Monday, June 21, 2010

Philip Linden Opens SL7B

It was a lagfest. A crush of avatars crowded into hear Philip Linden's speech opening SL7B this morning but to my mind it was worth it. At one point I counted 195 avatars in the 4 sims around the stage - many had been there since the event opened just to ensure they could hear him when the time came. There were voice/sound problems as always. But again, I think it was worth it.

You can read or download the full speech and I suggest you do at least one, but the critical part was this...they're redoing their plans and I suspect many things will be put on hold.

I think that Second Life — addressing that sort of core experience problem — I still think of Second Life and the past few years as being something like this: Second Life is this wonderful, beautiful city — once you're in it and you're having this amazing immersive experience, you're just totally blown away with it. But the city itself is surrounded by huge walls and a moat. It's like a medieval city. To actually get into it you have to invest an enormous amount of time and energy getting across that moat, and over the walls, and into this amazing new world of people inside that are waiting inside. And I think that in our excitement about the success of Second Life — in its amazing initial growth and the amazing things that you guys have done and that we've done together — we were getting ahead of ourselves a bit as a company and this is what we really talked about in this restructuring. We were building these sort of rickety — we were in many cases building these bridges and scaffoldings that sought to get different types of people across that moat and over those walls, whether we're talking about international Residents, or the community welcome areas, or enterprise or education users — we've been sort of building these little, thin bridges that try and quickly get everybody kind of over that wall and into Second Life. And of course, you can understand why we'd do that, because it's just so fantastic an experience once we can get people there.

But I think what we have to do — what I know is the kind of thinking that's informing our planning process going forward — is ask whether instead we can stop doing those many, many peripheral, highly usage-specific things to get people in here — and instead just take a step back, look at the basic problems that we are all faced by, and by fixing them, fill the moat. Tear down the walls. Stop trying to build over them. We have a product here that can deliver an unbelievable experience to everyone if we simply make the basic pieces of that experience work. Whether we're talking about how many people can stand together in a meeting like this, or how to put clothes on, or manage your inventory, or build basic objects inworld, or how voice works, how parcel media works, live music — all of these basic features are things that are amazing experiences when you can have them, but they're not easy enough yet. They're not — they just in many cases don't completely work, and we — it's so easy to get ahead of ourselves as a company and forget that. So going back to those basics and just trying to make this thing work for all of us is what you can expect to see from us next.

I feel very positive about the things Philip had to say and I can't disagree with the objective of making what's here work well before sticking a bunch of other things to the world. I'll miss some of those other things in the meantime but fixing what's driving everybody crazy already seems like a really good plan. :)

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