I Feel Sorry For You Rodvik

September 7, 2012 by
Filed under: DGP4SL Info, Linden Lab and Second Life 

In my last post “Today Marks The End Of Second Life“, I gave my interpretation and prediction for the coming year based on Linden Lab’s most recent Whisper-Quake decision. (In typical LL fashion, they gave no prior notice, announced it in very few places and in a manner that would reach the absolute minimum number of Second Life customers. Thus why I call it a “Whisper Quake”.) I also gave a very short list of what every responsible SL Merchant and Resident should be doing to protect themselves against what now appears to be the death rattles of the Second Life virtual world.

This post approaches the same circumstances but from an entirely different perspective. To my way of thinking, it’s horribly irresponsible to predict something as drastic as the imminent closure of Second Life and not also provide information about the near future of the DG Products for Second Life product line and all the wonderful customers we’ve gained over the past few years. Thus today I will endeavor to do exactly that … explain to you exactly what you can expect to see and what will happen to your investments in our products.

But Before I Do …

But before I launch into what will be happening with DG Products for Second Life, I want to dedicate a few pixels to the most recent “Sacrificial Lamb” of Linden Lab … Mr. Rod Humble (AKA Rodvik Linden).

When Mr. Humble was hired on last year as the new President of Linden Lab, he demonstrated a lot of (what appeared to be) genuine and sincere enthusiasm  He spoke well about his vision for the future at various LL functions and in his various contributions to the SL Blogs and Forums as well as on at least one other SL-oriented Forum.  He told how he had created an Alt avatar that was allowing him to roam SL and remain anonymous. He reinforced in many the feeling that things were looking up. In the messages he issued, he gave much needed encouragement to the many Merchants in SL that were becoming more and more apathetic. There were many reasons to start putting our eggs in other baskets, but Rodvik did his level best to reinvigorate the paying customers that have been the true “product” of SL from the beginning.

I want to make it clear I’m not throwing Blame-Bombs at Rodvik or almost any other visible Linden at the Lab. I think a fairly large number of Lindens have been doing everything within their power to help ensure the community remains hopeful and satisfied … at least satisfied enough to stick around and keep on “playing the game”. This is why I am of the opinion that most of the employees of Linden Lab should be thanked and, for some, given strong reaffirming pats on the back for all they’ve personally invested as well.

But “Best of Intentions” are well known to not be worth a tinker’s dam when everything is tallied up and balanced out. Many times in my life, no amount of elbow grease and midnight oil could snatch up the inevitable and prevent the final conclusion. When the company management makes decisions, and especially when those decisions are kept hidden from the majority of the employees, even miraculous and Herculean efforts cannot prevent the result of those decisions.

Thus I feel a level of sympathy and remorse at what has now obviously become Rodvik’s legacy with Second Life. I have a measure of bitter resignation on his behalf … and also a good measure of empathy with the true bottom line of the decision to hire him on. If the LL BoD didn’t fully explain what they intended when they hired him to take over the President’s chair then I can honestly say I feel sorry for him. But even if they did fully disclose their “Roadmap” for the future of Second Life, it must be horribly demoralizing to realize the sole purpose of your position is to be the dartboard on the wall … forever into Internet History.

Okay, But Now What?

Perhaps the most galling facet of my entire Second Life experience to date is the vast difference between my own business morals and those demonstrated by Linden Lab. Whereas the Lab has for many years made decisions that tossed their paying customers under the bus, or perhaps more precisely into the juicing press in order to wring the last possible dollar from us, I run my business in a completely opposite manner. Whereas LL seemingly has no internal prohibitions against withholding information that by all rights should be shared, I strongly believe that such critical information be shared … even in many cases where the initial fallout could be damaging to my bottom line. Whereas Linden Lab has routinely made direction changes that summarily stripped their customers of all the rewards of their investment, I feel that a moral business must recognize their customers’ devotion and reward that with advantages and benefits. Whereas Linden Lab has routinely placed their foot on the scales to tip them their direction, I strongly believe that the only long-term path to success is to guard those scales and keep them always as near to balanced as possible. And that is why I have made the decisions I have regarding my business and my customers.

With This Ka-Ching, I Thee Wed …

Selling a product, any type of product and any type of market, includes a level of commitment that extends way beyond the exchange of money for merchandise. A relationship has been created, and that relationship has an intrinsic value that not only exceeds the simple face value of the money received, but grows more and more the longer the relationship lasts. The relationship embodies the promises inherent in the financial transaction and can become one of the most valuable assets on the company’s books. No matter how fantastic the product or how large the business … every single sale is an investment by both parties. I also believe that the long-term perspective must always be included in every decision. This belief is precisely what drives me to sometimes go way above the “required” effort. Improperly valuing that investment by ignoring or discounting the long-term perspective is tantamount to throwing away something of high value to any successful business.

Today, Tomorrow, Next Week and Next Year

So with all that preaching out in the open, will we be practicing what we preach … or just spewing PR crap while silently packing up our stuff and abandoning ship? Bottom line, what will change in DGP4SL and its products?

To put it bluntly, nothing. We will continue support of all DGP4SL products, from our very first (the DG RP Titler) up through and including our latest (Live Online Images), we will continue to provide our absolute best in Customer Support.

Many of our products are hybrids … combining In-World scripted devices and website-based functionality. Because those products depend on proper operation of the website services, we have taken steps to ensure continuation of those services. We have recently moved all of our internet hosting to a company (DreamHost) that has an excellent up-time record and provides a level of service virtually unmatched in the market. As long as the hybrid devices are operational in Second Life, we believe we will be able to provide the internet side as well.

We are also continuing our development of new products. Not long ago we added a new member to the DG Flyer Teleporter series. We also have a couple of other new products that should be released before the end of 2012. Creating is what we enjoy most about Second Life, and we certainly won’t be stopping just because.

We are also continually improving our existing products. Within the next week, we will be announcing a major new feature for the Rental Beam system. We are very confident that the future for Rental Beam is very rosy.

But You Just Said …

I am officially on-record now in predicting that Second Life will either be closed to business within a year, or at the least so horribly depleted that it will never be the topsoil for innovation that it once promised to be. But even so, even with my strong belief that we are into what is euphemistically called the “End Game”, there are things in Second Life that are more important than making a buck. Even if we were to close down all our stores, pull all our products from the SL Marketplace and simply stick around until the lights go dark, we would still be here to support our customers.

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, the saddest part of all the changes we’ve seen in Second Life is the fact that so much hard work and dedication is being wiped out with the unthinking hammer-fist of a company hell bent on self-destruction. I’m not just talking about the Residents either, I include the plight of many Lindens as well. The recent features added to Second Life … Mesh, Pathfinding and Direct Delivery … took a lot of hours to implement.  It’s a crying shame that all of that hard work is going to become just another neat shiny that sits on the shelf collecting dust. So much invested in trying so hard to improve Second Life, all of it effectively shredded as a result of Linden Lab’s decisions to strip the beauty, functionality and pleasure from the platform.

It’s also dawned on me why the development time for those advanced features was so long. From the outside, all we can do is predict what will happen. But even without 100% certainty, just believing that Second Life might be on the ropes robs us of all the pleasure and motivation. When you feel that there really is no long-term option within Second Life, getting up the energy to continue on is a difficult thing to do.

Now imagine you are inside the Lab. Imagine that the future is no longer a prediction but is a 100% guaranteed fact. Imagine that you have to push on, develop software and processes that extend the platform. Imagine that you have to finish your assignment even with the full knowledge it’s all just wasted time. I think you can now imagine why even the simplest changes and fixes take forever … because you just don’t have any passion left to do a good job.

Linden Lab has been driving their product in a direction that (IMO) is guaranteed to end in disaster. It’s a shame .. a damn shame.

And Rodvik … you have my sympathies dude. But if you’ll send me your resume, I’ll shop it around to some of my contacts and see if I can’t find you a landing spot that isn’t perched on the side of an ice-covered cliff.

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3 Comments on I Feel Sorry For You Rodvik

    […] Darrius Gothly 2 […]

  1. Megan Law on Thu, 4th Oct 2012 10:30 AM
  2. Feel sorry for Rod? Not in the least. Like each of the past few presidents, he arrived on the scene with a lot of public rhetoric about how SL is going to grow and remain not only viable but dominate the virtual world scene, then immediately set off on a quest to make the viewer and the server farm slower and less stable.

    Let’s look at the “improvements” in SL on Rod’s watch.

    Mesh. Beautiful, but I haven’t been able to see any mesh objects for 5 days now. Same viewer, visiting the same grids, mesh objects just don’t exist for me. Why? Nobody knows. Or cares. It’s been almost a year, they haven’t fixed the bugs in this horrible misfeature YET?

    Pathfinding. Yay, more bugs. Oh, and yet another new feature that you can’t even enable on your land without slowing everyone to a bog.

    Whatever is causing the epic storm of TP crashes. People have been blogging about this since July, that’s 3 months now, and still NO response from LL. Not only have they not done anything to fix the problem, they haven’t even acknowledged it. I’m not sure they’re aware of it. Maybe nobody actually reads the Jiras?

    We need an alternative. We need a stable, open grid where the creativity that has been dumped into SL can be allowed to flourish without the stupidity and mis-management of Linden Labs. If that blame can’t be laid at Rod’s feet, or those of the CEO-du-jour, then where can it be laid?

    Let me spell it out, Rod. It’s the BUGS, YOU IDIOT.

  3. Darrius Gothly on Thu, 4th Oct 2012 10:54 AM
  4. @Megan – When I wrote this post, I was operating under a misunderstanding of what has been going on behind the scenes. Since this post, I have had the benefit of some excellent perspectives and information from people very close to the problems inside the lab. FWIW Megan, I agree with you wholeheartedly … now. Obviously I had it wrong before, but I’m confident that even if I don’t have it 100% right now, I am at least seeing it clearer than before .. and can only hope that I’ll continue getting it more right as time goes by. Thank you for contributing.