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here is the question asked by rodvik linden over on SLU: (i am paraphrase it here)

"how do you think we can get newbies to stick?

we have tried all kinds of things, incentives, whatevs. nothing works for the stickable quantities we as a company would like. we can easy sign them up in the 1000s. millions even. we can get them inworld. but only a tiny number of them ever stick.

i would be interested in hearing what people have to suggest in helping with this?"

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here is my answer. i not post it on SLU. am am put here in his own house



newbie: hi. i dont know what to do here?

maker: hi and welcome to SL. can do anything you want on here

newbie: like what?

maker: we have made this world so you can create any experience for yourself that you can imagine

newbie: ok umm! like what?

maker: what is it that you would like to do?

newbie: dunno

maker: well what interests you in real life? perhaps we could start there

newbie: <stuff>

maker: great! here is some comparable <stuff> inworld to get you started

newbie: cool thanks. umm! this is not the <stuff> i imagined it to be

maker: well you can imagine it to be different. the tools we have provided enable you to do this

newbie: is ok. thanks for your time <woosh and gone>


heaps of people can attest to having this kind of conversation with SL newbies. is lots of things can be read into this conversation. failure to understand. to comprehend. lack of imagination. laziness and entitlement even

the problem lies in the initial newbie question: hi. i dont know what to do here?

this is not a question to be taken literally. when is answered as such then the imperatives of the newbie determines the outcome


consider another newbie who asks the initial question differently:

newbie: hi. what is this product for? what is its purpose?

the first newbie also is actual asking this question. the disconnect comes bc the first newbie has framed it in personal terms according to their own imperatives. made it about them and the maker responds in the same way

stickability isnt about the users imperatives. is about the purpose of the product


consider successful stickable product makers. examples: Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook

all of them have a healthy disregard for the imperatives of their users/customers. they focus on the purpose of the product. any conversation they have with their customers is about the product. they dont care what the personal imperatives/preferences of their users are as they impact on the purpose of the product

these makers practice the discipline/science of product management. maker > purpose > product > customer. is a one way street this. the maker determines the purpose and builds/encodes it into the product. the customers buy/use the product for the purpose determined solely by the maker. when the product delivers on the purpose for which it is made, then the customers stick. regardless of their personal preferences/imperatives or what they think. user/customers dont buy/use the product to think about it. the buy it to use it for the purpose it was made


further and this the most important part: the successful sticky maker can clearly articulate what is the purpose of the product. not only in personal/oral/written presentation but also through the product itself. bc the product has been made to exactly fit the stated purpose

examples: Apple iPad. an Apple spokesperson can clearly explain what it is for. the iPad does exactly what has been explained. the conversation isnt about the user. is about the iPad

level up. Bill Gates can tell you exactly what the entire Microsoft ecosystem of software is for. same Mark Zuck. he can clearly tell you what Facebook is for. what is its purpose. he can also clearly differentiate and explain the imperatives for making Facebook. which have nothing to do with its actual purpose. so can Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc


consider linden CEOs: what is SL for? what is its purpose?

philip: to make an environment in which people can create a shared experience upto and beyond the limits of their imagination

mark: to build on what philip made so that people can also create links/channels between their second and first life experiences

rod: to bring my otherworlds experience to SL to build on it further so that people can incorporate new ways of expressing themselves when creating their shared experiences

is quite noble these. thing is tho that they are imperatives. they dont actual answer the question


when a maker embodied in the CEO is imperative-driven and cannot say exactly what is the purpose of the product and distinguish this from their imperative then the staff who actual do the work in making it have no idea either. when this happens the staff then make the product according to their own imperatives. this enscapulated in:

what is the purpose of the SL product from a tech staffers pov?

answer: to be a superfast server, really efficient database system, spiffy gfx renderer and a way cool physx scene and script engine running in realtime over the interwebz

as a newbie i am like totally going to stick around for this purpose on a Wednesday night instead of go to the pub. make love to my partner. chat my bff on Skype. blow stuff up on WoW. or view my friends latest pics on Facebook. like total totally (not)

+ when the maker has no clarity of purpose for the product then neither do we. if we did then consider:

SL is a game. No! SL is not a game

ahha! but SL is way more complex to be pigeonholed in this way. it is multi-faceted

more complex than what? Facebook? Facebook is the most complex social community in the history of the interwebz. Mark Zuck can tell us exactly what is its purpose

more multi-faceted than Apple? not only does Apple have a highly complex social/user component, it has a highly complex and multi-faceted technical one as well

Microsoft is the most complex ecosystem of all provided by a single maker. people use it in unimaginably creative ways across multi-multi facets. way beyond even the understanding of the engineers who build/maintain it. yet Bill Gates can tell us exactly what is its purpose and where we as customers fit into every facet of it


can only say to rodvik

you are the maker now. you have to determine what is the purpose of the SL product. have a clarity of purpose for the product. communicate that and then pursue it with the same single-mindedness as the other successful sticky product makers

SecondLife as it is currently, is not a product. is a concept. a description of a state (of mind)

we/customers buy/use products when we understand what they are for. like what is their purpose

if you as maker have no idea what is the purpose of your product then neither do your staff. nor do we your users. when so, then we not much interested in paying for it. the small number of us that do use it, out of the big pool, make chit up about it as we go. so do your staff. thats how concepts work


dont know if you will ever read this rodvik

just hope that if you do then you can know what is the difference between the imperative(s) of a product and the purpose of a product (am not able to explain myself very well most times)

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My answer would be "ask them".  Just what is it about this organisation that it repeatedly fails to communicate with it's expected user base?

Here's a key question being asked on a 3rd party forum, why not here in the first place?

Although these forums are not necessarily representative of the typical user base but there's a viewer slap bang in the face of a newbie, they know who they are.

What they don't know is who their customer is supposed to be anymore. 

Education?  Nope, tried that, closed the education sims (all but)

Corporate?  Nope, tried that, corps just don't need SL, hardware requirements too much, functionality isn't there.

Youngsters?  Nope, they have no money so dispense with the teen grid.

Adult?  Nope, sweep them under the carpet, send them off to Zindra.  Yet even LL's own advice to merchants is "make adult content" because it sells.

People who just want to socialise?  Other platforms provide that in simpler forms.

Who is your target market LL?  Who...?  When you can answer that, only then can you provide the platform that is required.  In front of a world stage of competent people, IT professionals, software engingeers, business consultants, business owners, LL chooses to do what it wants and then wonders why they are told "told you so!".

I'm all behind them but for the love of <insert your chosen deity> please pick your target market first and stop having a stab at everything when all the advice has already been given year after year.

Note to self:  Stop rambling own opinions. :)

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Innula Zenovka wrote:

ETA -- for the sake of clarity, Rodvik didn't initiate the thread.

Mistake in itself then!

It might be easier to ask the people who have been here a while "what type of user are you (demographics), why did you come and why do you stay?"  Then target more of these, there's only so much point targeting people who are outside the target market unless the product on offer is changed drastically to meet their needs.

Fundamentally, LL hasn't defined it's target market.

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I'm not sure there is one particular target market; certainly LL's previous attempts to define one haven't been too successful, and I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that SL, in fact, comprises numerous different target markets.

There's an interesting exchange here, where Couldbe Yue asked him what were the main causes LL had identified of people trying SL and then dropping it:

Its varied. The number 1 remains "didnt know what to do" (hence destination guide, Linden Realms test). If you drill down though it ends up being "didnt find the one thing in SL that is good for ME.

IE: If you are into making scale aircraft and you end up in a nightclub then you bail. Mainly because you may not know aircraft making is possible. Likewise if you end up in a sandbox but you want to listen to music you bail because you think Sl is about making 3d objects.

One thing that is fairly common though is meeting people. In general if you meet people with vaguely shared interests you stick more.

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Quite but therein lies more of the problem.  Trying to be everything to everyone to do anything, anyhow isn't working either.

The choice as I see it is to change the product to appeal to a target group of users whom they can't define and don't understand or..

Change the product to appeal even more to the type of user who does stay, understand the existing users and seek more of them.

The product isn't going to change in any hurry.

It will never be everything to everyone, just as there are those who sign up to Facebook and others and then never sign on again.

How about this, instead of the destination guide, have some quests:-

  • Find some genitals
  • Have sex within 24 hours
  • Get partnered and divorced within 48
  • Wear a cube
  • Build a car
  • Grief some people in a sandbox
  • Attend a live event
  • Go dancing (get partnered and divorced during the same song)
  • Become a millionaire using only a sploder
  • Be an escort
  • Be a slave
  • Make things
  • Be a merchant
  • Fly/dive/drive
  • Leave SL due to drama
  • Come back 2 days later because you missed the drama
  • Settle down and find your place in SL which you most enjoy


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He could help instead of hinder, I make FREE role play and combat meters, I spent 2 years making game parts using the Blake sea, only to find hostility from the pirates and sailors for using "their" linden public sims, he backed them over me and my kind and now they are attempting to ban us from the Blake sea, we get new people interested in playing here but the old gang allready here see the sims as theirs and don't want them, also he should look into the greifing gangs as I am sure local estate owners run them to keep the riff raff out, SL is failing because of simple corruption and nothing else.

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Therein lies the problem; our lead weight of a CEO communicates with the same  grasp of the fundamental challenges and priorities,  as he does running the company.  

He must have a quiet chuckle everytime he opens his pay packet. 

You know what they say: you either laugh or cry. 

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The main problems with newbies I spotted so far is that they lack of to basic things, which are a must to enjoy SL and stay:

1. They have no clue what SL is about, cause they are too damn lazy. I always see on different YT videos the question "what game is that". Not to mention that its not a damn game....they are even to lazy to scroll down to read the already made answer. This lazyness causes the failure of their SL experiance: They don't learn the basic steps, they don't learn to earn money, they don't even have a clue about anything. They get frustraded about their own lazyness and leave.

2. They are unpolite as hell and don't understand why suddenly everyone ignores them. Then they leave.

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Syo Emerald wrote:

...they lack of to basic things, which are a must to enjoy SL and stay...

...they are too damn lazy...

....its not a damn game...

....their own lazyness and leave...

...They are unpolite as hell...

....everyone ignores them...

How many of these issues are caused by the new users, and how many are just being projected by existing users? :D

(Hint: It's a trick question.)

Just as fatal to retention, is that the existing userbase has been allowed to cast their own assumptions of what SL is and isn't. These assumptions are passed on as fact, and become the 'culture' of SL. If the culture of SL becomes too toxic for new users to survive (i.e., if they get bored of trying to 'enjoy SL and stay'), then all the tutorials in the world won't help them.

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As a new resident, a person is:

  1. faced with tons of stuff to learn
  2. broke
  3. without a friend
  4. often accused of being someone's alt
  5. ignored in busy places


We need to make them feel welcomed and wanted. And by we, I think of the older residents who are used to point out that they've been here for many years, have seen and bought all and "who are you to tell me anything" attitude. 

In 2 years that i've spent here, what I saw is that vampire families are doing the biggest job. They accept all new residents, give them home, stuff to do, make them feel welcomed, teach them and they really need and appreciate every resident (soul lol) they get to look after. So forming some type of communities like they have would be a good start. 


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Boudicca Littlebird wrote:

A lot of words to say "elitist snobs", but people do get banned for expressing things in plain English, so the lindens have no one but themselves to blame and for supporting the wrong "type" of person.

That wasn't exactly my angle (I use words deliberately, and would rather type too much than be misunderstood). Allow me to self-correct: There are limitations on how far people are willing to go to integrate into new environments.

For some people their limit is 'creating a new name' (evidenced in the success of Facebook, the arguments against the Firstname Lastname system). For others this is having to develop a character history/bio (evidenced in MMOs). The time vs. effort curve is equivilent to integration potential, with flexible users easily jumping in and adapting to any rules thrown in their direction ('Oh, this is how it works in SL? I see.') while less adaptive users struggle ('Why do I have to do it that way? Why does no-one like it when I set off my fireworks?') against invisible cultural rules.

Examples from recent threads:-

Facelights, filling out profiles, understanding the difference between Feeds/PMs/IMs/Local/Voice, avatar height, avatar age, avatar gender, ability to spend money, the 'Resident' surname issue, hacking debug settings so they can see mesh even 50% of the time, understanding the difference between Magic Boxes and Direct Delivery, etc ad infinitum.

All represent things that new users have to learn and accept, or face virtual 'death' by being ignored, as Syo points out above.

At some point, the effort and time involved in 'Enjoying SL and staying' will be greater than the effort and time involved in say, joining Facebook/Cloud Party/Star Wars/Any other service. That's where there's a solid risk of retention failing.

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I'm involved with the Adult Hubs, which are intended as a welcome and resource centre for new people, particularly people interested in Adult Content, so I meet a lot of new folks.

Generally, I find people very keen to learn about SL, and how to do stuff (and I don't just mean about Adult Content).     Way back when I started, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to SL by someone I knew, who spent an hour or so showing me how to do basic stuff like rezzing prims, changing my apparance and clothes, using LMs and search and so on, and who pointed me to some freebie shops to get started.  

The people I meet at the Hubs are looking for pretty much that sort of orientation, and, once we've got them started, they seem delighted to get on and do stuff (including taking out premium membership and buying stuff for their Linden homes).

The problem is, though, that this is time-consuming and not really that scalable, but certainly I find that once people have been given a bit of a start, they do fine.

As to learning to earn money, that's fine, but it's not what most people necessarily want to do.   Many people might reasonably take the attitude that they devote enough time and effort to earning money -- and considerably more than they could hope to earn in SL -- anyway, and they'd like to spend some of it on their recreation in SL, just as they might otherwise spend it on going to a movie or going out for a beer or whatever.   If someone comes to SL wanting to enjoy live music or being a vampire or sailing round the Blake Sea or whatever, and wants to some of their RL earnings on it, then that's fine by me.


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Better still lets use trig on it, lets call the x axis "elitist", lets call an elitist a person that only wants people they know around them where as none elitist are those that don't care who is around them, and lets call the y axis "snobs", a snobs is a person that only wants people with the same view and taste as them and a none snob who wants to see all types and is willing to mix with any, this I think will give your "willing to go to integrate into new environments" a meaning lets call this the radius, now the angle don't seem to mater much as any point away from zero in both axis makes things worst, plus people come to SL with there own "radius" and I have noted that if these don't closely match then it breaks up, allmost like there is a harmonic relationship between the two, now in the early days all were near zero as sl was a new world and most newbees are to this day, but the longer a person is here so the radius gets longer, now most new will never match, so lets agree to disagree as I see your statement as about 50%elitist and 50%snob, you never asked my percentages.

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16 wrote:

here is the question asked by rodvik linden over on SLU: (i am paraphrase it here)

"how do you think we can get newbies to stick?

we have tried all kinds of things, incentives, whatevs. nothing works for the stickable quantities we as a company would like. we can easy sign them up in the 1000s. millions even. we can get them inworld. but only a tiny number of them ever stick.

i would be interested in hearing what people have to suggest in helping with this?"

1. Give everyone a home

2. Let everyone choose any name they want

3. Give them a starting allowance



Having a place to rez, login at, and just be alone or invite people over is a wonderful experience.

Being able to identify yourself how you feel is key to establishing identity and sense of self.

Having spending money allows one to choose what they want from everything that is available.


So, a place to be, an identity, and the means to acquire stuff I think is what has kept me here. The trigonometry of other residents I do not believe played much if any of a role in my retention, well, maybe to individual locations, but not the whole Second Life experience. 


I like 16's explanation that SL needs an answer to What Am I supposed to Do Here.

I would say, Second Life, explore, meet people, do anything you want. Here's a chair, sit on it, here's a cube, make a hundred of them, here's a club, go dancing, there's another person, say hello.

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Irene Muni wrote:

Koltari wrote:

Shouldn't he be asking the question on this forum?

Totally agree.

If Rodvik
wants to know the
of the Residents of
enough tools
I can not imagine
through a
private forum

I'm sorry, but I don't agree.   Someone had started a thread there about "if you were a Linden, what job would you like and why?" and that turned into "What do you think the CEO should do?" and Rodvik joined in at that point.   

To my mind, there's nothing wrong with Rodvik responding to posts in a large and active external forum (certainly larger and more active than this forum) where many of his customers discuss his company and his product, particularly since there's a lot of regulars there who no longer post here, for whatever reason, and where those of us who post in both places sometimes feel we can more frank than can we be here.



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Time has no relation,people don't really like effort for a game they have to pay for, people expect more help than the effort, if you expect effort then you will be disappointed, I once owned an estate with over 200 residents and over a 1000 altogether I can't rem one wanting to put any effort in at all, that is what they paid me for, I had to do most land things for them if I did not they would move, I expected to do this and worried if they did not ask as I thought they might want to move.


So effort don't count as for Time, well I can say if I or one of my managers didn't get there in Time then we lost them.


Entertain them and they will stay and that should be our job, now I do my bit I make combat and role play meters that I give them free along with all the basic things they need to play, but to play is why they are here, not to get involved with Time and effort, well that is my view and how I look at sl when I am making things and 1000's (lost count, have my bits and pieces)

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I don't have enough data to answer his question.  What is the retention ratio of other VW's or game players?  What learning curve is needed to play WOW, for example, versus leaning SL?   I read some of the responses and I think they are all good, but most have been tried by LL at one time or another. 

My opinion is: his company, his imagination (and I don't mean to be rude with my statement.)

The people that stay in SL are the people that "stop and smell the prims" in SL.  They recognize the beauty; they recognize they, too, can create and contribute to this beautiful place.  The social aspects take care of themselves.   Target these individuals in their marketing efforts.  SL is much more than sex ropleplay, and vampires, but whenever I hear SL mentioned by people that are NOT SL residents this is all they seem to think it is.

 A better designed initial avatar would go a long way in having people see beauty in themselves which will result in seeing the beauty that others have created around them.  


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