Friday, March 14, 2008

Rosedale logs off

Mister Second Life himself, Philip Rosedale a.k.a. Philip Linden, founder and CEO of Linden Research Inc. announced he steps down as CEO.


“I feel that the most important contributions I have made and will continue to make to Second Life are related to building both the product and the company through my direct contributions to vision, strategy, and design. As we grow, the role of our CEO will increasingly be to hire and grow the right team - to lead and help the company scale - to thousands of people and tens of millions of users of Second Life. I believe that we can hire a fantastic person in that
role, and also give me the ability to totally focus myself on the job that I do well. I bet this will be the most interesting job opening in the technology world.”

It is not that the man who brought in the idea and the streaming technology into Sansome Street, San Francisco, will be shut off from the grid entirely, According to Reuters he...


"will become chairman of the Linden Lab board when his successor is found, replacing Mitch Kapor, who will remain a board member and the company’s largest investor. Rosedale said he will also keep a full-time role at the company
working on product development and strategy."


This move comes as a surprise to many as Philip has been the real life personification of Linden Lab. Will it really change? Will Phil fade to grey as this snapshot predicted?



Though nobody is panicking, things are changing at Sansome street. By the end of 2007 we saw Cory Ondrejka leaving the buidling as well. Aleister Kronos has a pretty accurate remark about the change of flavor and Linden Lab:



There doesn't seem to be any air of panic, just the recognition that a big, grown-up company (which Linden Lab has now become) requires an entirely different sort of leadership from a hip, young start-up. I made this point (as many others did) when Cory Ondrejka left Linden Lab at the tail end of last year: "once you have a large (and largely
successful) implementation on your hands, your focus shifts from rapid innovation and heads more towards Quality of Service and effective service delivery."


Provided they get the right person - and that's a big proviso - then this should be a good thing for consumers of Linden Lab's services - that's us residents, both private and corporate. Hopefully, we will continue to see innovation and creativity from the Lab, after all Mr Rosedale is only moving within the outfit, but tempered with the skills needed to deliver a customer-centric, high quality service. Well... I can hope, can't I?


The question is, who's going to be the new man? I do know a couple of candidates...

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2 Comments:

Blogger dyerbrookME said...

I find it really distasteful seeing all these tekkie male Internet gurus slapping each other on the back and saying "I told you so" about having Philip, the visionary, "log-off" and have "the grown-up management types" come in, as if this is progress.

It isn't. And you don't have to be a wild-eyed flying furry in Second Life and be stuck in immersion to realize this.

Visionary technology needs visionaries to keep running it with visionary zeal. The solution for the problem of poor day-to-day management is to hire better staff.

And to grow slower. The greed and the zeal for millions of sign-ons and more revenue are breaks on progress, really. That is, sure, you can stabilize the company, make it grow big and turn its special thing into a "product" as Gene Yoon calls it (I'm betting he'll be made the CEO).

But, it's just another download then. Just another game. Not the future of work. Not really producing the platform for the 3-D Internet. So the synapse jump is missed.

And it may not come around again for another hundred years.

Saturday, March 15, 2008 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Brown said...

Great post.

It takes guts for a founding visionary entrepreneur to step aside and hand the reigns over to another. Ultimately the vision has to be more important than any individual, even the source of that vision. Of course the key now is getting just the right CEO. As a CEO myself (and no I won't be putting my hand up!) my advice is to find someone who is not so much a visionary as a strategist. More of an organizational and strategic technician. The key to scaling an organization is in the deployment of resources: in particular creating the right environment and structures ready to meet the planned growth. So for me, I.T expertise is minor to this, what they need is a first class strategist.

Sunday, March 16, 2008 11:49:00 PM  

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