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Linden Lab's New CEO

BK Linden


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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I'm quite happy about this, quite the good cv (resume). I myself am a bit of a sims player and love what each new game brought so hopefully he'll do something good with SL.

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Good Luck Rod, your predecessor was a closet-case of incompetence and fabrications, so we don't really have much in the way of expectations. Leadership would be a good place to start, I suppose.

I think we've had all our expectations beaten out of us. So many truly bad ideas were implemented because the Lab has been a "brick wall with a smiley-face painted on it" and refused to listen to it's own customers. Ignoring all the PR Happy-Talk, you'll get an eyeful of what the Lab is really like soon enough.

If I had a hope... and I refuse to have any hope again for SL, been burned too many times... it would be that you pay attention to your existing customers that actually pay the bills, rather than chase mythical "millions" of imaginary residents that simply don't exist. Previous administrations have lost more customers with their ignorant ham-fisted policies while chasing that illusion than you can ever hope to gain.

Again, Good Luck.

With that board looking over your shoulder, you'll need it.

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Congratulations, Rod. Cool video interview about your perspective on games, art, and the tools. Sounds like you've already got some Second Life experience in your hands. All I can say is continue using Second Life for everything it can possibly do. The more you use it, the more you uncover from it to understand how it could be better. Try not to let your CEO duties pull you from the Second Life tool because you'll lose that hands-on perspective.

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Āiwaiwa !!! *

Aloha and Pomaika`i Rod!

What a wonderful Kalikimaka makana**  for Second Life residents!

Linden Lab could not find a better Boki***!!

To quote a movie line....."Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."


* Fantastic
** Christmas Gift
*** Chief


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Welcome Rod, looks like you are number two from Electronic Arts. I look forward to seeing great innovation from you and your fellow staff.

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Words to remeber Rod: "Toto I don't think were in OZ anymore"


If I could offer you only one tip for the future, customer service would be it.
The long term benefits of customer service have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience...
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your avatar; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your avatar until they have derezed.

Don't worry about the content; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your Second life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind.
The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's sims, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on a bad viewer;
Sometimes it's ahead,
Most the time its behind.
The code is long, and in the end, it's only useful if people use it.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the griefing;
If you Succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love notecards, throw away your old bad policies.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your Second Life.
The most interesting avatarsI know didn't know in 2004 what they wanted to do with their Second lives, some of the most interesting ones from 2003 I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your customers, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry a furry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children avatars, maybe you won't, maybe you'll sell all your sims at $L 1 per Sq Meter, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don't Congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's.
Enjoy your avatar, Use it every way you can... Don't be afraid of it, or what other people Think of it,
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own...

Dance... even if you have nowhere to do it but on a pole in Zindra.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your Lindens, you never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your creators;
They are the best link to Second Life's past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that creators come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in communication and improve script features because the older you get, the more you need the creators you knew when you were young.

Live in Zindra once, but leave before it makes you hard;
Live in a PG sim once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, sims will lag, Escorts will Philander, People want to play Zyngo, you too will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young land prices were reasonable, TOS was fair, people were free to gamble in the land of the free, and Lindens respected the Avatars that built Second Life.

Respect your Avatars that build Second Life.

Don't expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, Maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your prim hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look Phillip's.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the customer service...

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A great fit. Someone who understands from years of experience all the core elements of Second Life.

Welcome aboard Rod, looking forward to a great 2011.

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Hi there Rod:_)

I have been in SL since May 2005, my single best piece of advice I can express is.....

Take a long hard look at the Complete Mess that LL currently refers to as Viewer 2

Good Luck

JayR Cela :_)

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I'm not understanding why anyone would move backwards in their career. CEO of Linden Labs is like President of the waterboys. We've already got T. King in SL and LL never listened to his 15+ years of gaming development expertise, so this guys resume is pretty much pointless to his position as figurehead anyways. We all know what happens with CEO's of LL, so if the game lasts another year can we at least vote for the next one?

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Welcome Rod, and thanks to BK and other LL execs and managers for holding down the fort during recruiting!  Perhaps we'll see the exec team fill out again now.  (Interesting to see the recent addition of Legal Counsel to the team again, maybe she should be introduced too?).

SL is definitely an entertainment product, but it is not a game.  Rod, I'm cheered by your background and stated interest in SL: ""I have a long standing interest in the how the boundaries of society and economics change as communications evolve in new ways."

Rod, have fun here, help us make an ever more interesting and vital SLworld, and Happy Holidays!

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@ Dartagan

Experience is nice but exeperience at a game company does not prepare one for what Second Life is about. Best if he took a fresh look at things not think in game terms

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Rod... welcome to one of the most diverse online communities on the planet.

I think your past experience will lend itself well to this virtual world.  If I may make one suggestion in your role as CEO - maintain close ties with the "residents" here, and communicate what you're thinking.  We're not to be classified as a collection of 'gamers', looking for the next best gaming "high" - but a large group of individuals with varying degrees of interests and skills.  Most of us are always looking for ways to improve our Second Life experience, and appreciate the input of our leaders.

Many here are creative - many are not, many contribute - many do not.  In the four years I've participated in Second Life, I've come to appreciate it's diversity of ideas and it's ability to allow the user to "be who they want to be".  I'm hopeful you'll understand that also.

Best of luck amigo.

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Hi rod if your reading this have a good dig around using the old 1.23 viewer aswell as viewer 2 as SL was built using 1.23 and the diffrence becomes very noticable by trying to tie into viewer 2 what already exists in viewer 1.23 Landsales at the core of sl are best done on 1.23 try your hand at buying a few parcels from search and just for the hell of it sell a parcel for 5ls and watch as the landbots swing into action in milliseconds hope you will see that whats been happening with auto buying landbots has led to a wealth of problems plenty of info about this problem but maybe new eyes can see it diffrent hope you do.

Good luck whatever you decide in direction of the platform users here can hold this ship together we just need 1 or 2 polices relooking at to claim back user trust and investment from users nothing to crazy like whats happened these past few years.

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@ Samuel

Gaming development expertise doesn't Apply to SL outside of some technical issues. Gaming development is what some creators in Second Life do. Not Linden Labs. They just give people to the tools to do so. In my mind the focus should be improving said tools, have an open discussion with current creators on what could be done to improve the quality of various forms of SL entertainment, and no I don't think pose balls needs too much more help. They do just fine already. SL should level up the tools.

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@ Dartagan

Experience is nice but exeperience at a game company does not prepare one for what Second Life is about. Best if he took a fresh look at things not think in game terms

I know that we understand the vast differences between SL and a game.

And yet, you will find no CEO that has more closely related experience to an open ended virtual world than someone with game experience. From multi-user, to software, to game/world-centric communities that outlast the popularity of any given game. This particular CEO also has experience with virtual goods and content creation.

The similarities are great enough that the question is still asked "is Second Life a game?". The new answer needs to not be "no", but rather yes our virtual world is an expression of many things, a game being one of them.

This will allow us to reach more people on more familiar ground. People that understand what a virtual world is already "get it".

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Welcome Rod! Having you onboard is exciting news. I can't wait to see where you'll take us. 2011 looks like it will be a great year for SL!

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Is he going to be like all the other CEO's and not listen to his customers or will he actually listen to us? My guess is like the rest. The first step in my opinion for any CEO of LL should be to fix the support ticket system as any ticket submitted these days is lost in the blackhole that the current support system has become.

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