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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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Hi and welcome -   I am choosing to be cautiously optimistic that you, the board, the management team and the staff of LL will optimise SLs potential and resident base.

I love second life - I have met some wonderful people and had some great times.  I believe SL has massive potential.   The number of users on line has doubled since I first started here in 2007 and inworld the changes I have seen with regards to the building being done by very creative people has been amazing.

I hope you will build on the potential that SL and its residents have.

I have read some of the legitimate complaints put in by people and I hope you give them the consideration they deserve. 

My biggest issue is that as a resident I have felt non-existent to LL.   I have had some issues in SL with different things and the response from LL has been poor to non-existent.    Every access to get help is blocked with the "go to the help support portal" -  ack!   

I'm a manager of a non-profit organisation and we have policies and processes in place where unhappy customers with legitimate complaints and concerns can bring these to the appropriate people and not just get continually referred back to the workers.  In most complaints, people simply want a chance to vent to people in the positions who can listen and instigate change where its needed.  (Hence why so many are blogging their frustrations and concerrns here).

I'm not sure why viewer 2 was created so differently to viewer 1.   As a basic gamer (meaning I do not have a computer science degree), I found changing to viewer 2 to be a nightmare.  I felt like a "noob" again, not knowing even how to do basic things in SL and do not find it user friendly.

I couldnt begin to understand all the technology that goes on behind the scenes at LL. I'm sure it is complex and not every single issue can be addressed.   However I do understand people and I've been a resident for 3 years, I've seen the good and the bad in SL.   It wont all be fixed over night but I do hope you will listen to the legitimate concerns people have expressed in these blogs.   I've seen and experienced a few of them myself.

so - good luck with all that! 

Cheers

Heavenly

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" Welcome to Second Life, Rod, Great to have you join us in our corner of the Virtual Universe. Please feel free to explore along with us the many possible variations of experience that our world offers."

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Welcome Rod. A common comment for newbie to SL is ............ "SL is not a game". I would suggest you spend as many hours online, inworld as possible to grasp its complexity before making any major moves. There's more to it then might first be apparent, far more. Great work you and the people at EA have done, job well done. I'm sure you'll find SL a much greater challenge. Good luck.

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Wellcome Rod! Im sure your experience will bring us residents more fun and a constant improving enviroment, but just a thought, dont forget that this game is way more than a simple game and represents an alternative of education, socialize and boost residents afections and creativity. Its a bridge between people which is more than just fun. Best luck for all of us!

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The SL platform is not a game, however it does contain many games.  Hats off to your marketing gal for making that distinction in the Sandbox newsletter. After looking at the past issues I am guessing you guys are using the strategy now of segmenting your marketing into the different areas such as gaming, fashion, creativity, social networking, etc.  A good strategy in my opinion.  Now mass market that to the various demographics and you might see an increase in revenue.  There is something for everyone here and to let the public know that is the way to go.

On a side note, someone really needs to monitor orientation island.  I was there the other day to help.  The language and subject matter in the voice chat and local chat is inappropriate for a general rated area.  If I were a noob just arriving and heard all that I would be left with the impression that SL was just a trashy place to be. Those members can have those conversations on mature sims , not on a general sim where new members are arriving.  You may be scaring off potential new members by having such on the orientation island.

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"On a side  note, someone really needs to monitor orientation island.  I was there  the other day to help.  The language and subject matter in the voice  chat and local chat is inappropriate for a general rated area.  If I  were a noob just arriving and heard all that I would be left with the  impression that SL was just a trashy place to be. Those members can have  those conversations on mature sims , not on a general sim where new  members are arriving.  You may be scaring off potential new members by  having such on the orientation island."

Don't worry, the thought police are coming. You will be supplied a list of acceptable words and actions. Deviation from this path with result in a trip to the ministry of 'truth' for a re-orientation.

Big brother is watching you. For your own good. We love you.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of SL!

I do hope you do not become confused with the notion that SL is a game.  While the world may look gamish, it far from being a game in any sense of the word.  And, while it does have some social networking elements, it is also far and distant from social networking. SL is it's own unique creature.

As far as I am concerned, SL is an ADULT environment and should remain that way.  Send those underage over to the SIMS.  I am an adult and value my protected Adult time as I spend my real life money on sim tier and other things. Don't dumb SL down...don't knock it down to mature and PG only...don't crush freedom of speech...don't make SL into some corporate mishmash of what they think SL moralistically should be.  Listen to the residents and pioneers of virtual worlds...see it as something beyond a game or simple social networkng anyone can do on Twitter or FB.

Appeciate your residents...all your residents.  Don't be elitist and do what LL always does by looking to those uber designers, land barrons, or mega merchants for advice of what residents really want.  Take time to talk to the every day working folks from around the world. Fix a few things like the viewer and lag and some of the issues on the JIRA that has been their for years.  Add some additional building tools, take off the 10m x10m restrictions on prims and other things that would enhance creativity.

I wish you well.

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HOW TO SAVE SL

1, eliminate the weasel legal wording in the TOS and make it very very clear:  What you own is yours.  You buy the land, you own that land.  You buy a sofa, you own that sofa.  Simply add in that in the event of banning, that the person may elect to continue paying for said land, sell it to another, or abandon it.  Also add that LL tries to prevent inventory loss but does not guarantee it does not occur.

The raw, harsh fact is... nobody is going to "invest" in SL if they don't get to own the property in SL.  Period.

2, setup SL with Three continents.  These continents are entirely PG, entirely M, and entire A.  This eliminates the legal minefield LL created for us all when it invited children to come in and be able to cam across sim borders and witness perfectly legal M behavior on M parcels.  If the M areas aren't fit for the underaged to walk on then they aren't fit for them to see into either.  Only having seperate continents will address this.

3, Give us the ability to BLOCK IMs from teens.

4, Begin a policy of requiring a monthly payment of 2$ from everyone.  It can be via paypal or by credit card.  No other VW or game on the internet is free for everybody -- why should SL be?  Make a basic account 2$ a month and premium remains at 7$ a month.  For the additional cost, the premiums get to make 2 free phone calls to a LindenLite member who IMMEDIATELY fixes what the person needs fixed.  Too many people have quit because nobody could be bothered to spend 60 seconds at a keyboard and resolve an issue; people who (were) paying thousands and thousands of dollars a month in tier.  This poor customer service should be more intolerable to you than it is to us.  And spending 1000$ a month and not being able to get a sim restarted is quite intolerable, I tell you.

5, After everyone has to pay to enter SL, make is so everyone can own land.  Today, you have it so that people have to pay 7$ a month before they can begin to buy land.  Name one other business in the world where you are charged a fee before you can purchase more?  You need more land sales -- requiring Premium accounts along with denying ownership is preventing that.

6, once people have credit card numbers or paypal numbers in your files, stop the revolving doors into SL.  Greifers, disposable one day accounts and troublemakers only get to create mischief because nobody knows it is them coming back in after a ban.  Noting that the credit card number has been used for the 5th time today and all for banned accounts should make you prevent that troublemaker from logging in with that card number anymore.

7, I cannot say this with enough emphasis.  GET SOME SMART PEOPLE TO FIX THE GRID!  40 person limits on islands?  teleports borked?  Inability to do something like a Group Message, something IRC could do back in 1990?!  Simcrossing destroying vehicles?  Lag?  Things are not appreciably better than 2005, a fact I would be utterly ashamed of if I were programming there.

8, make a V3 viewer that lets the user select between the V2 UI and the V1 UI.  The Viewer2, while improved, is still illogical and has not improved retention.

9, Improve retention by returning "Your World, Your Imagination" to the core principle direction of the company.  LL has been rudderless for years, blindly crashing from one stupid idea to the next.  You won't get new customers by throwing the old customers under a bus, because the new customers will know that at some point in the future, they themselves will be treated the same way.

10, Add a simple slogan to company policy -- "Let the customer enjoy his purchase."  Too many times and for too many silly reasons have LL's execs changed the entire SL world, just because.  Ban on gambling (could have easily been made so gambling was with a different currency that could be used for tier; perfectly legal).  Bait and switch pricing.  Forcing people off their land and into Zindra because LL wanted to clean up its image.  Seems LL cannot stand to see a customer smiling and pleased to be here.  That has to stop.

11, and finally, actively address copying within the confines of SL.  If someone proves that person X is copybotting their merchandise, then person X is given his ONE warning not to do it again, or face payment permabanning.  And engage builders around the grid to help you with "honeypot" designs - display units which have a special texture that triggers an alarm that the item is pirated when that texture gets imported into SL again.  It has been done before and it can be done again.  No, you will never completely eliminate copybotting in SL.  We cannot eliminate murder in RL either -- that doesn't mean we let the murderers do whatever they want however.

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@shockwave. Agree mostly with (1), but  a decent software company today most certainly can guarantee against data loss.  LL should be liable for any losses of data that result in losing virtual goods or inventory.  It is not excusable to fail in sufficiently backing up such data.

On (2) I would go for entirely PG and a single non-PG category.  This mature vs adult distinction is pretty bogus in practice.  I really don't care if teens can see/hear everything myself.  I realize that for stupid legal reasons someone has to care.  I mean we all know in practice (and may remember) that teens know so much that this whole 'protect the kids' thing is bogus.

on (4).  Every mainland prop paying resident already pays more than that.  Not to mention those of us that own regions.  So this makes no sense and is totally unnecessary.  Rare is the denizen that spends less than $2/mo that goes to LL pockets.   Cut on lindens, any tier, cut on sales through the online market - far from utterly free to play.

On (6) I don't agree at all that you cut down on griefers by forcing hard identity.  I think loss of anonymity and maybe leaks of credit card and real world identity is a far bigger headache for LL and its residents than any amount of anonymous mischief makers.

On (7) I agree but.. I was here or rather wasn't on much in 2005 so I know for a fact it was much much worse then than now.

On (8) I really don't mind the V2 viewer that much as my build style wasn't that impacted.  Some of the features are more logical.  Some not so much.  But I don't see it as that big an issue.

On (9) SL from day one has tried one thing and then another in various aspects.  This is not only a pain but also something that we have sometimes benefitted from.   Care and more inclusion of stakeholders is needed for sure.

The stuff in (10) truly was majorly screwed up.

Not sure about (11) as there are too many disasterous copy and backup restrictions now and very messed up non-ownership owner licenses.  I think you need to fix that first.

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Hey all, Thanks for sharing all of your excitement and advice with Rod. I'm sure he'll be reading all of your comments when he arrives (if not before).

In the meantime, I want to remind everyone that it's best to stick to the topic of the post. Several comments that were not compliant with our blog policy have been removed. If you see an abusive or inappropriate comment, then please click on the "Report Abuse" button and I'll be sure to get to it ASAP.

Thanks all and I'm also looking forward to an exciting 2011!

Cheers, Amanda

SL: Amanda Linden

Sr. Director, Marketing Communications

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When will people realise that despite their fight against it, SL doesnt go beyond any MMORPG and all this "your world" talk is just a pov to make advertising ?

Probably SL would be better if it was clear that SL is a MMORPG where you can play your own personality instead of having chars to choose from, which btw is what most people do instead of being themselves.

It would be nice if SL had some sort of structure to make the residents functional beyond only what they want, and force people to "do something to live" and there would be more fun in being in SL.

Maybe if you needed to know things before you could make scripts or build, we wouldnt have tons of itens which people love to use, and are the source of all lag and crashing SL has.

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Amanda, I am a little nervous, when I hear you talk about removing posts ... the topic, strictly speaking, is merely ceremonial, just politely announcing Rod Humble's arrival and allowing us to make nice and welcome him.  Is the other 90% of this thread off topic?

In fact, this topic has occasioned an enormous outpouring of feelings and information about the directions SL is taking, with many important residents weighing in, often very thoughtfully.  As such, I think this thread is potentially of GREAT value to Mr. Humble.  I do hope the censorship will be kept to a minimum ... and that Mr. Humble will take time to avail himself of this marvellous reality check.

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I don't approach Second Life as a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game).  It's a real world, I'm real when I'm within it, I deal with real people, and we don't confine ourselves to role play.  I run my business and earn real money.  I make real friends.

So, my own case is sufficient to disprove your assertion that "SL doesnt go beyond any MMORPG".

But much more importantly, MANY thousands -- tens? even hundreds? of thousands -- of other SL residents do not consider SL to be a MMORPG, nor do they behave as though it were, nor do they want it to become merely a MMORPG.  You and your friends are quite welcome to play it that way, of course, but I think it's a very narrow (and inaccurate) view of SL.

If I may speak for what I believe to be a majority of SL residents, it is our fervent hope that Mr. Humble, and Linden Labs in general, would not take such a limiting view of Second Life.

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Hey Mike. I had your concern also, but it seems unfounded after scrolling through the posts. There is plenty of robust criticism in here which is still there, so clearly that wasn't a criteria for removal, and that is heartening.  There was one instance I think I recall where a coupe of people started sniping at each other and that was clearly inappropriate in my opinion, so I would be guessing that is what has been removed and I agree with that.

I guess the question I am left with is that this outpouring will only be of importance if the demographic it represents is of importance to Linden Labs and how they see the future of SL. It may just be that despite our being clearly passionate about SL, as a group we are expendable or unimportant, and all this just represents wailing at the wall.

It will all become clear very soon I am sure.

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Thanks Mike and Aramis. Believe me, I am not a censor--by any means. Your posts--whether positive or constructive or instructive--are all welcome on this blog post or any other hosted by Linden Lab. What is off limits are comments that are clearly waaaay off topic or include offensive name calling. Part of this blog thread included content that was against our blog policy--violating those two tenants.

At Linden Lab, we value a spirited dialogue. So, pardon the interruption and keep it going! I'm listening--as are others at the Lab.

Again, huge thanks for your warm welcome for Rod!!!

Cheers, Amanda

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Cheers Rod!

I remember seeing him at the E3 2010 conference showing the sims

around 5:36min

Seems logical him being the new CEO, Sims and SL are close in someways but i'm sure his imagination is gonna go wild with SL's capabilities

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@lane  I don't approach SL remotely like an MMORPG.  I build, socialize, play, love, teach, learn here as a distinct personage formed by not only my imagination but long interaction with others and living into being.  Yes, some of that character formation happens on MMORPGs.  But you generally are not free there to make your world or your part of it whatever you want it to be, right down to the objects in it and how they behave.  Please point me to an MMORPG where all these things hold if I am missing something.

What is "being yourself" and why is it so superior to being a self that you designed from scratch?  What is "yourself" exactly?  How much of it did you consciously design and how much accidentally fell together from interacting with the world?  Why should you wear the exact same personality or face in SL or any other virtual space as you do in the physical world?  Why would that be better?

Why would I wish to jump through someone else's hoops just to exist in SL or any other world?  Such hoops are precisely why I don't much like most MMORPGs.   An important part of the uniqueness of SL is that it is a world - free from any preset script that anyone has to adhere to.

Do you think you don't need to know things in order to script or build?    It is not the fault of scripts or builds generally that there is lag.  Although a much better scripting language that include support for user created libraries and imports of previously vetted code would make things a lot better.   As for crashing, it doesn't occur often enough to not be a big deal.  There was a time years ago when it was much more commonplace.

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Thank you Amanda,  As you have read emotions are running high and residents are understandably concerned and worried, which again illustrates that SL is not a game, it is a virutal world that provides enormous opportunities for residents to realize dreams that for whatever reason they/we aren't able to in RL.

I do believe LL is reading the blog but I am not so sure you all are all listening.  If all of you are in fact listening or had been listening, the disasterous Viewer2 would never have been created.  It still baffles me why LL created a new viewer that essentially went from A directly to Z as opposed to offering viewer upgrades that gradually got residents to the level of Viewer2.  Is it any wonder that residents who find Viewer2 enormously complicated with features most of us will never use, move too third party viewers; notwithstanding LL spent time,money, and effort to design this viewer ergo taking time, money, and effort away from correcting the more important problems with SL.

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You dont get the point, unfortunately. SL isnt another world, is a set of servers running in this world, operated, used and functional in this world. It is still the same earth we are, and still being just a bunch of data running through the internet from and to our machines to the server. Point being: YES, it isnt another world, it is a eletronic resource to fantasy, and we are not our AVs, and they arent individuals, they are our expression of playing a role inside second life. So, yes, it is ROLE PLAYING. You can argue about the definition of game, and defining this or that way will still put SL as if it is or as if it isnt a game. So it happens with many other MMORPGs, where you can also earn real money, make real friends, and be yourself or not.

What you are not getting from my post is that I am saying whatever you call SL, it is still a client-server application designed to flow data to form 3d design and communication means which can be applied to several ends, including but not limited to: gaming.

From the technical point of view, SL doesnt differ from any MMORPG more than a sedan car differ from a coupe car of the same model. From the "CEO" point of view, it can be hadled with the same philosophy, the same perspective and the same marketing.

BTW, I still being me when I am the night elf rogue that earns gold by making leather armor and blacksmithing, which by game mechanics it is harders but not impossible to turn into real money. I still have friend which I visit from time to time to drink a beer and discuss about the game, and still have all the "so called SL only features" inside that game.

The only thing SL has more than THAT specific game is the ability to build things, which THAT specific game hasnt, but others have. What differ a Sci-Fi game where I can build, craft, extend the world, interact with friends, and I dont need to be a medieval fantasy char, but anything I want, from SL ? Only one thing, you dont have people connected there who have no clue as what to do next like SL, because you have a ROLE to fullfil, just like you do in real life, which you dont have in SL.

If builders had to be certified, scripters had to be certified, and like in real life, you had a ROLE in SL society you shall fill, SL wouldnt have so many wasted resources in unfinished SIMs, useless buildings, and so on and so forth.

What I was saying is that SL has too much potential, but none really 100% used, because you have the wrong freedoms and the wrong limitations, and that is because it is handled not like a IT system, but mostly like a utopic idealistic world like it was another reality.

When it start to have a real purpose, companies will come back, serious people will come back, stable investments will come back. If you think that it is huge that you make a couple thousands over a month or two, this is nothing compared to what it could be if handled right.

Think: If I earn 100 using a car that consumes 90 and from this 50 is wasted, if I was earning 50 with a car that consumes 30 and none of that is wasted, I was better.

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