Reflecting on C.C.Chapman and Linden Lab

29 08 2006

So in his latest episode of the podcast “Managing the Gray” C.C. Chapman talks about keeping talent in your company. And while listening to it I thought it might be good for Linden Lab to listen to it, too. Not so much because of keeping their programmers happy but more regarding their residents (who are part of their people with talent in the end).

One thing what sounded familiar was when he talks about talking to your employees and asking them for their opinion. He adds that “talk is cheap” but you also need to let action follow. If you don’t do that people get cynical and they start to question you.

Now when thinking about Linden Lab’s history of announcements like Havok2, HTML-on-a-prim and even some of the roundtable discussions you can sort of see this happening. That’s why I thought they might want to listen to that, too 🙂

(and btw, at the keynote at SLCC there was no talk about HTML-on-prims anymore as features-to-come, so is this abandoned, is it still coming? I remember listening to a townhall some time back that is will slowly be introduced over the next months (which might be over by now) but so far we only got the help browser. It would be nice at least to post some sort of updated roadmap as far as it can be released publically. I just don’t want to get cynical ;- ) ).

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3 responses

29 08 2006
Torley Linden

Callum Linden–who did a lot of work on HTML-on-a-prim–is very busy right now occupied with other projects popularly requested in the community. He, for example, implemented the splitting of the audio stream into inworld sound effects and parcel music. There are some forum posts where he explains more.

Right now there’s an emphasis on Second Life’s performance and stability. Which of course I get asked about many, *many* times, “When is Linden Lab going to buckle down and focus on that instead of continuing to add new eye candy?” Well, the time is now.

I think we have a shortage in really announcing (joyfully, aside from formal Release Notes) “little things that make a big difference”, so look for more of that. Some monolithic things do happen–for example, the new Groups tools was worked on for months and months on end… SO much Resi feedback.

I’m a believer in distilled achievables of showing, visibly and accountably to people at large, when a big project gets broken down into small pieces and you can see it delivered gradually instead of having it foisted on you all at once. It’s true that may dampen the “WOWZA!” effect, but it also reduces shock, as in “How the hell does this work?” I think having the Group tools in Preview (soon to be called the Beta Test Grid) for so long helped ease it.

And we have so much wonderful talent inworld, so many clever, kind Resis who’ve really contributed tonnes.

29 08 2006
C.C. Chapman

Interesting take on the episode. I’m glad you ennjoyed it.

29 08 2006

Yes, I did, C.C. (actually I just discovered that podcast of your’s recently but I will keep listening) 🙂

Torley, I am not saying that you are doing great stuff and I understand that plans can change. The thing just was that I listened to that podcast and when he said that people might get cynical after a while when you talk to them but those things mentioned do not happen (speaking here of employees) then it rang some bell in my head as it’s exactly what’s happening with Second Life (it does not take much time in world actually to notice that “Havok 2” is more or less used as running gag everytime LL announces something).

So it’s again about communicating these plans. I of course see the problem that on the one hand residents demand to be informed early but on the other hand the needs of LL to change plans due to certain circumstances. These circumstances though should maybe be better communicated then (like you did now :-). I also do see progress e.g. in that no new features have been announced at the keynote at SLCC.

(and yes, small steps are probably better than big lists with new features to which I can relate being a programmer myself).

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