Philip Rosedale to Step Down as CEO of Linden Lab — Update 3

After weeks of not significant developments (to my strange mind), a piece of real news. Reuters reports that founder and CEO of Linden Research Philip Rosedale has announced he plans to step down from the top managerial position. This has been confirmed by Mitch Kapor, the current chairman of the board. Rosedale will succeed Kapor as chairman, and will continue with Linden Lab in “product development and strategy.”

The article states that this is not unusual for startup companies, once they get past the early stages. The visionary CEO makes way for a more business-oriented manager, while keeping a hand in the activities of the company. Adam cites Google and eBay as examples. The article also mentions that the search for a new CEO may take some time, as they will be looking for someone who can:

  1. help regain the growth that made Second Life such a phenomenon for a time
  2. live within the (ahem) curious corporate culture that Linden Lab thrives on
  3. win over the Residents, who have their own…idiosyncratic view of how LL should conduct their business and govern the Grid.

The last, to my way of thinking, may be the most significant in the long run. As I mentioned in a comment to Ham Au’s early post on the question, many of the more libertarian Residents have freaked over such decisions as the famous banking and gambling bans. And this was under an “administration” that would be far looser than a more business-model-oriented CEO might be — unless that new CEO is enlightened indeed in his/her handling of the client population. Or at least is able to win the folk over to the “revised corporate strategy.”

All the fears will, of course, be speculation and nothing else until the new CEO is selected — a process that Kapor says can take anyplace from a few weeks to many months. I’m betting (and hoping) that Linden Lab will look for someone who can work in the quirky environment that has often fostered and nurtured Second Life, and who will be able to thrive in the sometimes charged Residential atmosphere over which direction the Grid is heading in.

Philip Rosedale’s own statement is on the Big Blog.

Supplemental, 2:18 pm local:

The reaction is setting in among the bloggers:

UPDATE, March 15, 1:20 pm:

Further blog links, now that the news has percolated through:

UPDATE:  March 19

This final update links to the March 18 issue of the Metaverse Messenger, where the story is the first above the “fold.”  Requires current version of Adobe Reader!

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