Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Linden Lab Laid off 30 percent of Staff Today [Update One]

[Updates at the bottom]

As most you might have noticed Linden Lab put out a press release and a blog post about laying off 30 percent of their staff. Mostly consolidation in a few geographic locations and closing down offices abroad.

A slow trickle of lay-offs have been happening for a few months now, Tateru Nino had just written about it on Massively two days ago. Still the sudden and large event of today came as a shock to the community. Though some rumours had been heard that more lay-off where about to happen. Still I had not expected this.

What this means for Second Life or Linden Lab I'm not sure, but it is quite worrisome. A lot of Lindens with a long History and Knowledge are being let go, it is a large knowledge drain that will take time to recuperate from.

Besides the announcement of lay-offs, the press release also mentioned that LL will be focusing on creating a browser based viewer. Which sounds cool but 3D applications on the browser aren't mainstream yet either, and something as diverse as SL will be challenge. We will have to wait until LL tells us more about what direction they will take that before I can fully comment.

The blog and the twitter verse are a blaze with opinions and I have been collecting links and tweets that I would like to share below. Also at the bottom is a partial list of laid off Lindens a lot of those are confirmed.I apologise if someone is wrongly in the list.

List of blogs post:

LL Press Release
Tech Crunch Report
LL Blog post

Massively post from 2 days ago about the lay off of the last months.
New World Notes
Botgirl's take on Linden Labs new direction
Virtual memoirs

Two posts on first and second

And finally Grace McDunnough wrote a post in march that was strangely predictive.

As I said a lot of tweeting is going on and a selection of those I have put below, first on the lay-offs followed by the browser viewer.

Tweets on Lay off:

@hackshaven Claudia Linden's last day at Linden Lab is today? At what point should I start to get nervous? #sl #secondlife

@soft: Geography &hierarchy issues were big determinants in the lay-offs. Some really amazing people are moving on. Who'll find them 1st?

@ZhaEwry: Hugs and best wishes to everyone swept up in the Linden layoffs.

@GiannaBorgnine: The Linden causalities are growing... I can't believe Claudia and Babbage are on that list. Who else?

@poppylinden I'm still a Linden, as far as I know. Also, I'm supposed to be driviOH SHI

@yoz To @vrika, @whump, @JimPurbrick, @cynfusion, @bluelinden et al: You rule, and I deeply envy the next venues for your awesomeness.

@rivenhomewood: Some of the Lindens who are leaving are awesome people - I will miss them, for all my nagging and complaining

@RhiannonSL:When the landscape of a platform evolves, how do you work to make sure the community born from it perseveres? #secondlife #sl

@JimPurbrick (aka Babbage Linden) Thanks everyone, it was fun (Linked In recommendations and job offers gratefully accepted).

@TimelessP: What the... how on earth can @SecondLife justify losing @JimPurbrick ?! That's core server-side talent.

@tezcatlipoca Linden Lab officially imploded today. Been a long time coming, but they have no idea... it's like watching a baby with a shotgun. 12 mo tops

@SkateFoss: Is #SL7B supposed to be a wake? What kind of celebration is this?

@HiroPen @MLindenSL So, is business, enterprise, and education completely off Linden Lab's priorities for SL, now?

@HiroPen Most alarming thing about LL's layoff press release? The 2 stated goals don't include business, education, government, etc. WTF LL!?

@FlipperPA It really suck when your life is going well and you get the news that 10-15 of your friends have just been laid off. Damn you, M Linden.

@OhMeadhbh whoa. doug soo just posted to facebook that he got the axe as well. krikey!

@Nethermind So, is the common denominator for LL firings, "has relationships with community and logs into SL = canned" or what? What a travesty.

@cuppy @Nethermind Community folks are always among the first to go, across the game/web/vw industry spectrum =(

@botgirlq: Prediction made in March by @GraceMcDunnough on direction for Second Life seems Nostradamus-worthy

Tweets on Browser viewer:

@Frans: Also, LL aims to create a browser-based virtual world experience, eliminating the need to download software.

@poinky: Remembering LL's track record in announcing technology and when it actually gets delivered.

@slhamlet: My guess is LL makes a web browser *option*, like this one made 3 years ago by IBM-backed startup: #SL

@Ariella_Furman: My guess- linden will create a browser-based SL but it will be like SL lite. The full version will still be available to developers.

@Frans: @Ariella_Furman I'm thinking that too. A browser viewer just to view and buy, and a hardcore viewer to build content.

@Poinky: @HiroPen What about the part where they are moving to a technology that doesn't exist yet (browser-based 3D with no download)?

@HiroPen @poinky It exists. VRML, x3d, Unity3D, HTML 5.0, etc - there's a variety of technologies. Using one of them w/ SL? That's the Question!

@poinky: @HiroPen Unity3D requires plugin download, and as far as I've seen the other platforms are not ready to support 3D virtual worlds (yet)

@OhMeadhbh @poinky @HiroPen - WebGL is a cool technology, but it's at least a year away from being anywhere near "done" and ubiquitous.

@TimelessP: Oh I get it, @MLindenSL , was Google Lively before your time? You need to know that it failed!

@magzkam: Considering what would be gained and lost in a browser-based SL. And why close the Enterprise unit? Is LL moving away from OpenSim?

@BardHaven: @magzkam LL are also getting into mobile devices and being browser based is agnostic. Secondlife on the iPad or the PSP...think about it.

@magzkam @BardHaven Being browser-based CAN be agnostic but isn't always ... willing to give the benefit of the doubt until rollout.

@magzkam @BardHaven I see going to the browser as a mixed bag. Will be easier/more portable, but I wonder about advanced functionality

Laid off Lindens:
Several old time Lindens are in this List, Like Babbage, Blue, Claudia and others. Seeing them all go is quite puzzling because it will make current developments stall and deep knowledge of interconnectivity of technologies and communities disappear. Second Life is a complex beast and many of these people wrote the maps.

I will update this list when I know of more Lindens.
-Anna Linden
-Babbage Linden
-Blue Linden
-Brent Linden
-Callen Linden
-Chiyo Linden
-Christy Linden
-Claudia Linden
-Cody Linden
-Cogsworth Linden
-Crimp Linden
-DJ Linden
-Dough Linden
-Drub Linden
-Gayathri Linden
-George Linden
-Gisele Linden
-Harmony Linden
-Jarv Linden
-Jay Linden
-Karina Linden
-Katie Linden
-Kristi Linden
-Lexi Linden
-Liana Linden
-Meredith Linden
-Mia Linden
-Pastrami Linden
-Periapse Linden
-Pink Linden
-Rakesh Linden
-Rika Linden
-Scott Linden
-Sejong Linden
-Siz Linden
-Socrates Linden
-Storrs Linden
-Teagan Linden
-Theeba Linden
-William Linden
-Whump Linden
-Zero Linden

Some people are maintaining a pastebin with all the lindens gone from Search, it has already over 140 missing names. This might include Lindens that have been gone longer, and multiple accounts operated by the same person.

Forum threads:
I have selected two forum threads where diverse discussions are going on about the current events.
The main forum at
And the discussion on

SecondLie has been twittering a storm with his brand of satire, to end the gloom with a bit of humour I'm sharing this last retweeted tweet:

@OhMeadhbh:everyone join in: RT @SecondLie "Always look on the bright side of (Second) Life" ♫

Update 0ne, Thursday 10/6/10 10:15am :
Added Teagan Linden to the list.

Gwyneth Llewelyn analysed the changes during M Lindens tenure, and concludes that yesterday's press release and blog post indicate that Linden Lab will be focusing hard on the consumer market again.

Zha Ewry has written about the aftermath, suggesting that yesterday's event was more the result of diminishing concurrency and economy.

CodeBastard Redgrave built a memorial in Rouge yesterday, for all the laid off Lindens, it became rapidly one of the places in Second Life to congregate and talk about the changes, continually packed with avatars.

Hamlet blogged about it too, saying:
When I was there late last night, a girl in a richly embroidered Korean dress kneeled before one, rezzed a flower there, and remained there for awhile in silence. Many more kept coming, as did the flowers. Even some Lindens arrived, to pay tribute to colleagues who were moving on


  1. I would love to see M Linden on that list

  2. Might we add a Supplemental List of Lindens who left BEFORE the big layoffs?

    My list includes:
    . Cory Linden
    . Glenn Linden
    . Jeska Linden
    . Judy Linden
    . Katrin Linden
    . Robin Linden
    . Philip Linden (in spirit if not in practice)

  3. I was wondering about that too Sitearm. But i'm not sure I want to keep maintaining such a list. Maybe it is something for a wiki, where we could also add RL name, twitter and facebook.

  4. yeah, this is rocking the sl world. i pulled out in february after having been in for three years and having as many as 19 sims. i have not logged in at all in the last two months and cancelled my premium membership on the news of the layoffs . . .

  5. Sad tidings in deed, especially as SL is now definitively prioritizing chasing markets instead of leading innovation. On a side note, both Diva and I blogged about what this could mean to the future of OpenSim.

  6. If you were to ad to that list, there would be the 5% they laid off around the time that Pathfinder was forced to leave.