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Whither SL & Tilia?


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I'm wondering several things about LL, the company, today. 

> Today I noticed that the Tilia website is blank. Wha?

> There are now 6 job reqs on the Linden Lab site.  5 of them are in Finance/Payments, and one is a general call for 1st & 2nd tier SL support engineers.  I believe that LL has not hired a single SL developer since the acquisition was announced, lo these many months ago - would love to hear otherwise. This seems rather crippling, given the two rounds of layoffs that preceded the announcement.  Truly, LL has done an amazing job getting through the uplift on skeleton staff (tho still whacking bugs pertaining to it); but performance on the World Map and loose ends for EEP has not been so impressive. Attrition marches on ... particularly in San Francisco, where wildfire season approacheth as Covid loosens its grip.  People can move, and will, and not everything can be done remotely. 

Will LL replace Oz by promoting a VP engineering internally?  Will they ever hire a developer again?

> I believe the "Director of Finance" position is newly posted.  The req reads a bit like the person will be running a department serving both Tilia and Second Life, but I'm not sure.  This person will be overseeing a staff of 5 handling all the "day-to-day" operations, reporting to the CFO, presumably Aston Waldman, who is also CEO of Tilia.  Or is he?

Are they folding Tilia back into LL?

> I'm also wondering what Cammy Bergen, who appears to still be working with LL's worthy Executive Chairman (Mr. Oberwager) at Jyve, is actually doing as Chief of Staff at LL?  Her bio gives no clue.

> Speaking of Mr. Oberwager, his Linked-In profile makes clear his pride and investment in his current role at LL.  Indeed, it stops just short of claiming to be a founder.  Hey, Brad, if you're so proud of LL, how about taking SL off this starvation diet you have it on, before we residents all catch on and leave?

Quote

I have founded and/or run six tech/CPG companies—Linden Lab (parent of Second Life and Tilia), Jyve, Bare Snacks (acquired by PepsiCo), True & Good! Snacks, Acumins/more.com, and Blue Tiger/Open Webs. Of course, I founded more than these five, but I have had my share of failures as well. Learned a lot from them. Just don't have them on my LinkedIn. There needs to be a LinkedIn for all the failures we entrepreneurs have founded.

These companies were built in partnership with spectacular executive teams and based on strong cultures. My father always said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” At each of these companies, our "main thing" is culture. We are obsessed with it.

As Chairman of Linden Lab, I am once again reminded how great it is to work with incredibly talented individuals who love what they do.

 

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14 minutes ago, Nika Talaj said:

I'm wondering several things about LL, the company, today. 

> Today I noticed that the Tilia website is blank. Wha?

> There are now 6 job reqs on the Linden Lab site.  5 of them are in Finance/Payments, and one is a general call for 1st & 2nd tier SL support engineers.  I believe that LL has not hired a single SL developer since the acquisition was announced, lo these many months ago - would love to hear otherwise. This seems rather crippling, given the two rounds of layoffs that preceded the announcement.  Truly, LL has done an amazing job getting through the uplift on skeleton staff (tho still whacking bugs pertaining to it); but performance on the World Map and loose ends for EEP has not been so impressive. Attrition marches on ... particularly in San Francisco, where wildfire season approacheth as Covid loosens its grip.  People can move, and will, and not everything can be done remotely. 

Will LL replace Oz by promoting a VP engineering internally?  Will they ever hire a developer again?

> I believe the "Director of Finance" position is newly posted.  The req reads a bit like the person will be running a department serving both Tilia and Second Life, but I'm not sure.  This person will be overseeing a staff of 5 handling all the "day-to-day" operations, reporting to the CFO, presumably Aston Waldman, who is also CEO of Tilia.  Or is he?

Are they folding Tilia back into LL?

> I'm also wondering what Cammy Bergen, who appears to still be working with LL's worthy Executive Chairman (Mr. Oberwager) at Jyve, is actually doing as Chief of Staff at LL?  Her bio gives no clue.

> Speaking of Mr. Oberwager, his Linked-In profile makes clear his pride and investment in his current role at LL.  Indeed, it stops just short of claiming to be a founder.  Hey, Brad, if you're so proud of LL, how about taking SL off this starvation diet you have it on, before we residents all catch on and leave?

 

Someone else reported something similar a week or so ago, maybe animats I think.   It is very clear now that they bought The Lab for Tilia. And yes there have been other comments about Tilia being founders of SL on the web (not by the former folks of course who know better :D).  So we have what we have and we are still here.  

 

I too would like to see the map working and while EEP will likely never be thrown out (too much invested) it would be good to have the moon working or whatever (I am avoiding until I have to face the music).  At least we are still here and most likely paying some bills so have that on our side and won't be forgotten completely.   It's a day to day thing and things ARE changing -- mostly not for the positive from my point of view. We still have our friends and our activates so that's a plus. 

 

Let's see where we are in six months. 

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Maybe that website is just getting a facelift...........

 

SL isn't going anywhere after that major investment of time money and resources for the cloud uplift.........

 

Ll hiring is a good thing, companies don't tend to hire when they are looking to cut..............

 

Don't know anything about the new bosses but it's common to do a thorough study before making changes.........

Ll have said at several meetings that priority was the uplift and now they're throwing massive resources to fixing problems like lag, map tiles etc.  Do you really want them to mess that up and cause bigger problems? 🧐

 

Edited by belindacarson
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I'm no expert but I'm fairly sure that whenever a site is pending maintenance or major changes, the standard practice is for you to set up a "please come back later" page, rather than completely blank it without even a plain-text message.

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5 hours ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

I'm no expert but I'm fairly sure that whenever a site is pending maintenance or major changes, the standard practice is for you to set up a "please come back later" page, rather than completely blank it without even a plain-text message.

Would be nice if someone rezzed a "Come back later" thing on the site. Even the source code is blank.

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14 hours ago, Nika Talaj said:

I'm wondering several things about LL, the company, today. 

> Today I noticed that the Tilia website is blank. Wha?

> There are now 6 job reqs on the Linden Lab site.  5 of them are in Finance/Payments, and one is a general call for 1st & 2nd tier SL support engineers.  I believe that LL has not hired a single SL developer since the acquisition was announced, lo these many months ago - would love to hear otherwise. This seems rather crippling, given the two rounds of layoffs that preceded the announcement.  Truly, LL has done an amazing job getting through the uplift on skeleton staff (tho still whacking bugs pertaining to it); but performance on the World Map and loose ends for EEP has not been so impressive. Attrition marches on ... particularly in San Francisco, where wildfire season approacheth as Covid loosens its grip.  People can move, and will, and not everything can be done remotely. 

Will LL replace Oz by promoting a VP engineering internally?  Will they ever hire a developer again?

> I believe the "Director of Finance" position is newly posted.  The req reads a bit like the person will be running a department serving both Tilia and Second Life, but I'm not sure.  This person will be overseeing a staff of 5 handling all the "day-to-day" operations, reporting to the CFO, presumably Aston Waldman, who is also CEO of Tilia.  Or is he?

Are they folding Tilia back into LL?

> I'm also wondering what Cammy Bergen, who appears to still be working with LL's worthy Executive Chairman (Mr. Oberwager) at Jyve, is actually doing as Chief of Staff at LL?  Her bio gives no clue.

> Speaking of Mr. Oberwager, his Linked-In profile makes clear his pride and investment in his current role at LL.  Indeed, it stops just short of claiming to be a founder.  Hey, Brad, if you're so proud of LL, how about taking SL off this starvation diet you have it on, before we residents all catch on and leave?

 

There have been directors of finance before, at VP level, when LL was more interested in attracting RL business, and for a time had IBM, Sears, etc. -- or rather, a group of PR firms with FOMO who dragged a confused gaggle of RL companies into a platform where they could not have secure business communications (LL itself could monitor them, not to mention various hackers in the user population). But that's in the past. I don't know if it makes sense to have a VP level or assistant VP "director of finance". Whose finance? The user population's? But that's more about Tilia.

There is a VP of engineer, Tilia, i.e. he is VP of Engineering for Tilia.

There isn't a VP of Engineering since Oz Left, and Gruhmpity has been reported to have "taken on two hats" -- she is also VP of Product. If you now have moved to AWS, where the Amazon engineers run your servers and repel hackers, etc. then maybe there is less to do? I'm not sure how that works. You would think they would promote a job of that nature internally, so that if it is not listed, that may not mean they don't think it's important. It still seems to me that an operation of this nature needs either a "CTO" (which is what Corey Linden was called" or a separate "VP of Engineering" because, well, stuff always needs fixing. Doubling these jobs seems like a recipe for burnout. Annushka has not yet spilled the oil, but events can be set in motion inadvertently.

When there was an inworld interview of Patch by PrimPerfect the other day, I repeated my query in chat several times -- is the VP of Engineering going to be replaced? (Important to know, when key things like search and map are broken). Are the Moles going to be fired? (A key thing to know when an end point is announced for house themes.) If engineering and building people are fired, the funny thing is, some users will know their days are numbered as well, as the tail whips the dog. This question was simply studiously and deliberately ignored. Patch made the point several times that he had paused chat and was studying it for questions, but deliberately ignored this one, and that didn't pass unnoticed by me. I had missed his first minute of the interview when he talked about the "wearing two hats" but that's not an answer, as doubling the load of one already very busy person isn't a solution. At least, at my level of knowledge on this, which is highly incomplete. 

The lack of the web site is puzzling, but perhaps understandable. But it's not like the acquisition happened yesterday. Months have gone by while they waited for regulators to look at the deal, and then they passed. Still, the Lindens are not Facebook or Pepsi Cola. They are a small company and such companies can be overwhelmed. I would have thought that the new guy would have come on by now with a mission statement, as others in the past like Mitch Kapor have done. I haven't been surprised that when I make this point on the forums, fanboyz are always deriding me. Maybe they have not worked in big or large companies or non-profits at 9-5 jobs, where the management is often busy crafting "mission statements". When there aren't "mission statements" or "roadmaps" as they may be known in the Valley, well, they are floundering...

I remember Mitch Kapor, who is generally a good citizen and doing a lot in the world to combat racism and promote education and environmental protection and so on, sneered at the user base of SL. They have an infinite capacity for masochism, he said, i.e. we put up with an endlessly barrage of craziness in part from his own shared Silicon Valley ideology, but what he meant was the constant upheavals of changes in the software, the viewer, the rules, the priorities, etc. Mitch became frustrated with SL, because it could not be used for the "Better World" cause as it is understood in his world. So he and Pierre Omidyar, the e-bay guy and philanthropist once on the board of SL, could promote a "Camp Darfur," an installation to get people to understand the "Save Darfur" cause, and it got little traction, and even got griefed. Ironically, at the time I worked for a RL non-profit that was in part funded by Omidyar, and worked specifically on the Darfur issue at the UN, so I was the first to say, maybe this isn't such a workable idea, putting this into SL. SL is mainly for entertainment and socialization, and for a smaller set, tinkering and exploration.

For a time, there were event events with the then-head of the MacArthur Foundation, who was also a figure from my RL world, where they would try to discuss the International Criminal Court or other vaunted topics of the international human rights jetset, and it just got no attention from not just the average SL shopper, but even those more brainy Oz office hour denizens. The point is, Mitch Kapor and Pierre Omidyar, who were idealists, if you will, are gone. They were finally able to cash out, hopefully not at a loss. Subsequent leaders on the board and the CEOs were from the gaming industry or other big software companies. That doesn't mean they didn't have a higher vision of the betterment of humanity, but maybe it's more mundane. If you can provide even part-time income and socialization for a wounded war veteran in California, a retired postal clerk-carrier in Columbus, Ohio, a Black single mom in Detroit -- which is what SL has actually achieved, in both tiny ways and big ways -- I think in fact you have bettered humanity in the only way that matters, by helping real concrete people do real things. If those real things are selling breedable cats or mesh bodies or legal games or gatchas, i.e. low culture, it doesn't matter. If you can't achieve the "Better World" through low culture, it's not better, but possibly worse. And I think as a society, despite many broken RL homes or broken virtual hearts, most people have gained very deep friendships and even long-term (and even RL) romantic partners from the platform of Second Life. See what I have placed as "the pearl beyond price" at the end of the paths at Shaman's Hut in Tofalar.

But as idealistic and enthusiastic as he was, and actually more understanding them some of his top fan base, Philip Linden also said disparagingly that the pioneers of SL would have to get out of their little cabins on the hilltop, because progress was a' coming (this was when big business swarmed into SL -- then swarmed out). My little cabin is still here, I don't know about you, but I am totally aware of the fact that just as in 2004 I was "in the way" with any kind of "normie" culture and expectation, so I'm "in the way" now, perhaps even especially because I have adapted to their software cult practices.

Still, for search/places and search/people to be broken on the SL viewer for more than 3 months now is astounding to me, when it was rarely broken in the past and in 2018 they restored it within 36 hours. And I, who complained loudly on the forums about it, as others who used TPVs sneered at me, then got not just one but two Lindens IM'ing me asking me if my business now showed up in search as it had previously -- as if I was a squeaky wheel who needed greasing. They, like forums dwellers, persisted in seeing this as my "little guy" screaming just because my particular small business didn't display as before (with 100+ returns on a precise search term, instead of 5000). As I said to one Linden, search your name, and see the results -- which were that 5000, and not 50 -- and maybe that got her to feel it better, it's not "about me." Other Lindens come on top in search and don't feel it. This is a generic issue for the world, and not about me. It's not broken as badly on the TPVs, though I still hear reports of it not working from Firestorm users, so there is no user pressure on the Lindens to fix this. I just marvel at this. I don't get it. I have devised theories for it -- that it is related to some decision re: Apache or GSA related to Google's new Adsense changes; it's related to Oz having to be busy with the larger issues of cloud-moving and now being gone and difficult to replace; it's related to some other mysterious factor.

I would think for a lot of reasons, they would want Tilia to remain a separate LLC. Digital currency in any form, even one not related to bitcoin as the Linden dollar is, is just too new, and too subject to the whims of legislators or regulators, for them to have it be merged and then possibly drag the whole company down. While I think the trend is more toward acceptance of digital value and digital currency, the Lindens would likely want to keep an option open where if worse came to worse, they would halt cashouts to PayPal on demand by any user with payment info on file, and change to a strictly limited list of their favourite "cleared" creators and scriptors who passed some discretionary tests -- which they already have in the form of the "Solutions Providers' List" or whatever top friends' list they have. The rest would either go into a very long clearance line (it's already 5 days) or be told to upgrade their skills and their willingness to provide more RL information. I don't see any sign that they are doing this at all, because I think it's not necessary and also would kill a lot of the world's economic activity, but it has to be planned for as a contingency.

Looking at Mr. Oberwager, I was happy to see that his line of business is basically "car parts and snacks". Everybody can understand car parts and snacks as many people need them frequently or depend on others who do. "Car parts and snacks" are simply more real and related to the real world than themes like "compressed videos" or "a Better World". It means that he has more realistic and less cult-like notions of business than the early Lindens did with their Silicon Valley woo-woo. On the other hand, maybe he doesn't sufficiently understand Silicon Valley enough to prevent himself from being killed by other jealous and vicious forces out there. That some of SL's top griefers and reverse engineers went on to work at Intel and Facebook was a data point never lost on me.

It might be to save the village, Brad has to destroy at least parts of it, and the "starvation diet" is prudent. Development? What development? We're developing -- Patch Linden is presiding over LL's most successful program EVER with the Bellissaria houses. What, you meant they didn't make the Premium Deluxe with the 180 spider legs? Really? Develop WHAT? From the top down view, a judgement that the map and search don't need any top priority or hurry or extensive use of staff time is rational and prudent. Oz put it best when he said most people stay on their sims. Who needs a map when your girlfriend TPs you everywhere? When the store SLURL is in the group and you just click? Perhaps server data shows that most people travel by insular clique and group SLURLs, and not random map searches or travel by vehicle. So why work overtime for these features of SL only a smaller percent use? Yes, to me "map" and "search" being broken mean that the heart and soul of SL is broken -- not just for business but for exploration and socialization -- of the kind that involves not insular friendship cliques or merchant-dominated sales groups but all kinds of people with all kinds of interests. It is the "open society" of SL, such as it is, which is limited -- advertising capacity is crippled in SL and various lobbyists are always trying to cripple it, and you do need advertising and media capacity for non-profit as well as profit-making activities.

Oz left February 26 in a planned retirement, and today is March 15. While it is a very long time for us in the dog years of SL, it really is only about two weeks in the real world. To be sure, the map breaking is at least 90 days old now.

 

 

Edited by Prokofy Neva
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13 hours ago, Nika Talaj said:

Today I noticed that the Tilia website is blank. Wha?

The Tilia site is still blank, and it's now after 10 AM on Monday. That's not good. When a financial services business, suddenly disappears from the Web, people become concerned about its financial soundness.

I tried the "Process Credit" page. It hangs either at authentication or at the Know Your Customer check.

tiliadown.thumb.png.e43fd396b1e8934a29758ca35ddc7726.png

Cannot withdraw funds from Second Life.

Tilia is a regulated business. Their primary regulator is the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. (415) 263-8500.

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Tilia's website is back.

I hadn't noticed before that Tilia brought Brett Atwood on board as VP marketing, but he's done content projects with LL before, so not surprising.

Two of the open reqs on LL's website have disappeared, I believe they were for front-end and back-end systems engineers in the finance/payments space.  I'm parking this here for future reference.

12950010_Jobreqs.JPG.8c28e3939f88a9ffa280c5bb8cdcc0ed.JPG

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Well, Tilia seems to have re-branded as "Tilia Pay". They have a shiny new web site at https://www.tiliapay.com/. But it's just a promotion for the business-to-business service. tilia-inc.com is now redirecting there. There's no customer support. They refer people back to Second Life.

The "process credit" system no longer works. It just hangs, as shown above.

 

Edited by animats
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@animats Hey there! I took a look at the pages you mentioned and they appear to be loading fine on our end at this time. However our support department would be happy to assist you in any sort of troubleshooting to see if we can get the pages to load for you. If you haven't already, please submit a support ticket so we can get this resolved for you.

Also, I will note that if you are using any sort of ad blocker, the page you show in the screenshot might not load correctly because of it. So that might be something to try if you haven't already done so.

-Tommy

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4 minutes ago, Tommy Linden said:

@animats Hey there! I took a look at the pages you mentioned and they appear to be loading fine on our end at this time. However our support department would be happy to assist you in any sort of troubleshooting to see if we can get the pages to load for you. If you haven't already, please submit a support ticket so we can get this resolved for you.

Also, I will note that if you are using any sort of ad blocker, the page you show in the screenshot might not load correctly because of it. So that might be something to try if you haven't already done so.

-Tommy

Another thing to check is the browser.  Different ones will render pages slightly different. Also some other browser extensions like "No-script" can reek havoc.

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I'm too addicted to virtual and second life to go anywhere. I'm trying to go annual premium again and when I enter my card info to add it to my official second life viewer I get an error. I think the state field is glitching the add card process, because after I add city the field looks like it's blank and i'm to type my state and after I do so I go to the next field which is country and from there it populates the state field with a drop down menu. I've been trying to add my card to my account for 3 days. I put a ticket in with that information. Pretty sure the Add Card Form reference information is likely conflicting and causing the error that is not allowing it to be added to my account. Just a hunch. 

Growing pains. Totally worth it. At least we can travel 75 mph from region to region nearly flawlessly. I'm impressed with the progress. Well done!

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19 minutes ago, Tommy Linden said:

@animats Hey there! I took a look at the pages you mentioned and they appear to be loading fine on our end at this time. However our support department would be happy to assist you in any sort of troubleshooting to see if we can get the pages to load for you. If you haven't already, please submit a support ticket so we can get this resolved for you.

Also, I will note that if you are using any sort of ad blocker, the page you show in the screenshot might not load correctly because of it. So that might be something to try if you haven't already done so.

-Tommy

At the time this thread was created, https://www.tilia-inc.com/ was sending 200-OK but no content at all. The page source was blank without any HTML/CSS/JS and no content besides the favicon was loaded. That issue is now passed, but that's what we were also observing.

Edited by Wulfie Reanimator
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The Process Credit page breaks if a Google tracker, "ids.cdnwidget.com", is blocked. Only that page seems to require that tracker.

Some of these problems seem to come from a re-branding from "Tilia" to "Tilia Pay" and a move from "tilia-inc.com" to "tiliapay.com". LL now needs to fix some links.

 

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Re: "now they're throwing massive resources to fixing problems like lag, map tiles etc."

I have attended several meetings lately where Lindens spoke, and I haven't heard "massive resources" said at all.

In fact, I've heard these problems like search and map tiles referenced as sort of little problems, some "tidying up" that needs to be done.

But they are indeed big problems and I don't see that in fact big resources are being thrown at them. They have been broken for months.

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I remember when Sansar was the new shiny.  Pretty much all of LL's money and focus went towards that and it seemed like they just devoted enough attention to SL to keep it crawling along.  This Tilia stuff right now seems very similar.  There are a few fairly big issues in SL and there is minimal indication that anyone is really doing anything about them.  Ditto for these forums - moderation is practically non-existent these days.

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11 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Ditto for these forums - moderation is practically non-existent these days.

But are there posts where a moderator ought to step in but it doesn't happen? From the little I've seen, I haven't come across anyone getting away with anything. And don't forget that the quality of moderation here was crap and idiotic at the time I left SL a few years ago, so don't wish those times back again 😉

ETA: I'm thinking of one idiot moderator who wasn't reigned in, and is probably still a moderator here.

 

 

Edited by Phil Deakins
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3 minutes ago, Phil Deakins said:

But are there posts where a moderator ought to step in but it doesn't happen?

Arguments and such are down currently.  However, over the past month there have actually been quite a few posts in the wrong section, reported by at least a few folks each time, that just never seem to get moved anymore

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4 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Arguments and such are down currently.  However, over the past month there have actually been quite a few posts in the wrong section, reported by at least a few folks each time, that just never seem to get moved anymore

What I see going on at headquarters...

Headless-Chickens.jpg

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3 hours ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

I remember when Sansar was the new shiny.  Pretty much all of LL's money and focus went towards that and it seemed like they just devoted enough attention to SL to keep it crawling along.  This Tilia stuff right now seems very similar.  There are a few fairly big issues in SL and there is minimal indication that anyone is really doing anything about them.  Ditto for these forums - moderation is practically non-existent these days.

A Mod will pop in here and there to secure a thread that has derailed more then an out of control Canadian Pacific train. I don't know if they use volunteer Mods like some other places do to keep the chats flowing and inject some positive stuff here and there.

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