Friday, 11 June 2010

Why I can’t “rest assured”

It was very nice of Mark to write to us all today, after all, he’s a busy man and has lots of staff issues to attend to and restructuring to be done.

He has asked me to “rest assured”.

The thing is that I do not feel very assured... so I thought I would layout my neuroses on virtual paper and have a look at them.

Now, Mark is obviously a very clever man and should know, much better than me, how to run a big company like SL. I should be able to relax that he knows exactly what he is doing and let him get on with his job. It’s never easy to make the transition from pioneer stage to more universal thing, but why is it that I am not convinced?

I have had a few rather worrying times over the last while where I have had reason to doubt his abilities.

He seems to be totally unaware at how shocking some of his past moves have been for us “residents” (god I hate that term, sounds like an institution)... people have set fire to themselves outside his offices in the worst handled PR event of recent years (a simple price restructuring) and many have left and now populate other grids (the combined avatar concurrency has probably increased dramatically if all grids are added together).

A lot of money and man hours were wasted on the latest two projects... the “let’s attract businesses” saga which involved shelving all the Adult content onto it’s own ghetto and rolling out a neat little $55000 package for business users..

....and the latest fiasco of the Viewer.

In an extremely clairvoyant blog (thanks to Nur Ophuls for the heads up) Grace McDunnough asks the very relevant question of who is being ‘targeted’ as the future ‘residents’ of SL.

FunnyFarm meets IMVU in a 3D shopping channel seems to be the answer...

I understand that SL thinks that the creators aren’t bringing in enough income and that millions of new users will buy tractors etc. but... can you really turn your back on the people who made SL what it is and survive??

I know it is a major simplification (that has never stopped me before tho...) to compare Microsoft and Apple, but in terms of ethos it looks, to a simple mind like mine, like Mr. Gates went all out from day one to cash in on every aspect of the computer revolution and has become a very hated company.... Apple seems to have gone about it’s business in trying to provide the highest quality innovation (and had to wait for the rest of the world to catch up) and is one of the world’s most respected companies....

...soo.....Mark’s reassurance that SL is dripping with cash does nothing to reassure me...I don’t care, as long as they aren’t broke, how much cash they make. None of it gets recycled anyway.. ($10,000 Linden Prize is a complete joke for a company that big)...

....and the 70 sims for artistic stimulation...hmmm....all gone very quiet on that front.

Well, I could probably continue on this vein for a while but.... sum up...

the FunnyFarm/IMVU/Facebook is such a retrogressive step in my opinion that I cannot seriously believe it is going to improve my experience of SL.

The mass market is a dictator that flattens experience. Those on the margins of the mass are always ruthlessly eliminated ‘for the good of the mass’ and democracy is held up as the shining beacon of ‘why we had to...’

This flattening will never lead to a philosophy that wants to “connect everyone to an online world that advances the human condition”, mass consumerism is always about getting paid as much as possible for as little as you can get away with. We get screwed.

So, I am not assured, Mark.



  1. i have had a suspicion for some time that LL has not been profitable. it's one thing to have high volume and high revenues. it's quite another to show a profit for your shareholders. i suspect that is why philip passed the reins to mark, because philip was the innovator/artist. he wasn't oriented toward the bottom line. it's mark's job to tweak the income statement, even though their balance sheet looks good. after all, LL isn't a non-profit. i'm giving the boys the benefit of the doubt on this one. CEOs sometimes have to do painful things. if they made a mistake with spending all these human resources on the failed 2.0 viewer and the failed Enterprise project, then naturally they have to get rid of those projects. i think one of the main things mark needs to do, is to listen more to this blog.

  2. hehhhee...yes, he should follow it like all the best people do..:))

    I agree tho that only time will tell if my neuroses are, in fact, neuroses or have some/any basis in reality (whatever that is).

    I do, of course, wish and hope that the Boys know what they are doing but these previous two mega failures could have been predicted by anyone who has used SL for a reasonable period of time.

  3. ya know... if i were an ex-executive (is that redundant?) i might suspect that the game plan here is for LL to massively quickly beef up a few alternate worlds with an intention (make that malice of forethought) to acquire them. Presto. They would have the neatly segregated populations they need to gain profit on all fronts. why? possibly to appease private investors (greedy impatient bunch with the attention span of a lit match, no doubt) and/or to reposition themselves for going public in an otherwise unaccommodating economy gone on too long... I'm just sayin'... if i were and ex-ex. "-)

    meanwhile, i'm working on a business model for TL (Third Life?) creatives to offer building services to attract the hoards of us who do not create much or build much with our virtual hands, but who need quality "stuff." I"m thinkin' there's an early market upside to this... hmm...