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Logan Linden Interview – Part 3

We continue our interview with Logan Linden. Part 1 is here. and Part 2 is here.

Lowell:If there were no technological barriers, what SL feature would you like to introduce tomorrow?

Chris: What I\’d like to introduce the community will be finding out about in the not too distant future.. so I best not comment on it (laughs). (This is likely to have been the voice integration announcement made this week – Ed.)

Lowell: If you had to show a new user around SL, what would be three essential spots to see after Orientation Island?

Chris: That\’s a good question. When I do show people around I show them to areas that I don\’t go to when I\’m not showing people around. I try to show them areas that give a quick overview of the possibilities. I really enjoy the Lost Gardens of Apollo, if you can get on that island during peak times because it\’s always packed full of people. It\’s beautiful and when you show people that it blows them away.

Then I usually take them to one of the educational areas because that\’s an exciting area in Second Life. I usually go to the Space Flight Museum, I\’ll fly around there and show people the globe that\’s there, play the movie on there, that always excites people. Will I always get excited anyway (laughs). The reach that the education side of Second Life has is just incredible.

And then, I like to go and search for a live event and go through the whole \’the performer there is a live performer\’, they\’re streaming the music up and we\’re engaged with a performance with people from all over the world. There, we\’ll see someone at the performance and if the person I\’m showing likes something they\’re wearing we\’ll go up and speak to that person, ask them where they bought it then I\’ll show them the shopping side. By that stage, if that haven\’t seen Second Life before they\’ll take some time to have a go themselves.

Lowell: Speaking of live events, I know there\’s a large Australian one happening in March involving You Am I, Beasts of Bourbon, Youth Group and more.

Chris: That\’s great! I\’m all about Australia getting more heavily into Second Life. I\’ve told a lot of people here that Australia\’s going to be moving up the ranks.

Lowell: What excites you most about the next year or so with Second Life and Linden Lab?

Chris: The Open Source area was obviously a big announcement for us and I\’m excited to see what comes out of that. Making predictions on what will come out of it – I wouldn\’t have a clue. We\’re at a point where we putting in a lot of capabilities for other people to be able to build up their own communities in Second Life. And not from the viewpoint of having to register through us and go through our Orientation Island, but being able to register people off their own websites, take people through their own Orientation Island. That, I\’m really excited about. For someone to be able to build up their own community and have full control over how they educate their community.

Lowell: Is that on offer now?

Chris: It is on offer now but we\’ll be enhancing that a lot in the near future.

Lowell: What are the biggest challenges in the next year for you and for Second Life?

Chris: We want to be able to keep all the community happy and we\’re doing everything we can to do that. We\’re going through a massive growth period and growing a company is a big challenge.

Lowell: One last question – what do you miss most about not living in Australia at present?

Chris: Probably the weather. I\’m in California but the weather isn\’t as good as Australia (laughs). As much as we\’ve seen the movies and watched Baywatch, we\’ve definitely got better beaches in Australia!

SL gets vocal

Linden Lab have announced a road map for integration of voice capability into SL. Limited beta-testing is on the horizon.

The changes to the SL dynamic with voice capability are potentially enormous. Some individuals will be attracted to SL with the added capability, others (including current users) may actually be repelled by it.

There\’s also the obvious issue of bandwidth and lag – will it just make the whole experience even more frustrating in the short term?

Australia\’s first major SL music event on the horizon

The Austrade Music Office in conjunction with Cattle Puppy Productions are holding Australia\’s first large-scale music event in SL. It\’s called the “The Hoe-Down Under – Texas\’ Aussie Music Party” and is coinciding with the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference 2007

The online event will occur on the 15th of March 2007 at 1:00pm to 4:00pm Australian Eastern Time on March 15. Bands scheduled to appear include The Beasts Of Bourbon, You Am I, Youth Group, Airbourne, Dallas Crane and more. Sydney-based vocal group Kaya will also perform (pictured below)

The “The Hoe-Down Under” will digitally recreate an island beach atmosphere with two stages, a dance area, swimming, jet ski rides, hot air balloons and more.

Check out the venue here

Logan Linden Interview – Part 2

We continue our interview with Logan Linden. Part 1 is here.

Lowell: I know the metrics you released were greeted with a lot of interest as they at least gave a rough indication of the number of active Australian users..

Chris: That\’s good. The Australian population is there, it\’s relatively healthy. Being the only Australian working in the office here in San Francisco, there\’s a strong side of me that does anything to comment on the Australian numbers.

Lowell:The estimates I\’ve come up with based on your data puts the active population of Australian users at around 3000

Chris:Yeah, it\’s hard to say. With Second Life, the way it works, there\’s several types of Second Life residents. There\’s residents that spend a lot of time in Second Life, which could mean going in every day. Then there\’s residents that may come in once a month, once every two months. They see something they want to check out, want to experience, they go in at that point. The resident populations as far as active down to individual countries…it\’s based on the residents who are logging in every day or week.

We\’re looking to release externally more information on that, to be able to break that out a lot more efficiently for everyone to be able to look at. We\’ve got that information here, it just goes through the process of saying \’ok, let\’s get that information into a situation where we can publish it externally, do we have the manpower to continually publish it\’, and then we\’ll send it out there. Yeah, it\’s a nice Australian population.

Lowell: I think some people and businesses in particular, are shocked at how low the population is.

Chris: The thing is about corporations going into Second Life – if you want to grow a presence in Second Life and if you want people to come back to something you\’ve built in Second Life, you\’ve got to think about building up a community. And to build up that community you need to have something there that\’s interesting for people to come back to, the ability to be able to contact those individuals. Whether it\’s setting up a group that allows you to contact people interested in things you are having on your space or it\’s making people go out to your external website and find out about events you might be holding, and in doing that it helps to pick up the population.

Lowell:What do you enjoy most about your role?

Chris: It\’s having anything to do with Second Life. It\’s really exciting, it makes me feel that everything I\’ve done before here is boring where at the time I thought I was doing some really exciting things. This virtual world I believe is in a very early stage. I think that everyone who\’s getting involved in it is going to be contributing to where Second Life goes, whether you work for Linden Lab or your just in the Second Life community. It\’s the community that drives Second Life, just being involved is exciting and seeing where it goes.

Lowell:What do you enjoy least about your role?

Chris: That\’s a tough question (pause). I don\’t really know. Previously where I\’ve worked at other corporations there\’s a huge list of things I could dislike about other roles that I\’ve done. I don\’t seem to have those problems, there\’s nothing really (laughs). People reading that are going to think \’that\’s a pretty crap answer\’.

Lowell:At least you didn\’t say the only issue was you couldn\’t work 24 hours a day.

Chris:Even though there\’s some residents that\’d like us to work 24 hours a day, unfortunately we can\’t (laughs). You know, I enjoy it all. We do a lot of hard work, everyone here is working hard. I\’ve worked in companies where working really hard can be a negative to their work, but everyone is working hard and seems to be enjoying it.

Lowell:That leads nicely to the next question. Second Life is obviously undergoing huge growth in tandem with a frantic
development schedule for Linden Labs – does your workplace have the atmosphere of a warship or is it a little more laid back than
that?

Chris: It doesn\’t feel like a warship and it\’s not laid back. Our working environment is very different to other environments I\’ve worked in – it\’s a very open plan office. I know that term is used a lot in modern corporations but at Linden Lab we\’re putting that into practice. What that means is that you are very responsible for everything that you work on. Everyone has the ability to see what you\’re working on, to comment on what you\’re working on and provide feedback. When people first join Linden Lab that\’s something that they\’ve never experienced before, and it can take awhile to get used to.

What that gives us is the ability to move very quickly as a company. As we\’re going through this very large growth spurt, we can have everyone get involved. Because the Second Life platform, being such a complex platform, there\’s so many areas that we can be working on, and we all are. We keep a clear head on what we need to do and we do it. There are companies in the past that have seen exciting growth like we\’ve had and have lost track of what they\’re doing. We know exactly what we are doing and what we need to do.

Lowell: So do you have a fairly standard organisational structure?

Chris: Yeah we do. The CEO, Philip Rosedale is the driver behind Second Life and he\’s the driver behind how we work. He sits in a pod himself. We\’re all in open plan pods and he sits in one on the main floor, he actually sits right behind me. Anyone can come up and talk to him, so yes he\’s the CEO but he very much works how he preaches.

    Part 3 coming soon – challenges for SL, recommended spots in SL for new users and upcoming SL developments

ABC Island – Call for input from science buffs

ABC\’s Abi Goldflake has put out a call seeking input from the Australian SL community. The details in Abi\’s own words:

\”One of the things we’d like to do on our ABC Island is present some of the ABC’s range of science content in an interesting and engaging way that works within the SL environment. I’ve seen quite a few great science areas within SL (Troy McLuhan at the Science Center has a very comprehensive list). Many of these seem to display scientific objects accompanied by notecards and some let you actually experience scientific experiments or phenomena (such as NOAA Virtual Island with tsunami and hurricanes).

What we’d like to do is present some of the ABC Science Online content in a 3D interactive way as a scientific quest. For example, there’s a great feature on primitive parts of the brain at http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/surviveourbrain/- how would you present those ideas as a scientific quest in SL?

I’d like to set a challenge to the ABC Friends group, or any readers of SLOz with your collective expertise and ideas: can you come up with an interactive science quest based on a piece of content from www.abc.net.au/science using gadgets which avatars could pick up and interact with. Also clues and information presented physically so that at the end of the quest, the player has learnt something – essentially a virtual experiment?

Please IM me directly inworld if you want more info or email me at digcitizen at yahoo dot com dot au – interested both in ideas and people who could build the gadgets/clues.\”

You can also respond to Abi on the related SLOz Discussion Forum thread

RMIT Revisited

I dropped in to the RMIT island the other day and bumped into the island\’s director John Guffey. As the students start this coming week, further development will take off as much of the building and design work will be undertaken by the students themselves. John indicated that access to the island will not be limited to students alone. In fact, they are going to open more space – and there is already talk of another island.

John had an interesting view that \”we want aussie unis to clump islands together\”. That kind of scenario would be extremely interesting from two points of view.

Firstly, the competition for students and research funding would dictate that \”clumping\” all Australian University SL islands close to each other sounds to be a curious goal as universities are traditionally seen to be vying with each other.

Secondly, the concept of an SL Archipelago of Australian Universities could attract interest from the global marketplace of students. It would set it apart from other countries with tertiary education presences in SL.

It will be interesting to see how the current Australian Universities in SL respond to this proposal and whether those without an SL presence are prepared to come on board if the Archipelago happens.

Hyro open shop

Australian online services company, Hyro has a full presence in-world at their island called The Snow Dome . It\’s purpose is threefold – in-world recruitment, a showcase of services and awards and extensive conference facilities.