I’ve never had the honor to meet Philip Linden/Rosedale, either in his real or virtual forms. (Though I have had the privilege of “running against” him in the 2007 SL Gubernatorial Elections.) Yet I’ve been a Resident for nearly two years now, and in that time, I’ve been very much aware that I’m “living” in his dream world, which can be sometimes banal, sometimes awe-inspiring, and sometimes just flat-out weird. The one thing I can’t deny is the essential brilliance of the underlying concept.
Now, he’s stepping back from his day-to-day role as CEO of the company he created, moving into the board chairman’s slot as well as working more on “product strategy and vision,” as well as evangelism. There are obvious parallels here to Bill Gates and his transition away from the CEO role at Microsoft, but I also get the impression that Philip isn’t as much of a “genetic entrepreneur” as, say, Andre Durand is. Philip strikes me as more of the techno-geek sort, who loves to get down and dirty with the details. Keeping him in the role he’s comfortable with will be good for both Linden Labs and the Second Life platform as a whole.
The question now becomes, who’s likely to replace him? LL appears at a loss, as the esteemed Ms. Malaprop remarked over on Twitter: “No successor being named says that there is going to be a bit of a mess for a bit, though. Otherwise it would have been ‘philip down, X up!'” And, well, that’s obvious; replacing someone like Philip is not exactly a cookie-cutter kind of deal, if you know what I mean. Prokofy seems to think that LL is most likely to promote someone from within, and that strikes me as both the easiest course for LL to take and the one that’s best for SL, as someone who’s already involved with SL is likely to disrupt it the least over the short and long terms. We won’t, however, know anything about what they plan on doing until they make up their minds. My best advice at this point would be to remain cautious, yet optimistic.
In the meantime, we can all wish Philip the very best of good fortune as he transitions into his new role, and hope that this new role will allow him to continue to make Second Life everything it should be.
“We must have faith…that the universe will unfold as it should.” – Spock to Valeris, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country