Rod Humble is the new CEO of Second Life, as of January 2011. Many of us are curious what he will do with Second Life. What direction he will take it and does he see Second Life as we do? …well… really… All I care about is does he see it as I do and is my fun time safe?
I can’t say yet. I also can’t tell you whether he sees SL as you do or even for sure how he sees SL. Or whether our fun activities are safe or whether SL has peaked and is headed for decline. One can certainly get enough opinions on the eminent downfall of SL or it being on the edge of an eminent explosion of new users from social media. But, we don’t really know what will happen.
Danial Voyager has posted a blog article that provides links to a collection of the latest interviews with Rod Humble. You can read those to get a first hand sense of who he is and some insight to what he is thinking and might do. (Link to an audio interview added below 2/16)
I think the signs are hopeful. I have taken the impression that Mr. Humble has more insight into SL than the previous CEO, Mark Kingdon, and perhaps even than Phillip, the founder. Time will tell.
The John Walker interview is the most irreverent toward Second Life, which I enjoyed. John certainly asked some tough questions. I am thrilled that Rod mentioned that hair styles are a big thing and most often requested item in virtual worlds with avatars. I’ll add his comments to my post over at Myst Online for why Uru Live should have more hair styles when it goes open source.
The ‘new tech’ question reveals that Rod and the Lab are committed to the Mesh Project. I expect to see mesh on the main grid in the first half of 2011.
There was a question about licensing worlds, sort of Entropia style. Rod did not exclude it. So, that may mean some level of return to formal support for enterprise and educational use… or not.
Tateru Nino’s interview over at The Metaverse Journal, asks several good questions. When asked to describe what SL is, Rod didn’t. He still finds SL ambiguous and likes the ambiguity. It seems he is still exploring SL and the Lab to get a sense of what SL is. In the process he seems keenly interested in how residents use SL and impressed with what residents have created.
Tateru asked questions about past issues with SL. Rod wasn’t around then and chose to avoid answering them. I’ve thought it is best to not comment when one doesn’t have all the facts or a sense of events… then I became a blogger…
When asked about the strengths of SL rod had an interesting answer. Customers. He commented on the problem of getting to where the Lab can coherently hear the residents. Most of the communication with the Lab is so chaotic the label a Tower of Babel was coined by a resident. The new groups and changes in office hours are a part of the process and effort to improve communication.
When asked about new users experience verses existing users experience Rod answered both are important. The unsexy problems of existing residents and making the new residents’ experience sexy both have to be handled.
Interestingly Rod thinks he has tried all the TPV’s. I’m not sure that is even possible. I haven’t even found out about all of them. But, it is an interesting bit of information I think shows his depth of curiosity about SL, a really good thing in my mind.
Tateru’s question I found most interesting was about the direction of SL. Rod’s answer was to open up the creativity of residents, to support their efforts, and see where it takes SL. While some will find that far too nebulous I think it is good answer from a corporate leader. It gives me more hope for SL becoming more popular and fun. Rod said, “Second Life should become the natural home for intelligent, creative, and social people online.” I agree.
Rod said he would read the comments to Tateru’s post and is interested in what SL residents would most like to be doing in SL in 2 years. So, follow the links to Voyager’s blog and to Tateru’s article. Form your own opinions.
Thanks to Tinsel Silvera for telling me about Phaylen Fairchild’s audio interview she has up on her blog. See: When Rod Met Phaylen! The audo interview runs 27 minutes. I think one gets a better sense of Rod by hearing him speak. Voice tones and delivery speed clues a lot about enthusiasm and excitement.
Tensel is right, parts of the interview are funny. Rod does seem to enjoy the interview.