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Town Hall 10/28/04

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Forum Link: Original Post

Note: The above link is a log edited by Haney Linden. The below log is a log I (Oz Spade) kept and edited myself, so some differences may occure. I think I left in more user-questions that were spoken out that I felt had relevence and also anything Philip responded to himself.

Town Hall with Philip Linden on 10/28/04
October 28th, 2004
11 AM PST

Basic Topic, unlike the previouse days Town Hall (Town Hall 10/27/04) this one had less questions on the financing topic as most of those questions had been covered the day before.


Philip Linden: Hi Everyone!!
Philip Linden: Nice to see you all

Editors Note: Philip suddenly dissapeared at this point.

Haney Linden: Ok, who deleted Philip?

Ian Linden: sorry folks, network here in flaky

Haney Linden: Ok, Just got a call from Philip, he is changing locations so there will be a 10

minutue delay - sorry.

Cereal Milk: Ian's opening for Philip.

Ian Linden: I'd love to open for philip but I can't quite read his mind yet

Haney Linden: If you want to get up to speed, you can read the transcript from last nights Town

Hall in Annoucement section of Forums
Haney Linden: http://forums.secondlife.com/showthread.php?t=25905

Philip Linden: Well that is a what you get combining drinking in manhattan bar with Wifi ;)

Cory Linden: works for me :-)

Philip Linden: I had to run back up to my hotel room for a better connection.
Philip Linden: Kept getting cut off.
Philip Linden: Cory and Ian linden are here too... they are actually in the bar so I live

vicariously through them
Philip Linden: OK!
Philip Linden: Thanks for coming.
Philip Linden: I suppose we've all heard the news by now, but let me summarize
Philip Linden: we've just closed a new round of financing for the company,
Philip Linden: for a total of $8M dollars.
Philip Linden: The investment is coming from both our existing investors and two really great new

ones:
Philip Linden: the first is Benchmark Capital, which is an amazing VC firm that really gets what

we are doing and is behind it.
Philip Linden: The second is an investment from Pierre Omidyar, through his foundation, the

Omidyar Network
Philip Linden: Pierre is a guy trying to make investments that promote technology enabling

people...
Philip Linden: if you take a look at their site you will see some of the other things they do...

very impressive stuff.
Philip Linden: I first met Pierre through his having an account in SL! He is one of us.
Philip Linden: Also, Pierre is the founder of eBay, which was also a benchmark-backed company.
Philip Linden: The guy from Benchmark who will be joining our board is Bill Gurley
Philip Linden: Bill is an amazing smart guy - engineer by training - who has learned an amazing

amount about this market and about SL
Philip Linden: He is going to come to an upcoming town hall and take questions.
Philip Linden: We took this investment because it seemed like a great fit.
Philip Linden: Bill and Benchmark came to us with a deep understanding of what we are doing...
Philip Linden: and interest in backing and creating this type of thing... where the actions of a

large community are what really drives the business,
Philip Linden: and not the other way around.
Philip Linden: We hadn't been directly seeking investment at the time - SL has (as you all know)

been growing really well
Philip Linden: but we were very very excited to have the chance to get these guys onboard.
Philip Linden: As for what we will do with the money...
Philip Linden: we will do what we are currently doing, exactly, only faster.
Philip Linden: this means we will hire more people, fix more bugs, build more tools.
Sophie Boffin: :-)
Philip Linden: We will get SL stable and totally scalable,
Philip Linden: and keep building it in exactly the way we have been...
Philip Linden: by rapidly fixing and evolving it, and by listening carefully to what is being said

by everyone and to what is happening in-world.
Philip Linden: So I'm out of breath...
Philip Linden: let's take some questions!

Donnie Donovan: What is the average velocity of an african swallow?

Haney Linden: Jarod Godel: Question: Will the fact that eBay is now a backer of SL encourage

Linden Lab to embed Hyperlinks into SL?

Philip Linden: Whoo... almost had to answer that swallow one.

Philip Linden: So.... hyperlinks.
Philip Linden: We think that deeper connections to RL are important to SL, and we are working on

them now.
Philip Linden: This means more than just hyperlinks...
Philip Linden: there is clearly a general need to do great 2D interfaces, for example.
Philip Linden: We are working on this, and will do it faster with more investment.
Philip Linden: Remmber.... eBay is NOT a backer because of this investment,
Philip Linden: The investment is from Pierre, not eBay.
Philip Linden: We will be able to ask eBay lots of questions, though,
Philip Linden: because of the close connections they have to benchmark...
Philip Linden: but this is informal... they are not an investor.

Haney Linden: DoteDote Edison: what do the investors expect in return for their monies? since this

is not a public company?

Philip Linden: The investors get a stake in the company... this means some of the stock.
Philip Linden: That is the way all private equity investments work.
Philip Linden: Pre-public companies still have stock, just like any other company.
Philip Linden: When you bring on an investor, you give some stock to the new investor,
Philip Linden: in the same way that you give stock to employees.

Moopf Murray: I'm sorry," pre-public" - have i missed something?

Philip Linden: By pre-public, I mean that Linden Lab is not a public company...
Philip Linden: you cannot buy our stock at an exchange.

Haney Linden: SuluMor Romulus: When will LL become public?

Moopf Murray: by pre, surely you mean before public, ie. that's the way you want to go?

Philip Linden: But investors and employees own stock.
Philip Linden: So what the investors 'want' for their money is simply for us to become successful.
Philip Linden: So that the % of the company they own goes up in value compared to what they paid.

Haney Linden: You: SuluMor Romulus: When will LL become public?

Philip Linden: We have no specific plans to go public... we are still very early in our growth,
Philip Linden: and I couldn't even hazard a guess as to where we will be some years from now.
Philip Linden: My main focus will be to raise money and grow LL in a way that gives us the right

levels of freedom
Philip Linden: to adapt SL to what it needs to become.
Philip Linden: The investments we have taken so far are consistent with that...
Philip Linden: everyone is very excited to see us take risks, make big decisions, and challenge

the status quo
Philip Linden: thats what we've done with SL, and we will keep it that way.
Philip Linden: This investment combined with our growth also means we won't have to raise money

for a long time.
Philip Linden: So I'll be able to fix bugs, not give presentations.

Haney Linden: Emmy Guillaume: Will the Benchmark/Ebay connection help iron out issues with SL Land

Auctions? - ie, will that technology be available here, in SL

Philip Linden: Again... there is no specific connection to eBay. I think our land auctions work

okay.
Philip Linden: maybe we should do them through ebay? I'm not sure... open for forum discussion.
Philip Linden: But right now no plans.

Haney Linden: Jarod Godel: Question: Will SL be taking more Open Source direction, seeing that

benchmark backs RedHat and MySQL?

Philip Linden: I think we are already very aligned to open source...
Philip Linden: most of the challenge with open source is getting our team big enough to handle it.

Jarod Godel: Will you be opening any of the LSL code?

Philip Linden: You need a lot of people to manage the process.
Philip Linden: But we see no reason why SL tech shouldn't be open...
Philip Linden: of course in some sense (in-world) all of SL is in a meta way open source.
Philip Linden: But we will do more specific open source stuff over time. Just a matter of

resources.

Haney Linden: Sulendro Street: Is this good news also good news for users of the Mac SL client?

Philip Linden: This is good news for everything having to do with tech or features of platforms...
Philip Linden: because we will be able to hire more and work faster.
Philip Linden: so yes.

Haney Linden: Weedy Herbst: Q- Will GM be able to build car lots and sell real cars?

Philip Linden: Hah! No more so than they can today.
Philip Linden: I think that real world stuff like that won't work as well in SL as things built

here,
Philip Linden: because the spirit of SL is in how much better stuff built/done here can be.
Philip Linden: We are fair and open about uses... we don't for the most part try to restrict what

people do here.
Philip Linden: We do however, hold out the right in our terms,
Philip Linden: to not allow real-world advertising.
Philip Linden: Whether we would invoke that to limit GM if they sold cars here (without asking)
Philip Linden: would be a function of what happened... how we all responded.
Philip Linden: But it is incredibly important that we not act where we do no need to, I think.
Philip Linden: I don't think toyotas would sell as well as seburos in SL.

Haney Linden: Higbee Protagonist: Q haney: Since you guys are putting all of these void sims up,

how soon can we really expect an asset server upgrade?

Philip Linden: The asset server upgrade was done a couple weeks ago....
Philip Linden: we are running on much heavier hardware there.
Philip Linden: There are fixes in the 1.5.6 that will put less load on that server as well,
Philip Linden: so that will make things faster too.
Philip Linden: I think perhaps you are thinking about bugs other than the asset server.

Haney Linden: Jarod Godel: Question: You say real world stuff doesn't work well here, and yet you

say it needs to integrate with the world better. can you explain how those two aren't mutually

exclusive statements?

Philip Linden: Sure I can.
Philip Linden: The coolest things in SL will have the majority of their intrinsic value on the SL

side, I believe.
Philip Linden: So let's look at movies as an example.
Philip Linden: Let's say we add the ability to play back movies in SL.
Philip Linden: Like a texture or something.
Philip Linden: So if we add that capability, there are different ways you could use it.
Philip Linden: I think that a compelling example would be a sort of mystery science theater...
Philip Linden: where we all watch old movies in a group like this and comment on them.
Philip Linden: Good grief that would be hilarious, and so very very SL.
Philip Linden: But what if you use that feature to just advertise some dumb movie that is coming

out...
Philip Linden: put up billboards all over the place with trailers.

Caran Suavage: how can you solve the bandwith problem in this case?

Philip Linden: That is using the same feature in a way that doesn't leverage any of the uniqueness

of SL.
Philip Linden: So I think tech connecting SL to RL is neutral...
Philip Linden: it is a question of how it is used.
Philip Linden: And I doubt that the totally non-SL uses like pure advertising will be very

compelling.

Haney Linden: Hiro Pendragon: Q: Thoughts on full reverse compatibilty with WWW?

Philip Linden: ummm I suppose that is a big question... email me on that one or forums.
Philip Linden: I don't totally understand.

Haney Linden: Maxx Monde: Last night you said markup from a small number of players buying most of

the land in auctions wasn't a problem. If that is true, isn't the fact you have so few sellers

versus the number of land buyers an inherent problem? Or an oligopoly *is*
Haney Linden: wanted?

Philip Linden: I don't think anyone understands the right direction for land...
Philip Linden: but it will emerge like everything else.
Philip Linden: Right now it seems there are a small number of people buying land at auctions,
Philip Linden: and selling it at virtually no profit to a larger set of people in smaller plots.
Philip Linden: At least that is what I see in the data.

Haney Linden: Kathryn Jackson: will the amount of prims allowed on a peice of land ever increase

Philip Linden: Once SL is really big, I don't think it is appropriate for us to design/parcel/plot

all the land.
Philip Linden: It seems better to sell bigger pieces to folks who basically redevelop it in some

way.
Philip Linden: right now we are doing a little of both.
Philip Linden: We sell some small plots and some big.
Philip Linden: But I think long term it should be the comunity that drives the expansion planning,

terraforming, everything.
Philip Linden: So we need a plan to get there.
Philip Linden: Agree that right now things are doubtless not optimal. Eager for feedback.
Philip Linden: I don't think LL creating every tiny plot for every new user is the right design

though.

Haney Linden: You: Kathryn Jackson: will the amount of prims allowed on a peice of land ever

increase?

Philip Linden: Yes, it will.
Philip Linden: As we speed up the code or get faster hardware we increase it.
Philip Linden: It used to be 10,000 now it is 15,000.
Philip Linden: I don't have a target date or anything.
Philip Linden: first priority is making the overall system faster with the prims we have.
Philip Linden: BTW we are doing some incredibly work in labs on that. Hang in there.

Haney Linden: Chosen Few: With all this new investment, any ideas about upgrading the physics

engine to something that can support more complexity?

Philip Linden: Yes we will upgrade to Havok2 and do other things to do that.
Philip Linden: No target date, but high priority.

Haney Linden: Zapoteth Zaius: Question: How do you feel about all the malls cropping up in SL?

(Not bashing them, I own one too :-))

Philip Linden: I think malls are great cause they are one of the first thing that has worked

really well in SL
Philip Linden: so that is cool... emergence.
Philip Linden: Same thing with night clubs.
Philip Linden: they are a trip, right?
Philip Linden: But they aren't the only thing that will be great in SL
Philip Linden: I am waiting for the next few big ideas.
Philip Linden: I don't think we will have long to wait. I suspect that malls are far from the top

of SL's potential.

Haney Linden: Driftwood Nomad: Will there be better rewards for non-dwellopers, like scripting and

textures?

Philip Linden: We are working on some plans for how to better incent non-dwell development, yes.
Philip Linden: Look for some announcements over next months.

Haney Linden: DoteDote Edison: what about people who "game" the dwell system in their various ways

Philip Linden: No system used by humans to score things is perfect.
Philip Linden: We will keep making dwell and reputation and stuff like that better,
Philip Linden: but I suspect there will always be deviation from what we would like...
Philip Linden: for dwell or reputation, etc, to reward what we collectively want it to.
Philip Linden: I don't have easy answers to that. I don't think there area.
Philip Linden: are.

Haney Linden: Donnie Donovan: I read the articles on professors conducting virtual classes in

Second Life. Are there any plans/ideas to create features for teachers and/or public Universities

in-world with class room tools?

Philip Linden: We have a big feature list and in general I'd say some help with education,
Philip Linden: but nothing specific. We don't have multiple teams... only one..
Philip Linden: I'd say gaming in general (making it better in SL) is biggest priority along those

lines.

Haney Linden: Kurt Zidane: is there, or ever been, plans to out sources or higher some one with

major expernce in graphic engines. ie John Carmac, or some one at idos systems.

Philip Linden: We have guys that good.
Philip Linden: We will hire more.l
Philip Linden: This is a big challenge.... rendering a scene this complex.
Philip Linden: We have biased toward complexity, because we beleive that is what deeply matters.
Philip Linden: And now we race to bring up the frame rate.
Philip Linden: Just give us a bit of time... we are working on some graphics improvmenets that I

think you will like.
Philip Linden: We are a hardcore 3D team... lots of experience.

Haney Linden: Torley Torgeson: Dear Philip, will there be more privacy options in the future for

those who, say, wish to be intimate and personal and find that IM alone is not expressive enough?

Or a "hide from Map" mode so that one cannot be found temporarily?

Philip Linden: Better privacy is certainly on our lists, tes.
Philip Linden: yes.

Haney Linden: just a sec

Haney Linden: Oz Spade: Will there be any development in future versions of SL towards allowing us

to make our own front-end GUI interfaces through LSL? Something more powerfull than llDialog.

Philip Linden: Yes there will. Big time.
Philip Linden: Working on some ideas now.

Haney Linden: Krashen Byrne: Several sims have been hit by a dwell wipe bug in the last few weeks.

Can you update us on what is being done?

Philip Linden: Honestly I've been so busy on the funding side I don't know status on that.
Philip Linden: If you send me an email to remind me (philip@lindenlab.com) I'll get some data.

Haney Linden: Ice Brodie: Philip, did you bring us swag from the con, and what's the possibility

of having persistant storage, if not in notecards, due to asset server concerns, maybe a textcard

object without the inventory function?

Philip Linden: Well on the swag side...
Philip Linden: it's a legal conference... so not too much to grab.
Philip Linden: But we sponsored it and there are these nice leather binders catherine did...
Philip Linden: with the SL hand embossed into the leather.
Philip Linden: But I don't know how attendees would take to me lifting those from their bags.
Philip Linden: ;)
Philip Linden: As to the notecard thing and storage... point noted. We definitely have that on our

list. No schedule.

Haney Linden: Yoshi Platini: Are you hitting bottlenecks on the Net itself, or are the lag issues

at this point solely in LL's ability to generate the streams?

Philip Linden: There are no bottlenecks on the net.
Philip Linden: Most of the delays in things happening in SL are due to the servers struggling to

get data ready to stream to clients,
Philip Linden: or due to low FPS on the viewer (which makes everything lag)
Philip Linden: Well yes I'm sure some parts of the work are slow, I agree.l
Philip Linden: world.

Haney Linden: Moopf Murray: Philip, you had said only a week or so ago that all near-term

development is in fixing bugs, yet you have mentioned that you're working on a number of different

things in the labs? So, you're not working exclusively on fixing bugs then?

Philip Linden: Hey can I ask a quick survey question, BTW.
Philip Linden: How many people here are not from the US? Just type 'me'

Weedy Herbst: me
Zonax Delorean: me (EU/Hungary)
Moopf Murray: me
Caran Suavage: me (EU/Hungary too)
Torley Torgeson: me
Bernardo Rockwell: me
Bernardo Rockwell: brazil
Caran Suavage: me
Haney Linden: Moopf Murray: me

Philip Linden: So maybe 25-30% of us.
Philip Linden: OK that is helpful.
Philip Linden: OK Haney what was that question?

Haney Linden: Moopf Murray: Philip, you had said only a week or so ago that all near-term

development is in fixing bugs, yet you have mentioned that you're working on a number of different

things in the labs? So, you're not working exclusively on fixing bugs then?

Philip Linden: Well we are all working on stuff that in one way or another speeds up or smooths

the system.
Philip Linden: So right now some folks are fixing specific bugs in code,

Moopf Murray: that's different from working on bugs though, surely

Philip Linden: others are adding systems or tools or other backend tech to better manage scale
Philip Linden: others are working on rendering and other enhancements to make the viewer faster,

etc.

Ice Brodie: which in itself is a bug fix. with the backend and graphics.

Philip Linden: We mix near and mid term development, yes.

Haney Linden: Yoshi Platini: Do you foresee rolling out more "alien" sims, or even another

"planetary" Grid? I'd love to see more terrain like Mimas and Tethys.

Philip Linden: Good point... noted.

Haney Linden: Jarod Godel: Question: Is Second Life immersive to you, Philip, or is it an

extension of real life?

Philip Linden: it is immersive to me. Less an extension of RL.

Haney Linden: Jeri Zuma: Q. for Phil: Lag.... that is the biggest single frustration... what will

be done to attack it and to open up the possibility of large groups functioning well in a single

sim?

Philip Linden: Well there are a lot of things we are doing...
Philip Linden: faster rendering of large groups.
Philip Linden: faster server performance.
Philip Linden: faster physics.
Philip Linden: That problem is central... affects everything.

Haney Linden: Salazar Jack: The idea of providing an inworld interface for exchanging Lindens and

US dollars, or buying Lindens directly with our credit card has surfaced recently, any comments on

that?

Philip Linden: That change is lower priority... clearly people have ways to do that now. Bug

fixing most important.
Philip Linden: But long term, we figure there needs to be some ways to exchange currency better

than creasting a new account at a website...
Philip Linden: but not feeling like we need to have that tommorow.
Philip Linden: folks in that thread get confused...
Philip Linden: we aren't talking about LL selling currency,
Philip Linden: but about whether we should figure some way to do what is done today straight from

the UI
Philip Linden: and in a way that works for a newer user with less time and interest.

Oz Spade: Not like There? But more like GOM through the interface?

Philip Linden: Right, like GOM in the interface.

Haney Linden: Driftwood Nomad: Do Lindens also have alt avs?

Philip Linden: Some of them do, yes. But we've got not too much time for them in general, I think.

Haney Linden: billy Madison: Question for philip: will there ever be more telehubs added to the

snow sims at the bottom of the grid

Philip Linden: Adding telehubs is always hard cause its a debate and a big change for folks that

already own land.
Philip Linden: But desire noted...
Philip Linden: will pass on.

Haney Linden: Kathryn Jackson: I just wish the game did not crash so much do you actually do

anything with the crash reports that are generated?

Philip Linden: We look at every single crash report.
Philip Linden: There are still a large number of reasons why crashes occur.
Philip Linden: Some we will fix... we are getting the numbers down.
Philip Linden: Some are due to the graphics cards and drivers needing to mature.
Philip Linden: We try and do a broader set of things with the grpahics card,
Philip Linden: and some cards crash when we do.
Philip Linden: We have a pretty good channel to nvidia, ATI, apple, etc. Hope to make it better.
Philip Linden: I think we will have another generation of cards until thing are really really

stable.

Haney Linden: Moopf Murray: What are your thoughts on player's private investment sponsoring

larger projects in SL? ;)

Philip Linden: Um if by that you mean people buying big plots of land like the aerodrome or

sometihng....
Philip Linden: I am totally delighted.
Philip Linden: It is so great that we are growing and creating the room for such larger things.

Haney Linden: One more question?

Philip Linden: OK

Haney Linden: Catherine Cotton: Philip what do you think SL will be like a year from now?

Philip Linden: What a great question, Catherine.
Philip Linden: Well here is what I hope:
Philip Linden: That there will increasingly be big projects... like the aerodrome or darklife...
Philip Linden: that will compete and diversify the couple of BIG things that go on today.
Philip Linden: I'd like to see a wider variety of experiences, and an increasingly tight and

complex community of support
Philip Linden: around building and sustaining those activities.
Philip Linden: We need to add some features to make some of those work,
Philip Linden: but I think there is a also a process underway that is working and is emergent and

comes from all of you.
Philip Linden: Look at big projects like skydiving...
Philip Linden: a year ago we would never have seen that.
Philip Linden: Can you imagine if in a year there are just 10 more things of that scale?
Philip Linden: 10 things that are pure SL - things we've never seen before.
Philip Linden: That would be great... and I think it can happen.
Philip Linden: OK everyone...
Philip Linden: I've gotta get on a press call.
Philip Linden: So fun to be able to tell everyone here first about this all.
Philip Linden: And thanks for the support.

Oz Spade: Q: What are your thoughts on the great William Shatner and his works?

Philip Linden: Feel free to email me with other Q's or thoughts, as always.

Torley Torgeson: Yes! What are your thoughts on the Shat, Philip? :D

Philip Linden: Ooh I'll stay away from that bill shatner thing ;)
Philip Linden: OK goodbye all.

Haney Linden: Thank you all!

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