January 26, 2010

Is It Time for Some Name Changes at Linden Lab?

I was thinking about this today in light of the comments I've read, both from Wallace Linden and from very concerned residents, in Wallace's blog post ( Will the Real You Please Stand Up?) regarding mixing real life and Second Life identities. Two of  Wallace's comments in particular don't inspire confidence that Linden Lab has a clear idea of what it's doing:
Dusan, your assessment of a lot of the risks here seems like a pretty good take to me. We'll see how things play out.
I am confident we come out the other side with our culture intact.
Instead, they signal to me that "teh Lab" still looks at Second Life as an experimental playground for its engineers and developers while the residents are seen as lab rats in a maze.

So much of Second Life has evolved over the last several years from what was a very experimental playground for all involved into an actual world with rich cultures, social moires, real businesses, education, real relationships, and above all, fun, adventure and creativity. Yet, Linden Lab continues to think they need to "mess with the formula" for any number of reasons. Mostly, I suspect, there's some internal executive directive that keeps looking outside and saying to the cube warriors, "Let's be more like Facebook and Twitter cuz they haz more peepz."

So the experimentation continues.

Moving all the adult businesses to Zindra was a prime example of this "experimentation over thoughtful solutions" attitude that seems to percolate up from teh Lab. It's almost to the point where these meta issues are decided on high without taking into account the real world consequences of their actions.

Zindra could have been a wonderful opportunity for Linden Lab to create a fresh grid or region, untainted by the smexies, where people could use the Second Life platform for business and education. (In fact, based on some of the references to "green" and "sustainability" in the early Zindra builds, I suspect that may have been Linden Lab's original intention. God knows why they changed it.)

Instead of uprooting an established culture in Mature, LL could have started from scratch with a nice shiny world for the G-rated stuff education and business seem to want (if you believe Mark Kingdon). And building on this, teh Lab could have launched some kind of real name avatar test there. Instead, the Lab continues to experiment on live subjects without their consent.

Which gets to the point of my post. Maybe it's a culture thing? Maybe the very name "Linden Lab" inspires unwanted and unneeded social experimentation? Is it time to change the name of the company to Linden Worlds or something so their internal development and business culture changes from treating residents as "rats in a maze" to actual citizens?

Plus, while "Second Life" is a powerful brand, is it time to reconsider that name too? Perhaps the Second Life brand overshadows the message that SL can really be about business too. How about Second World? It might take away some of that "get a real life" stigma associated with the current name.

I'm just trying to think of some way to change the culture at Linden Lab so that the people behind the keyboards and screens in Second Life get some stability and sense of respect for their cultures.

Will this help or are things too far gone?


  1. "I'm just trying to think of some way to change the culture at Linden Lab so that the people behind the keyboards and screens in Second Life get some stability and sense of respect for their cultures."


    nice post btw ;)

  2. I think it is a 2 way road.
    There is a bigger picture to look at.
    And in every business model there is the need to always try to build a better box.
    The fact that LL seems to have lil to no respect for the user after buy in dose show the bitter truth to their failing model.
    Also the fact they do not keep their word "we are going to start controlling bit use" wow what a crock of crap that that was!!
    Any one with a week in game can what sime traffic is BS and what sims have real traffic.
    And a simple first page search of "places" tells all.
    They like the traffic..plain and simple.
    The fact it hurts every one with lag and a tuff start for new shop owners is just a a small price to pay in their book.
    If you want a good lol goto the linden village with 23 traffic in most parts also shows they do not work in world much.(keep in mind there have 1 main landing point that dose attract a good amount of traffic,but fly around the rest of the village)
    It is hard to trouble shoot problems and see the issues from the users end is hard to do in your office in RL...
    Sorry server console and data reports are not a good way to see a real problem in a network.
    I find in my own services on my host all looks fine,but at times find php hang ups that make a crashing problem in the end(I never see them unless I log in like every one els and use the users side of the sites and forums)
    Also in such a hard job market to see some of their best and oldest faces leave over the past 2 years also says bunch!
    We all love to move on and reinvent our selfs but lets face it,it comes when there is a issue we do not agree with on the inside.
    I never left a job (even for better pay) if I was happy.
    So I agree that they go about it all wrong,but think the endless need to make the better box is a need.

    my 2 cents


All thoughts are welcome.