Sunday, August 8, 2010

Commentary: Maybe Not So “Fast, Easy, Fun” After All

A few events kept me from commenting on Philip Linden’s inworld meeting at the end of July sooner. With more recent developments, maybe it’s fortunate I did.

At the meeting, Philip Linden outlined some goals for Second Life. A couple slogans summed up his objectives. His for how Linden Lab would operate was “back to basics.” For Second Life, it was “Fast, Easy, and Fun,” meaning his vision on how it should be to its viewers.

It didn’t take long for the second slogan to become the butt of jokes, notably with those “Fast, Easy, and Fun” women's’ T-shirts being passed around. Those who took the words more seriously often expressed skepticism. Tateru Nino commented the words reminded her of the expression “fast, good, cheap: pick two,” feeling there would be chances where two of the three could be pulled off, but all three were unlikely. Then there was Philip making Second Life “fun” as an objective, “Most Second Life users make their own fun (quite literally, by creating content, games and activities to suit themselves), and the amount of fun you have is proportional to what you put in; if, indeed, fun is actually your goal.”

“Fun,” she felt, was “the most ill-defined word of the set, and the one which is likely to precipitate the greatest trouble and most stumbles.“

Hamlet Au was on the nose about the slogan when he stated to make Second Life “fast, easy, and fun” ... “The effort required to reach that goal will be slow, difficult, and boring.” It would take a lot of work by the people in the company to make even basic activities much easier for users. He went on to state that although the “Linden coders are all extremely smart and dedicated people,” most weren’t too interested in the Second Life community.

One such exception was Qarl Linden, whom loved Second Life and what it’’s users had made of it. On Thursday August 5, he was laid off from Linden Lab with no explanation given. Qarl has quite a resume. In real-life, this includes his work on special effects in movies. In Second Life, he’s noted for helping to develop sculpties. More recently, he was on the head of the team for the mesh program. Philip had talked some about mesh in his meeting, saying he was “excited” about it, but wanted to be careful about its impact on Second Life. Qarl’s dismissal puts the future of this program in doubt.

Qarl being given the pink slip raises some troubling questions. Even after the “restructuring,” Linden Labs is still reducing it’s numbers. Not the best of signs for its health. And between this and the firings from the “restructuring,” the Lab doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the performance of individuals when deciding whom to lay off. They seem random, as if they’re using a dart board to chose.

Philip’s return as Linden Lab’s leader gave the residents of Second Life new optimism. Optimism that at least allowed them to listen to his message. But with the dismissal of a valued Linden soon afterwards, will the optimism last?

Sources: New World Notes, Massively, picture from

Bixyl Shuftan

1 comment:

  1. Ill take 2. Fast and Easy.. We are perfectly capable of making our own fun if they can provide that.