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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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Greetings and welcome to Second Life and Linden Lab, Mr. Humble! From what I've seen, it should be great to have you here.

I went and checked out all 3 of the games listed in the OP, also reading the explanations given. The information within the description for "The Marriage" was quite impressive and it gives me high hopes for what you'll accomplish here. (Not to mention the oft-ignored work you did with Create! A sizable feather in your cap when considering your role here.)

Have fun exploring and learning the world!

Until after now,

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Ceera Murakami's article above is spot-on. Linden Lab's key problem has been a failure to understand the core nature of its own product.

  • while Second Life is a place to have fun, it is not a game
  • while Second Life is a great place to meet people, it is not a chatroom
  • while Second Life is useful for education, it is not a school
  • while Second Life is universal, it is not a charity

Second Life is an immersive, pluralistic, international, New World virtual country. As such, it is 10 years ahead of the market. Think Windows 3.0 or Netscape Navigator or even cellphones. All were considered niche products when they first came out.

Because Linden Lab cannot grasp this concept, the company has been trying to convert Second Life into a 3D Facebook, a virtual Disneyland, a corporate conferencing system, a virtual schoolroom and now a teen chatroom. All attempts to turn an apple into an orange have failed. The apple is now starting to rot.

As CEO, your job is hands-on, heads-down, day-to-day management, but raise your eyes to the horizon and see the first glimmers of a new dawn in the ongoing Information Revolution. Be one of those cool people who saw the future and grabbed it with both hands.

Again (and for those who missed it), a more comprehensive analysis can be found here:


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You know, Mr. Humble may have been calling the shots for a couple of months now, including some of those shots you don't much agree with.




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Welcome to Linden Lab Rob!   Great looking resume, and it's nice to see you were involved with The Sims, my old love. I started out with the PC version of The Sims and migrated to TSO as one of the founding members and then Beta Tested Second Life in '03. I've been here so long I've grown roots, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing what life you breathe into Second Life.

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What the heck,  Too late to worry about endless email alerts now.


Dear Mr. Humble,

I am so glad you have joined us!   What a wonderful Christmas surprise your arrival is.  It sounds like many Residents feel as I do that you represent a very bright future for Second Life in the coming year.

My wish list for SL includes a revival of customer service and support.  The level of response has gotten so low that it is really disconcerting.  If something serious goes wrong I am afraid I will not be able to get any help with it.  I have been waiting for more than a month for a botched region order to be straighted out.  The mix-up is blocking progress on a time critical project.  I have been filing multiple support tickets and calling Concierge, and the problem just continues to sit there, apparently untouched, day after day.  I have heard other people complain about the same kinds of things.

This is a complicated program.  Your customers need to be able to get reliable help with it in a timely manner.  Responsive and reliable support is part of what one would normally expect for a service that costs this much.



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My wish  list for SL includes a revival of customer service and support. The  level of response has gotten so low that it is really disconcerting. If  something serious goes wrong I am afraid I will not be able to get any  help with it. I have been waiting for more than a month for a botched  region order to be straighted out. The mix-up is blocking progress on a  time critical project.

Yes, customer support has essentially collapsed. Worse, paying customers are being ignored as Linden Lab runs around cleaning up the mess of free, unlimited, unrestricted, anonymous, griefer accounts.

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As a former high tech executive and currently a writer, Sl offers an experiencal dimension unlike any other on the web. However the public Sims are lately like walking into a still photograph rather than a movie scene . . .  the lag destroys any potential enjoyment, and the more popular the place, the greater the freeze frame pain. And I have a state-of-the-art setup.

A new model is needed to not only take the experience toward real 3D, but radically improve the performance to gamer and Xbox levels. THAT would rapidly increase th SL population through combined creativity, commercial growth, and global socialization.

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Welcome to Linden Lab Rod.  Reading your resume and past experience ( and I must say I love Sims! ) SL and myself are very excited to have you here. I'm imagining all of the new ideas in store next year...

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Welcome, Mr. Humble...

I'm impressed by your resume citing your vast experience in video game development.  I truly hope you can bring your undoubtedly vast skill set into focus to improve Second Life.  I admit to being skeptical here seeing as how Second Life isn't really a game. There is no great puzzle to solve, no coveted level to achieve, no uber boss to kill...no way to "win".

Second Life is not a game.

It is a medium of communication.

It is a living, growing, ever-changing extension of each resident's real-world self.

I enjoyed The Sims and Everquest immensly.  Superb virtual environments that pioneered their respective gaming genres.  But Second Life is neither of those genres.  It has it's own genre.  And it appeals to a greater diversity of residents than The Simas and Everquest combined.  Second Life residents are not necessarily gamers.  Please remember this fact as you lead Linden Labs.

I wish you success in your adventure with us.


Jeremiah Leitner

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SoonSoon, Mr Humble!

My Sims still appreciate your wonderful computer gift, they use it all the time, well.. some of the poorer households just sell it immediately to gain the simeoleans- its saved them numerous times!  I'm sure you understand

That said, please save SL. Here is a hint.. if you want to win the crowd- first fix the irratating 2.0 viewers UI, it has everyone in an uproar from newbies, to oldbie content creators. Show them that you, unlike the rest, are listening, and mean business. Then, continue from there.

Welcome, and good luck!


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welcome rod to sl. i hope u have an enjoyable experience in our world.....the delay in market delivery....the sudden loos of inventory...and the lag....oh yes the lag and last but not the least...if u happen to piss sumone off in game....the griefers. those are a few of the daily occurences happening....actually several times a day. i hope ur experience in gaming will bring sum needed intelligence on how to make this game more stable. dont get me wrong....i love this place or i wudnt still be here....but alot of days i just log off cus all  it does is frustrate me. merry christmas and again...welcome to second life.

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Of course not. The puppetmaster is still there to pull the strings. This new CEO crap is the same thing they've pulled before, just before everything goes to hell and they need a fall guy.

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SL is not a game.  I hope a serious game developer can understand the difference.  SL is a virtual world or set of worlds.  Most of the world is in the hands of residents to make of it what they will given the infrastructure and tools from LL.  I have no use for most MMORPGs.  But this is my home.  I don't if I can verbalize the difference well enough.

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Welcome to The Family, Rod. Great to have you. I wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, and above all, the best of luck with Linden Lab and Second Life. I hope your work will lead us all to new greatness.

P.S.: While we got you here, there's one thing. One thing to rule them all, so to speak... and I'm not pushing, just mentioning it. If you fix it, everyone will make you their new god, the women of SL will flock to you in droves, and there will be joy and merryment. *looks around and whsipers conspiciously* The lag Rod, that's what we're suffering from the most. The lag.

Anyhow, welcome to the bunch, Rod! Hope you're having a great time. Spend some of it inworld when you get a chance, you'll love it.

Cheers T

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Welcome Rod, We are looking forward to what you can bring to our little world. If your ever in the neighborhood, stop by we would love to meet you and chat a bit.....Good luck to you Sir. Happy New year to you!


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Welcome Rod, interesting background you have there. I usually avoid EA games as they are notorius for their (annoy the customer - DRM's) and Windows Live bs, but If you will be just as protective about user made SL content then i will definitely applaud it


Merry Xmas to LL eployees and all residents!

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I don't know how sustainable higher education is as an asset to Second Life in particular, but there's no arguing the fact that higher education and online ventures are joined at the hip. The question of how valuable an asset higher education is to SL would make an interesting master's thesis, or at least a long scholarly paper, would it not?

I can say that colleagues who have succesfully integrated SL into the curriculum have seen student engagement in and out of the classroom skyrocket as a result. For this and other reasons, I second your sentiment, Mark, and urge Mr. Humble's early attention to and continuing engagement with our institutions.

Sandra Flowers

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Welcome Rod! Your background sounds very promising and you could be just the right person for the CEO position.

Whether it is games, rl business collaboration, education, a place to meet people from all over the world or live music. The Second Life residents will build the best content if you and LL provide a great, feature rich, fast platform. I hope you have a lot of free time during christmas to explore SL and discover the great diversity in user created content. Don´t forget to make yourself familiar with the OpenSim project. It could play an important role in your vision of SLs future.

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