Linden Lab’s board of directors: snippets of news

Linden Lab’s new board of directors (l to r): Brad Oberwager, J. Randall Waterfield and Raj Date

Back in January, I provided a piece on the Lab’s new owners / board of directors, including their biographical notes as posted by the Lab (see: Meet Linden Lab’s new board of directors).

Since then, user interest in the new owners has remained fairly high in some areas, with questions being asked on social media, in-world, during user group meetings (the most recent being the Web User Group), etc.

Some of the more common questions that have been answered by Lab staff (and that I’m aware of) comprise:

  • Have they been in-world? – Yes, they were in-world prior to the deal being finalised, and still hop in as needed.
  • Do they understand SL? – Yes, they are enthusiastic about the platform and have already been contributing thoughts / ideas.
  • Have they seen any Adult regions? – Yes, they have.
  • Will they be talking directly with users (e.g. via a Town Hall)? – There have been no direct discussions as yet about this.
  • Do they have specific aspirations regarding SL / LL? – None that have been directly discussed; it’s been more a case of gaining a deeper familiarity with the platform and its potential.

For my part whilst writing Meet Linden Lab’s new board of directors I ruminated on Raj Date possibly being involved in Tilia Inc, the Lab’s micro-currency transaction management service, commenting:

His background with consumer affairs, finances, and his post-CFPB founding of Fenway Summer would appear to help lend significant weight to Linden Lab’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Tilia inc; while he is not currently listed as a member of Tilia’s board, his background and expertise could be used in an advisory capability, and his name certainly brings a further level of gravitas to Tilia.

Since then things have moved forward.

In particular, Tilia’s Meet the Team page has been updated to reveal that both Raj Date and Brad Oberwager have joined the board, whilst former “non-Linden” (so to speak) board member Ben Duranske is not longer listed as being directly involved in the company. Both Mr. Date and Mr. Oberwager now hold seats on the board alongside of the Lab’s Chief Financial Officer, Anton Waldman, who has held both the position of Tilia Inc., CEO and Director and Treasurer on the board since taking over as the Lab’s CFO some time ago.

This is a move that makes a lot of sense, as it ensures a continuity of board oversight across both Linden Research and Tilia  Inc., potentially helping with the growth of both entities.

February 2021 WUG summary

The Web User Group meeting venue, Denby

The following notes are taken from my recording of the Web User Group (WUG) meeting, held on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021. These meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month, with dates and venue details available via the SL public calendar.

When reading these notes, please keep in mind:

  • This is not intended as a chronological transcript of the meeting. Items are drawn together by topic, although they may have been discussed at different points in the meeting.
  • Similarly, and if included, any audio extracts appearing in these summaries are presented by topic heading, rather than any chronological order in which they may have been raised during the meeting (e.g. if “topic X” is mentioned early in a meeting and then again half-way through a meeting, any audio comments related to that topic that might be included in these reports will be concatenated into a single audio extract.

Web Properties Updates

  • Core work remains clean-up post the transition to services to AWS.
    • Most of the issues arising from the Uplift project for the various web properties (e.g. Marketplace, Destination Guide, etc), appear to have been resolved, although the destination Guide still has a couple of issues to be fully resolved.
  • Once this has been completed, work will resume on sorting through the web “to do”list (which includes incoming bug reports and feature requests in readiness to start working through items.
  • There have been some additional non-user visible updates to some web properties.
  • As of the end of December 2020, there were three software toolsets LL use in relation Second life (none of them user-facing) awaiting a transition to AWS, as of the start of February, one of these has yet to be transitioned.

Single Sign-On

  • Linden Lab is starting to roll-out single sign-on for web properties (not to be confused with two-factor authentication, which is still being planned, but is not ready for deployment).
  • This will mean that users with multiple accounts will only be able to sign-in to different properties on a per account basis.
  • There will be a formal LL blog post to explain this further in due course.

Mobile Client

  • Linden Lab is dealing with some bugs, so no significant news arising from the past month.

Last Names

  • The Lab is hoping to have a new batch of Last Names available for around Valentine’s Day, which will include Valentine’s-themed last names.
  • There is some talk of also providing “normal” last names (for some definition of “normal”, given the likes of  “Aphelion”, “Birdwhistle”, “Dankworth”, “Izzard” and “Posey”, among many others are all considered “normal” where I come from!).
  • For new batches of Last Names, LL tend to select from the list of suggestions that came about from the 2019 Last Names competition, then add a mix of names they’ve selected.
  • It is also hoped that Last Name updates will happen more “regularly” in the future.

In Brief

  • There has been intermittent delays in getting items delivered from the Marketplace ( which can last up to several minutes) over the last week(ish). The issue has been hard for LL to reproduce, although they have been aware of it and had tried to make adjustments.
  • BUG-229713 “Marketplace listing status updates are not being updated between the web and the viewer” and BUG-230107 “Marketplace Listings window in the viewer does not update” have been confirmed by LL as an issue, and the issue is to be investigated.
  • Profile feed: there had been a series of issues of late (images failing to upload, posts failing to appear, etc.), but as of February 2nd, these should have been resolved. Anyone still experiencing problems should contact support / raise a bug report.
  • LL are continuing to consider how to improve the new user experience, and have been seeking feedback on what established users see as the “main” problem new users face. In addition, it was notes that in order to better understand new user problems when on-boarding, the Lab:
    • Has regular internal workshops where staff go through various aspects of being a new users (e.g.building an entire mesh-based avatar from scratch) to better understand the complexities lies, and where particular pain point might be.
    • Has staff spend time within new user environments (the learning / social islands, etc.)..
    • Has some of the user-led mentor groups to assist with the on-boarding process through the social and learning islands.

Next Meeting

  • Wednesday, March 3rd, 14:00 SLT.