Meet the Lindens at SL12B suffers from softball interviewing and too much focus on the past

Tuesday’s ‘Meet the Lindens’ interview between Saffia Widdershins of Prim Perfect and Patch Linden and Dee Linden happened last night at the SL12B Dreamitarium. Despite listening to the hour of conversation (and re-listening to my full recording after that) I failed to find one item of compelling interest that’s worth writing about, except perhaps that Dee Linden doesn’t like the system avatar’s “ugly virtual toes”. Yes, these are the depths to which I sunk while seeking a scant glimmer of interest in what was a conversation I can only describe as lacklustre.

The real story here, however, is Miss Widdershins softball interviewing approach, with too much focus on what we already know about the past at the cost of trying to learn new things about the future. If Ms Widdershins can be just a little more direct, persistent and future-oriented with her questions (and follow-up questions), it might actually result in considerably more interesting interviews over the next three days.

No, I’m not suggesting this be an episode of “Hardball”, but at the same time, getting an interview with Linden Lab leadership isn’t something that happens on a daily basis (except this week), so it behooves the journalist with such a golden opportunity to make the very best of the time she/he has.

Monday’s conversation with Oz Linden wasn’t exactly a rollercoaster of thrills by comparison, but perhaps the format of Oz acting as piggy-in-the-middle between Ms Widdershins and Jessica Lyons (Firestorm Project Manager) served to narrow the discussion into more specifics, which led to more interesting discussions. Fellow blogger Ciaran Laval has a summary of the talk with Oz Linden, and you can see the full video of the interview here:

One very important way that the interview with Oz Linden differed from the one with Patch and Dee was the use of prompting and follow-up questions. Here are 5 examples from both interviews – 4 show where follow-up questions might have helped, and 1 that shows where a follow-up question helped a lot.

Example 1: Not asking for specifics

In yesterday’s interview with Patch Linden, he said that Linden Lab is using Second Life as a ‘test bed’ for its decision-making for Project Sansar – Linden Lab’s next generation virtual world. He mentioned that Linden Lab has lots of plans for Second Life over the “next 2, 3, 5 years.” He added, if that also helps us grow Sansar and help make Sansar be the very best it can be, then that is just an accolade and a checkmark in both columns, for both products.

To which Ms Widdershins responded: “Hmm…”

Ok, hindsight is always 20/20, but I even at that very moment, I was asking Patch (in my head):

  • “Can you sketch out what these plans for Second Life might be?”
  • “What has Linden Lab learned from Second Life’s past that it will be bringing to Project Sansar’s future?”
  • “What do you expect will happen as a result of these different approaches with Project Sansar?”
  • What have you learned from SL’s past that you might leave out of Project Sansar?”
  • “If these learnings are good for Sansar, are you going to apply them to Second Life as well?”
  • “Why, and why not?”

Whether Patch Linden answered these questions or not would have been up to him, but that’s what interviewing someone is about: Asking questions with the aim of revealing genuine answers that might be of interest to the audience; answers that might not otherwise be already available. If it wasn’t, what is the point of the interview?

From left to right: Saffia Widdershins, Patch Linden and Dee Linden
From left to right: Saffia Widdershins, Patch Linden and Dee Linden

Instead, Ms Widdershins left Patch’s answer unchallenged, and turned to Dee Linden, and asked her what she thought might be happening in the next 5 years in Second Life. This is at least a future-oriented question. Unfortunately, Dee dodged it and joked about something she read in local chat – about an audience member’s question about an easier way to remove all clothing from your avatar, to which Ms Widdershins then proceeded to give tips about making a base avatar outfit!

Dead air followed, followed by Ms Widdershins further expanding how making a nude avatar outfit might be accomplished in different viewers.

More dead air.

Needless to say, Ms Widdershins did not go back to her question about Dee Linden’s vision of Second Life’s future again – and it was – as expected – left unanswered.

By this time, I started to wonder if the interview was over. I realised it wasn’t, when Ms Widdershins finally steered the conversation into what I hoped would be more relevant waters, by asking whether Patch Linden made his own clothes or not. Disappointingly, this question is hardly relevant to his job at the Lab as Senior Manager, Product Operations, is it?

Now, in fairness to Miss Widdershins, Linden Lab might have laid out certain rules about what they would talk about and what they would not talk about – which is fairly standard in interviews like these (I would think). However, Project Sansar and the future of Second Life were clearly on the table as Patch Linden himself was discussing it. To leave such juicy threads so loosely untied frustrated me to no end.

Example 2: Not focusing on the future

I became even more frustrated when the conversation devolved into what might be easily found on a website’s FAQs (e.g. “How old do you have to use Second Life?”), which eventually prompted Ms Widdershins to ask if Linden Lab might bring the teen grid back (again, more about the past).

Because this question wasn’t directed to anyone in particular, a few moments of silence uncomfortably hovered, until Dee Linden mercifully diverted the question to Patch – who seemed to have stopped listening because he had to ask Ms Widdershins to ask again. When she did, Patch answered saying that this was a complicated area involving maturity ratings and age-access (the answer one might expect), but then he said:

“With where Second Life is currently positioned as a product, the legalities around trying to introduce anything under the age of 16 into Second Life could be extremely challenging for us.” He then dangled: “Thinking forward to other products, there could be something, and we’re considering all of those options but I don’t think any hard decisions have been made just yet.”

Now there is something! But yet again, Ms Widdershins redirected the line of questioning away from the issue of the future, retreating back to the shelter of the past, mentioning that some teen grid regions are still out there in Second Life. She then spent a few moments trying to remember the specific names of these regions from long ago.

Backing up, when Patch said what he did, I’d have asked:

  • “You said ‘With where Second Life is now positioned as a product’ – where indeed do you feel that Linden Lab positions Second Life as a product relating to age of adoption?”
  • “Does Linden Lab position Second Life as a product only for adults?”
  • “With regard to other products, do you mean Project Sansar?”
  • “Does Linden Lab aim to position Project Sansar as something other than a product for adults?”
  • “If so, why would you want to introduce users under 16 to Sansar?”
  • “Why is having users under the age of 16 so challenging for Linden Lab? Can you explain the challenges?”
  • “Do you think Linden Lab might be able to overcome these challenges with Sansar?”

I’m not saying that Patch Linden or Dee Linden would, or would have been able to, answer these questions. I do, however, think they’re worth asking – if at least to see what bounces back. Don’t you?

Example 3: Where a follow-up question helped, but how it came from the audience

An example of an effective prompt might have led to Oz revealing that Second Life would get 24-days, and it’s a good example showing why they’re important:

When Ms Widdershins asked Oz about his favourite project he’d worked on (again, from the past), he said it was working on developing region windlight settings (circa 2007). He then went into the possibility of setting them at parcel levels as well as the region level, in the official viewer. Right, this is a more interesting area, especially given the fact that we’ve been able to do this in Firestorm for a relatively long time now. To her credit, Ms Lyon prompted him by saying she had assumed this was an ongoing project for the Lab, to which he agreed, and qualified it on the basis of minimum parcel size (which is something I would assume that the Firestorm team has figured out, since we don’t often see the kaleidoscopic changes that Oz warned about should someone set a 1m square parcel a different windlight than the surrounding parcels).

Oz then said Linden Lab would not likely enable windlights according to altitude ranges in the official viewer. Why? Again, this is something that we can do in Firestorm now. I’d have pressed Oz to share why it wasn’t easily doable in the official viewer, when a volunteer “herd of cats” (to use Ms Lyon’s term when describing her team at Firestorm) was able to manage it. In fairness, Oz said that one of the fundamental assumptions baked into the official viewer design is that settings (including windlight, I presume) take effect according to X and Y coordinates, and not on Z (height). This confused me, because I then wondered how the Firestorm team had been able to do it by adapting the open-sourced viewer code? Might this be something Linden Lab could just copy and use? At this point, Oz must have seen a question in local chat from Jo Yardley in the audience, and then revealed that  Second Life will be getting 24-days. See? The squeaky wheels get the grease! Way to go, Jo: Good follow-up question!

This is fairly typical of good interview questioning technique. While it’s important to arrive at an interview ready with a list of questions, you must be equally ready to throw away that list, and respond to the interviewees’ answers by asking deeper questions about their responses. People are like onions – you can peel them one layer at a time, and for this follow-up questions – and especially future-oriented questions that compel them to think on their feet – are critical. Further, if they don’t answer your first question, you need to ask the question again (at least once) or find out why they are not answering your question.

It’s not about being a rude, it’s about being persistent.

Example 4: Not pursuing a promising line of questioning

A good example of the effective use of a follow-up question was when Ms Widdershins asked Oz if the day length would be a choice for residents. Good! A specific, future-oriented follow-up question! Oz answered that it would be and said it wouldn’t be hard to change, to which Ms Widdershins said it would be “awesome”.

Again, while it’s fine to show your appreciation for an answer, I can think of a few good follow-up questions on this subject alone that would have followed this path to perhaps more interesting areas of discussion:

  • “Will region owners be able to set the clock to start when they wish – so that we can have local time zones?”
  • “Will we be able to use custom or preset windlights with the 24 hour day cycle?”
  • “Will we be able to set custom or preset sunrises and sunset times to better mirror the effects of different seasons?”
  • “What prompted this change, apart from Jo Yardley’s nagging, that you felt it was worth implementing?”
  • “What do you see as the benefits of this change to users?”
  • “Is this part of a trend towards higher fidelity to the real world in Second Life?”
Oz Linden in 2015
Oz Linden in 2015

Example 5: Not mentioning an elephant in the room

A little later in the conversation, Oz revealed that he was not a very artistic person and that he delegated customising his avatar’s appearance to his young son (with instructions to simulate his [Oz’s] appearance in RL). I’d have jumped on that to ask Oz the question that many residents might have wondered for years:

“Do you feel that your avatar’s appearance – which let’s be honest, hasn’t changed much at all since 2010 – might not benefit from an update (apart from the Ho Chi Minh beard)?”

Oz Linden in 2010
Oz Linden in 2010 – Photo by Marianne McCann

You might say: “Oh, that’s a bit rude, Becky! Who cares what his avatar looks like?”

Well, I’d counter that as the person in charge of Second Life’s development – shouldn’t he look a bit more… err… developed? I know, he’s not a male fashion model, and neither should he aspire to be, but avatar appearances are important – especially for those who represent Linden Lab. I don’t even really care if they’re attractive – they should at least be availing themselves of the best that today’s Second Life creators have to offer, no?

The elephant in the room is not that Oz Linden’s avatar is just out of date and that wouldn’t it be nice if he got some new mesh feet – the real issue is that he is a visual representative of what Second Life has to offer, and it’s under-representative.

Further, avatar appearances are especially important as first impressions to outsiders (e.g. news media). The mainstream news media might not be as forgiving as many oldbie Second Lifers are about avatar appearances that look half a decade out of date (yes, 2010-2015 is half a decade!).

Many of us complain that the media chooses to use screenshots that make Second Life look like it’s still 2007, how about helping things along by upgrading the first impressions of its leadership? Patch Linden seems to have an up to date avatar. Ebbe Linden dresses in Zaara mesh suits for goodness sakes. Xiola Linden is one of the more fashionable Linden’s on the grid. Couldn’t the rest of the Lindens get with the program too?

With that said, Oz, if you’re reading, I hereby volunteer to give you a personal makeover. I know you’re really busy, and if our schedules don’t easily link up then perhaps my Zero to Hero: 2-Hour Men’s Second Life Makeover Style Guide might help?

In conclusion

I do hope that the next 3 interviews – today with Xiola Linden, Lead Community Manager, and Pete Linden, Senior Director, Global Communications at Linden Lab – will be more illuminating than yesterday’s interview. I recommend Ms Widdershins to use this opportunity to respectfully prompt and question the Lindens to share as much as they can about the future of where the company is going, and likewise its products.

As a last note to all of you who might think I’m being too hard on MsWiddershins, let me be clear that I respect her as someone who has greatly contributed to the Second Life Community for many years. She also seems to be a very pleasant lady. Further, I suspect these interviews might not even be happening if her magazine Prim Perfect was not sponsoring them, so kudos to her for taking the initiative to make them happen in the first place.

Now, let’s just make use of them.

I appreciate that it’s easy for me to sit here and say what could have, should have, would have been done better. But at the very least, if this serves as constructive criticism for how the next 3 interviews could be handled, then I’ve succeeded in my aim.

To finish off with a little visual eye candy, here’s a video from yesterday’s interview with Dee Linden and Patch Linden, filmed by Caitlin Tobias:

27 thoughts on “Meet the Lindens at SL12B suffers from softball interviewing and too much focus on the past

  1. I agree on everything, especially the avatar look. I have known a few coders and think this is their way of staying retro and nerdy hip, in their opinion… They’ve even been know to keep that dam “type while chatting” animation that makes me crazy. But as a upper echelon of the company he should show the best of the Second Life product to create interest from customers not yet using the product bc when I see that and think of all the video game commercials on TV that look so real, I’d pass right by second life for a more real virtual reality product.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I kind of look at this from two angles….1. A missed opportunity and 2. At least the Lindens are talking with us..But I did feel a yawn coming on *winks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, yes, agreed – I’m very grateful that the Lindens are talking to us. But you know what? They did as good of a job as you could ever expect – they sat there for an hour answering questions – live – fully aware of the exposure they’d be getting. Kudos on them!

      With that said, the responsibility is on *us* to ask the important questions – we can’t blame them for answering the questions we did ask. Can we really expect much more?

      What we can expect, however is for *us* to ask the important questions, not on them to do our job for us.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well thought write up and expressing exactly what I was thinking last night (I missed the Oz interview). I am by no means an interviewer, and it is not up to me to critize anyone who has the balls and chance to do this – it is wonderful Saffia puts so much effort and time in all this, for all of us! – but even I noticed the missed opportunities and the fact I took my time to film during the whole thing….says something, well for me.
    Neveretheless it is always nice to see and hear Lindens ‘in the pixel’, and spot ‘SLcelebs’ in the audience (darn, Ebbe would not rez fully enough for me to shoot him…errr…film him…). I am looking forward to tonight and hope I get in!
    Also, thank you for using my video 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’d like to share a couple of thoughts as context. First, the interview series is set up as “meet the Lindens” and meant more as a share who-you-are-and-what-you-do kind of thing, rather than a forum for announcing news or in-depth discussion of particular projects. I can certainly appreciate that it’d be frustrating to not get to hear more on specifics around topics of interest that arise in the conversations, but the idea in this particular case was less formal interviews and more personal introductions. Also, as you’d expect, not every Linden is involved in and ready to speak to every project or facet of our business in these sessions.

    Lastly (and self-defensively), I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you with my avatar, who is not as good-looking as Oz’s (and nowhere near as awesome as Xiola’s). The avatar I usually use isn’t the most modern or the best-looking that SL has to offer today, but he’s represented me in SL since I first became a Linden more than 6 years ago, and I’ve got a certain affinity for him. I use him day-to-day inworld and for Resident events and meetings like this, but I do sometimes change up the look (had a blast exploring SL12B with the raptor avatar…), and I use a more modern-looking mesh avatar when showing off SL to those outside our community.

    Anyway, thank you for your feedback on the sessions. I hope you find the rest of the interview series at least somewhat entertaining (and can forgive my avatar choice) if not as substantive as you’d like. This is just one group of talks in what we’d like to maintain as an ongoing, open dialogue with the community.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Hi Pete, thanks for your reply. My frustration is not that questions were not answered, it’s rather that questions were not asked.

      I do see the value in the type of meeting set-up as you describe it, and it’s something I would totally support, as I said in my post on the Linden Lab Inworld Meetup at Basilique:

      http://canarybeck.com/2015/05/17/second-life-inworld-meetup-best-photos/

      As I said then, the inworld meetup is not the kind of event where one would expect to have any questions answered, as that to me is more of a meet and greet where the cascade of local chat drowns out any kind of meaningful conversation. In the same post I suggested a format like a 20 minute presentation that would act as introductions followed by a curated Q and A.

      I can also appreciate that not “every Linden is involved in and ready to speak to every project or facet of our business in these sessions.” That makes sense to me, and with that said I didn’t expect they’d be spilling the beans about all and sundry.

      From my perspective (and I can appreciate it’s a personal preference which may differ from others’), I feel that if an interviewer has a whole hour – one-on-one with a highly-placed source – that interviewer can use some of that time to ask relevant follow up questions on matters that arise during the course of conversation, which might be time better spent that chatting about things than most of us can find in the Second Life knowledge base.

      With regards to your avatar – thank you for the warning, but rest assured I’ve had the pleasure to see you and your disco ‘fro several times now (both in pictures and in the pixel), so I expect nothing less than to be at least entertained at today’s event by your avatar alone 😉

      In all seriousness though, I’m really glad to hear that you adopt a more modern appearance for your tours with outsiders to SL. Lastly, I couldn’t be happier that the Lindens are openly engaging with the community, and as someone else alluded to in an earlier comment – I’ll take what I can get 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. SL Bdays are a community-driven and run enterprise. I can suggest that Doctor Gascoigne would gladly welcome a new volunteer for interviewing and scheduling events at the Auditorium. It’s a fair bit of work, of course, and no one is ever going to be happy but you know, service has its own rewards. I look forward to working with you next year 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Harper! While I didn’t write this to seek to act as any kind of replacement, I will consider your invitation to participate 🙂 Thank you!

      Like

      1. The Auditorium was something that started during the LL run SL birthdays. After we started the community driven spin off of those events I kept the Auditorium concept (something I consider my pet project) going forward. Saffia Widdershins shares my love of an auditorium forum for talks, speeches, classes, spoken word genres and unique performance. Her shows are not sponsored by just her or her company but by the SL12B Community Celebration.
        We asked Saffia to curate talks at our venue for this event. I have asked Saffia to do so for 4 years and she has brought a diverse collective of topics and personalities to our Auditorium each year. While we are on this subject I want to say this; if you think more questions need to be asked, if you think you could perhaps strike a different perspective, if this type of Auditorium format interests you….come talk to me. I am all about it!!!
        The Auditorium is open for 8 days every year and there are lots of spots to fill.
        Saffia is one contributor to the SL Community Celebration Auditorium talks, we have lots of schedule space, sign up next year.
        Our set up for Auditorium is not just a one woman show. It is also lots of hard work, creative collaborations and open to anyone who wants to sign up. That someone could be you.
        Keep this bookmarked http://www.slcommunitycelebration.info/
        Thanks so much for drawing light on something the SL Community Celebration Community and I have worked so hard on.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Thanks for your comment, Doctor! I’d be more than pleased to consider a role in next year’s celebrations and work with you in supporting the already astounding efforts (yours and Ms Widdershin’s included) in the capacity that I am most able. Thanks for your invitation to be involved; indeed, let’s talk after the dust settles from what I’m sure is a very busy and hectic time for you all.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I think you’re being a tad harsh here Becky. An hour long interview would be a tough gig for a professional talk show host who has an army of researchers working for them, Saffia pulling this off so well with a lot less resources is something that should be admired.

    I also think there’s a location, location, location aspect to this, SL12B is ideally suited to these sort of interviews, more hard hitting interviews have their place too, but I don’t feel this is the location.

    These videos are public and some of the people who watch them may not be aware of Second Life, so asking basic questions does have a place in them.

    I see your point about Oz’s avatar but I kind of like the fact that Oz and some other Lindens aren’t as fashion savvy as others, I like that mix.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, I also think that if there are any Lindens out there that are the face of LL and SL who are more in the limelight, its Xiola, Torley and Ebbe.
      And of those 3 only one has a bit of a noobish avatar, I won’t say who 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Jo, it’s unlikely that anyone in the mainstream or industry media is going to happen across Xiola or Torley’s avatar in any kind of limelight – pixel produced or otherwise. The media don’t really care much about our in-world community building or the resident education that Torley gets up to.

        What the industry press *might* have an interest in – if anything – is likely the technology aspects of what SL is about, which is the area where Oz squarely sits. He’s much more likely to be interviewed or featured by the tech press than any of the others you mentioned (except of course, Ebbe).

        Clearly, at least one Linden is concerned about how his avatar appears to outsiders of SL, which is Pete Gray, which is evident from his statement: “I use a more modern-looking mesh avatar when showing off SL to those outside our community.”

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    2. Thanks for your comment Ciaran, let me address it:

      “An hour long interview would be a tough gig for a professional talk show host who has an army of researchers working for them…”

      While I appreciate that Ms Widdershins does not have an army of researchers working for her, does it really take an army of researchers to pursue relevant areas of interest or ask the follow-up questions I asked in this post? I can tell you from experience it does not, because I neither have an army of researchers.

      “These videos are public and some of the people who watch them may not be aware of Second Life, so asking basic questions does have a place in them.”

      Is there really any doubt that these interviews are primarily intended for an internal customer audience who already has knowledge of SL? Petty much any interview between residents and Linden staffers would be marginalised into that category. Are you advocating dumbing things down in an interview of this nature so that journalists in the mainstream media and the public might be able to understand what is going on in an our long interview between avatars? If that is so, I think you wildly overestimate the public’s or the mainstream or industry media’s degree of interest in SL, as I think it’d be extremely unlikely that anyone unfamiliar with it would take the time to sit through this interview to learn about it.

      What’s much more likely, is for members of the mainstream or industry media to do what’s easy, and go to Google images when looking to feature key Lindens, like Oz, and find this: http://bit.ly/1BBV1vs , which is Google’s collection of images of Oz Linden.

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      1. “Is there really any doubt that these interviews are primarily intended for an internal customer audience who already has knowledge of SL? ”

        At tonight’s interview Ebbe revealed he travels around as Ebbe and a lot of people have no idea whatsoever who he is.

        Saffia has been doing a bloody good job all week, I feel your ire is misplaced.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh dear, I haven’t changed my avatar in years either!
    And although, yes Lindens should look representable with the best that SL has to offer but on the other hand, I wouldn’t want to force them to change something as personal as their avatar just to make the company and product look good.
    There maybe many reasons why an avatar hasn’t been updated, maybe Oz can tell us why sometime.
    I haven’t changed mine for several reasons, mostly because I am yet to find a mesh body, hair or even outfit that I like!

    Anyway, Ebbe himself is on stage soon and if our questions are not heavy enough, do as I did when I was in the audience and try to be heard with your own questions!
    I asked Oz about the 24 hour day thingy, one that just a few people in SL are interested in or as obsessed as I am, but I got my answer and I think a few other people got their questions asked as well.
    So be there, be in the audience and have your questions ready just in case ours aren’t the ones you think we should be asking.

    In the UK there is a tv show called ‘Question Time’ where members of the public get to ask politicians whatever they want.
    A brilliant show.
    Maybe we should have something like that in SL once a month 🙂
    A line up of lindens, 1 hour of random questions from the audience. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “There maybe many reasons why an avatar hasn’t been updated, maybe Oz can tell us why sometime.”

      Oz hasn’t changed updated his avatar because “he’s not much of a shopper, even in the real world”, which is said in the video. In fairness, he also said “we’ll have to do that sometime, I’m sure that’d be fun” after both Ms Widdershins and Ms Lyons spent about 2-3 minutes encouraging him to update his avatar’s appearance.

      “So be there, be in the audience and have your questions ready just in case ours aren’t the ones you think we should be asking.”

      I was there, at each of these events, and did in fact pose some of my questions in local. One of them was even attributed to me by Ms Widdershins, when I asked Patch to tell us where he sees Second Life is positioned in the market.

      The problem with this approach is that one’s questions can often be interpreted into something they were not about (for example, when Ms Widdershins paraphrased my question but contextualised it by adding “is Second Life a game or not?” That was not my question, but that was the question that ended up getting answered.

      Further, one can ask a dozen questions in local at these types of things but with the constant stream of questions being asked and comments being made, it’s understandably difficult to the hosts and the guests to answer all but a very few, and next to impossible to ask a proper follow-up question.

      If one really want audience involvement, then these things can’t be the text equivalent of a free for all mob yelling out questions that seldom get answered, they have to be curated with questions taken and asked from the audience in IM, and then relayed verbatim to the guests by an interviewer who can ask them at the right time in the conversation, or at the end when they’ve asked all their questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As someone who was present during the interviews in question, I share Becky’s views. Other than all the reasons mentioned in the blog post, I’d like to add my personal context of expectation. Those of us who follow VR news are inundated with the hype surrounding Oculus and and Microsoft HoloLens. For example, I was very impressed with what is possible with Hololens and Minecraft, presented a few days ago at E3. When I heard of the SL12B Linden interviews, I figured this was Second Life’s time to get the spotlight. What better opportunity to showcase Sansar and other new developments than SL’s 12th birthday? Couldn’t a smaller version of the proven Apple-style conference/announcement be possible, even as an interview format? If the HoloLens demo is getting such traction, then imagine a demo with Sansar where blocky characters are replaced with SL avatars exploring beautiful user created regions! Residents believe in the LL vision of SL and want to see it succeed. SL the only true “virtual reality” in my humble opinion and we would like to see it present in the latest VR media announcements and discussions.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I thought the interview was ok. You know asking technical questions might not be Saffia’s forte, but even so I thought Oz gave a decent overview. He said he can’t talk about Sansar, so, that really limits things. The SLgo part was informative. I love listening to Saffia. She could be talking about the most mundane things and I could just sit and be lulled.

    What I got from the interview was a personal view of him, and how he is devoted to Linden Lab – his comment on how he doesn’t like to move places, is actually meaningful in Silicon Valley where people job hop regularly and the economy is chaotic in tech. He gave me confidence that he cares about VR, and the future. I’m a “feely” and instinctual kind of person though so this kind of thing is satisfying to me in the given context. He’s a tech guy and not PR; I could hear it in his voice that he is excited about the future and believes in it. You have some great follow-up questions in your OP, I hope someone answers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Marsha, I agree that Oz did give a good interview, and I hope nothing in my post was interpreted to say otherwise. I think that the result of an interview is dependent on the interviewer and the interviewee. In my opinion, Oz answered the questions he was asked, no argument there.

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  10. I’ve been double-tasking during the talks with sl and photoshop, hoping that something would grab me. As it is, I’ve processed awful lot of photographs. There is a problem with the format – is Saffia Widdershins an interviewer or a chair? The former leads, and the latter directs questions the floor, but it’s kind of wavered between the two. Consequently it has been neither and there has been little impetus and direction.

    Maybe it’s also partly up to me (us all) to dream up more questions to throw into the pit, but particularly yesterday there was a lot of back and forth chatter that made engagement difficult. There were a couple of times today I just couldn’t type fast enough today to raise a relevant point before there was a flurry of off-topic chatter that would mean it would lose all context.

    I have been encouraged by what seems like a genuine commitment to and fondness for Second Life as an idea by the Lindens. They regard SL as an established asset – a base of experience and knowledge that will keep them engaged in virtual worlds with user generated content. I don’t think residents have always felt that – there have been times when I’ve been hedging my bets through a presence in other virtual worlds.

    This year, I’ve been in sessions where Sony’s been pushing Morpheus, the BBC aching over where broadcasting is going, seeing fantastic progress in real-time 360 degree technology, academics generating depth through ultra-high contrast, with small games producers who are part of games jam culture, and in spaces where art, technology, media and games meet. It’s exciting times, and the people involved in it are buzzing with the energy.

    This is an opportunity for the Lindens to sell their pitch for the future to some of the most committed residents in SL. And maybe be honest about the unknowns. With the hype around Oculus and VR headsets are they concerned that actually it’s not going to be right for Sansar, for example?

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