Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble on Second Life’s Tween Years

Thanks to Soda Sullivan for posting the link in a thread over at SLUniverse. Rod Humble has been talking and it’s the sort of talk I like to see. He’s been talking to Eric Johnson of All Things D in an article with pretty much the same title as my post …. hmm, anyway you can read if via the following link: Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble on Second Life’s Tween Years (Q&A).

I found the article interesting and would urge people to read it. Rod Humble talks of Occulus Rift, The Second Life community where he avoids using the word passionate, which earns brownie points in my book. He also talks of commerce, live music, lag, virtual worlds in general and the challenges of mobile and console based versions of Second Life. The interview isn’t that long but it packs quite a lot in.

There are some stand out areas for me, others will find other areas that appeal to them. I particularly like the part of the interview where Rod Humble talks about people making money from Second Life:

Early on, the perception was that big companies would come into Second Life. In fact, the hobbyists won. They came in and said, “I make cars in Second Life, and that’s my hobby.” It became more like eBay than Amazon. There are bands charging for their gigs within the game. Famous bands like Duran Duran, but also a lot of indie bands who accept tips in return for live performances.

I also like his response when he’s asked whether Linden Lab has much influence on ventures such as Duran Duran coming to Second Life:

No, they came to us. We do our very best not to direct content within Second Life.

Which is just how it should be! However he does suggest that when performance is better, they may do more reaching out, so keep an eye on that. I’m a bit torn on an issue like this, there’s potential for Linden Lab to reach out, but not if it’s at the expense of the hobbyists who are already here. I’m a big fan of the idea of Linden Lab doing cross promotional work and reaching out to other companies though.

Another stand out point for me is when Rod Humble responds to a question regarding the pitch for Second Life, how they get people to try it out:

Usually, we don’t have to convince anybody to try it. This [400,000 new accounts per month] is organic. The challenge is, when you’ve got a world that’s entirely created by other people’s imagination, what do you pick? So we’ve added a destination guide and some editorial picks, highlighting cool places to go. One of our biggest problems is, when people get in, we don’t know their interests. But people who do find something they like, boy, do they stick.

This is the thing I like about Rod Humble, I’m not just impressed with him because he supports the same football team as me, he seems to get Second Life. He understands what user generated content entails and that you should expect the unexpected, he’s not trying to direct the content within the platform, he accepts that all manner of goods, services and experiences will pop up and he seems to be extremely comfortable about that.

There’s plenty more in the interview, it’s worth a look. Overall I think this is a positive article, it comes across as honest and not full of spin.

2 Replies to “Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble on Second Life’s Tween Years”

  1. “We do our very best not to direct content within Second Life.”

    That’s a flat out lie. Too many times SL has “picked” one company or user within SL to raise up or get behind without any thought to the competition of that company or user. It’s hard enough to survive as a business owner in SL without LL coming along and effectively squashing you.

    1. There have certainly been controversies in that department in the past, I can recall the message of the day advertising for large land barons, for example.

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