Feb 8, 2014


Welcome to #LindenLab @EbbeAltberg


Prior post withstanding, I feel exactly the same as I did before concerning the future of Linden Lab. The biggest issue of this company is simply that it exists in a bubble outside of a comprehensive understanding of the virtual world history which it absolutely relies.



'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.




Cheshire Cat


I know there have been some really great CEOs for Linden Lab in the past, but my take on them is simply that they have been great on their own but not in the context of Linden Lab. It’s a strange idea to conceptualize, but if you understand virtual worlds history at all, then it makes perfect sense.



"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"



There is a lot more to it than a video game (obviously), and simply throwing an enterprise solution strategy at it all doesn’t work (ask Mark Kingdon). Treating like a video game doesn’t work either, and to be honest – attempting to characterize Linden Lab as a video game company is inappropriate at best.


These are all concerns going forward.


I continue to contend that what Linden Lab needs, and mainly what the CEO needs, is merely an adequately positioned advisory board.



He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.



The CEO is prepared to act like a CEO and has the business experience to do that. For this I am not contentious, though I do point out that in this situation what is needed is the one thing that a CEO of Linden Lab will likely never walk into the role with – a comprehensive understanding about the workings of and history of virtual environments like Second Life.


This runs deeper than Second Life, and goes back plenty of years before Linden Lab was even a company. It encompasses an entire industry continually struggling to figure out that killer application, or position themselves to be the next big thing (and ultimately failing).



And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!



It’s all about context of interaction and how it fosters productive growth.


It’s not about whether an enterprise solution is correct (because it is), or whether Premium Accounts should exist (because they should), it’s simply about understanding the context of how they should exist – and that is the Achilles heel for every CEO of Linden Lab in the past, and every virtual environment company in the history of the industry.



One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.



In the same light, it is not about marketing but instead about context for that marketing and understanding the demographic and mentality of the virtual world mindset. The mentality part is crucial, because up until recently Linden Lab has been approaching it like they are catering to gamers...


As I said in the prior post -


Linden Lab needs to choose whomever they feel for CEO that matches their predefined notion of a good executive. That is well within their comfort zone, and it was expected. But now you need to arm yourself with that advisory board.



"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.



The alternative is either mediocrity or repeating the past. It’s a matter of when, and not if, you step on that landmine. This is why it is crucial to have that advisory board – people who know the context of deep history in user-generated virtual environments overall.


There is a deep and complex history in virtual environments, and it spans a few decades. You didn’t inherit a company, so much as you’ve inherited an international country akin to Wonderland.


This is why you’ll find sanity in the asylum if you pay attention to the Cheshire Cat.


What may seem like gibberish or without context may actually mean everything when you figure out the connection. So I leave for you this mystery, from a smiling mischievous cat.




'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.



Welcome to Linden Lab and Second Life, Ebbe Altberg.



  1. So many excellent life lessons to be learned from the writings of Lewis Carroll.

    I wonder if this new leadership will bring innovative change...

    ...or if we'll see "all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

    Time will tell.

    1. Or maybe we'll hear the story of the Walrus and the Carpenter? or did we already hear that story with Rodvik?

  2. I have hope. :) Skylar