Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dear Jack Linden

Dear Jack,

Many positive things have been happening in Second Life, including the Havok 4 roll out, improvements in infrastructure, sculpties, and now your new land pricing. However, communications problems often hinder even positive developments.

Second Life is paid for by the people who pay tier, who are taking the risks of being able to find a market for what they do. You price that way, 300 USD a month is not a consumer price for something, it is a business price. You aren't dealing with consumers, but with people who run at least side businesses in your world. You are asking them to take huge risks on no salary, while you work on salary and have a chance at an IPO.

This means that high handed, dishonest, and secretive beahvior is taken very, very, very badly, because many of the people you are talking to have borrowed money to do business here, or have spent a good deal of their liquid cash to do so. While Linden Lab is used to engaging in behavior which is, by the standards of software, shoddy and abusive, it has a cost. That cost is in negative publicity. It is not free, but is coming out of your IPO as it leaks out.

LL regularly charges premium for what would be regarded as beta software elsewhere. It labels programs release candidates that are loaded with obvious memory leaks and crash bugs, it stiffs its open source developers and takes away tools.

This is not going to get any better. What you should have done was much simpler: namely quietly put the new land store in operation to handle the open space sims internally. When open space sims were popping instantly, and had no bugs, you could have announced the public use of the new land store. Prices could have been discounted say 20%, and then another 20% when the land store was actually on line.

Instead, well after you knew the land store was going to be late, you didn't say anything.

I am going to say it again, you are dealing with people who are entrepreneurial and in business, even if a side business. You are charging them a lot for very very beta software. Treating them like children, not even ordinary customers, is a very good way to have them write, very publically, about how incompetent and foolish Linden Labs is. Every time someone does that, your IPO price goes down.

Consider, who would be the market for an LL IPO?

Let me give you a hint, the very people who you are jerking around right now are the people who are going to deliver the "pop" in what I am told is "the most challenging environment for IPOs" in this decade.

So don't do things differently because of some abstract reason, do things differently because you are trying to sell stock to these people, so that you can cash out your options on IPO day and get something more than a nice dinner for your trouble.

Sincerely Yours,

Lillie Yifu

1 comment:

  1. Don't shoot the messenger. Jack was just telling it like it is, but ultimately it wasn't his decision. Keep the faith, especially in Jack.