Blondin Linden appears to be the latest departure from Linden Lab. His reasons for leaving are unclear; there has been no official announcement, nor has he revealed anything via his own Twitter account – neither of which is surprising.
Blondin joined Linden Lab in May 2008, by way of the Electric Sheep Company, the former operators of On Rez, which was purchased by Linden Lab a few years ago and shut down.
Working out the East Coast office (Boston), Blondin had responsibility for Zindra, Bay City and Nautilus, and first came to major prominence when Zindra was being set-up. At that time he found himself pretty much in the firing line between the Adult user community and Linden Lab, as the latter started to effectively back-out of promises and understandings relating to land allocation on the new continent, etc. While Blondin carried a lot of the blame, the fact of the matter was, he did not have the seniority to make decisions, but was pretty much locked into the role of messenger, running back and forth between users who were growing increasingly frustrated and a line management at Linden Lab that increasingly appeared as if it couldn’t give a hoot.
Recently, Blondin has appeared out-of-sorts at Zindra user group meetings (something Ciaran Laval commented upon to me), which have themselves come across as fractious affairs, something which could not have made Blondin’s life any easier. Nor could the fact he reported into Amanda Linden who, when all is said and done, appears to be both embarrassed and frightened by the Adult elements of Second Life – whatever form they take, be they in-world or reasonable discussions (or indeed, entirely innocent words) in the official forums.
Whatever the reason for Blondin’s departure, there are many who will miss him. Despite often being hampered in his work, Blondin did participate in-world, attending parties and events, was well as chairing office hour meetings and, later, user group meetings. In this, he was very much part of a rare breed at the Lab and for this – as much as all his efforts with Zindra, Bay City and Nautilus – he will be missed. His departure also leaves a burning question – who will now run the Adult User Group meetings?