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Linden Lab Layoffs and the Future of Sansar

I seldom get political on this blog. My posts are about photos, Windlight, pretty baubles that we can wear and creative models to add to our homes.  I do most of my tilting at windmills on the SL forums and now and then on Sansar Discord.  The last few days have been a flurry with rumors, speculation and a few facts -- just a few.  The folks reporting don't create in Sansar and aren't chatting on Discord daily. They are busy covering other platforms and sometimes mining "assets"  -- so perhaps my point of view will be slightly different. 

Ryan Scultz posted an article on his blog recently stating that Linden Lab had once again reduced staff; this time, more than in November. He added a link to his article on the Sansar Discord server on a semi-private "verified" channel.   There was of course an uproar with folks watching the chatter.   I logged in  (by chance or ESP is anyone's guess) a few minutes after Ryan's post.

Havoc reigned with Sansarians wondering how much of the information was true and hoping it was not. Eventually Ebbe came on the server and verified that there were layoffs that day. He also said that the servers were up and Sansar was still open. Some other cryptic comments hinted at future possibilities and he encouraged citizens to carry on.  He also contacted Ryan who added to the original blog post (link above).

Ryan took a lot of heat for that blog post -- some from Sansar Discord account holders. He followed with an apology and last night he stated that he was closing his blog.

I can't say that I applaud his blogging methodology; it certainly wasn't responsible journalism. Ryan has stated (Discord) that he is not a journalist, only a blogger. But that isn't cutting it with me. We are ALL responsible for what we say and what we do -- as well as the manner in which we do it.  That being said, the "facts" put forth in his article have not been officially refuted as of this writing and I have publicly defended him on that count.  That same public -- and especially the people in Sansar -- do have a right to know what is going on. I hope that Ryan rethinks his position on closing.

Should he have asked for more information from Linden Lab before printing what his reliable source told him?  In my mind, certainly.  Then he could have used those often heard words about contacting with no reply.  AT THE SAME TIME Linden Lab should have had a press release ready at the time of the layoffs. They had to know that word would quickly get out; it certainly did last November. So they too are at fault.

What do we know?   Really, not much. 

We know there were layoff and that a few of the Sansar staff moved over to Second Life.

We know that there has been no official statement on this matter so far from Linden Lab. Edit: a short statement that basically said nothing but did corroborate layoffs already confirmed by Ebbe was released around noon.

We know that the Sansar servers are still running and the platform is available to use.

We know that at least three staff that Sansarians connect with most often are still working in Sansar.

If we look at the numbers and the layoffs in November and February and add to that the folks that have left voluntarily during that time, it seems like the Linden Lab crew is currently very small --- as in below 30. This is a "best guess" estimate by a few people that have been paying attention. We have NO official numbers.

An additional cryptic statement by staff yesterday echoed Ebbe's hint that there may be changes afoot.  Still, it is difficult to tell if those are actual hints of the future or placating smoke and mirrors ---- or perhaps a bit of both.

There was a Product Meeting scheduled for today. It was taken off the events list apparently. Checking with Sansar officials, it may or may not happen today.  I am guessing that will be a "no" but will keep an eye out.

Can we look at these "revelations" (again, if true) in a positive way?   Perhaps.  If Linden Lab has lowered its costs that should help the apparent money crunch that  has appeared in many of the Lab's moves of late. Added fees for creators, raised membership levels, fees for placing event ads, closing of Linden Realms for several weeks have all pointed to a lower profit margin.  We of course don't know the details and there is no need for us to know.

If Linden Lab keeps Sansar operational and open it may be able to grow slowly. The Lab will have time to reorganize and reset priorities and if needed pay off debts.  Then, once again they can go forward.  It is important to note that there were major layoffs in 2006 and 2010 and Second Life recovered. I am hoping that both platforms can do so again.

Some folks are worried of course and I have been one of them for awhile.  Do "I" have any insider info?   Yes, I do. But I am keeping my mouth shut -- it is all a part of being responsible. And if changes are truly afoot, that information may no longer be valid. 

I will certainly update you as events unfold.


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