Meet The Lindens with Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg took place this evening and after a delay for technical issues, burst into life with a very enjoyable Q&A session. Jo Yardley and Saffia Widdershins posed the questions, Ebbe Altberg provided the answers, but he brought no super scoops with him and he also admitted that he was not bearing bears either!
A video will appear in a few days time and there were Lindens in the audience transcribing the meeting so if you want the full, 100% real McCoy version you will have to wait for that to appear. However if you want my version, which did not include short hand and was created in the midst of several crashes, read on. I will do my best to make a fair and accurate representation of some of what was said. I hope I haven’t made any blunders as once again, I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours.
Ebbe admitted that he is proud that the relationship between Linden Lab and residents is much better than it was when he first started working as CEO for Linden Lab. He was talking about communication here and I wholeheartedly agree with him. I complained quite a lot about the Lab’s poor communications in the years before Ebbe became CEO. Ebbe felt that the relationship was a bit tense, I just felt the relationship needed a lot of counselling sessions, but things have undoubtedly improved.
Ebbe is also proud of performance and quality improvements. I do think Rod Humble’s reign also saw performance and quality improvements but Ebbe has certainly been CEO during a period when Second Life has seen some impressive improvements and developments. I’m thinking of things such as the content delivery network here.
Ebbe also talked about how when he arrived the focus on products was a bit scattered, now there is more focus on four core products. The products being Second Life, Blocksworld, Project Sansar and Compliance. I was disappointed that Linden Lab let Versu go and I was happy when they allowed new life to be breathed into it but hearing Ebbe speak like this explains why Linden Lab took those decisions over some of their products.
Now if you’re wondering if Compliance is a top secret virtual world that you’ve never heard of, it isn’t. Compliance is Linden Lab ensuring everything is above board, that they can convince the banks they are working in a responsible manner and that they are working to prevent fraud and identity problems. This explains why Linden Lab have been pushing for people to identify for tax and account purposes and whereas some of the communications regarding that weren’t conveyed as well as they should have been in the early days, it’s clear to see there was a purpose behind the moves Linden Lab made. This also means that when Linden Lab launch Project Sansar, they will be well ahead of a lot of other ventures who want to deal with real money transactions.
Ebbe also touched upon trust, more than once. One area where he talked of trust was with regards to faster cash outs. Linden Lab are looking at ways to make it possible for people to cash out within 24 hours for people who pass a trust threshold.
Another area where trust got mentioned was with regards to Project Sansar. People wondered whether people would need payment info on file to sell in Project Sansar. Ebbe suggested that no final decision had been made but they are looking at a system whereby the more Linden Lab trust you, the more you’ll be able to do in Project Sansar. However in another area of trust Ebbe was brutally honest. Whereas Linden Lab can do a lot to stop content theft, they simply can’t stop it full stop. Ebbe pointed out that DRM on films and video games doesn’t stop content theft and that people always seem to find a way. However don’t take this to mean that Linden Lab won’t take measures to try and stop content theft in Project Sansar, it’s just that the cold harsh issue is that they can’t guarantee they can stop it.
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