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Jo Yardley

Rod Humble leaving Linden Lab

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What did Rod get done?

Try this: Second Life 2013 in Review.

Remember he has been in charge for 3 years. You need to review the 2012 review too: Looking Back at Second Life 2012.

2011 was when he arrived.

It was during his time that server updating and viewer updating moved in parallel RC channels speeding up fixes, exploit patches, and the addition of new features. Direct Deleiver was instigated. The Linden Realms regions change came in to help engineers figure out what was needed. Bake fail was tackeled and huge amounts of the system were revised. That ongoing Server Side Appearance thing continues as now the bottleenck is in the inventory system and network protocols.

Open source contributions and third party viewer cooperation was improved. The Experience Tools project was started and continues, but that team is bashful so we hear little of what is being done now. The last news was server side infrastructure changes that were added about 2 months back.

Go back and listen to Rod's speach at the last SLCC meeting.Second Life Rod Humble 2011 Keynote. It is surprising how many of those things he has accomplished. People expecting all those things to be done in a year was unrealistic. It has taken 3 years and several are still incomplete.

All in all a lot has been accomplished in the last 3 year. That people do not remember or notice says more about the people than Rod's accompishments.

Communication

It is highly debatabe whether communication has improved or deteriorated. From an official announcements point of view I consider it mixed. Reviewing the SL Blog some things are better and some worse.

On the topic of general information flow the commmunication has changed and I think can more accurately be discribed as narrowing. Some Lindens handle user groups very well. Others are horrible at communicating. The Server engineers are good at telling us what is happening near term and listening to user problems. Long term planning is a dead silence. 

The coming next week or next month communication is excellent at user groups. But, that is the narrowing I mention. The information I get from those group meetings is detailed and accurate. The feedback from users well received. But, only the really interested users participate, typically less than 20 people. The Third Party Viewer meetings is announced to a small group of knowlegable people. The information exchange between the Lab and developers is productive.

The result is the poorly informed are eliminated and have little oppertunity to waste meeting time. But, anyone can be informed and does have the oppertnity to attend any of the meetings.

Communication Problem

The real problem in communication comes from users that remain uninformed by lack of effort on their part and complain they are not told everything they want to know. They seem to think everyone wants to know the same things and that all Lindens know everything and have the time to chase every user down and explain thigs to them. Hopefully people can see the irony in this paragraph.

The Lindens learned that in general people do not listen or pay attention to any of the communication channels the Lab has. A well read forum announcement is lucky to get 3,000 views. The various SL Mailing lists do little. The knowledge base has answers to questions that are repeadly asked each week. The stats on the Knowledge Base are week. The JIRA intended for bug reporting and technical discussion of problems turned into a flaming debate forum... which is why it was closed.

In general SL users have little idea of how to communicate with the Lab and think they are entitled to know everything about the Lab and what it plans to do or is doing. Any time the Lab deviates from what a user thinks the Lab should do or  they want from the Lab, they often flame the Lab from a place of total ignorance of RL limitations and realities.

The Lab has moved to limiting most of their communication to the more computer and virual tech knowledgable, the narrowing. They have restricted communication with general users. I would have to do some research to see if they make more annoucement now or in the pre-Rod past. Without a good count, I think it has increased, but that is subjective opinion.

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Well said.

But I also think that part of running a company is making people feel you care even if you're busy.

For instance, we want communication, we want to feel that LL is a company that cares with employees that care.

Regular communication, wether the users actually listen or not, will bring a lot of goodwill.

It was nice when Rod used twitter and his SL account, it was not nice when that was cut off.

I want regular messages from Lindens on what they are working on, I want to see Lindens walking around SL, I want them posting pictures on flickr.

There are different kinds of communication.

When LL sends us a message and nobody listens that is one way communication that doesn't work.

When we ask LL for information and they don't listen, that is another type of one way communication that doesn't work.

But bumping into a Linden at an event, even if they don't tell you anything or if you get to ask them anything, is a type of one way communication that does work.

We want to know they care, we want to see them care.

Dead silence is not doing anyone any good.

If I was CEO I wouldn't want every single person in SL contacting me every day with their issues, but I would post on the SL facebook page to share a sim I've visited, I'd upload screenshots to twitter, I'd be seen at big events.

That kind of communication matters as well.

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Nalates Urriah wrote:

What did Rod get done?

<snipped to save space>

 


As I stated above I think Rod did get the Lab to focus more on a few major issues. BUT most of what we've seen done are things that should have been happenning in the natural day by day operations unless the attitude of LL was "Here is Second Life, take it or leave it as it is."  So outside of some Kudos for better focus on a few issues, for doing what they should have been doing all along, meh.

 


Nalates Urriah wrote:

 

Communication

It is highly debatabe whether communication has improved or deteriorated. From an official announcements point of view I consider it mixed. Reviewing the SL Blog some things are better and some worse.
<snip>


 

You are right, it is a mixed bag.  Too much has been after the fact.  Someof the failures have been horrendous.  If I recall correctly people were getting E Mails from a Third Party Developer for Second Life Mobile Beta before it was blogged about.  After the question, "Is this legitimate," popped up in the Forums they finally blogged about it.  More recently has been the request for personal information for tax compliance purposes.  And after the first fiasco it happenned again when even more information was needed.  Do they not learn?

 


Nalates Urriah wrote:

 

The real problem in communication comes from users that remain uninformed by lack of effort on their part and complain they are not told everything they want to know. They seem to think everyone wants to know the same things and that all Lindens know everything and have the time to chase every user down and explain thigs to them. Hopefully people can see the irony in this paragraph.


Again a mixed bag.  It has always been somewhat difficult, especially for the new, user to find information.  But even for those of us who have been around a while and like to stay informed it can be extremely difficult.  Too much information is buried in the JIRA's and unless you are one of the privilged few who can access them we are stuck dead in the water.

Lastly, do I even need to bring up the Merchants?  Talk about a group who is kept in the dark and fed feces.  That is a travesty.

 

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As I have maintained steadily, Humble was a disaster.  It only shows just how hapless LL are the very fact they hired him and allowed him to stay for three years.

He was the ultimate 'invisible' CEO, and has laughed his way to the bank, and learned that customers can be treated with borderline contempt at certain companies.

I honestly don't think LL have the time, now, to get someone capable in as CEO.  SL's slide has not been halted under Humble's dynamic stewardship.

I always took a very cynical view of Humble -call it gut instinct, being much older than 90% of the residents, here - and I believe I have been proved absolutely right. 

'It's been a great three years', he says.   I bet it has, Rod.  For you.  

Question is, will LL have learned their lesson?

I think we already know the answer to that, depressing as it is.

Humble says he wants to start some airy fairy 'arty' thing.  Frankly, Rod, you would be a splendid wall street or city of london banker.   And yes, I said 'banker'....or 'financial terrorist' as Max Keiser opines, quite wisely.

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Jo Yardley wrote:

It is weird (but not surprising) that LL is not doing very well communication wise.

That is something the new CEO really has to work on.

As for who the new CEO should be, I reckon it should be someone with experience in the field and who knows how to run a company like LL, perhaps Will Wright from The Sims?

Either way, this new CEO should select 20-30-50 people who are "extreme" SL users.

People from all walks of life who have different experiences but who are actual current users who know whats going on from the inside.

Will Wright was (until recently) on the board of directors of Linden Research. I'm not sure when he departed, but his name is now gone from the Leadership page.

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Perrie Juran wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Jo Yardley wrote:

I've also posted the actual IM Rod send me.

This is starting to look like a History Channel special on conspiracies
;)


The aliens got him.  *Nods solemnly*

It wasn't the Martians. 
;)

LOL!  I didn't think that for a minute!  Martians are the good guys of the galaxies. ;)

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Nalates Urriah wrote:

The JIRA intended for bug reporting and technical discussion of problems turned into a flaming debate forum... which is why it was closed.

There's another possibility for why the jiras were closed based on the timing in which it happened.  The jiras had been flame fests for years; however, during the same time frame that SL was supposed to be offered on STEAM the jiras were closed with of course no explanation.  Commentary in one or two threads at the time suggested that perhaps the jiras were closed so that the STEAM execs. didn't realize how many outstanding issues/bugs were in SL.

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


Nalates Urriah wrote:

The JIRA intended for bug reporting and technical discussion of problems turned into a flaming debate forum... which is why it was closed.

There's another possibility for why the jiras were closed based on the timing in which it happened.  The jiras had been flame fests for years; however, during the same time frame that SL was supposed to be offered on STEAM the jiras were closed with of course no explanation.  Commentary in one or two threads at the time suggested that perhaps the jiras were closed so that the STEAM execs. didn't realize how many outstanding issues/bugs were in SL.

And really, how many JIRA's turn into "flame fests."

And where would we be with certain what were hot button topics?

Would LL have gone ahead as planned and deprecated llgetagent status?

Would the problems with Red Zone have been dealt with?

But beyond those how many actually were what could possibly be described as "flame fests." 

IF LL used flame fests as a reason for closing them that was pretty lame.

Perhaps LL created the problem because there was no other place we could post where we felt like we could get their attention.  So if we want to talk about communication break down this is a prime example.

And the other side of this is how many people have found solutions to problems because the JIRA's were public?

 

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Perrie Juran wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Nalates Urriah wrote:

The JIRA intended for bug reporting and technical discussion of problems turned into a flaming debate forum... which is why it was closed.

There's another possibility for why the jiras were closed based on the timing in which it happened.  The jiras had been flame fests for years; however, during the same time frame that SL was supposed to be offered on STEAM the jiras were closed with of course no explanation.  Commentary in one or two threads at the time suggested that perhaps the jiras were closed so that the STEAM execs. didn't realize how many outstanding issues/bugs were in SL.

And really, how many JIRA's turn into "flame fests."

And where would we be with certain what were hot button topics?

Would LL have gone ahead as planned and deprecated llgetagent status?

Would the problems with Red Zone have been dealt with?

But beyond those how many actually were what could possibly be described as "flame fests." 

IF LL used flame fests as a reason for closing them that was pretty lame.

Perhaps LL created the problem because there was no other place we could post where we felt like we could get their attention.  So if we want to talk about communication break down this is a prime example.

And the other side of this is how many people have found solutions to problems because the JIRA's were public?

 

Agree to all of the above.

ETA: That is, I agree to all of the above that Perrie said.  :matte-motes-bashful-cute:

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


WADE1 Jya wrote:

having no CEO is an option which a small company like LL should seriously consider.

a CEO is not necessary.

Very true.  A board of directors might be the way to go here.

I agree with not wanting M. back as well but I don't think he would be asked back.  I could see Philip coming in for the interim, perhaps. Has anyone seen any announcement in an official SL/LL medium yet?

Given Rosedale's failures since SL (Love Machine, Coffee and Power, and soon Hi-Fidelity), I don't think he'll be invited back to kill SL.

;-)

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Agree, Phil seems to be something of a one hit wonder, unfortunately.

Giving Rod's reign a thumbs down overall.

The most important being his performance as a CEO. Region loss in double digit percentage each year. Invested in multiple products that seem to be all duds, meaning that he's wasted money in those products by acquisition and the employees that were hired.

Expecting those hires to be let go when it becomes clearer that many of those products are losses.

Some were purely boneheaded business decisions such as the new products that dusted off Interactive Fiction from the 80's and tried to create a market for them. Historically Interactive Fiction has been a tiny niche not even worth looking at for a decently performing product. It was dead before it began.

Didn't manage to market better or increase revenue or the userbase.

Linden Realms: Fail. It didn't work to retain users.

Jira: Closed as Czari mentioned probably because it looked bad and they were considering Steam. Also because bluntly, those bugs were not getting fixed and many of them were never going to be fixed. They used to manage just fine with heated debates, so doubting it can be blamed on the users because they vented on it. Less costly to run it leaner.

Closed all community involvement such as SL birthdays, Burning Man, etc.

Mesh: Its a myth that Rod brought mesh. It was Mark Kingdon, despite his flaws that got the ball rolling on things that had been promised for years before, which was mesh, media on a prim, a viewer rewrite and some changes to the scripting engine among other things. Mesh was already underway before Rod got the big chair.

Closed a data center to save the company money and claimed new hardware to run more regions on less hardware was the largest investment LL made on hardware when it was in fact just a shuffling of funds. Also worked on region idling to save the company money. Good for the company, except that no cost savings were passed down to customers on an already outrageously overpriced product.

Land Impact. Forces some good habits but it's so convoluted as to not reflect game industry standards. Users actually have less triangles to work with under land impact than previously, when years ago, much older servers could handle the old triangle counts, but due to LL scaling down hardware resources, Land Impact provides less power rather than modernizing the technology.

3D enhancements. Still too little too late. Things like skeletal animation still aren't here. A bare minimum of 3D map types are available. Little avatar support.

Both Land Impact and 3D upload fees add yet another sink to the economy. The effect of this is that less Linden Dollars that were purchased with real money make it back "out" of the economy. Thus LL keeps more of the real money earned from Linden Dollar sales.

Pathfinding. Not used much and caused plenty of bugs and hiccups along the way for people who were never interested in the feature.

Marketplace. Just ugg. No communication, no feature enhancements save for Direct Delivery which may have also been started slightly before Rod's appearance, not remembering the exact timeline on that, although I'm fairly sure it had very little to do with Rod. Marketplace to this day still over-bills customers on purchased ads even though the community pestered Rod to make a statement on the merchant forums about it. Search is broken, relevance doesn't have anything to do with relevance.

His response boiled down to the fact that the commerce team reads the forums everyday. Thanks Rod.

Under every CEO's reign improvements have been made, which is true of Rod and I can see where he made certain direct attempts.

The company is now under more of a loss than when he got here from all indicators unless one or more of those acquired products is pulling in fresh profit which is doubtful.

Personally glad to get that over with so we can get back to better odds at the relatively straightforward task of designing a fairly abstract virtual worlds framework.

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Jo Yardley said:

If I was CEO I wouldn't want every single person in SL contacting me every day with their issues, but I would post on the SL facebook page to share a sim I've visited, I'd upload screenshots to twitter, I'd be seen at big events.

 

LOL, I am here to vote against you being CEO :)

Linden Lab has Blogs and Forums, post here first and foremost. I feel it is rather disappointing to have the information in places I never go, and to have that the place where information is disseminated is unfortunate.

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Jo Yardley wrote:

I've also posted the actual IM Rod send me.

This is starting to look like a History Channel special on conspiracies
;)


The aliens got him.  *Nods solemnly*

It wasn't the Martians. 
;)

LOL!  I didn't think that for a minute!  Martians are the good guys of the galaxies.
;)

marsattacks.jpg

That's what he thought too...

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Czari Zenovka wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Jo Yardley wrote:

I've also posted the actual IM Rod send me.

This is starting to look like a History Channel special on conspiracies
;)


The aliens got him.  *Nods solemnly*

It wasn't the Martians. 
;)

LOL!  I didn't think that for a minute!  Martians are the good guys of the galaxies.
;)

You have obviously never seen Mars Attacks... Ack ACK ACKK!!!

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It was shocking and sad news to hear about Rod leaving the lab this week. I hope the lab picks the right person next for the 4th CEO of Linden Lab. 

 

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Drake1 Nightfire wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Perrie Juran wrote:


Czari Zenovka wrote:


Jo Yardley wrote:

I've also posted the actual IM Rod send me.

This is starting to look like a History Channel special on conspiracies
;)


The aliens got him.  *Nods solemnly*

It wasn't the Martians. 
;)

LOL!  I didn't think that for a minute!  Martians are the good guys of the galaxies.
;)

You have obviously never seen Mars Attacks... Ack ACK ACKK!!!

Those were imposters from another world who tricked us into letting us use our planet.

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Teagan Tobias wrote:

Jo Yardley said:

If I was CEO I wouldn't want every single person in SL contacting me every day with their issues, but I would post on the SL facebook page to share a sim I've visited, I'd upload screenshots to twitter, I'd be seen at big events.

 

LOL, I am here to vote against you being CEO
:)

Linden Lab has Blogs and Forums, post here first and foremost. I feel it is rather disappointing to have the information in places I never go, and to have
that
the place where information is disseminated
is unfortunate.

I agree with this 100 percent. 

You should not have to have go to facebook or twitter to get information or any third party website for that matter, including SLU. I for one don't use facebook or twitter because of privacy concerns and they target you with too much spam.   If they want to post there in addition to the official SL website fine, but everything should be posted on the official SL website first.

It doesn't matter if people read it or not.  If someone doesn't, that is on them if something happens that affects them negatively because they didn't read it.

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I'm not voting against Jo being CEO of anything but I completely agree with the idea that information should be disseminated from the center out: first here, then there. I don't think Jo was actually saying she wouldn't do that; her post just says she'd share SL information on Facebook and Twitter.

The problem is that Rod's first public mention of his departure took place on Facebook. If that sort of communicative slavery to social media is the future of communications, then the future is in for some rocky times. When you have something to say, you say it to the people most involved first.

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Exactly, The CEO or his second in command or the LL press officer should communicate as much as possible, SL has a facebook page and twitter, so they should use it more.

Of course official announcements should be made on the SL website first and then share via other ways.

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Well said :)

 

I've been a Rod fan from the beginning. It's sad to see him go. He helped me personally when he first came to SL and I'll always remember that. Anyone who feels Rod didn't accomplish anything is grossly misinformed. I wish him all the luck in his new venture.


"In Rod we trust"

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Did he now?   Well, there is a slight problem; the CEO is there to benefit the many not the few, by his or her abilities.

In this, Rod 'take the money and run' Humble was a unmitigated disaster.

He never communicated with the customers as a whole.

He never made the customer feel that LL actually give a s**t.

The extremely rare times he was actually inworld say it all.   Hardly a example to the other 'stay at home and party fri afternoon'  Lindens.

SL was not transformed in the slightest by Humble for the better.

 

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Amethyst Jetaime wrote:


Teagan Tobias wrote:

Jo Yardley said:

If I was CEO I wouldn't want every single person in SL contacting me every day with their issues, but I would post on the SL facebook page to share a sim I've visited, I'd upload screenshots to twitter, I'd be seen at big events.

 

LOL, I am here to vote against you being CEO
:)

Linden Lab has Blogs and Forums, post here first and foremost. I feel it is rather disappointing to have the information in places I never go, and to have
that
the place where information is disseminated
is unfortunate.

I agree with this 100 percent. 

You should not have to have go to facebook or twitter to get information or any third party website for that matter, including SLU. I for one don't use facebook or twitter because of privacy concerns and they target you with too much spam.   If they want to post there in addition to the official SL website fine, but everything should be posted on the official SL website first.

It doesn't matter if people read it or not.  If someone doesn't, that is on them if something happens that affects them negatively because they didn't read it.

This ^^ 

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Well, I'll take it easy on Rod, but I will say that I expected more. For the most part, I think his biggest achievement was getting the viewer usable again, and cleaning up some of SL's messy code. Maybe the issues were too large to begin with.

Where I'm disappointed is in the lack of big changes that would make a dent in the slow decline. Rod talked about R&D, early on in his LL career. Where was this R&D? There certainly wasn't much in SL. The potential for R&D in SL is vast, yet they did little to none. LL didn't even have the proper allocation of personal to handle the basics in development, let alone full out R&D. Oh, he had opportunities. The mesh deformer was handed to him, and could have led to even more. I can only say "WTF" when it comes to never getting custom bones. This collision bone BS is not looking good to me. It's a flat out mess to develop for, and the end result is not as good as the mesh deformer. I feel bad for clothing designers that will have to deal with that mess LL is creating. The funny part is, that LL will end up spending more time on this option, and make more changes to the system, than the deformer could ever have done.

The real problem that I have with this whole situation we have with CEO musical chairs, is that the complexity of SL is not condusive to such a corporate structure. It takes years to understand something like SL. We've seen what can happen when a CEO doesn't understand SL. Pick your flavor. LL or SL needs to be more like the Blender Foundation. They have 1 guy that has been running the show for like a decade. Ton Roosendaal understands Blender. Even more, he understands the users. SL has stalled because we don't have a Ton Roosendaal. Phillip was supposed to be our Ton Roosendaal. Why he left SL for those other "ideas", I have no f....ing clue. Why he is now building Hi Fidelity, instead of investing that kind of R&D into SL, again I have no F....ING clue.

This argument that SL is old, is total BS. Every game engine has pipelines. Pipelines get old, not whole platforms. LL has done quite a bit to keep up many of the pipelines. The are some aspects of SL that are still miles ahead of other platforms. Even some of the new stuff. Many don't like Pathfinding, but it is truely a dream to use when compared to any other similar thing on any other platform. Somehow, LL actually made it easy. Try doing it in Unity, their version is now in the free version. I played with Waypoints back in the day, which is way more work for the game developers, and uses much more resources. SL also has a very nice Materials system now, and things are rezzing faster with better fps.

I know I'm going to get boos from the crowd, but I liked the idea of gamifying SL. It's a solid concept that is really the only direction SL can go to gain users. I really don't think Rod was committed to this. Many different large corporate entities are moving to create game development engines for the masses. Unity is the most noticable crossplatform engine out there. Microsoft is working on Project Spark, which I'm in the beta. Project Sparks is basically a simplified game development engine where all the code is packaged in a way that allows any none coder to create complex objects that can do many things you would need in a game. This is sort of what I proposed in a forum post last year, that LL should write game code for SL, and any1 could easily plug their products into the game, or make their own game. Yahoo has recently purchased a game development engine, and now has acquired the Cloud Party team. What is up in the air with many of these game dev engines, is whether they will allow for importing of assets. Of course, we know Unity does, but Project Sparks does not, and who knows what Yahoo will eventually do.

To conclude, SL is far too complex for any CEO to just walk in and do anything significant. SL needs a different corporate structure, with a CEO that wants to make it his life's work, not a stepping stone or side step. We don't need a big name. We need some1 looking to prove themself, not some1 that is established.

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