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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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Reaffirms my welcome to Rod & reaffirms all this great constructive input ....

even from the negators & argumentative constructive conclusions can be drawn.

 

Just happened to be looking at a SL Elder's profile (early '06 by my criteria)

& could not resist quoting this which she has quoted =>

 

"Tell me one last thing," said Harry. "Is this real, or has this been happening inside my head?"

"Of course it's happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
----Professor Dumbledore

 

SL is real

The people using it are real

The data & pixels are real

There are many issues to be fixed to make this Virtual Reality more functional ....

but what we have is totally amazing & wonderful .... there are so many here who want it to grow

& who have/are prepared (to) put themselves on the line to help that happen.

 

The Lab should find meaningful ways (for all parties) of utilising this pool of experience, skill & willingness ...

1 small example:- offer some basic governance powers to some well vetted, experienced & tested residents, people who spend a lot of time inworld & travel within ... that back log of basic AR s would melt away

For the immediate power freakout  reactionaries - removal of such powers for the odd person abusing them could be very simple .... smiles thinking of a song line = "I shot the sheriff, but I didn't shoot the deputy"

 

/me Stops rabbiting on & gets back to my 14 hour SL working day

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That is a bit unfair Haley, you know you think SL is an amazing site!  Why not mention to the new CEO that you highly commend and recommend the SL experience for the many RL services you are involved with?  Such as a second life for people with a disability who are home bound and so on being enabled to go dancing and such?  What about my Bee educational project?  Haley, negative comments like this are not constructive at all!  I know you had lots of trouble with the SL Administration but they are overworked to the bone and do the best they can with what they have to work with, hey?  Don't jeopardize the experience for the rest of us with your centric and negative views.  I know that you think SL is just so amazing!

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Hello Rod, and welcome!  I'm a content creator in this virtual world and I really enjoy it. In addition I bring aspects of my offline art-making into this world too, exhibiting in art shows and participating in art related activities here. I'm curious to see how you will approach supporting the arts and content creation as your first months with us unfold. Take care, and good luck

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Welcome Rod!

I love to be in SL to see and make friends with nice people from all over the world.Thank you Linden Lab for this singular wonderful system!

But please don't forget:

I am no Sim!

SL is not a game!

Please talk with your customers and fix the main problems in SL, e.g.: conferences don't work reliable, TP does not work reliable, lag is everywhere, land is to expensive, graphic is outdated ...

Good luck!

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"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."  Personally, I'd suggest that it would take about 6 months of living in-world to gain a deep understanding of the what makes SL special. This is not just another video game.

I would suggest that the people who stay in Second Life long-term do so specifically because it is not a game, its more a way of life. We want what we have to work better, give us that and we can entertain ourselves, we do not need to turn this into a gaming experience. On the face of it this appointment worries me a great deal - the big hope is that the man can listen to the users here more effectively that Linden Labs have to date and does not bring preconceived ideas about gaming.

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Huhuuhuuu and welcome to your new life "Second Life" ^^

 

I hope and wish you all the best in your new life.

I hope also and so many others here, of some great changes, not only in the managment but also inworld and the policy from SL.

Like better prices for sims for sims and tiers ( so all can get one or can it effort it much better )

more groups 25 is nothing...better 100

Better understanding with your customers (other residents) here in sl.

Maybe tier payment possible in L$ and not in usd$. Would help many here.

 

For all this we wish you the best and hope you have also a great time to be here in sl.

 

Candy

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@Herbert

I stay because it USED to be a virtual world and a way of life.  You used to be able to come to your little place and do whatever you pleased.  But more and more as time went on, rules and restrictions forbade this and that, turning the fun wild west into a dull powerpoint presentation.

Now we have no money, just limited function tokens.  Now we have no ownership, just revokable limited licenses.  In short, what was a vibrant and exciting new digital world has been hammered and deformed by LL into what they have always insisted it wasn't -- a game.

If LL treats this place like a game with its play money and fake papers, nobody can say a word when the rest of us treat it like a game as well.

I stay because I have a lot of friends inworld and I love to play with the glowing Legos.  But more and more of my friends are leaving SL because the one thing Linden Labs cannot stand to see is a happy customer.  And all communities can only take so much stress before they break apart.  If the new CEO does not quickly repair the ignorant decisions made by his predecessors, I fear the whole argument about game or not game will be fought out in the technology history pages.  It will be all that is left of the once beautiful and exciting new world (before LL paved it over).

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I was wondering...since you left a new PC on my doorstep in the sims 2 free time expansion...will you be doing that here as well?

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I'm still having catarax and RSI from EQ1's crafting system

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It is always good to get a new perspective on anything, including SL. Rod, I hope you stir things up and create excitement.

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While Shockwave and I do not necessarily agree on every detail, I believe that he and Ceera and many others are converging on a general theme, which I believe can be expressed in a comprehensive article:

http://deltango.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/a-strategic-assessment-of-second-life-part-2/

Apologies to those who have already seen the link, but, at 485 posts, it is perhaps not unreasonable to provide it again for those who have not read through the entire thread.

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Hi, and welcome onboard.

One of the first things you could poke at is to get the Mac version of the viewer listed as a free download in the Mac App store.

This should give you some decent exposure (store claiming 1 million downloads on the opening day) at a very low marketing dollar. It would be listed in both the Games, Lifestyle and Social networking sections.

... and while you are at it, make sure development starts working on the mobile version of the viewer now because also SecondLife must urgently get relevant in the mobile / tablet space that is rapidly developing/exploding. – Actually, in my head, that should be your #1 prio.

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Hi Rod

My  hope is that you might get together with those of us who like to build  using the inworld building system and try and come up with new and  interesting ideas which expand on the system we use - providing an  alternative for those of us who simply dont want to tackle the  'complexeties ' of meshes and sculpties. Im hoping you might spot the  enjoyment in 'inworld' building which doesnt rely on using software  outside sl and importing the end producting in via upload...

Good luck in your new post.

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Now we have no money, just limited function tokens.  Now we have no ownership, just revokable limited licenses.....

 

Jami Did you get censored or something? I saw the comment in my email and now its gone. But the revokable limited licences for linden currency isn't new. It wouldn't hold up in court for a second of course given they have clear inherent value and would be just as illegal for LL to take them away. Hopefully LL will rethink TOS in this and other matters to avoid unnessessary lawsuits. Not that LL should not have the right to discontinue business with an individual. They just need to have something in place where one could liquidate various financial assets and not seize the poker chip style linden currency, objects and land which have very clear inherent real world value. The market place demonstrates Linden currency has value pretty apparently given they take RL money or Linden Currency on purchases. The new CEO needs to look at TOS so it can be taken seriously in a legal setting. Writing TOS so you can seize various financial assets illegally for any or no reason needs to be rethought. As is its just the foundation for a class action waiting to happen

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Welcome to this mazing world ... in which everyone becomes an improtant piece of it ...

Best wishes for you in this new challenge and we all hope that with your contributions SL improves in all areas ... for better communication and experiences.

 

As someone said before ... listening to the ones that keep this virtual world alive is very important, every resident has something to say, ideas to share or positive critics to make in order ro have a better place.

 

Best wishes for you in SL - RL, hope for good times ...

 

Tricia Hansome

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Mr. Humble,

Welcome to the biggest challenge of your career. I'm about to mark my five-year anniversary of my first "rez day", have worked on many projects in SL and have seen SL go through many changes. Some key decisions were made by Linden Lab along the way, and I am concerned because I believe that those decisions have painted Linden Lab into a corner.

Rather than belabor the issue by repeating concerns about the many problems already mentioned in the hundreds of postings before mine, I would rather discuss what I think would best address those problems while simultaneously allowing Second Life to become what I think we would all like it to be. The issue at the root of all of these problems, IMHO, is the centralized "walled garden" approach to handling virtual worlds currently being employed.

Yes, I freely and openly admit that the technical, legal and social problems involved in creating a truly open approach to virtual worlds are serious and challenging. However, I would suggest that the problems created by the "walled garden" approach currently employed are ultimately much weightier and more difficult, if even possible, to address. Therefore, I think it is imperative for Linden Lab to take a serious look at what moving in a truly open direction would mean and how would Linden Lab fit into and contribute to the ecosystem that would evolve.

What is everyone complaining about, over and over again, in these hundreds of postings? Arbitrary rules and limitations, poor customer service, poor performance, not to mention intellectual property issues. And what do they keep saying, over and over, about what needs to happen?

"Linden Lab needs to DO SOMETHING!"

Let's take a step back and think about this for a moment, and then ask ourselves one question: Why? Why should Linden Lab do ANYTHING regarding decisions regarding whether or not people gamble on their sim, or have adult sexual activities? Why is it the responsibility of Linden Lab to arbitrate the morality or behavior of consenting adults?

Think about it: Does Google have to reboot the servers running Amazon's web site? Do the people writing Firefox have to worry if someone looks at something obscene using their viewer? No, these issues are handled differently because the web is de-centralized. Imagine what the internet would look like and work like if every single web page was being hosted by one company, who not only handled the serving of the web pages, but also wrote the browser code, and the server code, and this was all under one roof. Not a pretty picture, is it?

I submit that it should not be the responsibility of Linden Lab to arbitrate morality. Linden Lab should not have to provide customer service and support on every sim. However, for as long as Linden Lab subscribes to the "walled garden" approach, they are going to find themselves on the hook for all of this and more. What is the upside of this, compared to the downside?

Remember the "open server" software that Linden Lab was talking about, back in 2006, 2007? The idea that people would eventually be able to run their own servers? Whatever happened to that?

If I had to guess, I would think that the idea got the kibosh when "virtual land sales" became your primary revenue stream, the initial sales and then being able to host server space at a premium to the rest of the industry to a captive audience. It worked great in the early days, and is very understandable when one is trying to get a new company in a new industry up and running, you'll grab onto anything that generates revenue because that's what keeps the lights on.

However, I fear that phase has passed, that business model is now of questionable viability and is starting to look like maybe it's not such a great way to go after all. So where to go from here? I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do have some suggestions that may be of use to you.

First, check out the Unity 3D engine, take a look at what they're doing and how they're doing it. Now, while doing this, don't think of them as competition, think of them as people who have one component of a solution to a problem but who are missing another component. Think of this as one part of the next generation of 3D virtual worlds, interesting in itself, but incomplete.

What is missing? Well, how about inventory management? The ability to jump from world to world as easily as one browses from one web page to another. I can just hear the arguments against this, how to handle permissions, how to deter theft, how to carry inventory from one place to another. Then again, basic Unix permissions, like Owner, Group and World, have been around since the days of the Apollo program. I'm sure it's a sticky problem, but this is where your value add comes from, solving these sticky problems for customers and delivering solutions that are useful and exciting.

Now, this is just one suggestion, one possibility. You're surrounded by some very bright people, I'm sure they have some great ideas they would love to share. There are many ways things can go from here, but there is one thing at the center of all of the current frustration and angst being experienced by the people posting here, and one thing that by itself would open the door to all of these issues being resolved.

The position that Linden Lab is currently in is a no-win situation. You're simply not big enough, rich enough, smart enough or talented enough to simultaneously provide server code AND viewer code AND host servers AND provide inventory management AND provide customer service AND evangelize the business AND field legal issues AND do all of these things well enough to keep everyone at least reasonably happy. Considering some of the comments here, "pitchforks and torches" seems to better describe the general mood. A lot of people here are feeling rather surly. There's a reason why.

Look at it this way: AOL tried to "own the internet" back in the early 90's. Where are they now? Google does just one thing, search, as part of an open ecosystem, and does it very very well. Where is Google now?

I implore you to let the energy and enthusiasm and vision of millions of creative minds run free. Stop subscribing to a business philosophy that requires Linden Lab to have to say "no" over and over again. Position yourself in such a way so that you end up saying "yes" a lot more often than you end up saying "no".

Mr. Humble, tear down this walled garden!

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"Now we have no money, just limited function tokens.  Now we have no ownership, just revokable limited licenses.  In short, what was a vibrant and exciting new digital world has been hammered and deformed by LL into what they have always insisted it wasn't -- a game."

I agree. It is pointless to bring cold hard cash into a game that becomes worthless tokens that can be deleted without compensation. It is pointless to buy property if you do not own it and pointless to buy objects in Second Life if you again do not own it. I prefer to get value for my money and buy things that last a long time in RL. Wasting money on funny money,fake land or worthless junk  made in Second Life that can be lost or deleted at any time is just throwing money away. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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I thought all the hopefulness had already been beaten out of me, but this news makes me feel hopeful again, so welcome to Rod Humble, and good luck!

You n me both Taly

 

I hope Rod gets the lab back on track and gets Linden Lab OUT of content creation, does away with the whole house giving and the inworld producer buyups/promotions, and gets back into innovating and building the underlying platform.. and if possible FIX the content security system and give us a few more options in that dept.

All in all, I hope he can do what Phil didn't his second time round and display names.. please for the love of god, Rod, can you tell someone to uild a name change webform already and 86 this horrible implementation?

I won't start in with the other things needed, but do those, and I and others might just come back to SL full time

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A big welcome from one of the many Australian residents, hope you can continue creating amazing things for SL.

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Welcome from one of the many Europeans! Please keep in mind that Secondlife is not a game to the majority of us. To a lot of us it is an extension of RL. Please feel free to check out the most wonderful live-music scene. Lots of enthousiastic amateurs and real professional musicians from everywhere around this globe bringing joy to thousands of listeners. Looking forward to your first ideas on secondlife.

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Welcome,

You must be following me..lol.

Anywayz, I'm sure you can help us make some progress and bring much needed 'strength' to the position.

 

p.s. stop nerfing my mage pet!

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Welcome, Rod, and good luck.   I hope runing Second Life will be a challenging and rewarding experience for you.  I'm just one of many who are excited to see what plans you have in store for enriching the experience of Second Life residents.  Take care!

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