When I started going online back in 1994 the world was quite small. There were some local BBS around, I had my analogue modem with fast 14.400 bit/s, that needed to run over my phone line, and that was it. There've been services around, which were like bigger BBSes, like Compuserve or AOL, which ruled most of the market.

Then out of nowhere the Internet emerged. Compuserve, AOL and others were proprietary systems only, and the established companies needed to decide what to do. Well, they even didn't notive the Internet and its potential first. Open standards, decentralized, not ruled by only one entity. This was something new and it wrecked their business models great lenghts. When the Internet started to became more and more important, the content of proprietary standards in AOL and Compuserve became less and less important and newsworthy since all this content drained into the Internet.

So what's the lesson of it? A proprietary system is like an island. It might be nice for a while, but when something better becomes available, most of its content will shift definitely there, ruining your old business modell, forcing you to adapt. That's why in my opinion Linden Lab is working at an open standard at the moment, because they don't want to be the next Netscape. They still want to be in business in the next five years and this is definitely a way to achieve it.


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This here seems to be the newest trend: since the standard avatar mesh
looks just plain right ugly at the feet some shoe designers started now
building shoes with builtin, more naturally looking toes. This looks
like this here then:

Quite an improvement, if you're asking me. I wonder if those are going to sell very well... a very nice idea.

German magazine Focus Online has been running an interview with Mark Kingdon, new CEO of Linden Lab, about his goals with the company.

Seems M Linden is running around in a tux with headphones on his head. Why that? Because he feels that he's like a conductor of a big orchestra but he also wants harmony like a music mixer.

About his role Kingdon says, that Philip Rosedale brought innovations to the company and that he wants to bring business to the company.

One point on his agenda is to smoothen down the learning curve for newbies. The first hours should be made considerable easier and it should be easier to register for a new character. He also wants to establish in world tutors which are going to help the newbies during their first steps and this is going to happen this year.

He wants those also based on his own experience, because his first login in Second Life was quite challenging to him, way too much overstrained. He didn't know how to find his way around, how to move his avatar or how to dress it. It took him hours to understand the basic principles, but after that the WOW-effect took place and he began to be fascinated of this big world.

Kingdon also states that Linden Lab is making profit, even if many people are still not believing this. The main business area of the company is renting land at the moment, but he sees a shift from that to the trade of goods for the avatar. This is in Kingdon's opinion the financial base for the future.

Asked that one of the bigger investors plans to sell Linden Lab, Kingdon denies a comment on that (who wouldn't...), but tells that he wants to make a booming company out of Linden Lab and also going IPO might be an option for the future.

But first he thinks they need to work at the technic itself as foundation for their succes, meaning: not only should it become way easier to use Second Life at all, but it also needs to become more stable and reliable in the future as well.

He thinks that Second Life is still at the beginning if you take the number of users and their activities into account, but also a quite complex platform.

Kingdon also criticizes the media somewhat - he thinks Linden Lab is a pioneer with a very big thing going on. This project has been overhyped in the media world, leading to many people entering the world with expectations that Linden Lab was never be able to meet. He adds that even if it was not the intention of the media they somewhat damaged Linden Lab with it. Later he adds, that Linden Lab was also profiting of media coverage quite much, but the hype was too much for them and they were not able tho handle it, he calls it bad timing.

Being asked if he could recommend companies at the moment to use Second Life for their business he says: not really at the moment, better wait for the near future when things have turned out for the better. He's not telling them to stay away at all though, if they want to try out things and such, like IBM does or universities.

Being asked about how is it possible to bring commercial and private interests of users under one hat, he says they're thinking about it, there's no universal platform for all and everyone in his opinion. He thinks, that in the future Second Life is going to have to entrypoints/logins for users: one for private users and one for business people.

My opinion on this interview is: he's trying to be honest and I hope he's going to be able to achieve his goals of getting a lower learning curve at the beginning, easier usage and of a more stable platform after all. Those are quite important points to have if you want more users.

He's also holding the hopes down for business at the moment, knowing that a bad experience might lead to business leaving quite fast, so better first stabilize it and then take on other things again. Wise choice.

In terms of making more profit, well, we are going to see how those ideas might work or not. At the moment it is just land sales, quite simple. And beside that, I guess, we are going to see a balkanization in the platform in the near future, like we already have with the Teen grid: we are going to have an Adult grid for all the nice, nitty, gritty stuff, but for business there's also going to be an own Business grid in the near future with no mature content at all. If he really wants to target companies more again this is something that might help the growth of Second Life big lengths and not necesarrily a bad thing.


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