Apr 23

M Linden is the New CEO of Linden Labs

Category: Lindens, Press release, Second Life News, Virtual Worlds by Stone Culdesac

As you may or may not know, Phillip Linden has announced the hiring of the new CEO for Linden Lab, Mark Kingdon, who has worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a partner and CEO of Organic. He will be known as M Linden and he will be focused on improving the in-world experience and stability and reliability of Second Life, something they should have been more focused on for years.

He is going to start on May 15th. Like I said when we started looking, I am not going anywhere, and will be working with Mark to help lead Linden and Second Life onward. I am really looking forward to working with him, as he has so many skills and capabilities that will help us and that I can also learn from - here are a few: He will have an intense focus on improving the in-world experience and stability and reliability of Second Life. He has extensive hands-on experience with user experience design, which will be critical in making Second Life an easier and better experience for more people. Finally, he has a ton of experience leading companies and products with global reach, which is now essential given that the great majority of Second Life usage is international and Linden Lab will continue to grow as an international company with offices in many locations. Source: Announcing our New CEO!

I think we all hope that M can get Second Life moving in the right direction again, SL has always been notoriously hard to get used to for most people while retaining the users it does have for many years. I have talked to many people who have laughed at the thought of buying virtual merchandise, land, etc for their avatars, but, once they used it a few times, they are soon creating their own little virtual inworld presence. Many will rent or buy places to live, create their own little shops to sell their creations, or just become shopaholics, wearing a different outfit every time that you see them. Their Second Life just becomes a version of their real life that they like better, because of the social aspects and the creative nature of the platform.

For most, Second Life is hard to use, redundant, or they are just scared off by the open nature and the first time they see a guy running around naked with his johnson standing at attention. So, let’s hope they can improve the interface and make the learning curve a LOT shorter than it currently is or it will be doomed to be a niche virtual world, inhabited by early adopters and their friends, or worse, stagnate and die.

Here is the official press release.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 22, 2008 – Linden Lab®, the developer of the 3D virtual world Second Life®, today announced that its board of directors has named Mark Kingdon to serve as chief executive officer. In his new role, Kingdon will lead the day-to-day management and operations of the company, working closely alongside Linden Lab founder, former CEO and current chairman Philip Rosedale.

Since 2001, prior to joining Linden Lab, Kingdon served as chief executive officer of Organic Inc., a leading digital communications agency, establishing its reputation as a groundbreaking, innovative provider of user-centered design. Prior to Organic, Kingdon worked with idealab!, providing strategic guidance and operational support to emerging companies. Before that, Kingdon was a partner with the consulting division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PwC), where he held a variety of senior roles throughout his twelve-year tenure. He received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a BA in Economics from UCLA.

“Our search for the leader of Linden Lab demanded both tremendous business skills and a deep understanding and passion for Second Life and where it is going. Mark is the perfect choice,” said Philip Rosedale, founder and chairman of the board, Linden Lab. “His management style, unwavering leadership in the face of great challenges, and approach to team-building exactly matches Linden’s needs. He is a passionate believer in the potential of virtual worlds to change the world, and I look forward to working by his side while we watch it happen.”

“We wanted to find someone with an exceptional blend of strategic, analytic, business and leadership skills, but also with endless creativity and a passion for the company and growing the virtual worlds category,” said Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation and a Linden Lab board member. “Mark has demonstrated all of these attributes throughout his career, particularly at Organic, which, like Linden Lab, puts an incredible emphasis on overall user experience and design.”

“Joining Linden Lab at this moment in its evolution, with so much growth and opportunity on the horizon, is incredibly exciting and I look forward to working with Philip and the Linden Lab team to help Second Life realize its limitless potential,” said Mark Kingdon, Chief Executive Officer, Linden Lab. “To me, the CEO role at Linden Lab combines perfectly my passions for art and design, business and technology. Until Second Life, we experienced the digital world passively in two dimensions. By enabling users to create a rich and immersive virtual world, Second Life is transforming the way we connect, collaborate, learn and transact online. I am thrilled to be part of this epic transformation.”

Kingdon assumes the position full time on May 15, 2008.

About Second Life and Linden Lab
Second Life is a 3D online world with a rapidly growing population from over 100 countries around the globe, in which the Residents themselves create and build the world, which includes homes, vehicles, nightclubs, stores, landscapes and clothing. The Second Life Grid is a sophisticated development platform created by Linden Lab, a company founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale, to create a revolutionary new form of shared 3D experience. The former CTO of RealNetworks, Rosedale pioneered the development of many of today’s streaming media technologies, including RealVideo. Based in San Francisco, Linden Lab employs a senior team bringing together deep expertise in physics, 3D graphics and networking.

Note to editors: Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.

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