Philip NOT Out, But Over


Virtual Worlds News: Feature: Industry Reacts to Linden Lab CEO Shuffle with Cautious Optimism

So Philip Rosedale is stepping down as CEO, and my prediction following Cory’s "resignation" was at least half-right. I figured that pushing Cory out was a move designed to make the company more attractive to Wall St. I’d guessed that Philip would step down as CEO (correct) and take over the CTO role (thus far, incorrect — he wants to be Chief Vision Officer, or some such).

The reasoning was simple, and apparently other industry insiders agree — a new CEO and/or CTO would be more focused on profitability and growth than on chasing cool ideas or open sourcing key elements — not that either is necessarily bad, but Wall St. likes one slightly more than the other — guess which…

But now it makes much less business sense that he canned Cory first, since the new CEO might have loved Cory and even welcomed the added continuity. It seems to me that the real reason for canning Cory first might be just that — Phillip knew he was soon giving up substantial day-to-day power — a strong CTO with developers on his side can trump a Chief Vision Officer with a portfolio of, um, grand ideas (and a dwindling majority of stock — proxy fights suck). Basic board-room politics, or preparation thereof. I predict the new CTO will be someone with good management skills, strong loyalty, and not much of a technical visionary.

Or, maybe it’s all just part of the same house-cleaning some investment bankers might have urged him to do.

It’s all speculation on my part. But despite my continuing respect for Phillip and everyone at Linden for all they’ve done, I’m quite glad I didn’t actually wind up working there again. I found out at GDC that with all the stock dilution and prolonged wait for a "liquidity event," the company had to issue another round of stock options to the key employees, with another apparently four year vest. Eight plus years of waiting to fully vest is pretty out there. Talk about dedicated employees.

Well, I’m looking forward to seeing what Cory does next. Alas, Linden is now more of a morbid curiosity.

  1. #1 by csven on March 16, 2008 - 12:39 pm

    I get the feeling we’ll be reading of Philip’s voluntary departure within the next year or so.

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