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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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Very cool indeed!  Welcome Rod!  Your appointment is, perhaps, one of the most hopeful signs I've seen for SL in at least half a year or more, and I'm confident that you will live up to a very promising resume, and vision.

You will find -- indeed, can see in evidence here in these comments -- that SL is an enormously diverse (and sometimes divisive) community, with many different expectations.  It is also a community that has been, of late, beset with worry if not outright fear for the future.

Appreciating that new growth is absolutely imperative for SL, remember that there is not much point in inviting others on to the cart until the wheels have been fixed, and it's moving again!  Please make it a priority to not merely remedy what is broken, but, perhaps most importantly, rebuild our confidence in SL, which has been much shaken.  And the best way to do that is to give heed to the communities at work and play here.  Please listen to us, talk to us, and even join us in-world, for just as you represent for us a new hope for SL, so too are are we your future.

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:)Well yeah, that's what LL does, but he can't do that until he has a good idea of the current level of tools available.  And there's no better person to develop the tools than the guy who builds the games.

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Welcome Rod .Best of Luck to you and  all of us in 2011 for a better SL experience . Thinks its great to start out the year all shiney and new

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A shout-out to all the regular blog readers.

I have only one question.

What's his SL username?

Humble Linden?

(said with tongue somewhat in cheek)

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Great news – welcome, Rod! Just in time for the 2011 quantum jump in game based learning and immersive education. Best wishes from Hamburg, Hanno | Xon at Buero X

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Now that they are merging the grids perhaps it would of been better to hire better legal staff.

I wonder how long this one will last?

You gonna lower the tiers across the board so that you can compete with other groups who are currently underselling YOUR product?  If not I am sticking with the competition.

EA ...not a fan.

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Amazing Now we will have "The SIMs" in the sims.

Welcome Rod!

Happy holidays to all from Linden Lab and specially for your Residents !

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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.

@ Dartagan

I would say a perfect CEO for SL would have equal experience at a MMO like World of Warcraft, myspace/facebook, ebay and perhaps mayor of a small town somewhere. For content creation LL does very little of that themselves. When they try they seem to get a bit side tracked.

Also you can't change the reality that Second Life is not a game by wanting the answer to be different. You contradicted yourself a bit and said it was and wasn't a game in the same breath. You were right when you said its a virtual world expressing many things which of course supports my open slate description. But a game being one of them isn't correct. It is very true there are various games within Second Life. RPGs, simple games of skill, arcades, bowling, Collectable Card Games, Board games card games, virtual sports etc. But these things aren't what SL is just parts of what's in it. I neck deep in the game industry in Second Life and I can say Second Life is definitely not a game. A game almost always has rules in order to win or progress, structure, points, leveling etc so on.

For example say my RL town has a water slide theme park ther. Does that mean my town is a theme park. No its a town that has a waterslide park, it probably also has an art museum, a game room, some night clubs, various stores. But none of these individual things make it one thing. Now take the internet as a whole has games on it also but its not a game. I watch tv shows on hulu all the time but the internet isn't a tv. I read news on the internet but its not a newspaper.

I realize some people treat SL as a game but that doesn't make it one. But I do agree reaching people on more familiar ground is good but if you market Second Life as a game and people come here and say how do I play this game there are no real answers. What could be done is strengthen RPG creators, game makers tool sets to boost those capabilities to create more viable games that can approach in quality of what they might be use to. But Marketing a "game" thats not a game as a game is doomed to failure.

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But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.

"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.

"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."


Welcome Rod !!

Madame Aprille Shepherd

Toy Slaves Brothel

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Game experience will do good. SL isn't a game, but you're only going to have experience in what SL is all about if you are already in SL. Experience in online gaming such as the sims is the closest thing available right now. There are other true virtual worlds out there, but very few, and most are in infancy stages. They would not look nearly as impressive on a resume as being an exec at EA does.

If I were to offer some advice to Rod... and I sincerly hope he reads this...

Let the community drive growth. Have the lab and the SL community advertise what SL is to people. Don't try to put all your focus into altering the system so that more people will be accustomed to it within minutes of logging in. The learning curve is a little too large, but there are better approaches to that problem than dropping a revamped "new user experience" on everyone.

There will always be a crucial need for a qualified individual to drive the ship, but I really miss the days when the lab truly engaged its residents into being a part of the platform's growth.

Help us help you.


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Dear Rod,

I love your name, it sounds like a Second Life name and I hope it speaks volumes!

Don't give yourself an alphabet name like "M' and the marketing suits who came before you, call yourself "Humble Linden," find 10 ways of listening to customers every day, be it a drop in to the forums, a blog post answering queries, or an in-world townhall, and I guarantee you will have many eating out of your hand, after 7 years of Arrogant Linden.

I couldn't be more pleased that you're from the Sims. I'm a refugee from the Sims Online myself and I kept my account there until the last "GAME OVER" sign. Think of Second Life like the Sims on Free Will, and without having to go to the bathroom, and you should do fine.

Please please please can we have job objects? I'm serious. This is the single most common request of newbies, a job in order to make money. Hire some of those Sims coders to modify the pizza or map games into SL collaboration and exploration games for at least shopping tokens if not real money, and you could  have a game-changer.

I would say that rather than focusing on fixing viewer 2.x, where the chat chiclets are still in a clusterfrak, or rather than fussing with mesh, which nobody really asked for, you should concentrate on fixing one thing tht will fix up many other things: SEARCH.

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Welcome Rod,

My advice? Don't say anything or do anything till you've spent a month talking to residents and your team, look up some inworld history, Explore SL with Alt from it's top to bottom, Newbs to Olbies, Teleport randomly around the grid a bit, don't judge us too early, there is a wide selection of communities here, and have fun

Wish lists for many of us us is get Windlight finished, New Avatar Meshes, more Office Hours with Lindens, Cheaper Tier, and do something about Verifying Residents or restricting abilitites of Unverified Accounts so we don't allow Griefers, Scammers and Content Thieves to do what ever they want using anonymous disposable accounts.

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Welcome Mr Humble.

Please be a good and wise King.

We're all real people living and working in this strange country

Good luck

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Welcome, Rod.  We're all in this together, so very much hoping you'll find great success.

The SL platform comes with a lot of history -- technical, business, and human -- so expect to learn a lot and to keep learning.  Residents can help you with that in ways that may be impossible for other Lindens.

But of course some things aren't known to residents.  If I may suggest: try to probe why so many desperately bad business initiatives were pitched internally as good ideas, and adopted.  They each came with opportunity costs -- sometimes huge -- so you need to figure out how to avoid the grandiose delusions that have perpetually plagued decision-making in the Lab.  (At least to this outsider, BK seems to be uncharacteristically level-headed, so he already may have insight into what ailed preceding generations of management.)

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Welcome to the family.  We may be dysfunctional at times, but we're still a family.  I'm hoping you're not the "Uncle Joe" who unbuttons his pants after eating, belches and then falls asleep on the recliner. 

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My love of The Sims is what enticed me to try Second Life (I thought it was a freeware version of The Sims Online) and my love for the friendship, beauty, creativity, film, and fashion of Second Life is what convinced me to stay.   I hope you will love this place as I do. Welcome!

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