Speculative Splitting

Well, drama aside, I just wanted to refresh a suggestion for the Road Ahead for Linden Lab®. It is deeply buried inside the long list of comments on my recent post. I cannot take credit from the overall concept, because I saw it suggested somewhere else — and sadly forgot to keep a link for it, because I didn’t think it was worth considering at that time.

A couple of years ago, Linden Lab launched their website for the Second Life Grid®, with a different logo and all. When it was launched, some of us were intrigued. It pointed to something quite different from the stance LL had been adopting up to the day that site went live (that Second Life “was a virtual world created by its residents”), namely, pointing out that Second Life (Grid) was a platform for creating virtual worlds, and showing how this technology was being employed by organisations, corporations, and academic institutions for their myriad projects. About that time, the Grid Status blog also went up, where we could see information strictly concerning the technological environment — from the current status of the grid to announcements of technical changes to be launched soon.

This seemed to be tied to a new strategy for “business” in Second Life — real business, that is. A lot of things were launched, from Developer Programmes, to the Gold Solution Provider programme, the closer ties to education, and so forth. The list goes on and on, new Lindens were hired, whole new relationships were forged, and, well, we started to look at Linden Lab as a body with two heads: one was looking at the “virtual work created by its residents”, the other was looking at Second Life as a platform for doing business. The ultimate destination of this strategy seemed to be the licensing of the simulator software (the Second Life Enterprise boxes) and the Second Life Work Marketplace for real-world businesses. Strangely enough, though, the old “Second Life Grid” site seemed to have been dropped in this process, and a new site, Second Life Work, was launched to replace it.

In terms of business strategy, this was accomplished at the same time that LL created a third co-location facility in the East Coast and opened further offices in Amsterdam on March 7, although the latter are, for now, just to handle marketing.

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