A Look Back, A Look Ahead…

Greetings all!

M Linden here.  I’d like to wish you, your families, friends, partners and loved-ones a happy and healthy New Year.

As we come to the end of the year, I thought I’d share some of the wonders of Second Life I’ve encountered over the past seven months and talk about what’s ahead in the year to come.

This has been an incredible period of discovery for me.  Second Life is a wondrous place, filled with amazing avatars, beautiful places and unbelievable things.  I can’t do them all justice in a blog post, but I’d like to share some of the experiences and content that make Second Life unlike any other platform for creativity, connection, discussion, interaction, innovation and commerce.   After the jump, I’ve listed some of the many things I’ve enjoyed, been inspired by and admired in and around Second Life since I joined Linden Lab in May.   I’d love for you to post your top picks in the Forums for all to enjoy, too.

Moving ahead into 2009, we at Linden Lab are continuing to pursue our world-changing mission.  We are working hard to create a virtual world that “…advances the capabilities of the many people that use it, and by doing so affects and transforms them in a positive way.”

To make real progress, we’re continuing to focus on a small set of strategic initiatives:

* Ensuring the platform is stable and able to scale with the growth

* Improving the first-hour experience (on the web, in the viewer and
inworld) for all Residents and especially for new users so that we
can continue to expand our active user base

* Making the mainland experience more attractive and fulfilling for Residents

* Localizing our content and experience in key international markets

* Developing new products (e.g., land products as well as new social
and commerce tools) that offer Residents more opportunities to
create, connect, socialize and transact

While the majority of our resources are focused on our core market (content creators and consumers), we are also focused on building the business and education markets.  Second Life is a powerful platform for doing business, collaborating, teaching and learning and we want to ensure we remain a vital platform for businesses and educators worldwide.

To support our growth, we will continue to recruit key staff and executives to the Linden Lab team.  This year, more than 100 new Lindens joined the company.  Three of them (FJ Linden, T Linden and Howard Linden) are senior leaders who bring decades of highly relevant management experience to our leadership team.

I feel very fortunate to have joined Linden Lab at this stage of the company’s development. It is immensely gratifying to be part of this amazing thing called Second Life.  You — the Second Life Residents — bring unbounded creativity, passion and commitment to the virtual world.  You — with the content you create and the experiences you craft — make it an amazing world.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

A few of my favorite things….

* The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fund-raiser which
raised several hundred thousands for cancer research

* A virtual conference on climate change at NPG’s Eulician Islands

* Researchers from around the world fighting breast cancer coming together at a virtual symposium sponsored by the Policlinic of the University of Modena

*  The US Holocaust Memorial Museums installation in Second Life called “Witnessing History: Kristallnacht, the November 1938 Pogroms”

* The Tunes inSL Gallery Project where — inside a giant clocktower  in Second Life — you can explore music by Second Life musicians.  iTunes: Edloe Island

* Capitol Hill Tweet Theater which featured the latest Twitter results for President-Elect Obama (or for his Republican opponents  in the recent election)

* Netroots Nation Inauguration Party.  On January 20, 2009 Netroots Nation in SL is hosting an all day Inauguration Party to celebrate the historic inauguration of Barak Obama

* The Nicolas Shoffer Art Gallery at depo where you can see cool cyber art

* The Planetarium Dome at Serena Carmel where you can kick-back and watch planets pass by

* Winterfaire and the annual snowball fight between Lindens and Residents where the Residents took absolute pleasure in pummeling me with Snowballs and the annual snowman-making contest. You still have until 1/5/09 to see all the great builds and events Residents have put together to celebrate winter.

* New World Notes every day and especially James Wager Au and Iris Ophelia’s Hottest Male Avatar of 2008 Contest

* Burning Life — a virtual Burning Man celebration

* 7 Days Magic Bakery where you can make and consume your own non-fat/no-cal virtual treats

* Dusan Writer’s thoughful blog and, in particular, his User Interface contest

* The Insilico build a high end cyberpunk roleplay sim where I mysteriously rezzed in with wild hair and white shoes

* My island in LindenWorld where I was awed by the power of summoning a mountain from the sea

* The New York Time’s  story on architecture in Second Life entitled “Original Sim”

* The Global Kids Online Leadership Initiative — which leverages platforms such as Second Life to bring experiential programs to teens

* The many Second Life projects led by the New Media Consortium

* Tom Boellstorff’s book, Coming of Age in Second Life

* As a map freak, I loved David Rumsey’s Map Island

* The great build of a Japanese temple at EDO Asakusa

* The many, many great clothing, hair, skin and furniture merchants in Second Life

* The Giant Snail races every Saturday at 11:00AM SLT  and online at  http://snailracers.blogspot.com/

* Torley (AKA Prolific) Linden is always out-and-about exploring all that makes Second Life great — http://flickr.com/photos/torley/

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