yet, LL continues to make decisions that adversely impact this treasure.
Philip Rosedale created a global community, a virtual economy, almost a virtual Disneyland. He seems to have acted with the passion, inquisitiveness and relentlessness required to bring many technologies and ideas together. He and his team created this thing, this Second Life. Maybe Rosedale lost his way or lost interest or was tired of being second guessed.
When Rod Humble arrived on the scene and spoke about his quest to understand Second Life’s “secret sauce”, I bought in completely. Rodvic had the right attitude. CEO Rod sought to understand the treasure he was presiding over. However, somewhere in the past year it sounds like either he couldn’t figure it out or he was directed toward goals set by the board.
Are LL board members engaged in Second Life? Of course the board isn’t engaged in SL. So, it comes down to LL management, are they engaged? And if they are, are they maintaining anything resembling virtual lives, engaged with virtual communities or struggling with the endless new technologies that cause so many inworld problems.
Second Life “Residents” built spectacular content and created a world of many unique communities. And today, we now know that LL no longer cares what happens to those people. If land fees weren’t so expensive, perhaps more would be able to create even a more spectacular world. If you ask any resident what Second Life is, I’ll bet you get a very board range of answers. I’ve tried to define the “secret sauce” in the past but as LL began to close its doors to its users, I just gave up the project.
Where is Second Life’s Steve Jobs? Where is the guy who’ll visit the Lab and see what is going on, then invent our future? If Rod Humble or one of the Lab’s other top people is our Steve Jobs, why are they hiding behind the curtains that are drawn so tight?
It’s a virtual global community, stupid! It needs leadership from someone we can believe in. Canary Beck has written about community issues and her partner, Harvey Crabsticks has suggested we need a government and more equitable taxation. There are many others with great knowledge and opinions.
This is the last Yordie Sands’ human will be speaking about this topic.
</Yordie Sands’ human speaks>
From the beginning, I knew that if I became involved in the “issues” of Second Life I’d become damaged. No one knows everything, but I now know too much. I’m very disappointed with decisions Linden Lab’s board is making. I want Rodvic to create the future of virtual world and the Second Life global community. I fear that he doesn’t have time to understand the virtual world he governs and I’m certain the LL board doesn’t.
I know that I can’t withstand another Linden Lab outrage. I’ll have to find a way to become the happy girl I used to be. Maybe my human’s relocation is the kind of distraction we both need right now. I’ll try to seek guidance in Mr. Crap’s words, “It is what it is.” But I’m feeling more like “to hell with it.” (pardon my language)