Big Trouble in Linden Lab?

I’ve had my hands full the past few weeks – so when the earthquake happened (Linden Lab laid of 30% of their staff!) I didn’t get round to blogging it at all. It did give me a chance to see a number of other reactions on the blogosphere though. I think the most interesting analysis came from ex-Linden Rob Knop:

If Linden Lab had focused on helping make virtual worlds take off– make them more useful by providing functionality people wanted and needed, working on interoperability so that people could take their Second Life accounts to and from software that was developed not only by Linden engineers, but by everybody– I predict they would have done a whole lot better. Their already existing audience would have given them a leg up, and would have kept them a leader or at least a major player. Yes, they would have been helping “competitors”, but by raising the profile, utility, and popularity of virtual worlds in general, they would have helped themselves.

And now the other big news… Mark Kingdon, Linden Lab CEO, will himself be leaving the company – with co-founder Philip Rosedale returning to the fold to take over in his stead. Philip announced his return on the SL blog, here. The general perception is that Mark’s strategies for the Lab generally failed (for example, the cancelled SL Enterprise solution), and also managed to alienate many members of the community. Can Philip turn the ship around and regain some love for the lab? Time will tell… but his initial post is heavy on the technology and relatively weak on the community side:

Our thinking as a team is that my returning to the CEO job now can bring a product and technology focus that will help rapidly improve Second Life.  We need to simplify and focus our product priorities — concentrating all our capabilities on making Second Life easier to use and better for the core experiences that it is delivering today.  I think that I can be a great help and a strong leader in that process.

Leave a Reply