Bumble Humble

I don’t think the title has any relevance, it just made me giggle. 

I was disappointed when i heard that Rod (rodvik) Humble was leaving Linden Lab. I’m probably as far away from any facts for why he decided to leave and have no idea about CEOs and how they function. When he first showed up three years ago there was a fresh feeling of optimism and with his ideas of adding some (in my opinion) much needed extra gaming tools i was very enthusiastic about SL’s future.

I’m disappointed because it seems from my point of view that he’s leaving without completing the one thing i wanted from his reign of SL and the more i think about it the more i start to feel gloomy about what exactly he has brought to SL. Don’t mix this up with what he’s brought to Linden Lab. Rod is leaving Linden Lab packed full of new IP’s, Desura, Patterns, Versu, Blocks World, Creatorverse.. oh and that DIO thing. As some of us lament the parting of Rod, i wonder how those communities in these other ‘creative spaces’ are feeling about a CEO change or if they even know about it?

Rod’s time in LL’s CEO chair may have been the biggest change of all for LL. Already i’ve seen calls for the next CEO to be someone who truly ‘GETS’ what SL is. But the next CEO won’t be solely watching over Second Life anymore, they will be looking to expand the possible success of Patterns and Versu, while reaping the benefits of Desura’s Indy Game Shop. When we think of Linden Lab in relation to Second Life, we are probably thinking about a small secret hidden from view team within Linden Lab now who are in charge of maintaining the grid. I often joke about how i think there is only five people at Linden lab who work on Second Life using many alts. Those User Group Meetings, same People just different Linden Alts :-p

But over all I’m pleased with the improvements Linden Lab has made to SL under Rod’s reign. I got Mesh, and Materials and stability and better region crossings. Things are a lot better and everything looks a lot better. Group Chat was improved and i got addicted to posting snapshots on SLfeed. But these are things that any member of Linden Lab could have gone to any CEO and said ‘this needs to be done’.

I have always been sat patiently waiting for the one thing that i thought we would remember Rod for, and that was to open up the ease of making games and more interactive engaging experiences which i believed and still believe will make the biggest difference to Second Life in ages. Instead it’s been a term of maintenance in Second Life. Maybe this direction is still on the cards if the next CEO agrees with it. I still rez in hope.

In a blog post from last summer, i referred to Rod Humbles time as CEO as SL’s ‘Dark Ages’, a period between the first and second eras of Second Life. Perhaps this is the best analogy i can give for Rob Humbles time at the Lab, i just wasn’t expecting to see him leave before we entered the second age.

I’m still pretty optimistic as it doesn’t feel nearly as bad as it did near the end of M Linden Reign.

4 thoughts on “Bumble Humble

  1. The foundations have been laid. That actually started during Mark Kingdon’s era (yes, really!) and continued on through Rod Humble’s, although he drove things forard a lot more deeply and fully.

    As you and I have both said, the SL Humble has left us with is far more robust than the one we had at the start of his tenure, and Linden Lab has a much broader spread. Hopefully some of the latter – the outward spread into new products and markets will actually bear fruit for the company, although this isn’t going to happen overnight.

    Where SL is concerned, what we now need to see is an addressing of those things Rod Humble had on his roadmap but which have yet to be achieved: getting more people into the platform who become engaged users, rather than fleeting visitors. That’s going to be a tough goal for anyone who steps into the CEO’s shoes – lord knows the company hasn’t had much success figuring out how best to achieve things, although I suspect again that Mark Kingdon had much the right idea, and that Rod Humble also felt the same way. both talked in terms of finding ways and means to bring people quickly and effectively into contact with the things that interest them, and those within SL who share those interests.

    Well said on the subject of calls for the next CEO. Agree wholeheartedly.

  2. I don’t know what the latest figures are, but are there more or less sims rented now than when Rod started? A significant drop (10%-15% or more) would not suggest a healthy financial tenure unless the other LL ventures have made up the loss. I know that at some point last year there were for the first time more sims rented outside of SL than in SL for the first time though a 40%+ market share is not to be sniffed at.

    Rod said in one address that the impressive thing still about SL was the number of unique new sign ups that SL attracted each week. A figure was quoted that was at least to my faded memory in the 10s if not 100s of thousands yet still the active user base remains stagnant if not declining. Again, not a good measure of success during his tenure that so many step through the door, but are left lost and clueless in those first few days that they give up and move on.

    The usual thing that you hear from newbs is, “what do you do here?” or “how do you play this game?” and I think that’s essentially what any CEO struggles with in taking SL forward; what is its USP? I don’t even think that you could get the residents to agree what it is either, hence so many calls for a “CEO who gets it.” Well, what is “it”? I would be hard pressed after 6 years to sum SL up in three sentences and “Your world your imagination” is just a neat little marketing catchphrase that could equally apply to any number of MMOs out there. SL seems to be back to front when you look at what is working well and is popular in other online entertainment. Elsewhere, you have a core concept, world or game, which can then be sandboxed or have DLC. In SL you start with the sandbox and work the other way and try to incorporate socialising, gaming or art into a world.

    There are though thousands of people who just enjoy joining prims together, well let’s be honest people are increasingly making things in mesh offline, which means less time inworld and SL has become an elaborate final import stage of Blender, Maya etc for them to showcase their creations or sell them to an audience of people who use SL as an even more elaborate socialising medium.

    I’m not sure if there is a second era for SL or online worlds as a whole and I think that they have probably passed their apex and will remain a niche market, always lagging behind the performance and tools of their entertainment competitors, which will always be more attractive to the majority. So if Rod in setting up all those other branches has protected the long-term future of LL then he has also by default protected SL’s niche, which is no bad thing to have achieved. Whether the next CEO “Gets it” I don’t know. SL is still a big enough cash cow for LL to care and worry about, but whether they want to develop it further at the rate residents want is in question I think, a cash cow just has to be fed a little to still be milked.

    • It is true that i now spend a lot of time outside SL making mesh objects, but truth is once i import the object i then have to script it, and that can only be done in world. Then those who use the object have to be in world to play with it. I believe things in SL are to difficult to play with and i think things could be don’t to make playing with objects easier giving new and old users quicker gratification. I think we have enough creative experienced users in SL that given the right tools could make SL easier for everyone. I know SL isn’t a game, but just as it is in world, we want to entertain and be entertained but its currently to hard. You have to learn a tonne of complicated things such as inventory, accepting permission requests to teleport, animate, receive items, attaching items to your avatar. This is what I’m still waiting for.

      I do still believe we have yet to see a new Era of Second Life. Something will just click, i can feel it. :-p

  3. “I often joke about how i think there is only five people at Linden lab who work on Second Life using many alts.” ha! and i thought i would be alone with this idea! 😀

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: