Over the last few months we’ve seen a rash of people leaving employment with Linden Lab, the owners of Second Life. Some of the most recent ones are names most people would not recognize but they were important players working “under the hood”. There have been, of course, some very big departures – many of which have been written about in other blogs, if you have a link please feel free to leave it in the comments section.
Today, John Lester announced that he will be leaving “the lab”. John, who is better know as Pathfinder Linden, is an amazing guy and has been an awesome evangelist for education in Second Life. This is not an under-the-hood, behind-the-scenes low-level department. And, unlike a few of the others, John is not “leaving to pursue the next adventure”, as is evident by his recent note to the Second Life Educators list:
Greetings, Due to recent reorganizations at Linden Lab, my current position (Evangelist, Market Development) has ceased to exist. There are no alternative positions available to me, so as of March 12th I will be leaving the company. I am not sure what the future holds for me, but it will probably involve something at the intersection of online communities, virtual worlds and neuroscience. I will be remaining open to new opportunities. I'll continue to follow this mailing list, since innovation in education and healthcare remains near and dear to my heart. You all are doing amazing work, and I'll be sticking around to see what you come up with next! Take care, -John (formerly Pathfinder Linden)
This follows on the heels of another shake up of the EDU community when a very prominent figure, Jokay, who blogged regularly about SL in education, and also created a well-used wiki, was unceremoniously served a cease-and-dissest order from Linden Lab for using the “SL” in her wiki name. Linden Lab lays legal claim to the “SL” in capital letter in the use of anything related to virtual worlds and Second Life. The tool that integrates Second Life and the learning management system Moodle, originally called SLoodle, was forced to change its name after being served a similar cease-and-dissest, although this pre-dates what is now being called “The Jokay Incident”.
After the Jokay Incident, the SL Education Roundtable decided to change its name to Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable (VWER – http://www.vwer.org) and to also expand its consideration to include other (read: non-SL) virtual worlds.
Something is up at Linden Lab. Instead of the “Google”-like atmosphere I used to image in, I now have images of evil scientists running around trying to figure out how to rule the world and keep their subjects in line. Perhaps its just my over-active imagination.
What do you think about John (Pathfinder) leaving Linden Lab? How do you feel about what is going on for the EDU community in Second Life? Do you think things are better today than they were for us a year ago? Two years ago? I don’t mean the platform itself, I mean the consideration we (the EDU) community are given? Do you think we are still important to Linden Lab or is this just a readjustment phase?