On Friday, March 27th, 2020, Linden Lab opened applications for those wishing to perform at the upcoming 17th anniversary of Second Life.
SL17B will run from Friday, June 19th through until Friday, July 10th, with the core entertainments for the celebrations taking place between June 19th and Sunday, June 28th. This year the theme is road trips and vacations.
Calling all performers! Second Life is seeking talent for our upcoming 17th annual Second Life birthday celebration (SL17B), held June 19-July 10. Get ready for a fun-filled week of live music and deejay performances, shopping exclusives, and amazing community exhibits.
One of the things that makes Second Life so vibrant and exciting is the wide range of Performers who share their talent with our Residents. Are you a DJ who can spin up a great party set? Maybe you’re a Live Musician who plays an instrument or sings! You might be one of the grid’s amazing Dance companies, or perhaps you’re a Particle Performer! Whatever your medium, we would love to hear from you.
Note that this call is not related to the SL Music Fest, which will take place over the opening days of SL17B, but is for those who wish to perform as a part of the event’s full week of activities and celebrations. As such, applications are open to DJs, live performers, dance troupes, particle performers, etc.
Those interested in providing their services should complete and submit the official performer application form no later than Monday, May 18th. Successful applicants will be contacted by SL17B Event Staff Leaders in de course.
On Friday, March 13th, 2020, Linden Lab opened applications for those wishing to exhibit at the upcoming 17th anniversary of Second Life.
SL17B will run from Friday, June 19th through until Friday, July 10th, with the core entertainments for the celebrations taking place between June 19th and Sunday, June 28th. This year the theme is vacations and road trips (or road trips and vacations as the Lab has previously referred to it – amounts to the same thing), with the official blog post announcing the opening of exhibitor applications reading in part:
In Second Life, you can explore the (virtual) world from the safety and comfort of your own home — and that’s why we’ve selected “vacations and road trips” as this year’s SL17B theme. Whether you teleport directly or travel to your favorite SL destinations by plane, train or automobile, we hope to see a wide variety of community exhibits and experiences that celebrate the spirit of Second Life escapism and travel.
However, in a change from previous years, those wishing to exhibit at SL17B are not being asked to tie their exhibit ideas just to the core theme of the event, as the blog post goes on to note:
A major change for exhibitors this year is the freedom to create an exhibit that reflects your own passions in Second Life. This means that while “vacations and road trips” is our official SL17B theme, exhibits will not be limited by it. We welcome a wider variety of topics this year, including exhibits that may serve as introductions to the varied and abundant communities throughout SL. We also are inviting original art installations and other personal projects that people want to share with the SL community at large.
A reminder that applications for those interested at performing at the SL17B Music Fest, scheduled to take place over Friday 19th / Saturday 20th June 2020, can still apply to participate in auditions through until the end of Monday, May 18th 2020. The Lab is looking for at least a dozen performers, both veteran Second Life musicians and those new to the scene, with sets in the past running to 60 minutes per performance.
Auditions are to be held on a rolling basis held every other week at the the Bellisseria Fairgrounds, and as applications are received, performers will be asked to attend one of these auditions to perform. Every audition event will be open to the general public to attend as an audience, and details will be made available ahead of the first such audition via a Second Life blog post, with each audition session additionally advertised through the following in-world groups (both with open enrolment):
Second Life Birthday.
Those interested in auditioning for the Music Fest should be sure to complete the audition application form and submit it before the closing date.
Keep Up To Date and Early Access
Updates on SL17B preparations will be made via official blog posts and through the Second Life Birthday in-world group. In addition, and as indicated during the Lab Gab show featuring Patch Linden and the Moles, it is planned to offer members of that group early access to the SL17B grounds on Thursday, June 18th.
On Friday, February 28th, 2020, Linden Lab issued an invitation to live music performers to apply to be a part of the Second Life 17th Birthday celebration’s Music Festival.
2020 marks the sixth such festival the Lab has organised, and will take place during the SL17B festivities – which this year will have the theme of Vacations and Road Trips – and will specifically run over the course of Friday June 19th and Saturday June 20th (note the music and songs do not have to be in accord with the overall celebration theme).
The Lab is looking for at least a dozen performers, both veteran Second Life musicians and those new to the scene, to provide the music for the event. So if you’d like to be a part of the event – sets have in the past run to 60 minutes per performance – then please be sure to complete the audition application form and submit it before the end of Monday, May 18th, 2020.
As with previous Music Fests, all performers will be asked to take part in an audition process, which will be used to select the final acts for the event. However, for 2020, the audition process will be slightly different to previous years.
For SL17B, there will be a series of public audition events that will be held every other week at the the Bellisseria Fairgrounds, and as applications are received, performers will be asked to attend one of these auditions to perform. Every audition event will be open to the general public to attend, and details will be made available ahead of the first such audition via a Second Life blog post, with each audition session additionally advertised through the following in-world groups (both with open enrolment):
Second Life Birthday.
Both can be found and joined via an in-world search.
The official blog post on the SL17B Music Fest call for submissions can be found here.
On Friday, June 28th, 2019 at the SL16B celebrations, the last of five Meet the Lindens sessions took place at the SL16B Auditorium. This was a special session, featuring as it did members of the Linden Department of Public Works – aka, the Moles.
A veritable host of Moles surfaced for the session, along with Patch Linden, comprising Abnor Mole, Naughty Mole, Squeaky Mole, Missy Mole and Alotta Mole, all of who can be heard in the video. They were joined by Glowing Mole, Quartz Mole, Spiffy Mole, Lost Mole, Squishy Mole, Glamorous Mole, Ancient Mole, Garden Mole, Paranor Mole, Shimmy Mole and Magic Mole.
The nature of the event, with so many people available to answer questions makes producing a summary a little difficult; instead, I offer an outline of what the Moles are, and the feedback of the key speakers on how they became Moles, and notes based both on comments during the session and the LDPW wiki page on how to become a Mole. For the rest, I recommend watching the video in full!
Who or What the Moles?
As surprising as it may seem, lot of SL users are not aware of what or who the Moles are.
Officially called the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) the Moles are SL residents from all over the world who have either applied to the Lab, or have been asked by the Lab, to work as paid freelance contractors. The LDPW is specifically geared towards enhancing the Mainland, as noted in the official wiki page, but they actually do a lot more than this.
The Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) is a programme focused on improvements related to the experience of living on, or visiting the Linden Mainland. The LDPW will organize teams of Resident builders, artists, and scripters (the Moles!) to create new content on Linden Lab’s behalf and to the benefit of all.
The LDPW initially formed in 2008, and so is now in its eleventh year, and many of those involved in the programme today were recruited back then. The team is managed be Derrick Linden, the Product Operations Manager for Second Life, who reports into Patch Linden, and the team includes a number of Linden staff as well, including Guy Linden, Madori Linden, Kona Linden and Izzy Linden.
Within the Mainland, the Moles are probably best known for their infrastructure work – the roads, the railway lines, general continent layout, and all the many elements thereto. There have also been responsible for the development on Mainland projects such as the infrastructure within Nautilus City and, perhaps more particularly, the development of Bay City – which in their honour hosts an annual Mole Day festival.
Most recently, the Moles have been responsible for – and perhaps most visible with – the new Linden Homes continent, Bellisseria. They also produce the infrastructure for Lab-led events, including SL16B, the Lab-run shopping events, the town hall meeting spaces. But they also do far more than this, and work in many different areas, for example – and as a short list:
They produce content such as the Premium gifts.
The build and script the Lab-provided games such as Linden Realms, Paleoquest, Horizons and the grid-wide Tyrah and the Curse of the Magical Glytches – all accessible via the Portal Parks.
Their work is often used as an example of what can be achieved in SL, particularly with regards new functions and capabilities.
They work with multiple teams at Linden Lab, such as Marketing and the engineering team (Moles participated in projects such as Bento, for example, producing test content used in the development of Bento capabilities and in testing the Bento skeleton).
Helping with QA activities.
As residents, how much time Moles spend on their resident / personal accounts understandably varies in accordance with the work they’re engaged in. Some of the longer-serving Moles perhaps tend to focus predominantly on their Moles accounts / personas, while those who have more recently joined the team might spend more time split between their personal accounts and Mole accounts.
As freelance contractors, Moles also get to pretty much choose their hours of work – providing tasks are completed on time. An advantage here is that as the Moles are based around the world, some projects can at times move forward on something of a round-the-clock basis.
Over the years, the Moles have to deal with a with a lot, starting with selecting their Mole name. For this, they have to put forward three preferences, and either are award the one that’s available, or get to pick from those that are available – although there can be opportunities for them to change their names. They also have to deal with the more unusual in Second Life, as Abnor Mole explained:
With the games, we’ve had a lot of people who try to find a lot of creative ways not to play the game as you’re supposed to … In the Paleoquest game [in which tasks must be completed against the clock] … at the end, where you’re supposed to take a giant swab and you have to go and find the dino DNA, and you do that with the giant cotton swab … we found that somebody was going around and they would always find the “good poop” to swab the very first time, and we were, “how are they doing this?” And we’re looking and we’re looking and we’re looking, and finally we realised there was a time stamp on the creation of the object that was a little bit different on the “good” ones … they had gone that deeply into it to tell that that was how to do it [find the right item and complete the task]!
– Abnor Mole on one of the weird things Moles sometimes have to deal with
How Did You Become A Mole?
Abnor Mole: read about the formation of the LPDW in 2008, put in an application – back then this could be done via the Second Life website (and later the wiki), was interviewed by Michael Linden, who at that time managed the LPDW, and was accepted – so has been a Mole for 11 years. Among his many roles as a part of the team, he produces some of the videos associated with the like of the Paleoquest game.
Naughty Mole: was approached by Jack Linden (who used to manage the SL land team) as the LPDW was being formed with the aim of improving the Mainland, and he asked her if she’d like to join. One of the first projects she worked on was Barney’s Bay.
Squeaky Mole: is one of the “youngest” Moles, having joined the LDPW just over a year ago. He was “discovered” as a result of exhibiting at SLB, and the Lindens visited his region after which he received an invitation from Patch to become a Mole – and initially thought it was a joke!
Missy Mole: is also one of the “younger” moles, having joined the LDPW on June 28th, 2018. Also like Squeaky, she was approach by Patch to join the team, specifically in taking photos in support of Marketing work. She and Squeaky are two of the Moles who have done a lot of the work on SL16B.
Alotta Mole: like Missy, was approached by Patch as a result of his in-world photography, and joined the LDPW initially in support of Marketing work.
What Does It Take To Become A Mole?
Drop your resume (note card) on Derrick Linden or in-world or to Patch Linden. Include your areas of expertise and any links you have where the Lab can see examples of your work (in-world, Flickr, You Tube, etc).
Fully rounded content creators are encouraged to apply, but the Lab will also accept specialists.
Be outgoing, communicative, willing to work within a team.
Have a genuine passion for SL.
Remember, it is an actual paid job, and is treated as such. You will be interviewed, you’ll be expected to have a résumé (c.v.), and be able to demonstrate your SL-related work.
Everyone on the team has their specialities, what they’re strong with … we do have Moles who specifically do scripting; we have moles who specifically so mesh content work and texturing or just texturing; we have Moles who do texturing and photography; we have Moles who do sound work, animation work. So, if you can think of each thing, or each area you can do content creation work for Second Life and in Second Life – we pretty much have to cover every single one of those areas, and in some of those areas we need more than one person.
There’s folk that specialise in terraforming, folks that do region décor work [trees, road, etc] … people who have got an eye for putting that stuff together and out there, being good with Land Impact … maybe they don’t have a lot of capability in making that stuff, but the other people in the team that make that content do that for them, and then they’re the ones that carry through that next step.
On Thursday, June 26th, 2019 at the SL16B celebrations, the fourth of five Meet the Lindens sessions was held at the SL16B Auditorium. It featured Xiola Linden, Lead Community Manager and Strawberry Linden, Marketing Content Specialist.
The SL4Live TV video of the event is embedded below, with a couple of brief biographies on Xiola and Strawberry, based on comments they made during the session and in Xiola’s case, at past events.
Xiola is the Lead Community Manager at Linden Lab. she originally came to Second Life in 2006, and joined the Lab in 2011. Her role is broad-ranging, including elements of customer support, through blogging and social media output for the Lab, to organising events such as the in-world get-togethers. For a period of time she was also responsible for community management work on Sansar, but has been back working full-time on Second Life for around 18 months. She will celebrate her eighth anniversary with the company in November 2018.
Born and raised in California’s silicon valley, she 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. Her engagement in the platform led to an interest in joining the Lab as an employee, so she started keeping an eye on the Lab’s career page and when a community related post to opened, she applied and was recruited.
Also known as Strawberry Singh, she is one of the more high profile lab recruits to come from the ranks of Second Life residents, thanks to her work in building her own brand – blogging, vlogging, fashion tips, tutorials, etc., – that has been hugely popular among Second Life users, particularly those with a focus / involvement on the fashion aspects of the platform.
It is her personal brand that played a role in her decision to carry her fist name over from resident to Linden in becoming Strawberry Linden – although she notes that she had advice from Patch Linden and others to keep her Linden persona separate from her personal SL persona and admits to perhaps regretting not heeding it!
As a Marketing Content Specialist, she is focused on Second Life (no involvement in Sansar), her current focus is on tutorial videos to help incoming new users, starting with the basics: signing-up, walking around in-world, etc. From here she plans to move onto more intermediate subjects and onwards to more advanced topics, covering a broad range of subjects: buying Linden dollars, editing the avatar shape, dressing, use mesh avatars and mesh heads, etc., with videos aimed at more established users, rather than being purely for newcomers.
She had no major preconceptions about working at the Lab prior to joining, but has been impacted by the degree of love staff have towards the platform. She also loves the fact she can continue with a lot of what she did as a resident: dress avatars, create looks, take photos and make videos, and hopes to be able to carry over her blog challenges to the Lab.
Note: the following is taken from both Ebbe’s comments and my own research into his background, carried out when he joined Linden Lab in 2014, and which also included input from Ebbe.
Swedish by birth and still by nationality – he is still working in the US on a green card -, Ebbe graduated fromTärnabySkidhem in 1983. His time there was focused on skiing, as he wanted to be a ski racer, with his eyes on the Swedish national team and the world cup. Unfortunately, a back injury stopped him pursuing that particular career option, and so he crossed the Atlantic to study Middlebury College, Vermont, USA.
Founded in 1800, Middlebury is regarded as one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the United States. While there, he “spent a lot of time in the art studio and the computer lab in an extreme left brain / right brain type of education”, before graduating with a degree in Fine Arts and a concentration in Computer Applications.
From Middlebury, and with the clock ticking down on his visa, Ebbe “slipped into Microsoft on a random banana peel”, where he spent twelve years. Joining in the pre-Windows era, he was particularly involved with the Office products (Word, Mac Office, etc) and multimedia products.
In March 2000, he moved on to Ingenio, a company that created marketplaces for people to buy and sell information over the phone. While there he was responsible for managing the engineering, program management, operations, and quality teams, and served as the company’s interim CEO before taking on the mantle of the Chief Product Officer. And while he doesn’t often mention it due to not being a huge fan of the patent system, he “racked up quite a few patents there.”
After Ingenio, Ebbe joined Yahoo! n February 2008, filling out a number of senior roles, including Vice President, Head of Audience for the company’s EMEA division, being based in Rolle, Switzerland, managing some 180 people and multiple products across six countries. During this period he also served on the board of Yahoo! SARL (Société à responsabilité limitée) – think the equivalent of a Pvt Ltd company in the UK or a limited liability partnership in the USA, before returning to the United States to become the Senior Vice President for Media Engineering at Yahoo! with global responsibly for Media Engineering, a position that involved managing an organisation of more than 600 engineers, architects, program managers and quality engineering staff, as well as having dotted-line oversight of some 150 product managers and designers.
Following Yahoo!, he took up the challenge of turning around a small tech company called BranchOut, based in San Francisco. Around two years old at the time of his joining, BranchOut had been through a roller-coaster ride with its product, a Facebook oriented application designed for finding jobs, networking professionally, and recruiting employees. Seven months before Ebbe joined the company, the app boasted 25 million users across 60 countries – but by the time he came on board, the user base had shrunk to just 3 million. Under his guidance, the company pivoted the BranchOut app into a new workplace messaging application called Talk.co, launched in October 2013.
Ebbe was actually aware of Second life – and had experienced it first hand – a long time before joining Linden Lab in 2014. His son Aleks, had been heavily involved in SL, starting with the Teen Grid, making content and then moving to developing a successful in-world business there (Aleks is now an Lab Employee, working on Sansar, where he is a regular at in-world community meet-ups and product meetings).
More particularly, Ebbe has had a long-standing friendship with the Chair of the Lab’s board of directors, Jed Smith. LL was one of Smith’s first investments when he became a venture capitalist, and through Jed Ebbe gained an awareness of the Lab, its product, and met Philip Rosedale.
So I fell in love with the idea, and understood what Philip and Second Life was trying to achieve, but it wasn’t until many, many, many years later – well, five years ago now – that it came up that they were looking for someone, and it was the right time and place for both the Lab and me to hook up and see how I could help keep things going here.
I have not regretted that decision for a second, it’s been absolutely fantastic; it’s an incredible group of people I get to work with. Having the Second Life team is just an absolute privilege … Everyone is just incredibly passionate about the product … that’s just been a very, very enjoyable ride for me so far.
– Ebbe Altberg, Meet the Lindens, June 26th, 2019
One of the greatest rewards he sees in being with the company is diversity, be it within the people working the Lab or using Second Life, or the equally rich diversity of uses people find for Second Life – be it as a means of expression or as a platform for business, as tool for health improvement or an aid education, and so on, and the multiple ways Second Life can benefit those who engage with the platform.
He is also drawn to the technical aspects of the platform, including its multiple challenges, and the way it combines so many different capabilities: tools for content creation, options for social engagement, the ability to run a virtual economy, etc., all of which combine with the need to constantly discover / learn new things about the ways in which SL is being used, to continually refresh interest in, and enthusiasm for, managing, improving and expanding the platform.
As a world Second Life has a huge diversity of uses, and there is no single “one size fits all” solution.
Has always and consistently stated a belief that virtual land in SL is too expensive [it has been a major theme from users throughout his tenure as CEO as well, and preceded his arrival at the Lab].
HOWEVER, Land fees generate the majority of the Lab’s inflow of revenue, even if it has been over-monetised by the Lab in order to meet that revenue requirement.
Therefore, if land fees are to be reduced, the Lab must find ways to move its revenue generation from virtual land to other opportunities that have previously perhaps been under-monetised in their ability to generate revenue. These include things like Premium fees and consumer-related revenue generation options.
Also feels there has been an imbalance in the way SL operates, as a merchant without any land can produce goods and sell them (via the Marketplace) without really paying for the opportunity to do so (just 5% commission on sales), and could then cash-out with very little cost to their revenue.
Unfortunately, both trying to broaden LL’s revenue generation options to decrease a reliance on land fee, and trying to correct some of the balance in where fee are obtained to help with that revenue generation, can result in some feeling hurt.
LL are attempting to be careful in how these shifts are made, as there are major risks involved (for both in-world business and the Lab itself), and so are progressing in small steps – the recent Premium and processing fee increases being the latest of those steps.
Believes there are still opportunities to further re-balance things, and to reduce land costs.
Also believes it is fair to say that while things like credit processing fees have been increased, they are still well below what might be regarded as “industry standards” for many digital transactions, which can be 30% and upwards.
Understands that the increases have impacted people, notably creators with very low margins, and who may have to make adjustments to their pricing, etc., and recognises that changes like those now implemented (as of June 24th) might make it tougher for some to survive, but believes the changes are necessary.
Points out that one of the consequences of high tier is that SL so often loses stunning public regions that have been built, and which people miss when they vanish.