Live blogging Rod Humble vs what I’d love to hear

Update: For a list of all the recent SL closures, see Daniel Voyager’s tally here, and his updates here and here.


I’m listening to Rod Humble at the Second Life Community Convention. How depressing. How sad. If you want to listen to Rod word for word, here’s the replay. Otherwise, here’s my take.

It’s not that he is saying anything dismal; on the contrary he’s oh-so-upbeat and cheerful; there’s just so much that he ISN’T SAYING. Like what I’d really love to hear:

I am cut to the quick that we are losing more and more of the best creators and the best sims of Second Life every day. Let’s talk about what we can do about this. How can we keep the best of you here? Why are you leaving? What’s wrong? I care about each and every one of you. How can we change the pricing? How can we bring mesh in without destroying the old builders? What can we do about permissions to keep you here? Won’t you miss your community, your friends, the stores that have been our lifeblood for years? Maybe it’s inevitable. Sort of like leaving your hometown to travel the world(s). But you were born here. Doesn’t that matter?

No, no, none of that.

But hey, I’ll give Rod a chance. Maybe it will get better. He’s only been talking about 10 minutes now.

So far he’s comparing SL to his gaming experience. Is he really suggesting SL is a game??? “There’s no way you would see any other MMOG keep interest up the way SL has.” This is gamification at its ironic worst.  Second Life was never a game to me, and it never will be. It’s a very real part of my life. My home and my friends are here. I’m not playing at life here.

“We’re the no. 1 game in Thailand.” Great, glad to hear it.

Now he’s talking about our right to be pseudonymous. As an example, he compares it to his own pseudonymous identity who makes “obscenity-ridden rants” on a soccer site. Oh dear.

Here’s how he talks about what he sees as the biggest problem in SL: newbie acclimation. “When I arrived into SL, I couldn’t move around, I couldn’t find things, and it was difficult to sign up.”

Rod, if I hear about newbies once more, I’m going to cry. I know we need new users, and I know we need to keep them aboard if SL is to succeed as a business. But what about your cream-of-the-crop geniuses who are leaving SL every day because they can’t make a living here, can’t build how they want, can’t deal with permissions, and can’t remember the last time LL listened to them?

Rod is saying how one of his biggest goals is to give all LL family members an invite to join SL and be able to give them a good 1st time user experience. I’m all for quality family time, but what about  your hardcore longtime devoted amazing users who take years to cultivate? What about giving them a good 1000th-time user experience?

Rod continues . . .   he wants to get support ticket times down, make life difficult for griefers, and diminish lag time, but not until mesh gets really handled. He’s going to launch a Linden-made curated area. Don’t worry, he says; SL won’t become a Linden-made world. This will be just a small place. Just a place where Linden can learn how to make good things for us. Should roll out in a couple months.

My tears are starting to fall for real now.

Also, expect some changes to premium membership. And a significant marketing trend by the end of the year to bring in more users as customers for the merchants.

“That’s it. That’s my talk. Fill out your cards; I’ll take a few questions now.”

Of course one of the first questions is about sim pricing. What everyone wants to know. But Rod gets rid of that one quickly: “I don’t have anything to say about pricing now, so that’s it for that.”

Oh dear, Rod, so many of your precious SL veterans are packing their bags and leaving because they can’t afford sims, and you won’t say anything about it. Please, please, please talk to us. It’s not too late.

“We can talk about web profiles later.” Yeah.

He’s on about the rise of tablet and mobile devices. “Right now we don’t participate in those. A lot of people are doing more and more their entertainment on tablets, and we need to be there too. So you’re going to see some tablet and mobile SL programs.” No surprise there. He describes it as a “lite” version of SL aimed at the “light gaming market”  but incorporating the creativity and alternate identity components of SL. I’m so glad I don’t play games on my iPod. The best thing I see about “SL Lite” is Rod’s promise that it will be separate from Second Life.

Uh-oh, listen up, Rod’s back to the newbies. “Young newbies in SL spend more time socializing about the activity rather than engaging in the activity. And it’s up to us to enhance that socializing ability.” Yup – not quite enough socializing on the Internet yet.

One of the questioners makes a feeble attempt to suggest maybe Viewer 2 could be discarded. “There’s so many bits of new technology embedded in that viewer 2 codebase that we can’t just give up on it,” Rod says. “We’ve just got to fix it. And I think you’ll see a lot of improvements in the coming months.” For whom? That is the real question. Will V-3 accommodate newbies, mobile platforms, and social chat rooms? Or will it actually give a nod to the veteran users who have been begging for an increased advanced user interface?

Rod jumps back quickly to the newbies. By the end of the year there will be a newbie chat area where newbies can talk. Also, by the end of the year the user experience will be singular, instead of discrete interfaces for new and advanced. Hmmmm. Will this be a dumbed-down advanced interface, or a racheted-up newbie interface? I wonder.

Second time someone asks about pricing. “Hmmmm, something again about pricing,” Rod says reading the question card, then puts it down. “I’m not going to be talking about that.”

Third time now:  “More about pricing, I’m not going to talk about that . . .”

Why is it as a race we tend to destroy the incredible worlds we are given? The bio earth is gasping for air, begging us us to keep her alive, and now so is the world that Philip made.

Sunday there will be a group of current Lindens talking about the next quarter and taking detailed feedback.


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