Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A couple of things…

The First thing: Ok the elephant in the room is the 30% layoffs over at Linden Labs (LL). I decided I would wait about a week to say anything about it. Obviously it’s very sad for everyone involved, it really is. Of course the usual “the sky is falling” bunch is using this event as proof that the lab is closing up any time now. Ok but Rob, why else would a company layoff so many people off without doing it because they are so desperate for cash this is the last gasp? Nope sorry that’s not the case at all. OK two points here, #1 LL is reasonably valuated at 650-700M $US privately owned company. You think a company that big is off the Federal United States radar? Let alone the Hyper Liberal US state of California that they are based in? Sorry they don’t get to lay that many people off and make announcements about why without justifying it to severe scrutiny. That is a fact. Prove me wrong that there are no consequences to laying off that many people.

Ok so what is going on? Why drop that many talented people? Because, as LL has stated they are restructuring. But Rob isn’t that just BS that they need to cut jobs to cut costs because they are about to fail? Nope sorry, let me make this personal, forget about what I said above. Lets say you or people you know have a baby. The need is a good, reliable babysitter that can be trusted to take charge of the job. Fantastic, someone is found that fits the bill, wonderful! Ok time moves on and needs move on, now the need is for a home health giver and not a baby sitter. So what happens? Do you retrain the babysitter as a Home health giver? Do they even want to do that? No, you thank your babysitter for a job well done, maybe give them a send off bonus and wish them the best, and move on to find a great Home health giver. That is what is going on over at LL, they have new needs and are changing members of the staff to meet the new needs.

Also I think some people are taking the layoffs a little too personally. I saw the Linden Memorial over at and that’s fine. What I haven’t seen is a conversion list of Linden avatar to alternate avatar, or even where to follow these people on Plurk, Twiter or Facebook. (Obviously hard to do with the many “Unknown Lindens” that got gavestones) Maybe SL was just a job to most of them? Maybe we were not all as close as some people seem to think. The only Linden I can say I ever talked to outside of a professional arena was Pathfinder Linden. (He was laid off a while back so I guess he didn’t qualify for a headstone) ***UPDATE! Looks like he got a headstone after all. *** He seems a nice guy, I follow him on twitter and he seems to be doing fine post LL. He didn’t die when LL laid him off, he moved on. So maybe don’t worry so much, these people and the lab will be just fine.

The second thing: Much like after the lindens jacked the prices around with the homestead/open sim mess, rumors are flying that people are leaving SL like a sinking ship off to other virtual worlds. Pretty obvious rumor to run with, but this time it is different. There was this one new world where all the “talented creators” in SL were running to and that was going to leave SL with a talent vacuum or something and that was going to be the end of SL. I consider my partner and myself fairly talented creators and so how did we not hear about this magical new virtual world that was better than SL in every way. Even odder, why were most of the posts I could find not including the name of this brave new world. Well I finally did my “Davinci Code” work and figured out where everyone is supposedly going. is a virtual world run off the same software that runs Second Life. (You can get a copy here and get an island running on your local machine pretty easily) So I made an account, and took a look. As I write this, here are the stats they report.

Grid Status: Online

Total Users: 4606

Users Online: 55

Total Regions: 213

I’m not going to show the SL numbers here because I don’t need to. Also I’m not going to get into just how unstable and how many issues I found in my brief visit. This is a perfectly great start for a new virtual world. However, why would so many people be leaving SL to this new and frankly unstable new world? Ok first few people are actually talking about leaving SL and even fewer are actually leaving. So what is all the fuss about? This vocal minority are generally older Avatars or “Oldbees”. (Yes even at almost 4 years in world I am considered a Noob by some) I think the big issue they have with the SL of 2010 is that is just isn’t the Wild Wild West they remember from when they first came to SL. So a new grid like Inworldz is very attractive to them. For me, let them have it. If inworldz, bluemars or any of the other growing virtual worlds gets independent cash out, a significant number of invested players and a bit of stability my associates and I will expand into it, but not leave SL.

This is not the first upheaval we have been through in SL and it will likely not be the last. Trust me most SL residents never even heard about the layoffs let alone all the rest of this drama. If you believe in virtual worlds like I do, and you are here for the long term, you must know that right now Second Life is hands down the best virtual world available to us. I look forward to the future filled with rich genuine options to grow into, even then, for as long as she is around I’m sticking with SL.


  1. yayyyy way to go Rob! - you tell em! - thats our story and we sticking to it! x0x0x

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  4. Layoffs don't upset me at all, in fact I think it does not reflect nor should it lead to speculation? Others In fact (if that is how I consider myself) I am an old rickety SL. In fact what disturbs me (personally and from what I've seen) is that the media, making it a "cliché" of its publications, but beyond that it feels that this webthing they want to create, than the massive part of residents need. When we look at SL as it was and how it is. It is concluded that there was very little progress (technological) platform (grid) in favor of innovations no less clear and with no practical results. examples? instability in the grid, not to mention viewers. Somebody suggested that emerald should be purchased by LL lmao!! (Do not know how that would be productive but it would be profitable for LL). Of course in the midst of so much mess (please is really a mess) I'm in the paint for the SL is or what will be. I'm in another virtuality, more consistent with their community. I am repeating myself over and over. The residents, who complain the most have said is that their opinion would be an asset to the community, not only the LL. Here is what I think is the crux of the matter. The rest is gibberish. right?

  5. John Lester (previously known as Pathfinder Linden) here.

    I actually *did* get a headstone! See

    And my "rebirth" avatar is the first avatar I ever had in SL (from beta). The name's Count Zeeman, and I hope to meet you inworld sometime soon. :)

    Take care,
    -John Lester

  6. Well said Rob.

    I joined Inworldz a couple of months back and since then a fair few of my friends have come over too.
    I get IM's all the time saying "so and so has left sl for iz", but the fact is, inworldz is looking promising, so some creators are going there as well as sl. I'm in both worlds. That's where I'll stay until one or the other stops being fun.

  7. I think the problem is not so much the restructuring of the company, but the communication between LL and the community. If a statement had been issued prior to the layoffs 'We plan a huge restructure to maximise efficiency.......some jobs may sadly be lost....etc' then it wouldn't cause so much of the Chicken Licken effect that LL seems to enjoy perpetrating by announcing huge sudden changes. Do I think that LL is in financial trouble? Maybe, but not in the numbers game of company value as it stands on paper, but maybe from the dictates of investors who quite rightly want a huge return on their investment and who may 'influence' LL to move in directions that we as the SL community might not find palatable.
    As for other platforms, I'm a huge cheerleader for Inworldz, although I wont leave SL for it, I will expand, like you. I feel strongly about having a presence there and my reason is this.
    I believe that people do not have the right to moan about SL if they are not prepared to support an alternative. Yes Inworldz is a bit unstable, it doesn't have a huge community yet, the lure of $ is not yet prevalent. But it IS refreshing that the CEO sits at the welcome area greeting people, that you can talk to her directly about bugs you encounter and improvements that you would like to see implicated. I welcome the opportunity to be there at the beginning of a fledgling world, especially one that the business model of SL has provided a retroperspective (I think I just invented that word)of lessons learnt for. I mean this world will be starting off with the knowledge of the crippling effect of IP theft, and that to me is a bonus.
    Plus its fun watching everyone, even oldbies running around being noobs and dressing from the freebie store. I'll be opening a sim there shortly (dirt cheap, 45000 prims, megas as standard \o/)Not because I feel that it's going to make me rich or famous or anything, but because it's peaceful and people are still not jaded enough to be unfriendly, and because I want to give the residents there another place to be.

  8. @Kalia: LOL, now we just need to get you back in SL more often!

    @John: Ah cool totally missed your headstone, I'll update my post. Will defiantly friend you when I get back in.

    @Tracy Rubble: I really do have to research Inworldz more, and that's why I didn't say too much about it. They do seem to have their act together more than most of the other open sim based worlds I have seen.

    @Putrid Gloom: True, but think of what kind of a nightmare, pre-announcing a layoff would be like inside LL? They handled the layoffs as well as any other company I have seen.

    As far as inworldz, you pitch a good story. We got burned pretty hard by another grid last year (I wont get into the details here) so we tend to roll our eyes at "how great" another grid is. However it's prolly time to give it a second shot.