Greetings friends of Linden Lab! M(ark) here. I am starting my second week on the job as CEO of this fantastic enterprise and I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you, as I experienced them from the moment I accepted the job, right through my first week.
My avatar was created by Linden Lab well before I was on the payroll. I began my Second Life experience like any other noob. I fell into the world in a white t-shirt and jeans with generic brown hair. Before I could take over my avatar and dress him properly, I/he was found sleeping on a job that I hadn’t officially begun. Here is the amusing but incriminating photo. I blogged about it in my farewell note to my old company. It put me on notice that Residents are highly engaged and very observant
Fast-forward to announcement day: Philip announced my arrival to the great people of Linden Lab inworld. I logged in to listen and was instantly surrounded by Residents offering best wishes, welcome cards, gifts, friendship and thoughtful advice on how to make the Second Life experience better. It was a heartwarming (and, frankly, overwhelming) introduction to this amazing world. Thanks to all that stopped by to say welcome.
Fast-forward to Day 1 on the job: I started in the Battery Street office in San Francisco on 5/15. Many of Linden Lab’s staff work from this office. The other Lindens work in offices stretching from Seattle, Washington to Brighton, England and a good number work from home. I learned people who work remotely are called Moonlabbers. This highly flexible distributed model works because Linden Lab is completely open and transparent. Everything you’d want to know about anyone or anything is a few clicks away. My first day was spent meeting Lindens. Everywhere I went a concurrency monitor (a big screen with a chart tracking the number of concurrent users over time) was in view. Any blip in the line would indicate a problem and it was comforting to know that everyone at Linden is attuned to platform stability. Platform stability is a key strategic priority for the company as it has been a severe pain-point for residents (especially recently). We understand Residents’ pain when they can’t log in or manage their businesses, connect with friends, travel around inworld or communicate. An equally important strategic priority for the company is the new Resident’s first hour with us (from registration through in-world orientation).
On Day 2, Philip (Philip Rosedale, the Founder and Chairman) and I had a brown bag lunch with the staff inworld. I was mesmerized as more than a hundred colorful avatars came walking, hopping, rolling, floating and flying in. You can see what I saw in the photo at the top of this post. I sent the photo (see above) around to friends who agreed my avatar was the most vanilla. You can guess which one I am. Listen, it’s hard to shine when you’re sitting next to a giant bunny with a pitch-fork. One of the most unusual avatars was a jello mold with fruit. I commented that I’d like to be a tray of donuts for the next staff meeting. Jello Mold mentioned it to the industrious Resident who had created the jello mold avatar for her and less than 24 hours later I was transformed into a walking tray of treats.
Philip and I had a Q&A with Lindens asking (via voice or text chat) all the questions you’d expect them to ask about their new CEO. Torley (whom I have since nicknamed Prolific Linden – check out his great tutorials to see why) captured the session on video, cleaned up the sound and posted it for other Lindens to enjoy. It was a remarkable first meeting with the team and I can tell you I have never attended another staff meeting like this anywhere. It was visually arresting and very engaging. Second Life’s communication tools (text chat and voice) worked brilliantly for a meeting like this – far superior to a video conference or web-enabled teleconference. If we had wanted visual aids, we could have screened a Power Point show, a web page or a video inworld. Philip even did an audience poll. I imagine this is why businesses and educational institutions are buying a lot of land. Inworld collaboration is going to be a killer application.
The next five days were spent in immersion meetings to learn more about our diverse customer groups (Residents) and how we serve and support them, the robust economy inside Second Life, our product (Second Life and the Second Life Grid), our developer partners, how we communicate to the market, how people manage time and projects inside the Lab, how we hire and motivate talent and how we make money doing all this.
As I start my second week, I can happily say I have a sense of what makes Linden Lab and indeed Second Life such a magical place. It’s people with passion for the virtual world. And, it all starts with the Resident community. Thank you for a wondrous first week!
— M Linden