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Linden Lab's New CEO

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BK Linden

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I’m happy to announce some very exciting news today: Rod Humble is Linden Lab’s new CEO. Our press release is here. You’ll hear from Rod himself after he starts in mid-January, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a brief introduction.

Rod has an impressive depth of experience in developing and leading fun, immersive entertainment experiences that have been great successes. As a 20-year veteran of game development, he’s worked on more than 200 games, and last year, the gaming magazine Edge named him #2 on their annual list of Hot 100 Game Developers. Rod is coming to Linden Lab from Electronic Arts, where he was Executive Vice President and led EA Play, including the best-selling PC game franchise of all time, The Sims. Prior to EA, he was a VP of Product Development at Sony Online Entertainment, where he led the EverQuest Studio.

Rod has a deep appreciation for what makes Second Life special. He’s already been exploring and experimenting inworld to familiarize himself with the pluses and minuses of our product and the successes and challenges faced by our Residents. He’ll officially start at the Lab in mid-January, and I’m excited for us to begin 2011 with fresh perspective, renewed energy, and creativity.

To give you a sense for Rod’s creativity, personality, and perspective, here are few links to his personal creations and a couple of press interviews he’s given:

Art games Rod has created in his ‘spare’ time:

Press interviews with Rod:

Happy holidays to you all from Linden Lab! We wish everyone a very happy and prosperous new year -- it’s going to be a great one for Second Life!

Rod's bio:

Rod Humble is Chief Executive Officer at Linden Lab, and he leads the company’s strategy and the development of Second Life. Humble’s 20-year career in the game development industry has included work on more than 200 games. He joined Linden Lab from Electronic Arts, where, in his role as Executive Vice President, he led the EA Play label, which includes the best-selling PC game franchise of all time, The Sims. In 2009, he was ranked #2 on the annual list of the Hot 100 Game Developers from gaming publication Edge. Prior to his work at Electronic Arts, Humble served as Vice President of Product Development at Sony Online Entertainment for the massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) EverQuest.
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  Welcome to Linden Labs Rod I look forward to seeing what improvments you may make.

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Welcome to our world Rod. I sincerely hope you view Second Life for what it truly is, a Second Life to many of us, not just a game. In fact, you could call it a mix of a social network with a gane like quality, I guess. It is more than words can say. To truly understand SL, one must emerse in it and live it through your avatar as if it were a living dream.

I am a former EQ player and when it became laggy and less fun through some of the enhancements (shadows, etc.) I and my family of 4 left EQ for a competitor. I won't mention DAOC here.

My kids play SIMs and love it. My wife and I "live" in SL. So, I ask that you listen to the residents' input and truly be responsive to our needs so we continue to live part-time in our second lives to get away, for a time, from the real life stresses.

In the words of my people: Qapla'

QatanI

the KAG Elint commander bringing Klingons to SL

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Can't wait till Rod takes over. Maybe he will be able to breathe new life in to SL. Hope he can bring it back to what it once was, a great place to have fun and be creative. Welcome aboard.

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Welcome Rod!

Your CV looks great.

Do:

spend lots of time in-world as an unidentifiable alt

purchase land (under alt) and rent space to experience the challenges of premium account users

compare alternate viewers

ask hard questions

DO NOT:

listen to the propaganda

allow your 'cabinet' (whomever that may be) to dull your instincts, enthusiasm, or innovation much like a certain president has done.

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Perhaps ask why new usernames were rolled out before anybody checked the new residents could actually log into the website, their accounts & JIRA and why it's been a month with no fix and thousands of new residents with read only SL website access.

Then perhaps why 3 years later Windlight hasn't been finished and age verification has been in beta for 2 years neither have had any progress at all.

Then perhaps how about some controls on the texture database with some default textures or even prims for things like floors & walls that are stored on our harddrives to save the servers having to look through 5000 identical brick wall textures to find the right one. That would speed SL up a bit for users, builders could use the default textures/prims for 80% of a build then their custom ones for the rest.

Please tell us what is coming and have thought into how to implement new features, plenty of people wanted Display Names but not the way it has been implemented.

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I can trace the decline of Second Life as a virtual world to the establishment of the ghetto known as Zindra, aka "the Naughty Place".  Like it or not--and many people clearly don't like it--naughty people's activities are one of the driving forces of the Second Life economy.

What happened when LL instituted age verification and an "adults only" holding pen?  Several things:

First, a lot of thriving escort clubs disappeared overnight.  Approximately two-thirds of all escort clubs did not survive the move to the adult continent.  Of those that did survive, almost all are struggling, with their traffic down to 20%-25% of pre-Zindra levels.

The withering of the escort clubs means that a lot less money circulates in the SL economy.  Escorts are known as free spenders:  if an escort gets 2000L, she will spend it all (usually on dressing up her avatar one way or the other).  Therefore, money put into the hands of escorts has a strong multiplier effect.  I personally know several clothing retailers who have sharply curtailed their activities in-world or gone out of business entirely because there are no longer escorts to buy their merchandise.

Second, a lot of Europeans have dropped out of Second Life PZ (Post-Zindra), probably because they couldn't get past the US-centric age verification requirements.  You can witness this during the hours when the North Americans are in bed; the Europeans used to take over, and now Second Life overall is a ghost town during European daylight hours.

Third, there has been a growing mistrust and disenchantment with Linden Labs.  Everything critics predicted would happen as a result of the move to Zindra came true with a vengeance, and yet to date we've not seen Linden Labs make any effort to ameliorate their self-created disaster.  One way of ameliorating would be to lower tiers on adult lands for clubs and other businesses, Linden Lab's own version of a "stimulus package".  A lot of people have either quit Second Life in disgust (or despair) or, like me, have sharply curtailed their activities in-world.

Fourth, a sense of community has been broken by the mass exodus of "naughty people".  What's that?  Naughty people had a community?  Yes, we did, and there was an amazingly tight-knit circle among Second Life escorts (believe it or not) that has been irretrievably dissolved.  After we moved to Zindra, I lost friends (especially my European friends) right and left, and took a seven-month break from Second Life because I found my friends list looking more like a list of obituaries.

Rod, you missed the glory days of Second Life, and they are not coming back.  The best you can hope to do now is have the courage and insight necessary to partially repair the enormous damage done to Second Life by your predecessor.  Repairing that damage means healing the economy, giving people a reason to visit Second Life, and above all, rebuilding a sense of trust and communication with the Second Life residents.  Most of us don't trust anything Linden Labs says or does; not your fault, but it's the mess you have inherited.

I genuinely wish you luck and success in the task set before you.  One of the commentators has already made this suggestion, but I will reiterate:

Go incognito into Second Life and experience all it has to offer as an ordinary, non-premium Resident.  Do this not just at first but as often as you can manage it.  I guarantee your eyes will be opened.

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Welcome to SL Rod. Can I suggest that you look at the issue of prim allocation. My partner and I have a Homestead sim with 3750 prims we operate as a 'Romance' sim. That isn't really a comfortable amount to present our sim in the manner we would like. The next step from there is to a full sim with 15000 prims and vastly greater financial commitment and more prims that we would ever need. Why not a midsize sim with 7500 prims? Or even a series of layered prim allocation sims so people can choose what allocation they want, and need, and even upgrade if they require it.

Sl's present system offers no flexibility whatsoever, it limits creativity and is inherently frustrating, and I can't see any real reason why it has to be so, apart from making it easier for Linden Labs to manage. But surely the aim of any successful business is to make it easier for the customers. I wish you all the best in your endeavours and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Sl has so much potential, all it needs is a cultural rebirth in the Linden Labs management team and their philosophy. I sincerely hope you are the person to lead that change.

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Well let's see, Sims Online=fail. Second Life, near the brink of non existence....wow great to have you aboard captain now remember to go down with the ship and not bail like a deck hand two months later!

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Praise be!  Maybe he will breathe some common sense and true leadership into LL.   Rod, please be aware of the terrible decisions made affecting non-profits in SL.  Please save SL from the massive ship-jump coming as NFP prices double!

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Welcome aboard and good luck Rod. I did not read all the posts here but a good enought sample to know there are members of the same ol' gang with the same ol' gripes. Take it all with a grain of salt and determine your own plans from your own observations. Make your decisions based on facts supported by data. This virtual world, like the real world, is what we make of it. Some of us try to make it better and put effort into it. Others want only to take something out and contribute nothing, or as little as possible. All of the people here have the same basic human instinct that drives what they are doing: Cost Benefit Analysis for the purpose of gain. Remember that when some one trys to tell you what you should or should not do. Underlying there idea or request is some form of a gain. You need to determine what it is and act accordingly.

My personal advice? Geez, I think I could go on for a while but take these for what they are worth...

Keep the educators at arms length. They talk a good game but historically always want to pay marginally less because they think they bring something to the table no one else does. I think it is something that is ingrained in them like it is in the real world. Honestly, if they had a better deal they would have already gone out the door.

All the BS of the other virtual worlds. I tried most of them and to be honest, Give them a candle and maybe they can hold it.

Basic membership? Eliminate them. Most of the problems around the grip are due to gypsy accounts leaving debris, harrassing people or causing network problems. 80% of them are alrady members that use the accounts to circumvent rules.

The Lindens Homes. Don't listen to the critics. They are excelent. Those that do not like them either have no imagination/inclination to enjoy them or don't want you reducing demand for rental properties. I love mine and would challenge anyone to a competition to see who can use the 117 prims most artisitcally and effectively. Perhaps the homes are the best way to acclimate new members without the established community suffering from the "newbie sysdrome" and all that comes with it.

I guess my underlying point is that everyone here must become a stakeholder in the common good. Those that have no stake or whose motives do not coincide with that lead to deterioration of the common good.

Again, Welcome and good luck. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.

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Reponse to Galileo Moleno,

Yea I agree with most of what you said except your comment on residents "gripping & complaining".  Residents have legitimate complaints on the deteoriating performance of SL in recent months.  And the negative comments on Viewer2 are very well deserved.  For many, many of us this is a virtual world that we spend hours in each day pursuing hobbies, networking with people from all over the world, shopping and for some, working on our land.  Is this a game?  NO!  We aren't playing against anyone.  So I am hoping our new CEO is reading these blog comments; I am a business woman and sure as heck would be!

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Customer Service .. Now its close to a week .. I am Ghosting .. I cant get in to a World you so happily invite people to.. So I have lost friends, they think I am ignoring them.. .I have lost business..I cant help my customers.. I am premium .. so I am losing real money.. If I cant get in to pay Tiers .. I'll loose my home .. Your Live Chat is useless . . Tickets are ignored .. Ok I am not a big player .. But for 4 years I have dedicated time and effort .. I think I have made contributions .. and your workers can not fix what has to be a simple problem .. If you could see my thumb and index finger there is about 1mm .. and I am saying .. "I am this close to tossing it all in."...

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Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your view point it is in fact a game for many of the residents that use it. Those of us providing services dont see it as a game though. There are many games within sl with many people playing them and many people creating/ maintaining them. I realise this is just one sector of sl but it is a big one. There is a vibrant sl/rl porn industry in sl aswell as the huge business environment. All types of simulations exist in sl- cars planes etc etc. Basically the Sl world contains an example of all and every pc game ever invented aswell as it being an experiment lab for anything else, business being a large example.

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We will see what happens (or not). I have pretty mixed emotions about this move since EA games, despite it's success (another company that produces software that crashes every 5 minutes), has the image of being the most unsocial and explotive company in the whole business... which is the last attitude that SL could need since it's too expensive and unstable already...

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Hi Bowfluv,

Been there done that: GHOSTING. Here's what customer service told me to do back a year ago when I experienced this problem.  1) The told me to log into a location called Pooley. 2) Once there detach everything from your Avi;  3) If you are still a cloud, then go to the Advanced Menu, Character, Rebake. If this doesn't work, then in Character select what you are Female or Male, HOWEVER this will return you to the newbie stage. Hopefully you can easily locate your shape/skin/eyes/hair to restore yourself.

If you can't get inworld maybe you can send an email to one of your SL friends to pay your Tiers for you and then reimburse them when you are able to log on. I have an arrangement with one of my dear, dear SL friend in the event I can't log in and my Tiers are due.

Good luck, hun:)

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Oh forgot to mention Bowfluv,

Try LIVE CHAT you might luck out and find an experienced customer service representative to help you. Keep trying if you get one that tells you to submit a ticket; that's another approach that really means they don't know how to help you.  I recently had issues and tried Live Chat and got one GREAT customer service reps: ShandrikaG Scout!  Ask for her!

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I don't know what the actual statistics are for Basic memberships but I doubt that 80% of them "are already members that use the accounts to circumvent rules." Perhaps you are referring to unverified accounts? Most new residents are going to sign on as a basic member - they are not necessarily going to pay at first. It would not be wise to get rid of free accounts.

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Nope!. Basic members. 80% of that population are alts for accounts that already exist as paying or unpaying members. The fasted and esiest way to get rid of them is to not allow a basic member to have retained inventory or rez an object anywhere but an SL sanbox.  No inventory, lower storage demand on the servers. No ability to rez anywhere and there is less debris scattered all across the grid and malicious scripted objects that take down sims drop by 90%. The simple truth is, and SL can verify this, if you are not a paying account with 30 days of coming here, you never will be.

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Nope!. Basic members. 80% of that population are alts for accounts that already exist as paying or unpaying members. The fasted and esiest way to get rid of them is to not allow a basic member to have retained inventory or rez an object anywhere but an SL sanbox.  No inventory, lower storage demand on the servers. No ability to rez anywhere and there is less debris scattered all across the grid and malicious scripted objects that take down sims drop by 90%. The simple truth is, and SL can verify this, if you are not a paying account with 30 days of coming here, you never will be.

I guess that is something for you to look in to Rod! LOL

Speaking as an 'unpaying member,' please don't get rid of Basic accounts or limit us to this kind of ridiculous restriction. (New residents would definitely not stay if that were the case and I think there are other ways to reduce the problems Galileo speaks of) I would think carefully about any solution dubbed 'fastest and easiest'.

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