Brief Thoughts on Ebbe’s Keynote at VWBPE 2014 in Second Life

It was good to hear Ebbe Altberg, Linden Lab’s new CEO, speak at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2014 conference in Second Life yesterday.

Ebbe Altberg speaking at the VWBPE conference in Second Life.

Ebbe Altberg speaking at the VWBPE conference in Second Life.

Ebbe addressed a number of pain points with the educator community in Second Life and brought some healthy visibility into how he sees things moving forward on a number of technical levels. I really appreciated the time and effort he spent in addressing educators.

But I have some constructive criticism.

Cultivating any community requires a lot more than just understanding its technical requirements for a particular piece of software or to be “listening to needs.” Communities are organic and constantly evolving entities with complex interdependencies that are often far from intuitive. And when you give communities new technological tools, they typically use these tools in very unpredictable ways.

In other words, it’s not just about collecting technical requirements and reading submitted feedback when you have the time. It’s about taking the time to actively investigate and participate in a community so you can cultivate its success and identify completely new market opportunities in the future.

There’s a reason people dedicated to sociology and cultural anthropology and community development exist. This stuff is important and hard and requires focus.

It’s the same reason why companies that focus solely on engineering goals while ignoring complex sociological factors tend to find themselves perpetually running after a community rather than leading it into the brightest possible future.

Watch his full presentation here:

Article reprinted with permission from Be Cunning and Full of Tricks.

John Lester

Director, of community development at ReactionGrid, Inc.

  • wow wait what? “no interest in locking you in. any content you create we feel that you should be able to export and take and save and possibly move to another environment like opensim.” < talking about content. Thats a shocker to hear the new CEO of Linden Labs even say the word opensim like that.

    • Gaga

      But does it mean that the Lab will implement an export flag giving merchants the option to sell products on SL MP for export to Opensim grids?

      • I’d say it just means that they will implement Firestorm’s “Export to XML” and “Export to COLLADA” features.

        Mind you, they work so well it’s mind-boggling.