Rodvik! Rodvik! Rodvik!

March 14, 2011 by
Filed under: Linden Lab and Second Life 

If you’ve ever watched a 3-year old yanking on his mother, screaming “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” at the top of his lungs, then you kind of have an idea how Rodvik Linden (AKA Rod Humble) feels. Except he’s got several thousand 3-year olds yanking on him. Frankly, I don’t envy his job one iota. But I do understand the situation .. and the reasons. Allow me to explain.

Barking at the Top Dog

The recent “interaction” with Linden Lab over a privacy disclosure issue has served to open my ears to a few choice comments from folks. One of those that came across my desk was along the lines of “How dare you think you deserve communication with THE Rodvik Linden. You’re JUST a Resident.” At first, I will admit, I somewhat bristled at that statement. After all, I’m THE Darrius Gothly and I AM important. Right?

(When you stop gagging .. let me know .. I’ll wait here for you)

Okay, in all seriousness, I felt like the issue of private personal info being posted on a public site was a big deal. I wasn’t alone either. Quite a few of the regular Forumites felt the same way. But why would I immediately jump over all the other Lindens and head straight at Rodvik? Why would I join the gaggle of screaming 3-year olds tugging on him? Quite simple really, but first you need to read Suspiria Finucane’s Blog Post on the issue … Moderation Team breaches LL privacy policy. In that blog, Suspira states:

I attempted to resolve these issues privately, asking Amanda for the chain of communication, which she refused to give me.  I emailed Amanda (per her statement in the Thursday meeting) regarding the abuse,her reply was that she “saw” and basically “too bad”.
She has failed to reply to any subsequent emails despite over 36 hours elapsing.

Timely Response Is Crucial

This is a point that for some reason seems lost on Linden Lab, it is absolutely crucial that you respond in some fashion … especially when you don’t want to. Even a simple “I don’t have an answer yet, but I am taking this matter seriously.”

It’s basic human nature really. When you talk to someone and they ignore you, your first response is to get a little louder, then louder still, until eventually you are shouting. Anger and frustration go hand in hand at this point. When you’re dealing with an organization that has a hierarchical structure (such as most corporations like Linden Lab), your next stop on the hunt for a solution is … up the chain.

Knock Knock! Anyone Home?

But this is where it gets very frustrating for those of us that are not able to walk the halls on Battery Street … we have no bloody idea who is next in the chain of command. There is no rapidly available Org Chart that shows who occupies which offices and who handles what functions within Second Life and Linden Lab. In fact, the casual user doesn’t even know where to begin to go and find that out.

Flat vs. Tall

In the early days of Linden Lab, when it was basically a garage operation and had a few handfuls of employees, it was no tough feat to find the person you needed pretty fast. For a lot of Resident-related issues, that one person was often the same person too. Basically their Org Chart was pretty flat as there was one level of organization between the CEO and the customer-facing personnel.

But Linden Lab isn’t a garage full of cowboy engineers and programmers anymore. It is a multi-national corporation with a massive user base and a lot of departments all attempting to work together. Based on the faux pas I’ve seen them make, figuring out who is doing what to which is no easy feat for the Lindens either. In short, their Org Chart is now pretty tall, and they’re having a tough time getting their mojo flowing up and down the stacks.

Map It!

Maps and Org Charts are handy mnemonics for us mere humans. They let us understand in a brief glance exactly where we are and where we need to go. When it comes to a multi-nested company like Linden Lab has become, it’s absolutely crucial too. In fact, I’m reasonably sure that LL has one .. somewhere .. but it’s not visible from outside and it should be. Sort of …

Keep the Shiny Side Up

Along the edges of Linden Lab’s Org Chart are positions and responsibilities that are specifically designed for customer contact. Each niche, each specialty needs a point of contact that is both easily visible, clearly specified AND constantly in touch with the customers.

These positions are not easy to fill. They often put the holder of the position in between the employer and the customer, and sometimes they even put the holder in direct opposition to the company. These people are sometimes called “Customer Advocates” because at times they must take the customer’s position to resolve an issue.

While there are some people that are defined as customer contact people within Linden Lab, they are never actually on the customer’s side. Furthermore they are not always that visible and definitely not that reachable. Getting a message or bit of info from any of them can be downright impossible .. unless you start lobbing nukes at the bossman.

Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!

When you combine these issues and behaviors, it’s not hard to see why virtually everyone leaps over top the heads of the “regular” Lindens and aims straight at Rodvik. When we try and contact the “proper” person, we get no reply. When we try to find someone a little higher on the corporate ladder to resolve the issue, there is no one visible. So who is left for us to contact?

Hey Rodvik? Got a minute?


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Comments

4 Comments on Rodvik! Rodvik! Rodvik!

  1. Argus Collingwood on Mon, 14th Mar 2011 9:36 PM
  2. Darius.. need a cookie?;-) Good blog, guy.

  3. Darrius Gothly on Mon, 14th Mar 2011 9:40 PM
  4. nom .. nom .. nom … Good Cooooookieeee! *grin* Thank you.

  5. Tinsel Silvera on Mon, 14th Mar 2011 9:54 PM
  6. I think it is great that Twitter gives us the opportunity to interact with Rod and other Senior Lindens. However, we do need to keep in mind that as you say “Except he’s got several thousand 3-year olds yanking on him. ” I can imagine that he is inundated with @rodviks all day long. And the occasional response we may get does not make him our BFF. It just means that we have been acknowledged. As for Amanda’s failure to respond in 36 hours – she stated that she was off from work. I know I do not check my work emails on my days off. Why should we expect different of Amanda? From what I can tell she addressed it when she returned to work. As for the lack of security with the third party site. Total /fail. Glad to see overall that this situation was resolved. Let us hope this learning lesson was taken to heart and not repeated.

  7. Darrius Gothly on Mon, 14th Mar 2011 10:49 PM
  8. I’d actually prefer that he not “have to” talk to anyone, but does so as a means of community contact and grand gestures. If we could get good, responsive contact people within LL, I’m fairly confident the nagging toddlers would drop off in a hurry.