Saturday, April 19, 2008

Judging Linden

I dropped in today on a salon in Extropia featuring Hamlet Au. The discussion was pretty far ranging and participants included some of SL's best and brightest. One brief discussion thread centered around what Linden Lab can do to enhance newcomer experience. Although some positive ideas were discussed, the general tone had a critical flavor.

Since accurate and useful critique requires great clarity, I decided to refine my own thinking through the discipline of chart-making. Here's what I came up with:

No business (or person for that matter) can do everything well. Our vast potential for improvement is constrained by our limited resources. So we all must make choices about where to focus and what to prioritize. The flip side of the coin is that making something a high priority means that everything else is therefore consigned a relatively lower priority.

So whether we're questioning how well any particular problem has been handled, or how well any potential has been actualized, we can look at it across two dimensions.

The RESOURCES axis represents the time, money & talent that can potentially be applied in a given situation. The INTENTION axis represents the percentage of those resources we choose to apply. I ended up with four quadrants. Ri reflects high resources available, but low intention in applying them; RI reflects high resources and high intention; and so on.

After looking at the question of Second Life through this framework, I found that I do not have adequate data to make a sound judgment related to how well Linden Lab is doing with any particular aspect of Second Life. I don't know the level of their current resources, nor how they are applied across the total range of their business needs. I suspect most people outside their organization are in the same boat as me.

Now this doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to bring up problems or offer ideas for solutions. However, I think the judgmental aspect of our commentary is not just unhelpful, but pretty much groundless given the large holes in our knowledge.

So that's my little rant for the day. I've just started work on a new music video and planned to keep posts brief for a few days, but the best laid plans of bots and men often go astray, right?


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