Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale and Chief Product Officer Tom Hale were joined recently by Second Life residents Harper Beresford and JeanieSing Trilling in a mixed reality panel at the Virtual Goods Conference in San Jose, California. Hale and moderator Robert Bloomfield of Cornell University were in San Jose while Rosedale, Beresford, and Trilling were in Second Life at the Metanomics Main Stage. The event was telecast by TREET.TV and could be watched both in world and on the Web. Live chat allowed Web viewers to talk among themselves and to ask questions of the panelists.
Trilling, an animator and scripter in Second Life who taught herself LSL and had never done any programming before joining Second Life, is a music teacher living in a small Pennsylvania town, population 400, that’s an hour from the nearest shopping mall. She said that there are many rural people like her in Second Life, and that for them, a virtual world provides easy access to live concerts and a social life that wouldn’t be otherwise available. She said it’s particularly valuable to her because as a mother of a four year old, getting away isn’t always easy, and that the social aspects of Second Life are "wonderful".
Hale added that Second Life has been a boon for parents, who can now "step out" after the kids are in bed, without leaving the house.
When Bloomfield asked Linden whether the demographics of Second Life are what he was expecting when he created it, he replied that he had no expectations. He was simply doing what he enjoyed and seemed right. He said that there has been too much stereotyping of Second Life residents, and that the standard deviation is too broad to make generalizations about the typical Second Life resident. He did say that there is one common denominator: they have free time to spend.
The lawsuit that Stroker Serpentine filed against Linden Lab recently was doubtlessly on everyone’s mind, but was never mentioned, at least while I was able to hear (connection problems cause me to lose about a quarter of the hour long discussion). Tom Hale spoke of the inherent difficulty of balancing the goal of an open platform against the responsibility to protect intellectual property rights and proposed a registry of trusted sellers as a first step. Audio problems caused me to lose much of this very important discussion.
Hale also discussed how Linden Lab manages the value of the Linden, Second Life’s unit of currency exchange, to prevent excessive inflation or deflation, and mentioned that there are serious currency traders in Lindens, some of them surprisingly young. He also reminded people that when they buy or sell Lindens on the Lindex, Linden Lab is not doing the buying or selling. The Lindex is an exchange, like a stock or currency exchange, in which sellers and buyers agree upon a price.
According to the Treet.tv website, the video of the conference will be archived and available to viewing within 24 hours. You can get more information at the Treet.tv website, and you can get more information about the conference from the Second Life blog.