Ebbe Altberg: looking back at his time in Second Life, Sansar and Linden Lab


2014

Ebbe Altberg was announced as the new CEO of Linden Lab back on 5th February 2014 where he mentioned that he was absolutely committed to supporting Second Life customers and helping them become even more successful. He mentioned back then that there were significant opportunities ahead and he looked forward to leading the community into the next phase of growth. Ebbe started tweeting about Second Life and answering questions via his Twitter account shortly afterwards.

There was a small invitation only for a selection of Second Life press and I was lucky to attend this meet & greet meeting. It was hosted at PR island in a nice meeting spot just north of the region with Pete Linden and Ebbe Altberg.

Meet and Greet 2014

Ebbe was featured on show 5 of The Drax Files hosted by Draxtor Despres. This was a nice welcoming show with many guests on the show talking about Second Life. Listen here. On 10th February 2014 Ebbe Linden created his Second Life account.

Ebbe attended his first VWBPE event in April 2014 where he talked about the educational uses of Second Life, improving communications and plans for the future of Second Life. Over 200 avatars attended with over 150+ viewers watching via Livestream. Ebbe talked about Second Life terms of service, the metaverse, future technologies, branding and much more.

Ebbe Altberg, Philip Rosedale and Draxtor Despres attended the Silicon Valley VR expo (creating the VR Metaverse) in May 2014. They talked about many topics from avatar portability, intellectual property, identity and privacy along with much more.

Ebbe attended one of the third party viewer meetings back on 20th June 2014 where he announced that Linden Lab was working on a next generation virtual world. The aim was to create an incredible experience and enable high quality creativity.

In late August 2014 Ebbe confirmed on Twitter that official Oculus Rift DK2 support is coming along. He mentioned that Second Life going to get better and keep going for a long time.

In early October 2014 Designing Worlds celebrated their 250 episode with Ebbe Altberg with a 90 minute programme. Saffia Widdershins and Elrik Merlin asked Ebbe about the new platform, Second Life and it’s future. Here are some of the highlights here.

2015

On 10th February 2015 Ebbe Linden celebrated he’s first Rezday in Second Life.

In mid March 2015 Ebbe talked more about the next generation platform at VWBPE 2015 mentioning that it is progressing well and there was 30+ engineers working on it. At this point the lab had only worked on this new platform for about 8-9 months. Ebbe wanted to make land cheaper, he was a fan of strong communities and he wanted to support mobile from the beginning.

VWBPE 2014

On Friday 26th June 2015 Ebbe Linden was interviewed by Jo Yardley and Saffia Widdershins at the SL12B Auditorium. This part of the last Meet The Lindens talks at the birthday celebrations. Ebbe talked about Project Sansar, third party viewers and more.

In early August 2015 Ebbe Altberg and Nick Ochoa met up and discussed Project Sansar. This was a very interesting interview where Ebbe mentioned closed alpha and the alpha phase. Ebbe mentioned that Second Life was south of 1 million active monthly users. People cashed out 60 million dollars in 2014.

In early December 2015 Ebbe Altberg talked about the future of virtual reality on Bloomberg West with Altspacevr founder and CEO Eric Romo. Ebbe mentioned that there is a mass market for VR, it’s going to take a while (next few years) for people to get VR hardware in their hands and Second Life cashed out 60 million dollars from creating virtual experiences in 2014.

2016

Ebbe revealed some new screenshots of Project Sansar back in early February 2016 showing examples of what environments (Mars & the Moon) can look like inside the new platform. The community had very mixed feedback on these screenshots. Ebbe mentioned that it takes a few hours to create a multi user VR experience with Project Sansar.

In early March 2016 Ebbe Linden talked about Second Life at VWBPE 2016. Ebbe mentioned that Second Life performance was continuing improving, quality and stability was improving. The lab was working on new avatars and new web on prim. The lab was focused on creators for the rest of 2016 and that general amiability would come at the end of 2016 for Project Sansar.

In late October 2016 Ebbe showed off the first demo of Sansar on stage during Wall Street Journal’s Live conference in Laguna Beach, California. This was the first video demo of Sansar (1min/51secs) showing new footage of the next generation platform which was due to open to the public in January 2017.

In the first video demo of Sansar Ebbe Linden is showing the audience how easy it is to grab things and move virtual furniture using with the Oculus Touch controller. Ebbe Linden talked about how users will be able to create, buy and sell virtual goods within Sansar. Ebbe said that food is a tricky thing in VR and that there will be a currency/marketplace. Ebbe Linden finishes by saying that Sansar is was in the creator preview phrase and that hundreds of creators have been invited so far and the roll out will continue right into Q1 2017.

2017

In late March 2017 Ebbe Altberg had a hour long conversation with Kevin Feenan at the 10th annual VWBPE conference about education in Second Life and the education possibilities that could happen in Sansar. Ebbe mentioned during this conversation that Second Life is the most successful virtual world ever made to this day and that Second Life is a successful product/profitable product. In terms of Sansar he mentioned that Sansar will be another platform to explore and that Sansar would enable you to do things you cant do in Second Life.

2018

Ebbe Altberg at VWBPE 2018 in mid March 2018. He talked about VR, Second Life, Sansar, education, land prices and much more. There was no major announcements this year to mention but rather small updates. The attendance was pretty good for both inworld and online numbers. A few Lindens made a special appearance at the Main Auditorium.

Ebbe Altberg attended the special Town Hall event in late April 2018 which lasted for 1 hour and 42 minutes. Ebbe talked about the future of Second Life and much more.

In mid June 2018 Ebbe Altberg and Philip Rosedale was featured on the Second Life 15th birthday video. Ebbe in this video was speaking from Amsterdam and he mentioned that 68 million US dollars was paid to creators in 2017. 5 million virtual goods listed in the marketplace and that Linden Lab are moving massive amounts of infrastructure into the cloud. There was a special surprise appearance from the founder of Second Life Philip Rosedale where he mentioned that Second Life 15 years later is still going strong and that Second Life is the most successful virtual world out there today.

Ebbe Altberg town hall meeting on Thursday 13th September 2018 talking about Second Life.

2019

Wagner James Au interviewed Ebbe Altberg for 45 minutes at Linden Lab HQ in San Francisco in March 2019. They chatted about efforts to grow new user growth, land discounts, the upcoming mobile companion app, cloud deployment, improving performance and much more relating to Second Life. With Sansar they chatted about the low usage numbers since the beta launch, Sansar’s long download times and efforts to optimize Sansar.

Ebbe unveiled his brand new special Ebbe Linden bear during the 2019 SL Christmas Expo in early December 2019. This was a one off L$250 donation which went to the American Cancer Society.

2020

Ebbe and Grumpity went through the 2020 roadmap for Second Life on Lab Gab back in late February 2020. Ebbe announced that Linden Lab was no longer supporting Sansar and that the focus will go on Second Life along with Tilia.

In mid March 2020 Ebbe Altberg posted a message on the Second Life official blog about the situation with Coronavirus and Second Life operations. Ebbe mentioned that Linden Lab saw an increase in new registrations and returning residents. The blog post mentioned that Second Life will continue to be available without interruption as we get though this tough time together.

At the end of March 2020 Ebbe then appeared on Lab Gab episode 19 with Brett Linden to talk about the health crisis and more.

Ebbe attended SL17B in June 2020 and had a great live conversation with Saffia Widdershins. Ebbe mentioned about the cloud uplift to transition all of the Second Life services from the co-location data centre used by Linden Lab to Amazon AWS cloud services. Ebbe mentioned education, the second life economy, the roadmap, the sale of Sansar and more.

In early July 2020 Linden Research, Inc announced it signed an agreement to be acquired by an investment group led by Randy Waterfield and Brad Oberwager. This will become a new chapter, an new opportunity and another expansion for Second Life along with Tilia. See the official press release here.

“We’re excited for this new chapter to begin. We see this as an opportunity to continue growth and expansion for Second Life and our money services business Tilia,” says Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg. “We’re grateful for the ongoing support from our community, business partners and investors. Now more than ever, there is increased recognition of the value and utility of virtual worlds to bring people together for safe, shared, and social online experiences.”

By mid July 2020 Ebbe Altberg and Brett Linden responded to the company’s acquisition. There was a huge amount of mixed responses on the news on Twitter and on the Second Life forums. Most Second Life residents were worried and concerned about the future of Second Life.

2021

Ebbe Altberg last made an appearance inworld I believe at Oz Linden retirement event earlier in 2021 around February. Ebbe appearance has been very low during the first five months of 2021.

Ebbe Altberg Twitter account was rather quiet then usual after November 2020. There was some activity in mid April 2021 though. Ebbe did not do a speech at VWBPE 2021 back in March 2021 which I thought was rather strange.

Patch Linden announces that Ebbe Altberg CEO of Linden Lab passed away on Friday 4th June 2021.

What were your memories of Ebbe Altberg/Ebbe Linden ? Please share in comments. Thanks!

VWBPE 2021 Catch Up


VWBPE 2021 has now come to an end for another year in Second Life. Phelan Corrimal has just finished the closing remarks along with the VWBPE committee. The event was hosted by Pooky Amsterdam. Watch the closing ceremony video to find out who the 2021 Thinkerer Award Recipient was.

If you have missed any of the VWBPE 2021 sessions you can view them all here. There were three sessions with Linden Lab this year which can be watched again below. Patch Linden, Grumpity Linden, Madori Linden and Brett Linden were featured this week at the conference.

Interesting takeaways from VWBPE 2021

  • There is new energy within Linden Lab that is being driven by the new board
  • Linden Lab plan to double the resident population over the next 3-5 years
  • No planned changes to land costs in the short term. Possible mega regions in the near future if AWS allows the lab to do that
  • Linden Lab are working on a new on-boarding experience. Not ready for development at the moment.
  • There will be a new campaign to strengthen Second Life coming later this year
  • New products possible as AWS moves forward in the years ahead

Sessions from Linden Lab

  • Above the Book: What’s up at the Lab? – 18th March
  • Reconnaissance with the Lab Roundtable Discussion – 19th March
  • Quadrivium 3 :: Reconnaissance with Linden Lab – 20th March

Well done to all those that organised VWBPE 2021 and made it happen. Can’t wait for VWBPE 2022.

Patch Linden At VWBPE 2021 – Above The Book: What’s up at the Lab?


Patch Linden VP of Product Operations talked with Phelan Corrimal (VWBPE Director; Rockcliffe University Consortium) at VWBPE 2021 this afternoon for almost a hour about what’s new at Linden Lab along with education and non-profit organizations in Second Life. This is the first of three reconnaissance sessions with Linden Lab at VWBPE 2021. Yay! 🙂

I thought it was a interesting and informative interview on things like mega regions, the impact of the pandemic to whats next for the new owners taking Second Life forward. There was no Q&A session at the end or any mention of Ebbe Linden (CEO of Linden Lab). There was no mention of Linden Homes, Premium Plus or the latest on Second Life mobile development.

The attendance for this session was reasonable (average levels) I think. I’m sure its been higher in previous years.

Here is a brief below from what Patch Linden talked about during the session via the live transcript…

The New Owners

  • The team is comprised of Randy Waterfield, Brad Oberwager, and Raj Date which forms the board at the lab
  • The transition from the former owners to the new owners actually went very smoothly
  • Patch Linden primarily works with Brad as he’s the owner.
  • Brad has one mission: to be the best and biggest virual world there can be
  • Brad wants to grow and invest in Second Life and he genuinely loves the product
  • Randy owns an investment firm
  • Brad sits in the middle and balances both / they see Tilia as a business
  • Tilia is what allows Second Life to continue to exist
  • Second Life is the primary focus & there is a separate team that focus on Tilia

Immediate Priorities Over Next 12 Months Or So

  • The lab want to increase the Second Life population as that’s Brad’s goal
  • The team wants to finish up with the AWS work
  • There are some product enhancements that will come out of that
  • User experience is key especially the onboarding experience
  • That’s the 12 month high level road map

Gateways

  • The lab are refactoring the new onboarding process and there is a lot of work going on
  • There are viewer changes that will smooth out the bumps we’ve identified over the years
  • The lab have been doing A/B testing to figure out what path needs to look like
  • New UIs and refreshed looks will benefit everyone

New User Experience Accessibility

  • Grumpity Linden keeps her eyes on improving accessibility along with improving the UI
  • The lab don’t plan on adding text-to-speech immediately

Goals Upcoming

  • The goal for growth is double the resident population over the next 3-5 years
  • The goals are realistic as the lab has seen this over the past year
  • Both educators and businesses have switched from in-person to hybrid solutions

Team Grid Reintroduction / K-12 Educational Groups

  • The lab have educational groups operating in that space particularly through educational partners
  • AWS work will help open more doors
  • Probably at the end of the year the lab there could be geographically aided opportunities. That will open the doors to private grids.

The Pandemic Experience During The Past Year

  • The new user experience needing significant work between people coming back but not for personal reasons
  • It’s more important to smooth the experience in the post-pandemic world and give it some love
  • People’s usage habits have changed over time and they’re different for business and education

Private Labeling / White Labeling

  • The lab have had clients say they’d like the lab to remove half the features of the viewer and some want more
  • Open Chat Range – that came from taking a request from events in general – to increase the density of avatars at one time
  • Teen Grid had its own search which was the same as the main grid and it was all separate

Next 12 months – Educators / Non-Profits

  • Geographic location stuff
  • The user experience improvements will make things easier
  • To leverage AWS

Mega Regions & Cost

  • The lab are not looking to increase cost / should remain the status quo
  • If AWS lets the lab get into new region models then maybe mega regions, maybe light regions not within the next 12 months
  • Middle cost alternative maybe / the option to have more avatar density within regions / the lab are looking into it
  • On demand situations where people can upgrade from homestead to full to allow them to host a big event

The Competition

  • Patch mentioned that he likes competition as it helps foster innovation and it drives you to stay motivated. Patch always keeps an eye out on the competitors and what they’re doing
  • There are alot of features that the lab has where others are catching up to and they have new features that can be interesting to adapt like the economy. Patch is not seeing a direct competitor to Second Life as far as flexibility. Things like max attachments, prims in region etc. The lab already has a direct building tool in-world.

Opportunities To Experiment

  • There is no particular group of folks as the lab all go out to try new platforms and learn about them
  • Those that observe platforms come back and bring feedback
  • As a business you have to see whether something new is worth to keep if its not at the best usability/performance. The lab need to study the performance and bandwidth
  • Sometimes it tilts towards no and we have to withdraw it because it would impact negatively on user experience

Oz Linden Retired

  • Patch said that Oz retired and he was a great colleague. He left a chasm and the lab are glad for him
  • When the lab recruits its posted on the website / internal recruiters

New Ownership Structure

  • Patch knows the ownership is on everyone’s mind and they have a great energy / super enthusiastic / they want to grow Second Life and the educational communities as well
  • Brad always asks Patch how will it benefit the residents and how will it benefit Second Life ?

Stay updated on the latest happenings at VWBPE 2021 here.

14th Annual VWBPE Conference Starts 18th – 20th March 2021


VWBPE 2021

The 14th annual virtual worlds best practices in education (VWBPE 2021) conference officially opens on 18th March through until 20th March 2021. The theme is Reconnaissance for next year’s conference. VWBPE 2021 will be held in Second Life and the conference will be focused on the “use of immersive virtual environments for educational purposes including virtual and augmented reality”.

VWBPE will again be using Linden Lab’s Second Life environment as our primary conference venue for meetings, exhibits, roundtables, and discussions. Participants are free to submit proposals and immersive experience tours on any environment for education using technologies for virtual or augmented reality. We actively encourage showcasing multiple technology platforms. This includes practical application, researched papers, conceptual, and content creation supporting those technologies.

Important Dates

  • Call For Proposals/Sponsors – Open early November 2020
  • Call for Exhibits – Open early November 2020
  • Call for Immersive Experiences – Open early November 2020
  • Registration – Open 9th November 2020
  • Exhibitors Region Access – Open on 12th February 2021
  • Conference Schedule – Published on 24th February 2021
  • VWBPE 2021 Conference – 18th to 20th March 2021

Stay updated about VWBPE 2021 here.

Full Video: VWBPE 2020 Above the Book: What’s up at the Lab?


For anyone that missed that yesterday’s VWBPE 2020 Above the Book: What’s up at the Lab session here is the full video. Mal Burns interviews Ebbe Linden and Patch Linden. The session runs for one hour and 15 minutes.

Everyone should give it a watch and spread the word about this special session at VWBPE 2020. 

Summary

  • Linden Lab have now introduced a limited time offer for education and non-profit organisations to get full regions. Reducing full region tier to US $99.00 per month
  • Linden Lab focus is transitioning the Second Life infrastructure to the cloud
  • Second Life is seeing a rise in concurrency and engagement
  • Last Changes is just a few weeks away from launching 
  • IOS Mobile Companion is very close to Alpha status. Work has started for the Android version
  • Ebbe Altberg is 100% devoted to Second Life and Tilia 

VWBPE 2020 runs until 28th March 2020.

VWBPE 2020 Conference Starts Next Week


The 13th annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference officially starts next Thursday 26th through until Saturday 28th March 2020 in Second Life. The theme for VWBPE 2020 is Stellar and the regions will reflect this year’s theme.


The keynote speakers for this year’s conference. The keynote speeches will be presented at the newly re-built VWBPE Auditorium.

Dr. L. Robert Furman

Title TBA

Thursday, March 26

Opening the conference is Dr. Rob Furman. Dr. Rob is a well known educator, administrator, author and speaker from Pennsylvania. His engagement and enthusiasm for everyday education inspire audiences everywhere. We are excited to welcome Dr. Rob to Second Life and VWBPE.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drrobfurman/
Website: http://www.robfurman.com
Presentations: http://www.robfurman.com/YouTube
Podcast: http://www.robfurman.com/iTunes

 

Dr. Michael Thomas
Dr. Michael Thomas

Virtual Worlds and Social Justice: An Impact and Civic Engagement Agenda

Friday, March 27

Dr. Thomas has worked extensively with VWBPE partner vLanguages, working as PI of the CAMELOT project (EU KA3 ICT) about project-based learning with video (2013-2015); a partner in the (EU KA2) VITAL project on learning analytics (2015-2017); and PI on the GUINEVERE project (EU KA2) which examined gamification in virtual environments (2017-2019). He is a prolific author and researcher.

Dr. Thomas helps us launch Day 2 speaking on Virtual Worlds and Social Justice: An Impact and Civic Engagement Agenda.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaelthomas/

Daniel Dyboski-Bryant and Lorelle VanFossen

Lessons Learned from the 2020 Educators in VR Conference

Saturday, March 28

The final Keynote address of the conference brings us the co-founders of Educators in VR: Daniel Dyboski-Bryant and Lorelle VanFossen. This dynamic duo will be reflecting on the lessons learned at their recent and highly successful Educators in VR International Summit — 24 hours a day for 6 days in VR environments.

Daniel Dyboski-Bryant

Daniel Dyboski-Bryant

Daniel is a lifelong educator from a family of educators and speaks 5 languages. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant of VR in Education with clients including schools, colleges, universities, design teams, training companies, councils and private individuals.

In his daytime job Daniel is the Project Lead for Exploring VR in Further Education, Remote Learning and Language, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Lecturer, and Trainer at Coleg Llandrillo, Grwp Llandrillo-Menaia in North Wales UK.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-dyboski-bryant-1776045/

Educators in VR: https://educatorsinvr.com/

 

Lorelle VanFossen

Lorelle VanFossen

Lorelle VanFossen is a keynote, trainer, writer, and consultant on web writing, digital storytelling, content curation, social media, and blogging, especially working with WordPress and virtual reality. Called a digital evangelist, on Lorelle on WordPress she writes and teaches more than you may want to know about how all this social publishing business stuff works.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorelle/

Educators in VR: https://educatorsinvr.com/


VWBPE 2020 Map

About VWBPE

The VWBPE Conference is a completely virtual conference that is conducted using simulated environments. Participants experience the conference through a virtual reality type setting including conference rooms, theatres, exposition halls, meeting spaces, and other types of venues similar to a brick and mortar type conference.

The conference is free to attend. The cost of the conference is covered by sponsorship and donations.

Useful VWBPE 2020 Links