Jo on Ebbe Altberg

Jo Yardley, the 1920’s Berlin creator, was invited to the recent in-world meeting with Ebbe Altberg. She has posted her take on the meeting and expressed her opinions. See: Chatting with Ebbe Altberg, new CEO of Linden Lab.

Jo Yardley - 1920's Berlin

Jo Yardley – 1920’s Berlin

Jo gives more  information about the meeting than the other reports I’ve been reading. That alone makes it worth reading. Some of the points I found interesting follow. 

Ebbe’s son joined the main grid when under age, got kicked  out a couple of times, got reinstated because Ebbe knew Philip, and was one of the first 10 to join the Teen Grid when it was formed. OK, that is way neat. You can learn more about this event in Hamlet’s post: 7 Questions on the Future of Second Life & Linden Lab for Ebbe Altberg, Linden’s New CEO.

Ebbe thinks Second Life™ has not become more popular because of the steep learning curve. I suspect he is right, but I am not sure that is the primary reason people are not retained. It would be nice to have the exit interview stats the Lab collects.

I’m not sure if Jo was voicing opinion or paraphrasing Ebbe when she wrote that while dumbing down SL would increase its appeal to a broader audience it would remove depth. I am not sure we know what would increase appeal. It seems intuitive that dumbing down would be true, if complexity is the problem. But, thinking something is a certain way rather than putting out the effort to know such is so, seems to be a modern day cultural failure causing unnecessary pain.

Ebbe seems to have expressed the desire to hopefully create an environment where adults and kids can participate together… OK. He’s new. But, I have to wonder if he operates more on an ideological basis or the practical realities of reality.

The reality of life is humans are a problem for humans. Think; dictatorships, murder, rape, abuse, theft, slavery, … It can be depressing. Humans do have admiral traits too. But, how we mix the good and bad has been and is an ongoing real life experiment in forming societies.

Jo asked about his first ‘newbie’ visit to Second Life and how he plans to improve retention. Now there is a question. Yay, Jo!

The retention problem is something he is already talking to people about and Ebbe has a meeting planned for this week to see what has been tried and learned.

I wonder if anyone will tell Ebbe about what have learned from academic studies… like the Longevity in Second Life by Chun-Yuen Teng’s and Lada A. Adamic. Will they snow him with the misleading stats on last names? Will he see that for what it is and question it or take it at face value?

The loss of last names still remains a problem. While single names are needed for facilitating connection to Facebook and other systems, that seems a solvable problem.

What Ebbe has said about retention so far is pretty much what everyone seems to know intuitively.

Mr. Altberg has said he is looking at ‘simplifying’ the Linden Lab portfolio. Does that mean the end of Patterns? Probably not. Does it mean a narrowing of focus? May be. We will have to wait and see.

Update: Actually we won’t. Jo has a new article up: Linden Lab drops dio, Versu, and Creatorverse. The official announcement is here: Linden Lab Refocuses Product Offering.

I’ve long thought Blocksworld was kindergarten for Second Life. So, we might see closer ties between it and SL. But, we might not. It would be nice to see similar Oculus Rift interfaces in both. That would make the transfer between them much easier.

It seems Mr. Altberg seems to think Blocksworld is similar to SL too. From Hamlet’s article we hear that Mr. Altberg is as much excited about Blocksworld as he is Second Life.

Mr. Altberg is going to be more PRO-educational organization. I suspect that may include other non-profits. I suspect the cost to profit ratio of previous attempts did not work out. The problem with accounting and stats is not all relationships are readily apparent. For instance, how does one measure who came into SL from having been in an institution’s program run in SL when we have a large measure of anonymity?

Such problems are common in finding the connections between marketing efforts. How many have come to SL from Patterns or Blocksworld because they are all Linden products?

Jo covers the part of the meeting where Ebbe talks about the dedication of employees.

I have heard some people talk about how much Lindens do and do not care about Second Life. It is hard to get a good feel for how much or little dedication there is among Lindens. This is a job for them. They may or may not believe in it. But, that it is their day job does not, by definition, mean they don’t care.

The Lindens I deal with week to week in user groups are, I believe, some of the better Lindens… meaning more interested in users and creating a better experience for them. I could be wrong. They could be all about doing their jobs better just to get a pay raise, but I don’t believe it is ‘just’. They may be the better ‘people’ people  at the Lab. Handling users is certainly no easy thing.

I do think there are employees that are just doing a job and all else is considered a management problem, not my job. But, it will be interesting to see how Mr. Altberg changes the culture at Linden Lab. It seems clear he will change it.

Jo quotes what Mr. Altberg said about the Oculus Rift, which we know she is excited about. It seems he is too. But, aren’t we all?

Form other things Mr. Altberg said I gather that we will see some changes in how Second Life is marketed. I hope so.

Jo and Drax will be talking about the interview in this week’s Drax Files Radio Show. I’ve been missing those because of RL things. Our extended family lost a patriarch. I am amazed at how much there is to do. So, I have to rely on others summaries of the show.

It should be interesting to see what more Jo has to say.

I am feeling better about Mr. Altberg coming to Second Life/Linden Lab.

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