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Its amazing how strong SL seems to be!?

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On 7/9/2019 at 4:39 PM, Penny Patton said:

Features only seem to get worked on so long as there is a Linden that feels on working on that feature. If they're fired, quit, or get distracted by a laser pointer the feature gets dropped.

My impression is that it's the opposite, they are trying to do too much with too few devs, with too little time and too rigid a schedule. It feels like their development paradigm has become a ball and chain, and now no one dreams about painting the wrenches pink because love can't be written up on a Jira. 

Migrating the platform to the cloud is a great example. As a project it's a perfect fit, the goals are clear and achievable through a series of orderly steps, in which developers can be interchanged and innovation is reduced to solving a million little problems. SL's infrastructure is tighter and better than ever, there is no question that SL will end up entirely in the cloud and function perfectly.

The love machine was the polar opposite. Do what you love doesn't really work when the project is mundane, it ends up a Sisyphean slog plagued by burn out and personality. But it generated all of the deep magic that keeps us coming back. Everything that makes SL unique is from those days, everything since has been transcribing chicken scratches into well formatted legible type.

SL is more like a game than we care to appreciate, it feels from the outside that it's being developed like a word-processor.

Don't get me wrong, I do not miss the old days where it was a genuine miracle that the service worked at all, when the infrastructure was mostly string and sticky tape, and when the grid crashed so regularly LL openly pretended it was maintenance.

Doing something for love is why Bellisseria has surpassed everyone's expectations, and much like the old days, it's delivery is far from ideal.

 

 

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57 minutes ago, CoffeeDujour said:

they are trying to do too much with too few devs

That's certainly the feeling I get from Server User Group. It's not like the few Lindens there are reporting the progress of large teams we never see. It's more like the few Lindens there are desperately working to keep it all going and improve it a little. I get the feeling that two or three of the Lindens do all the heavy lifting.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, animats said:

That's certainly the feeling I get from Server User Group. It's not like the few Lindens there are reporting the progress of large teams we never see. It's more like the few Lindens there are desperately working to keep it all going and improve it a little. I get the feeling that two or three of the Lindens do all the heavy lifting.

I remember that Labs had moved the activity od some devs from SL to Sansar . But as Sansar has been released , is it always the same situation?

Edited by note Genesis

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1 hour ago, note Genesis said:

I remember that Labs had moved the activity od some devs from SL to Sansar . But as Sansar has been released , is it always the same situation?

Sansar is still in development. It will probably be in development when they pull the plug. However, some Sansar devs have moved to SL. I'd guess they were ones who were doing the cloud work for Sansar.

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On 7/19/2019 at 1:40 AM, Selene Gregoire said:

I never said anything about when. Never mentioned a year. You just assumed that is when I was thinking about. It wasn't.

The 2010 lay-offs have generally been referred to as the "big lay off"or similar  through blogs and elsewhere. And, as far as I can remember, that situation was the only time in recent LL history (i.e. over the last decade (which would count as going back "a few years ago", I think, without stretching the term) there has ever been a "big lay off" (unless you're counting things like the 12 laid-off in 2018 (hardly "big" or occurring a "few years ago"). So yes, I may have made a certain assumption, but given the broad generalisations made in your comment,  it's actually perfectly fair. It also doesn't negate the context of the 2010 lay-offs. 

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16 hours ago, note Genesis said:

I remember that Labs had moved the activity od some devs from SL to Sansar . But as Sansar has been released , is it always the same situation?

Hope this can throw some light on things :).

According to Oz Linden, when the decision was taken to push ahead with Sansar, there was a split of sorts. He actively campaigned for his current roles as Senior Director, Second Life, and then sought to bring together those staff at the Lab who indicated a preference to remain focused on Second Life development. Other devs did opt to work solely on Sansar. There were also some (as per comments from Ebbe Altberg made as various public venues)  who due to their specific skills sets actually bounced back and forth between SL and Sansar, depending on where / how their skills were needed.

Since then, the Lab has restructured and formalised things so that in terms of development and engineering, the two platforms operate pretty much as independent teams, with each recruiting as an when required entirely independently to the other (as often seen within the LL careers page). This has actually meant that some expertise that initially went to Sansar has come back into Second Life (e.g.one of the Lab's long-term rendering experts initially moved across to work on Sansar, but later moved back to focus solely on Second Life). 

So, broadly speaking, the status today is that while Sansar does still have devs and product managers with a background in SL (e.g. the likes of Aleks Linden - although his exposure to SL was more that of a user than a Lab employee - and Nyx Linden, a long-term member of the SL Product Team before moving to Sansar), many of the Sansar team have been recruited in the last 2-3 years and appear to have little (if any) familiarity with / exposure to SL, as witnessed at the weekly Sansar Product Meet-ups, where questions asking whether certain features common to SL might be replicated in Sansar tend to meet with the reply of, "I'm not familiar with Second Life and that particular capability. Can you explain how that works?" (or words to what effect).

The same is true on the support side of things, where Patch Linden has overall responsibility for all aspects of Support for both SL and Sansar (based out of the support centre in Atlanta, Georgia), but at the front end of things, the SL and Sansar support teams operate independently of one another.

 

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Am I wrong, @Inara Pey, in thinking that, intentionally or not, you are with these two posts setting up a kind of parallel between LL's situation now, and the way in which things unfolded in 2010?

I think SL itself is pretty strong right now. The same is perhaps not true of its owner, Linden Lab, which, so far from trying (as some rather ridiculously suggest) to push SL users onto the other platform, is probably trying to work out how best to unload Sansar, as part of dealing with the loss of more than 5 years of time, money, and resources devoted to it.

I think SL is entering into a period of what might be fairly dramatic contraction -- not because its user base is (yet) dropping dramatically, but simply because LL needs to consolidate and retrench as part of its recovery from the failure of Sansar. Fees increases and the raising of the cost of Premium are part of that. So is the fact, not that LEA is being dismantled, but that it is not being replaced by anything new. Similarly, people noted that SL16B, while certainly I think a "success," was also more restrained and modest effort (and more directly controlled by LL itself) than SLBs of the past.

I think we're likely going to see the dismantling of Sansar fairly soon (and attempts to sell it, or parts of it, off). Inara's description suggests that, somewhat as in 2010, the partitioning of Sansar from SL means that the former can probably be dismantled in such a way as not to impact too directly upon the latter. But the larger woes of LL are inevitably going to be reflected in the company's approach to Second Life.

What we are seeing right now, in the shifts that LL is making to its business model for SL, is I think an attempt to consolidate, retrench, and further monetize SL in ways that, hopefully, won't cause lasting damage to the platform or its economy. It's going to be a really tough balancing act.

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1 hour ago, Inara Pey said:

The 2010 lay-offs have generally been referred to as the "big lay off"or similar  through blogs and elsewhere. And, as far as I can remember, that situation was the only time in recent LL history (i.e. over the last decade (which would count as going back "a few years ago", I think, without stretching the term) there has ever been a "big lay off" (unless you're counting things like the 12 laid-off in 2018 (hardly "big" or occurring a "few years ago"). So yes, I may have made a certain assumption, but given the broad generalisations made in your comment,  it's actually perfectly fair. It also doesn't negate the context of the 2010 lay-offs. 

So you just wanted to try to make it look like I was saying something I wasn't saying because other people. Nice.

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4 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Am I wrong, @Inara Pey, in thinking that, intentionally or not, you are with these two posts setting up a kind of parallel between LL's situation now, and the way in which things unfolded in 2010? 

Not at all. My post was purely to clarify the history around the "big lay off" of 2010, which as noted is often referenced sans any actual context. But that said... :) ...

 

4 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I think SL is entering into a period of what might be fairly dramatic contraction -- not because its user base is (yet) dropping dramatically, but simply because LL needs to consolidate and retrench as part of its recovery from the failure of Sansar.

I would suggest calling Sansar a "failure" at this point in time is perhaps an over-statement. Rather, I'd say that, success or failure, it's far too early in the day to judge - thanks in part of Sansar being publicly launched far too prematurely, most likely as a result of the Lab buying into all the over-blown hype around VR (such as pundits claiming it would be a $70 billion a year industry by now *coughs*).

Of course, the Lab do have to balance expenditure on Sansar and SL very carefully as a result of the former, but it would appear that SL remains pretty healthy in terms of the revenue it supplies to LL (regardless of where they opt to spend it). User revenue generation through credit processing remains on a par with previous years, grid shrinkage has been a lot slower than previous years, etc.

4 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Fees increases and the raising of the cost of Premium are part of that. So is the fact, not that LEA is being dismantled, but that it is not being replaced by anything new. Similarly, people noted that SL16B, while certainly I think a "success," was also more restrained and modest effort (and more directly controlled by LL itself) than SLBs of the past.

If, by "part of that" you mean the fee increases are related to the "failure" of Sansar, then I'm sorry, I would have to disagree. Practically since his first day at the office, Ebbe Altberg has made absolutely no secret of the fact that he agrees with the mantra "the tier is too damned high!", and wants to rectify that by shifting the onus on revenue generation to other aspects of the platform (for citations on this, I offer the many transcripts and audio recordings of his public presentations at - VWBPE keynotes, Lab Chat events, Meet the Lindens sessions, etc.).

At the same time, almost from the time he joined, he's also made no secret of the fact that the Lab needed to do far more on matters of compliance in handling money (something which hit the headlines just before he started at LL, when the US FinCEN issued interpretive guidelines which looked to impinge on matters of virtual currencies). Again, as evidence of this, Tilia's own roots at a Linden Lab subsidiary go back as far as around mid-2014, when the company acquired the name (see: Linden Lab and Tilia Inc. – speculations on the Lab’s new subsidiary, my blog, Nov 2015). 

As such, I think it would be a mistake to attribute the recent fee changes as anything other than has already been stated: in part to meet the costs of establishing Tilia Inc as a means for LL to better meet its fiduciary responsibilities at federal and state level as a registered MSB.  as required by FinCEN et a; and in part to meet the Lab's attempts to reduce the price of virtual land within the platform (most notably the Mainland and private region fee reduction of 2018.   

4 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Inara's description suggests that, somewhat as in 2010, the partitioning of Sansar from SL means that the former can probably be dismantled in such a way as not to impact too directly upon the latter.

If you're reading this into my comments, then I apologise, as no such parallel was intended in my statements. I certainly don't think we're anywhere close to seeing Sansar "dismantled". 

4 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

What we are seeing right now, in the shifts that LL is making to its business model for SL, is I think an attempt to consolidate, retrench, and further monetize SL in ways that, hopefully, won't cause lasting damage to the platform or its economy. It's going to be a really tough balancing act.

Yes, LL is trying to shift its revenue model  - but again, as noted, it's been a matter of record that they want to for five years now. In that time, we've see various fee increases, up to and including the recent Premium fee increases - and (in 2018 at least) reductions in land tier. Ergo, tying these shifts purely to some perception of Sansar's "failure" is not, I would suggest, entirely correct.  

Finally, as just as a sort-of aside, I'd actually suggest that when it comes Tilia Inc., is - beyond its role in allowing Linden Lab with the means to meet fiduciary  responsibilities as an MSB under US federal and state laws for both SL and Sansar -  the company actually allows the Lab to potentially open up new revenue generating avenues, by allowing them to provide their experience in managing virtual economies to clients quite outside of Second Life and Sansar. Again, as evidence of this, I refer you to the Tilia Inc website, and to comments by Soft Linden towards the end of Information About Privacy and Security in Tilia. Obviously, time will tell if this really can work, but the potential is there.

So, no, I'm not in any way trying to draw parallels :). Again, apologies if this were perceived to be the case. 

And just as a P.S. none of the above should be taken to mean I think Sansar is / will be a "success". As noted, right now I think it is still too early in the day to say either way - and low concurrency numbers don't always reveal the whole story.

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2 hours ago, Selene Gregoire said:

So you just wanted to try to make it look like I was saying something I wasn't saying because other people. Nice.

If that's what you want to believe, that's you prerogative. It's inaccurate, but still your prerogative. I'm still curious as to citations for other "big lay offs" that have occurred "in the last few years". 

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10 minutes ago, Inara Pey said:

So, no, I'm not in any way trying to draw parallels :). Again, apologies if this were perceived to be the case. 

No apologies necessary, Inara. I'll take full responsibility for leaping to conclusions.

Your account here is comprehensive, convincing, and very reassuring, actually. Thank you: you are, as always, a wellspring of information and thoughtful insight!

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1 minute ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

No apologies necessary, Inara. I'll take full responsibility for leaping to conclusions.

Your account here is comprehensive, convincing, and very reassuring, actually. Thank you: you are, as always, a wellspring of information and thoughtful insight!

You're welcome! I have a bit of an advantage in being a comprehensive note-taker (and having a memory that generally hangs on to things read / said / seen), poking my nose into meetings wherever they occur, and keeping an eye on the Lab as often as a can and poking them them when I see something that piques curiosity. (Although WRT Tilia Inc., Vic Forcella gets the credit for spotting the lab grabbing the Tilia name in 2014, and passing his investigations on to me so I could start digging!) 

Also, and as an aside, nice to catch up with you again!

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10 minutes ago, Inara Pey said:

Also, and as an aside, nice to catch up with you again!

It is!

Although to be honest, I'm on your blog so often that It feels a bit like you should be charging me rent. 😏

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45 minutes ago, Inara Pey said:

 

I would suggest calling Sansar a "failure" at this point in time is perhaps an over-statement. Rather, I'd say that, success or failure, it's far too early in the day to judge - thanks in part of Sansar being publicly launched far too prematurely, most likely as a result of the Lab buying into all the over-blown hype around VR (such as pundits claiming it would be a $70 billion a year industry by now *coughs*).

 

Sansar has been launched 2 years, it has been on steam for 7 months. It still has no userbase.  How long does too early to tell actually last in your mind?

 Sorry Sansar has failed. No one that has tried it and gone meh is ever coming back. Those that haven't tried it yet had even less interest.

Please oh wise one tell us exactly how long we have to wait before we can point at Sansar and legitimately call it a failure, a waste of time , talent and money? 

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On 7/19/2019 at 12:43 AM, animats said:

It's more like the few Lindens there are desperately working to keep it all going and improve it a little. I get the feeling that two or three of the Lindens do all the heavy lifting.

That's what I get the feeling of. A product deemed to be now EOL, being maintained by a skeleton crew with just enough continuing development to keep the golden goose laying eggs while the rest of the company scramble to find alternative income streams. The developments that are being worked on seem to be excruciatingly slow with supposed setbacks, bumps  and long term discussions that go around in circles. Almost like the S/L projects are being intentionally throttled. I get the distinct sense they don't want to risk doing anything that may cause either a large exodus or a substantial influx of new users but just maintain the steady status quo to continue paying the salaries of the 100+ employees not working on Secondlife itself.

If one contrasts LL with IMVU as an example, one sees 2 companies that have very similar VW's that have much the same challenges and yet IMVU with double the average concurrency and four times the active user base, has a workforce of around 50 people compared to LL's approximate 220.  In spite of IMVU's much smaller workforce, in addition to coding both the viewer and server, they regularly push out new features, bug fixes as well as putting out apps for web browsers, android and ios. Something most of us realize is never going to happen in Secondlife.

Other than bean counters, @animats the 2-3 doing the heavy lifting is all there actually is working on it.

 

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Promotion is a good idea anywyas something that they dont do. Even in the inworld interview the CEO of Second Life was trying to promote Sansar by sayng he is spending more ours there than into second life. Now, SL was built by residents creating and selling and also making profit of the company. Now that LLabs raising their fees, blocking rates at the LindeX so the Linden would be more expensive and throwing obstacles into residents that want to invest and profit off SL, all that "attack" results to make residents flee and not stay in SL.

Lately businesses are closing and the last example I have is a major scripter that has made the Greedy table. He gave his games for free because he was closing their store.

GIVE LLABS BACK TO PHILIP, HE KNOWS WHAT TO DO!!!! :P

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23 minutes ago, Destiny91 said:

GIVE LLABS BACK TO PHILIP,

Philip doesn't want Linden LAB (no S) back. It's not his 'baby' any more. HiFi is.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Selene Gregoire said:

Philip doesn't want Linden LAB (no S) back. It's not his 'baby' any more. HiFi is.

I think he misses it.  He was in London City in SL recently, asking what people wanted in SL.

HiFi flopped. Very few users. They "pivoted to enterprise": "Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity and a virtual world pioneer, confirmed that his company has laid off about 25% of its staff, or 20 people, and pivoted to social communications for workers using 3D audio. High Fidelity now wants to enable virtual meetings and social online communications, such as people would do in online meetings."

(You can do that in SL. In 2008, meeting planners had event services for SL. It never caught on, much, as a business tool. Works, though. I know someone who does hold small business meetings for RL activity in SL. His people like that they can hold side conversations and go off to talk in small groups.)virtualboardroom.thumb.jpg.8d96c6f0d3964b6a4b95ac27fd67bb04.jpgConference center, Boardroom sim. Hold your next meeting here!

Edited by animats
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11 hours ago, Destiny91 said:

Lately businesses are closing and the last example I have is a major scripter that has made the Greedy table. He gave his games for free because he was closing their store.

Thankies - shopping trip WHEEEEEE

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14 hours ago, Destiny91 said:

Lately businesses are closing

Businesses are closing all the time in SL. That's been true since people began setting up businesses. New businesses pop up all the time as well. Nobody is indispensable, though losing CasperVend/Let or Anshe's land empire would hurt a lot.

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9 hours ago, animats said:

I think he misses it.  He was in London City in SL recently, asking what people wanted in SL.

HiFi flopped. Very few users. They "pivoted to enterprise": "Philip Rosedale, CEO of High Fidelity and a virtual world pioneer, confirmed that his company has laid off about 25% of its staff, or 20 people, and pivoted to social communications for workers using 3D audio. High Fidelity now wants to enable virtual meetings and social online communications, such as people would do in online meetings."

(You can do that in SL. In 2008, meeting planners had event services for SL. It never caught on, much, as a business tool. Works, though. I know someone who does hold small business meetings for RL activity in SL. His people like that they can hold side conversations and go off to talk in small groups.)virtualboardroom.thumb.jpg.8d96c6f0d3964b6a4b95ac27fd67bb04.jpgConference center, Boardroom sim. Hold your next meeting here!

I don't know who you think you are talking to but you obviously don't.

I've been in SL since 2004 and I do keep up with Philip and HiFi.

I'm not an idiot or an imbecile. Do NOT treat me like one.

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Whenever I see this thread, the punctuation really gets to me. It’s my Québécoisness, but as long as it stays on the first page, I’m just going to wonder. So, is it supposed to be read like a question? Or is it a statement showing surprise? 

So do you read it like a surprised statement? Or is it a straight up question where it’s read with that weird up talk inflection at the end like “It’s amazing how strong SL seems to bEeeeeee?”

Somebody help me out.

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6 minutes ago, janetosilio said:

Whenever I see this thread, the punctuation really gets to me. It’s my Québécoisness, but as long as it stays on the first page, I’m just going to wonder. So, is it supposed to be read like a question? Or is it a statement showing surprise? 

So do you read it like a surprised statement? Or is it a straight up question where it’s read with that weird up talk inflection at the end like “It’s amazing how strong SL seems to bEeeeeee?”

Somebody help me out.

I think it's someone hedging their bets?!?!?!?

It's not just the punctuation: consider the "seems" in there too. It's like an assertion, but with an escape route already secured out the back, in case the thread gets too hot.

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1 hour ago, Selene Gregoire said:

I don't know who you think you are talking to but you obviously don't.
I've been in SL since 2004 and I do keep up with Philip and HiFi.
I'm not an idiot or an imbecile. Do NOT treat me like one.

Huh? There's not much question about what happened to High Fidelity. They shut down their public worlds back in April. Here's Rosedale's blog post on the "pivoting" and layoffs at High Fidelity.  VentureBeat and Variety have coverage. What's left of High Fidelity gave up most of their San Francisco HQ office space. Their staff now meet in High Fidelity itself, says VentureBeat.

I had a High Fidelity account at one point. It's nice graphically, but it was never used much. It's not a big shared world like SL; it's a lot of little private worlds you can teleport between, like Sansar.

Incidentally, Worlds Adrift, the first big-world MMO built on the Improbable SpatialOS engine, is shutting down on July 26th. There will be an End of the World party. (If you follow the technology behind big virtual worlds, this is important. Otherwise not.)

Second Life remains the winner in this business, by a big margin.

 

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