I went to SLCC!

And it was terrifically wonderful, and I came home with a nasty summer cold and layers of crises at work, that have been keeping me from weblogifying about it (or even thinking about it as much as I’d like to).

Here’s Philip Linden, talking about stuff!

Esbee, Oz, and Philip; SLCC2010

Isn’t my cellphone camera awful? That’s Esbee Linden and Oz Linden, and Philip Linden; I vaguely think that Philip jumped up to the stage to answer a question during Ebsee’s and Oz’s (and Q’s, on the phone from the hospital) talk about Team Snowstorm.

Philip gave a nice Philipish keynote, in which he said lots of Right Things (and didn’t say anything about how we have to change radically to attract millions of new users at the expense of the basic wonderfulness of SL, hurrah!), and left everyone hoping he could actually make them happen.

(He also said some things that made me sad, like the end of the Teen Grid and of the Last Name List, but Τα Πάντα ῥεῖ, y’know…)

I hung out with terrific people, some of whom I’d met before in RL and some not, had some great (if pricey) food, drank more alcohol than I usually drink, and had the most fun that I’ve had in RL in some time (with clothes on, as someone added when I said that, nudge nudge wink wink).

There were some sessions, but y’know (and no offense to the presenters) they were pretty much as useful and informative as a good weblog post with an active comment thread. There was live music, which was ‘way fun and probably the thing that was most like the SL equivalent (someone even put pink and blue paper plates on the floor for poseballs haha), although it had the usual RL problem that it was too loud for me to understand anyone talking, or anyone to understand me talking, except rarely. But just listening to the music and clapping and laughing and smiling at people was great.

Mostly there were people who care about Second Life wandering about and having random hallway conversations, and slightly less random room conversations (until omg like 3 in the morning zzzzzz), and wandering about the streets and eating dinner in restaurants or buying it at the 7-11. And actually being able to touch and hug and hold hands and grin into each other’s eyes, which I don’t really miss not being able to do all that much in SL, but being able to do it now and then in RL has its good points. :)

The schedule changed alot (first because Philip was able to show up live for his keynote after all, which was great, but at a slightly different time than his remote one was at first scheduled for, and thereafter for random who-knows-what reasons), so it was often hard to figure out just what one could go to next. The schedule was organized by track rather than by time, so figuring out what to go to at 10am involved large amounts of page-flipping. There wasn’t enough free coffee. :) I heard rumors about various musicians being told that if they wanted to come and perform they’d have to pay full-price conference admission, which seems like sort of a mistake. But in general the conference folks did a good job, especially considering that they didn’t have all that long to get it all together, and they were all over the place carrying microphones and smiling and things, and that was all good.

Some of my v wonderful friends made me a blue RL shoulder-butterfly to reference the blue SL shoulder-butterfly that Boy Dale always wears, and that was too sweet for words. I wore it to the Avatar Ball, but didn’t enter the Best and Worst Costume lineup, ’cause I didn’t really want to win either one. :)

I ran away from the knot of people with Philip in the center that moved here and there around all major events (until he left), knowing that others would be taking notes for me.

I drank a mojito! This involves alcohol. Also lime and some salad, I mean, some mint-leaves down in the bottom of the cup. I also drank wine. Both of these are comparatively novel for me :) but I did not suffer unduly.

I danced around on the dancefloor at the Avatar Ball, and played with the inflatable guitars and microphones and things, and talked-shouted to some nearby folks. My car pool :) left before the closing ceremonies and the movie; I will have to arrange to see it somewhere else sometime.

Lots of people that I would have liked to meet weren’t there! I hope to meet them (you!) someday in RL, conditions permitting. I’m not sure I’ll go to the next one if it’s in California or Guam or Venus or something. We’ll see. But I’m very glad that I went to this one; both because it was a total hoot, and because it strengthened my belief that, despite how fashionable it is to say that SL is in deep trouble and doom is nigh, things are actually most likely to muddle along just as they always have. And that I’ll continue to totally love the place…

ZOMFG Philip is back!

I know, I know; but I was away and offline all day.

Woot! Happy Birthday! :)

Linden Lab Announces Management Changes

SAN FRANCISCO, June 24 /PRNewswire/ — Linden Lab®, creator of 3D virtual world Second Life®, announced today that company founder Philip Rosedale has been named interim CEO, and CFO Bob Komin has assumed the additional role of COO. Linden Lab also announced that Mark Kingdon is stepping down as CEO.

“On behalf of the board, I thank Mark for all of his contributions during his tenure with Linden Lab which include growing our user base and revenue, increasing the stability of the platform, and nurturing and helping build a world class team,” said Rosedale, who will continue to serve on Linden Lab’s board of directors.

About Second Life and Linden Lab
Developed and launched by Linden Lab in 2003, Second Life is the world’s leading 3D virtual world environment. It enables its Residents to create content, interact with others, launch businesses, collaborate, educate, and more. Since its inception, Second Life Residents have logged more than one billion user hours and generated more than $1 billion in user-to-user transactions. With a broad user base that includes everyone from consumers and educators to medical researchers and large enterprises, Second Life has become one of the largest repositories of user-generated content and the largest user-generated virtual goods economy in the world.

Privately held Linden Lab, founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale and headquartered in San Francisco, develops revolutionary technologies that change the way people communicate, interact, transact, learn and create. For more information, visit http://www.secondlife.com.

SOURCE Linden Lab

Not to be mean to M Linden or anything, but I did not like pretty much any of the changes that came at about the same time he did. And I like Philip’s having founded the whole thing in the first place :) although I didn’t like his recent “things have to change so we can have as many users as Mafia Wars” sorts of statements.

Whether this new change from M back to Philip-temporarily-and-the-CFO is a sign that there is actually a new direction, or something else, and if there is a new direction whether I like it more or less, all remain to be seen.

Interesting times!

Thoughts from Thoughts from Burning Man

I’ve been not paying much attention to the Web around Second Life lately (RL has been crazy, and I’ve barely had time to get into SL itself). In catching up a bit today, I ran across Philip Linden’s post Thoughts from Burning Man, and couldn’t help but comment.

Executive summary: Second Life has certain good things in common with the Burning Man festival. Philip says that Second Life has to change radically (whereas apparently Burning Man doesn’t). Why is that, exactly?

So I’m gonna be a contrarian here for a minute, at least.

Burning Man was a big part of the inspiration for Second Life, and some of what’s special about Second Life is also some of what’s special about Burning Man.

But, you say, the two are very different.

Burning Man has always been comparatively small and comparatively hard to get to, and you don’t have a problem with that; or at least I don’t see you saying that you think it would be improved if there were convenient shuttle-bus service, and the place was expanded enough that millions of people could attend.

On the other hand, you say that Second Life must “get a lot bigger”. It must change in fundamental ways. The changes will be disruptive and painful. Things that we love now must be swept away by tides of progress, so that Second Life can become more palatable to “hundreds of millions”.

I’ll bite: why?

The other possibility, which has been mentioned only very indirectly here, is that Second Life should stay as it is; or rather, should continue changing as it has. As an open and freewheeling place, driven by Resi ideas rather than marketing plans, friendly to the odd and the creative, chaotic and ugly in spots, confusing in places, mystifying, annoying, disturbingly lovely in places. All those things that the shopping mall down the street is most definitely and intentionally NOT.

I think, and maybe I’m naive to think it, that in fact if SL continues that way, without being pushed into an “all things to all people, easy and safe and bland” direction, that it would turn out that the hundreds of millions *would* in fact eventually come. Come not as passive sheep going toward whatever looks safe and familiar and was recommended by a celebrity on TV last night, but come as hundreds of millions of creative individuals, creative as every truly engaged individual is who either creates directly, or acts as a creative viewer, contributing their own thoughts and feelings and trails through the world.

By all means let’s make SL something that will appeal to and benefit the hundreds of millions. But let’s do it by allowing SL to be what it is, not by killing the magic that makes it special. If SL becomes accessible to the hundreds of millions by becoming dull, by becoming something that advertising agencies link to bikini-clad models on prime-time TV, by becoming bland and easy and undisturbing and nonconfusing, we will have wasted a huge opportunity. Might as well have made yet another soft drink or TV drama, rather than a whole new world.

Burning Man would not benefit from being opened to, and made “accessible” to, hundreds of millions of people in the obvious ways.

Do you, do we, really think that Second Life would?

And as always, I would love to hear your thoughts…