Monday, June 21, 2010

Educators at VWER Debate Linden Lab Layoffs, Future of Second Life in Education

Location: NOT at VWER Roundtable (dang it!)

I wish I could have attended last week's roundtable. I'm glad that educators showed their dissatisfaction at the current situation we face in Second Life. AJ Brooks talked about the LL refocus on consumers this way: "I guess if you have to focus on 8% or 30%, you pick the 30%."

It got noted that 8% of SL's usage is by education. Had I been there, Iggy would have responded that ignoring our work in SL would be an appropriate strategy for a company preparing to sell out. But if LL is indeed as profitable as it claims, long-term investors of the 8% are less likely to switch to new platforms.

Education, given our budgeting process and history of long-term planning, should have gotten a renewed focus from the Lab as well.

I feel for my colleagues with heavy institutional investments in SL. If LL leaves them twisting in the wind when it closes shop or sells out to a company that will do even less for education, it will set back other investments in 3D immersive environments for a while. Imagine, for instance, had Netscape bombed before Microsoft entered the game with Internet Explorer. How long would it have been before business and education reinvested in "that Web thing"?

Noteworthy quotations and points:
  • Educators about equally divided on whether a separate edu grid would be a good thing
  • Jimmie Veeper: [the current situation is] killing our future funding
  • AJ Brooks: well - this is more than just a layoff - this was massive, first, and quite surgical
  • Csteph Submariner: re-focus implies they were focused in the first place they ARE a business after all not a public service.
  • Trudy Takacs: I don't expect it free, textbooks aren't free
  • AJ Brooks: the RP communities drive the LL economy
  • AJ Brooks: I said over two years ago that SL is like to be the AOL of virtual environments
  • Marcia Kjeller: is there anything we should do, since this news just broke, or someplace we should petition. to see what is going to happen to the educational component/parcels/islands of SL? or just sit, listen and wait?. . . .AJ Brooks: Marcia - I think its just sit and wait it out
  • Grinn Pidgeon: surely they know our fiscal years are about to switch and we need to budget. . . .Jimmie Veeper: And not let admin read our conversations here for fear of program cuts.
Read the entire transcript here.

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