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Town Hall with Philip Linden on 10/27/04
October 27th, 2004
9 PM PST
Basic topic with this seemed to be veared into questions/answers about the financing announcement Philip makes.
You = Belaya Statosky
Editors(Oz Spade) note: I've edited out some banter, the questions and answers remain intact but some random chater was edited.
Haney Linden: Ok yall, lets settle in
Haney Linden: Philips plane has landed
Haney Linden: and he is on his way
Haney Linden: a reminder
Haney Linden: please IM me with questions
Rheya Linden: When Philip arrives, please keep chatter to a minium. :)
Haney Linden: instead of chatting out - it get too confusing
Philip Linden: hI!!!
Philip Linden: How is everyone doing tonight?
Philip Linden: Hope you are all enjoying the new partner page...
Philip Linden: I got a proposal already...
Philip Linden: I won't say who from.
Philip Linden: It's nice to see you all here.
Philip Linden: So we'll do the usual format... with questions from Haney
Philip Linden: But FIRST
Philip Linden: I have a really fun announcement that I think you will all enjoy
Philip Linden: maybe not as much as custom animations.
Philip Linden: But you'll like it, I think.
Philip Linden: Tommorow morning,
Philip Linden: we will be announcing
Philip Linden: the closing of an eight million dollar round of new financing
Philip Linden: no you get to hear now.
Moleculor Satyr: With no loss of LL's control over SL, right?
Philip Linden: Our new investment is led by Benchmark Capital,
Philip Linden: who is pretty much the most important VC in the world.
Philip Linden: A guy from there named Bill Gurley is going to be joining our board.
Philip Linden: For those who don't keep up with ALL the linden news...
Philip Linden: our board of directors is Mitch Kapor, Jed Smith, myself, and now Bill
Philip Linden: Another really cool part of this new investment,
Philip Linden: is that some of the money is coming personally from Pierre Omidyar,
Philip Linden: the founder of eBay.
Philip Linden: Pierre is one of us... an SL user...
Philip Linden: that is how I met him.
Philip Linden: So it is really special to have had Pierre want to invest as well.
Philip Linden: For those who have read the history of eBay... a really cool company,
Philip Linden: that started out with a lot of the same principles as SL...
Philip Linden: that the community would be running the show, and that the role of the company
Philip Linden: was to listen and amplify and focus that energy.
Philip Linden: Clearly if you look at eBay today...
Mr Fairplay: Does this mean we get to have shares of SL, and the possibility of it becoming a PLC?
You: We already have the eBay feedback drama here. Why not go the whole hog?
Philip Linden: the idea of lots of crazy people running their own little stores...
Haney Linden: please IM questions to me
Philip Linden: well that turned out to be a pretty big idea after all!
Philip Linden: So this is very very exciting.
Philip Linden: In terms of what we will use the money for...
Philip Linden: our focus will be what it has always been...
Philip Linden: fix the bugs, scale the system, and make SL into the thing we all dream about
Philip Linden: we will be able to hire more people, buy more equipment, and move more quickly than before
Philip Linden: If you think we were able to move fast so far... just wait.
Philip Linden: This is a really big investment for us,
Philip Linden: and we think we will be able to do a LOT with it.
Philip Linden: Just for fun...
Philip Linden: you will see some new servers coming online in the morning as a sort of celebration gift to us all.
Philip Linden: I'll leave the details until then.
Philip Linden: So let's get to the questions... happy to answer anything about this new investment for you.
Haney Linden: Ice Brodie: Will the investment affect how SL is run?
Philip Linden: Also l'd like to add...
Philip Linden: I forgot...
Philip Linden: I'm going to get our new board member Bill in-world for a Q&A,
Philip Linden: perhaps at the next town hall.
Philip Linden: He is an incredibly cool guy who totally gets what SL is all about,
Philip Linden: and knew a ton about us and the community before I even met him.
Philip Linden: You'll enjoy meeting him.
Philip Linden: OK... questions.
Haney Linden: Ice Brodie: Will the investment affect how SL is run?
Philip Linden: No.
Philip Linden: SL will be run exactly as it has been...
Philip Linden: perhaps just moving even faster to make progress.
Haney Linden: Mr Fairplay: Question from the Second Life Herald: Are those new servers released tomorrow going to be released in a control fashion in order to preserve the SL Real Estate market's stability?
Philip Linden: Yes, actually they will not be up for auction... you will see.
Philip Linden: So no worries there.
Mr Fairplay: good news!
Haney Linden: Mr Fairplay: Question from the Second Life Herald: Considering the last Town Hall discussion fiasco when the possibility of allowing minors in SL was raised by Philip. Is this possibility still under consideration?
Philip Linden: We have no plans to allow minors in SL.
Philip Linden: We would like some way for kids to use SL, but I don't think that means giving access to the main grid.
Haney Linden: Catherine Cotton: Doesn't this new investment just turn SL into a 3D Ebay then? A sea of stores and malls, and clubs for the socializaion of ppl. is that the intention of SL?
Philip Linden: I don't think that SL and eBay are comparable at the level of commerce, no.
Philip Linden: I think they are most comparable at the level of community and entrepreneurship.
Philip Linden: So I don't think that SL should be selling stuff like eBay does, no.
Haney Linden: Oz Spade: The announcement of big VC kinda worries me, mainly because of this question, will they have a greater influence on the development on SL and what goes into it than the community because they put up alot of money? Simular situations happened wi
Haney Linden: with AW.
Philip Linden: Well we have a bunch of big investors, and Benchmark will be one of those.
Philip Linden: It does not mean that they will control what we do.
Philip Linden: Mitch and our other big investors all participated in this round,
Philip Linden: and Benchmark is not a company that pushes it's entrepreneurs in the wrong direction.
Philip Linden: So I don't think this is comparable to something like AW at all.
Philip Linden: We weren't even actively looking for investment...
Philip Linden: I met with Bill and was blown away by his knowledge and interest in what we were doing.
Haney Linden: James Dayton: So the line is that this is keep-doing-what-your-doing money, not "directional" money...
Philip Linden: Absolutely....
Philip Linden: this is a new investor who is incredibly excited by our direction and wants us to keep carefully growing the community,
Philip Linden: and see this become a world changing thing.
Haney Linden: Clio Anansi: Will we see SL plots for sale on eBay?
Philip Linden: Hmm.... I suppose that would be a bit easier with the relationship afforded by the investment,
Philip Linden: but I wouldn't do it if it didn't make sense to SL.
Philip Linden: I'd be interested (in forums perhaps) to see what others would like there.
Philip Linden: I think our auctions work pretty well now.
Haney Linden: Dakota Bukowski: Question..Does this ne partnership means we will be getting Voice very soon in SL
Philip Linden: This will help us add features, yes, although near term we will focus on stability,
Philip Linden: as I've talked about,.
Philip Linden: The choice on voice is still an interesting tech and design problem.
Philip Linden: We are still thinking about what is the best thing to do.
Haney Linden: Salazar Jack: How many new employees do you anticipate hiring in the near future?
Philip Linden: Off the top of my head I don't have an exact number...
Philip Linden: but we will grow as quickly as we can do in a smart way.
Philip Linden: right now there are several openings, and I'd say we will probably end up
Philip Linden: hiring a couple people a month.
Haney Linden: Scarlett Fonzarelli: there is some concern amongst some of us that there will be taxes now...is this a possibility?
Philip Linden: Well in a sense we have land taxes today... we've always felt that small taxes on different things was a fair way to do things.
Philip Linden: But no, we don't have near term plans to change things.
Haney Linden: Bran Brodie: I thought that bugs were the only priority, now we hear about new servers.
Philip Linden: I want to add something that Haney mentioned...
Philip Linden: as to the sims tommorow...
Philip Linden: they will be additional void (water) and sandbox sims
Philip Linden: so there will not be a land rush.
Philip Linden: Don't want folks to get ready on the border for no reason ;)
Haney Linden: Ahroun Maelstrom: Does this investment mean that we might see some more intense development of LSL? As a scriptor, I'm aware that many script writers feel there is a need for other vital functions to fully flesh out LSL.
Philip Linden: let me jump back to the last question...
Philip Linden: new servers and bug fixes are not related to each other.
Philip Linden: it does not cost development time to add machines to our grid.
Haney Linden: Drift Monde: With all the new found money will Havoc2 be in our Xmas Stockings?
Philip Linden: We will continue to add features to LSL as quickly as we can.
Philip Linden: Given the thousands of programmers we have,
Philip Linden: I doubt that will be fast enough!
Philip Linden: But we will try.
Haney Linden: Brace Coral: With this new collaboration with Ebay - are we going to now see some more viable ways to advertize/promote for buy/sell interests ingame?
Philip Linden: Let me correct that question...
Philip Linden: we are not collaborating with EBay...
Philip Linden: the Founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar,
Philip Linden: is investing through his personal investment group,
Philip Linden: called the Omidyar Network....
Philip Linden: check out their web and other info...
Philip Linden: you will really enjoy it...
Philip Linden: they are interested in investing in technologies that bring about social change.
Philip Linden: So this is not a collaboration with eBay, but with Pierre.
Haney Linden: Donnie Donovan: Are there plans to use funds for large scale advertising to bring more people into the community?
Philip Linden: SL is an organic phenomena at this stage (I think)
Philip Linden: most of our growth is word of mouth.
Philip Linden: we will (and have been) increasing our marketing,
Philip Linden: but our primary focus is simply giving you the tools and features and stability you need...
Philip Linden: we think that drives our success the most at this stage. Benchmark shares this view 1000%
Haney Linden: hybridmachine Klein: Is investment in SL a matter of acceleration growth, or a matter of survival. IE does SL make enough to live on its own?
Moleculor Satyr: MISSED QUESTION: Haney Linden: Drift Monde: With all the new found money will Havoc2 be in our Xmas Stockings?
Philip Linden: SL is making pretty solid money today... so this was by no means something we had to do.
Philip Linden: We were excited by how deeply Benchmark/Bill had thought about the market, and happy to bring them in as an investor.
Haney Linden: Andreyl Satyr: Does LL have any intent to allow investors corporate advertisement into SL?
Philip Linden: Not at present.
You: These questions suck.
Philip Linden: I think the policy we've had... we don't get very involved... has been the right one.
Philip Linden: If Coke wants to buy an acre of land and advertise products,
Philip Linden: I'll be fascinated to see how the community will respond.
Philip Linden: But we have no plans to sell advertising in some global fashion.
Philip Linden: I think the community has to set its own policies here... and we will watch and listen.
Haney Linden: Maxx Monde: Is there any concern that auctions are typically dominated by a small number of players who subsequently markup land to funnel to the SL population at large? Is this the kind of market dynamic we're supposed to be supporting?
Philip Linden: I think that long term, years from now,
Philip Linden: the role of LL should not be to make and sell little parcels of land directly to users.
Philip Linden: So I think it would be cool if the community could buy larger blocks and develop them in some way.
Philip Linden: But that is something that clearly isn't here yet...
Philip Linden: So we are open to suggestions and thoughts.
Lisse Livingston: ...and 14 page forum threads...
Philip Linden: I haven't looked at the markup between auctions and in-world,
Zalandria Zaius: How about a limit to how many auctions you can big on at once
Zalandria Zaius: er bid
Philip Linden: but last I looked it was very very small.
Haney Linden: Michi Lumin: //reformat for the subject at hand: Do you see the LL administration becoming less accessible and more impersonal after this VC infusion, due to expansion of both world and staff?
Zoey Jade: good idea Zal
Philip Linden: No, to the contrary... If we can have a few more people we will probably be more personable!
Philip Linden: No changes in policy at all.
Haney Linden: Cory Bauhaus: Philip said "the community has to set its own policies here..." - how much control do residents really have to set policies for the communit
Philip Linden: Well this is a big topic... let me expound a bit.
Philip Linden: I am here in NYC right now...
Philip Linden: getting ready to speak at the State of Play conference tommorow.
Philip Linden: The subject of the conference is democracy and law in virtual worlds.
Catherine Cotton whispers http://www.omidyar.net/corp/partners.html #1 Creative Commons
Philip Linden: And so I have been thinking about this.
Philip Linden: I'll write more in my blog about this...
Mr Fairplay: I hear there will be real life media presence State of Play conference tommorow is this true?
Philip Linden: but I think that simply allowing freedom of speech, assembly, and the sort of things that SL is filled with,
Philip Linden: means that we HAVE to listen to you. regardless of whether we technically can choose not to.
Philip Linden: This is a subtle point, and one I will be talking about tommorow.
Philip Linden: But I believe it is quite true.
Philip Linden: Our course has been to listen and allow,
Philip Linden: and therefore our course must also be to act.
Philip Linden: So yes, we will listen to the community and make changes...
Philip Linden: if we do not, we will fail as a company. I am quite sure of that.
Philip Linden: BTW Catherine pointed out that Omidyar has involvement with Creative commons...
Philip Linden: yes i believe they do... and also some other really cool stuff.
Philip Linden: I'll try to post to blog about that.
Haney Linden: Yoshi Platini: Will you be investing in server upgrades to bring all sims to a uniform performance level?
Philip Linden: Currently all the sims are very similar hardware in terms of performance.
Transmitter: in func
Philip Linden: The differences are in the content.
Philip Linden: We will keep building tools to better balance and debug content, yes.
Philip Linden: But we don't need new servers.
Haney Linden: Beatfox Xevious: Will there be an increased focus on developing features that will appeal to action-style gamers? Many people here feel that this is an as-of-yet untapped potential customer base.
Michi Lumin: .. Then why does 'sim lottery' occur? ... nevermind
Philip Linden: I think that making SL work for fast gaming is very important, yes.
Philip Linden: It has always been high priority, but as I said everything should move a bit faster.
Haney Linden: Spider Mandala: the question is... with 8 million dollars, thats surely not a passing interest, they have no opinions on what happens in SL at all?
Philip Linden: Of course they have opinions, and we are very excited to hear them else we wouldn't have gotten involved.
Philip Linden: But, like our other investors, this is not a controlling interest.
Philip Linden: We are not selling the company.
Haney Linden: cua Curie: NOw that unexpected investment interest has been shown will LL be looking for further investment partners in a more accelrated fashion? Do you have a limit on how many members you will be adding to the board
Philip Linden: We will not need additional investment for some time if at all,
Philip Linden: so no there are no plans to seek additional investors.
Haney Linden: Zarah Dawn: is there any chance that we will see Sims that are totally residental... to alivate some of the lag problems that are created by huge clubs put up next to residences ?
Philip Linden: I think that we are already seeing big residential projects like Lusk...
Philip Linden: and Slate.
Philip Linden: Whether we need to accelerate that by adding some sort of global zoning is an open question.
Mr Fairplay: just an idea....would it be fissible to incorporate a voting section to SL's member's only webpage in regards to how would the people would like to see the fresh $8 investment directed?
Haney Linden: Khamon Fate: will these new partherships shorten the time before ll is able to license sl server software?
Philip Linden: I think that this will give us more speed with all development.
Philip Linden: I'm not sure what will happen with specific stuff... we will just have a LOT more firepower.
Haney Linden: Lordfly Digeridoo: question: can SL users "invest" in SL too? /me wants a few shares... :P
Philip Linden: I think that would be very cool, but the SEC does not ;)
Philip Linden: the law says that to invest you need to have a lot of money,
Philip Linden: and that when you have a lot of investors you need to become a public company.
- Editors note: through-out the Town Hall someone was putting random items on Philip due to the land being build/script enabled, a christmas hat was one of them.*
Philip Linden: OK this christmas hat thing is really strange.
Haney Linden: Schwanson Schlegel: What is your prediction as to the size of the player base over the next year?
Ice Brodie: please no decorating of the president of the company during his meeting.
Weedy Herbst: lol
Nexus Nash: watch it.. the finger of god will strike you down mary
Mary Virgo: =]
Mary Virgo: Merry Christmas
Philip Linden: Well you know what they say about predictions.
Philip Linden: But I think we can continue to grow quickly...
Philip Linden: I just want the growth to be compounded and steady...
Philip Linden: showing that word of mouth is working and everyone is happy.
Philip Linden: Whether that means 2X or 5X growth, I am less concerned. We will see.
Haney Linden: Lisse Livingston: Q: Any plans for the Find/Places list to be replaced with something more like Yellow Pages?
Philip Linden: I'd like to see a more general sort of listing system, yes!
Philip Linden: We are thinking and working on that.
Philip Linden: Agree we need more... especially objects, for example...
Philip Linden: how do you find a specific object today... you can't!
Haney Linden: Chase Lomax: are lindens goinfg to allow partners to co own land?
Philip Linden: I believe that our plan is to allow partners to own land by forming a 2 person group.
Haney Linden: Nexus Nash: Reguarding the post on REVAMP groups i'm sure some of you have read (http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=15501) what is the status on the (I don't want to say new) "updated" group management, and what type of features can we look fo
Ice Brodie pictures the LL board room with toys action figures and transformers all over it.
Haney Linden: forward to?
Philip Linden: Honestly I'm not sure what the current feature list is for updating groups...
Philip Linden: I will defer to Robin to post in forums.
Philip Linden: I've been SO busy with this financing .... haven't been in-world as much as I'd like.
Haney Linden: Sammael Belvedere: As more and more people come into SL, and thus more money created, what will be the effect to the $L in regards to current residents
Philip Linden: We track the currency price closely... currently thing have worked OK regardless of growth.
Philip Linden: So more customers does not change the value of the L$
Haney Linden: JAdmiral Maelstrom: When is the next major release of SL, and what can we look forward to?
Philip Linden: I don't have a target date for a major release. We are totally focused on stability fixes.
Philip Linden: Please try out the updated preview... it should be out friday.
Philip Linden: Lots of little fixes there, and that SHOULD go out next week if all looks OK.
Philip Linden: But I don't have a schedule yet for major stuff.
Zalandria Zaius: if I uninstall the preview will it delete my settings here like before?
Haney Linden: Oz Spade: LL has spent an extensive amount of time putting roads into the sims, yet they are virtually unusable because of lag and control issues with vehicles. What kind of improvements are planned to help with this?
Philip Linden: We are working on new vehicle designs, yes. Agree a better car is important.
Mr Fairplay: Philip were can I buy a pair of ur pants?
Haney Linden: Azelda Garcia: Whats your vision for the future of gaming (MMOGs etc) within SecondLife?
Philip Linden: noone will ever have these chaps but me.
Philip Linden: I think SL will be the future platform for many games.
Charles Fauna: Would we be lookign at client-side prediction?
Philip Linden: Look at how much better a deal we are than getting an advance from a studio!
Philip Linden: A few bucks for some land and you can test/prototype a real game.
Philip Linden: I know that we need more/finished features for this to be perfect,
Philip Linden: but our plan is to match EVERY feature in the gaming platforms.
Philip Linden: And I think we can do it.
Cereal Milk: even turbo turkey puncher?
Philip Linden: yes even that.
Haney Linden: Beatfox Xevious: Are there any plans to distribute processing of the grid evenly across the servers, instead of having a dedicated server per sim? This would be a major boon to high-traffic sims.
Philip Linden: We will work on ways to better distribute load. This is a hard problem....
Philip Linden: we are thinking about different designs.
Philip Linden: Long term I'm sure it will be something we'll be able to do.
Haney Linden: prak Curie: Do you see the future of Second Life being and ends in and of itself or do you see it as more of an interface for other things. For example, do you ever see it being possible to go to the Coke(tm) sim and buy an actual can of coke for a coup
Haney Linden: couple of L$?
Philip Linden: I think that the real power of SL lies in what happens entirely in the virtual domain.
Philip Linden: Things are better, faster, smarter here.
Philip Linden: So I don't see it as being a better interface to the real world...
Philip Linden: or at least not as the main use of SL.
Philip Linden: But I do think that connections to the world are very important for lots of the virtual stuff to be compelling.
Haney Linden: Salazar Jack: Can you make it possible for a non-land owner to plant Linden trees and plants. It would help so much with landscaping services.
Philip Linden: Hmm.... I don't understand that problem... email me with specifics.
Philip Linden: I've got a couple more minutes...
Philip Linden: gotta work on slides for tommorow.
Mr Fairplay: One thing i never undersood about SL is why the moon correlates to Earth existing moon this place is no where near like Earth ~_~
Philip Linden: Very late here.
Philip Linden: Well we all just liked the moon ;)
Philip Linden: 1 more question Haney.
Haney Linden: Belaya Statosky: Philip.. You said in a press release that your fantasy is to be Uma Thurman from Kill Bill. Do most of your decisions here hinge upon that?
Philip Linden: Its all about that. Its all about Uma.
Philip Linden: OK you all.
Philip Linden: Thanks for being here.
Philip Linden: I hope that everyone is as happy as me!
Philip Linden: Looking forward to many more years of SL!
Philip Linden: I'll be in-world tommorow as well... I think 11AM PST.
Haney Linden: Thank you all, sorry we didnt have time for all your questions.
Philip Linden: See you all later! Thanks!