Xiola Linden departing the Lab, but not Second Life

One of Xiola’s many looks. Credit: Strawberry Singh

Over the last 24 hours, the news has been spreading about the upcoming departure of one of Linden Lab’s most popular members of staff: Xiola Linden.

It was Xiola who actually announced she would be leaving Linden Lab at the start of 2020, as she and Strawberry Linden sat down to host the December 18th, 2019 Lab Gab live stream programme.

I managed to miss the show (I confess I wasn’t even aware there was a session scheduled for this week – so shame on me!); however, thanks to You Tube, I’ve embedded the portion of the show where she makes her announcement below, and you can watch the entire segment via the Lab’s You Tube channel.

In breaking the news, Xiola said in part:

Just a little over eight years ago, I think it was, I showed up for my first day at, quote, “the Lab”, and I basically walked into my dream job. It was a place that I had, for a very long time, been a resident of, so to speak, since 2006, I think …

It’s been a job that has really allowed me to grow … and it’s given me a ton of incredible stories of things that you can not only just image, but also realise. And I learned that from the community, to see the way that they continuously adopt the features of the platform and do it in ways that we never expected or would do…

And here we are eight years later, and it’s still my dream job, and I still cannot imagine who I would be and what I would be like without this community and without Second Life and the Lab. That said, the time has come for me to work on some new dreams.

Commenting on her forthcoming departure from the Lab to me personally, Xiola added:

It is one of the hardest decisions I have made, and honestly still does not feel real. It has been a pleasure to serve this community as best I know how, and supporting all the various communities that it is comprised of. I hope to perhaps one day be able to work with so many of the incredible talents and interesting folks that I have gotten to know over the years here.

Born and raised in California’s silicon valley, Xiola naturally immersed her career in technology, working for the likes of Yahoo!, with a particular interest in creative communities. It was a friend’s invitation that she try Second Life that got her started on the platform, and she remains active in-world on her personal account to this day.

Due to this engagement with SL, she became interested in working at Linden Lab and started keeping an eye on the company’s career page in the hopes of being able to apply for a suitable role. Fortunately, a community related post opened in late 2011, and her application was accepted.

Xiola, centre, at the May 2015 Linden Meet-Up

As a part of the Community Team, her first major event was the Second Life Birthday (SLB) celebrations – something she regards as her “SL event boot camp” – helping bring together information on the event as well as helping to organise the festivities.

Since then, over the intervening years, her role has been broad-ranging, encompassing elements of customer support, putting together events like the former Linden Meet-ups, activities like the annual Creepy Crawl and the Meet the Lindens sessions during the SLB celebrations, and moderating Town Hall meetings. She has also been instrumental in building Second Life’s social media presence across various platforms and in revitalising the official SL blogs.

With the arrival of Sansar, she moved over to that platform, taking on the role of Community Manager there, and shouldering the responsibility for building up a weekly social and meetings schedule, getting members of the Sansar team in-world to meet with users and discuss the platform. Once this was ticking along and the Lab could bring in a dedicated Sansar Community Manager, she transitioned back full time to Second Life, where she’s been for almost the past two years.

Throughout all of this, she has acted as strong liaison between the Lab and its user communities, linking them through social events, programmes and activities. Within Second Life, she’s been instrumental in a number of programmes, some of which I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in, the most recent of which has been the Second Life Blogger Network (SLBN).

While she is departing Linden Lab on January 3rd, 2020, Xiola has made it clear she’s not leaving Second Life – she fully intends to remain an active resident and user of the platform through her personal account.

Xiola in her role as Community Manager in Sansar (centre left), cooling herself in a portable pool at a time when California was experiencing a heatwave!

On a personal note, what has always struck me about Xiola through a number of years of interaction with her – albeit it at a distance, so to speak, given we’re on different continents –  is that her enthusiasm for both the platform and its users has never waned, and has always been infectious. Simply put, the Lab couldn’t have asked for or sought a better ambassador to help manage and grow their relationship with users over the last 8+ years. Working with her – be it with things like the SLBN or in e-mail exchanges or direct conversation – has always been an absolute pleasure.

So, thank you, Xiola for your work, your enthusiasm and your involvement. Wishing you the very best over the holidays and in the new career. Do stay in contact – even if only in-world!


3 thoughts on “Xiola Linden departing the Lab, but not Second Life

  1. I’m sorry to say that Xiola did not organise SLB, the residents done that. She may have been the liaison between SLB and LindenLab but that’s all. The real hard work is done by volunteers.
    Saying that, it is a shame that such a good Linden departs with the lab but I understand she needs to follow her dreams and challenges. I really hope she achieve it!


    1. Not entirely correct. Prior to SL9B, the birthday celebrations were organised by Linden Lab with support / involvement of the community (I think it was Pathfinder Linden who led the very early SLB activities, with the support of the Lab and members of the community).

      However, In April 2012, The Lab abruptly announced that they would only be “spotlighting community events“, and then going on to comment in the forums:

      Having seen the feedback in this thread and elsewhere about the plan for SL9B celebrations, we wanted to elaborate a bit about why we’ve decided to focus on promoting numerous events hosted by the community this year, rather than hosting a centralized celebration as we have in the past.

      We want to give the Second Life community more control over the celebrations and to put the focus of the events where we think it really belongs: on you – the landowners, the creators, the artists, the DJs, the musicians, the venue managers – the people who make Second Life great every day.

      Many of you have invested both time and money in your own venues inworld, and we think the SL9B celebrations are a good opportunity to introduce new people to the work you’ve put into cultivating a community presence inworld (rather than potentially drawing traffic away from your region to a central event). A collection of decentralized events and exhibits means that not only can many more creators participate, but it should also help us to avoid some of the performance challenges that have lessened the fun for attendees at past SL Birthdays.

      As many of you have pointed out, there are pros and cons to the approach we’re taking this year, just as there have been in the past, but we hope you’ll choose to participate and enjoy the celebrations.

      The result of this decision was to see SL9B become a wholly community-run event, with the regions donated by Dreamseeker Estates (IIRC). This is the trend that continued through until LL once again took on a significant role in organising things with the 2019 SLB event.


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