Friday, July 23, 2010

Reworking Second Life: Lessons for Linden Lab from 37 Signals

A recent post by Zha Ewry about the latest release of the Second Life 2.x viewer is another reminder of Linden Lab's endemic struggle with server and client software problems. I think Philip and the gang would be well served by putting into practice some of the key ideas from Rework, a great new book on building, running and growing a software business by the founders of 37 Signals.

The book contains dozens of short chapters headed by pithy aphorisms that are almost all poster-worthy. Here's a taste and some brief comments:
  • Build half a product, not a half-assed product. I propose that this replace P. Linden's "Back to Basics" mantra and be the smell test for any development plans.
  • Why grow? I think that a lot of the problem related to Second Life over the last couple of years can be attributed to Linden Lab management being more concerned about growth and new markets than quality and their existing customers.
  • Don't confuse enthusiasm with priority. I wonder how much management mindshare and corporate resources went into chasing after peripheral endeavors such as Avatars United.
  • Good enough is fine. The massive make-over of Second Life's website look-and-feel was not only peripheral to their product, but ended up making Second Life look like every other competitor
  • Planning is guessing. The Second Life Enterprise Platform is a good example of how the best laid plans of avatars and men often go awry. To conclude this little post, here's a video that dramatizes how a savvy management might handle board pressure for a 5 year plan:


Yordie Sands said...

Those are GREAT suggestions for LL, Botgirl. I've wondered about this whole "grow" thing too. SL could become something truly amazing but it's like anything where you try too hard, you can really mess it up. (/me swats fingers on the keyboard /me's mind says stop typing now or you'll pop open a rant).

sororNishi said...

I like Miso's mantra... "you lag, you lose" ...what more can be said?