Interlude: San Francisco Aftershock

Life is change… how it differs from the rocks.

Coincidence, probably… Synchronicity? Maybe… though there are better-tutored Jungians among my readers who might be able to discern if I was tapped into the collective subconscious of SL Residents.

Anyway… Three weeks ago I was doing some infrastructure maintenance on this blog, creating pages for special topics and going through the tags on each post to try to make them more relevant. On the way, I ended up reading some of my older posts; one of those was “SS, DD”, in which I stuck my neck out for the first time and predicted “Same shit, different decade” for Second Life in 2010:

Linden Lab will continue to stumble through yet another year of poorly conceived, haltingly communicated and inconsistently executed policies, procedures, public relations campaigns, and platform and GUI “improvements”. Those efforts will have the apparent intent of drawing more new Users, encouraging them to pay for Premium memberships, and perhaps even retaining them — and those efforts will, by their very nature, continue to dissatisfy, alienate, anger and (in the extreme case) drive off the core population of existing Residents.

For the first six months, it looked like I had nailed it. And before you take me wrong, let me assure that I wasn’t happy to be correct.

And then, the June 9th Earthquake shook the Grid, taking with it Lindens both good and bad (and probably many whose absence will not be noticed).

In loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our minds; in loyalty to our kind, we cannot tolerate their obstruction.

I have no shame at all in admitting to schadenfreude in one particular case: Tom “T Linden” Hale, whose absurd denial of a Culture of SL raised quite a few hackles across the SLogosphere, least of all mine… and who, as “Chief Product Officer”, was the ultimate mover behind the ludicrously misguided, frustratingly intrusive and ultimately failed project known (with no small amount of derision in some quarters) as Viewer 2.

The effects of the earthquake were immediate. Talk of Diaspora increased as more SL’ers — of both high and low profile — opened accounts in OpenSim worlds like OSGrid and InWorldz, while cutting back on their economic commitment to Second Life: “tiering down”, selling off, and dropping Premium membership. The LindeX took a dive, too, prompting a transparently lame entry in the official Second Life blog to add to the list of redundant and painfully hollow missives issued under the name of Linden Lab’s CEO, Mark “M Linden” Kingdon.

Soon, you’ll attain the stability you strive for, in only way that it’s granted: in a place among the fossils of our time.

Make that “former CEO”. As of this writing, the virtual ink is barely dry on the PR Newswire web page announcing Kingdon’s “stepping down”, and the SL blog’s announcement that Linden Lab founder and erstwhile “chief visionary officer” Philip Rosedale has become Interim CEO.

In retrospect, the events of June 9 were a foreshock of magnitude 6.5 or so. Today, a magnitude 8 rocked the Grid, and its effects cannot be predicted. Many of us, myself included, find reason for optimism in the first of two speeches Philip gave at SL7B, in which he spoke metaphorically of castle walls, moats, and rickety structures cobbled together to get over them, contrasted with a concerted effort to remove the walls.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, my prediction for SL in 2010 fell down in today’s earthquake, and I’m glad.


Note: The quotes above are from “Crown of Creation” by Jefferson Airplane, and are paraphrases from John Wyndham’s classic SF novel The Chrysalids.

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7 responses to “Interlude: San Francisco Aftershock

  1. I can hope again…I had a year of Phillip, and two of Mark Kingdon.
    In retrospect, the difference was the way I felt about Secondlife.

    It's always hard to see exactly where you are, and how you feel, when you're in the middle of something.

  2. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

    As a relative newbie, I have had no dealings with Linden Lab under Philip's reign, nor if I am honest under Mark's reign either. My point of reference in these matters is in conversations with older residents and through the many diverse blogs available, including your own. These past few months I've seen the signs of frustration, despair and outright fury from the many over the action of the few and I'm beginning to learn and understand the reasons behind their strong reactions (even if I'm not up to speed with the technical stuff yet.)
    The debacle over the recent job losses though was enough for even me to put the upgrade to Premium and the purchasing of land on the back burner as Second Life's future was looking…uncertain. So like you, I also welcome Philip's return (it's not difficult to see he is a popular figurehead to so many) and I hope he follows through with his words at SL7B. I wait to see.

    “I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life.” – George Burns

  3. Crap Mariner, a blogger I admire, is given to quoting the US Merchant Marine motto Acta, non verba: Deeds, not words.

    Philip will have his second honeymoon, but it will be short. The behavior of Linden Lab as a whole, not merely its CEO, remains the important consideration.

  4. Pingback: Loose Ends and New Beginnings | Telling: Like it Is

  5. Pingback: Raising the Walls | Telling: Like it Is

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