Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Running for Office

My Friends, I've decided to join the Dark Side; if it will have me that is.

What I mean is, I have put forth my name for consideration to the TOP of the TOP at Linden Lab to join the Executive Team.

Now stop your laughing! I'm absolutely serious about this. I have actually emailed the big guns at Linden Lab asking them to add ME, the royal pain in their butts, to the Executive Team at Linden Lab.

I feel, as many in the Community do, that there is NO VOICE on the Executive Team, or at Linden Lab, that gives consideration to the Community, the Customers, the ones paying the bills! I've been within the Community for nearly Six years now, and I certain don't have trouble speaking my mind, nor am I apt to become blinded by the "famous" personalities at Linden Lab.

There are two reason why I have made this decision. First, and probably least, was today's announcement that two new people, who have absolutely NO EXPERIENCE with Second Life, have been added to the Executive Team of Linden Lab. Second, and the MOST important reason, was my poor New Resident Q&A Event at the Education Faire yesterday.

Yes, I failed absolutely at the Event. It was horrid, only ONE New Resident showed, and the audience was filled with Educators and Lindens. Educators were there I'm sure to see how someone who's been doing New Resident Education for so long has survived all this time. The Linden's were there, I'm sure, to keep me in line! I mean seriously, do we need 4 Linden Employee's at my New Resident Q&A Event to keep me in line?

Anyway, instead of having a New Resident Q&A Event, it turned into a general Chit-Chat that covered a wide range of subjects, with yours truly moderating and offering his opinions. While the Linden's in attendance didn't agree with some of what I put forth, I think the audience saw the wisdom to my words. I would like to say that we were so popular that we were pulling people away from the booths, but I'm sure most of the walk-in traffic was due to people seeing a mob of green dots and they wanted to see what was going on. But, when those people arrived, they sat down, listened, and even joined in the discussion.

While I may have blown the New Resident Q&A, I did moderate a high-level discussion that dealt with things from Teen Grid Merger to Freezing the production of Second Life.

I think it's high time that Linden Lab put someone on the Executive Team to watch out for what the Community wants, for what the Community is thinking, for the Customer and not the Dollar, and yes, I think I'm the person for that position. What I would like you to do, if you agree, is to write the following people, letting them know you think I would make a great addition to their Executive Team. If you disagree, I want you to email the following people and tell them you think I should absolutely NOT be allowed on the Executive Team.

Personally I don't care either way how you feel, I just think it's time to get someone on the Executive team that will start looking out for the best interest of the Community; I just happen to believe that I'm the best person for that.


Philip Rosedale - philip@lindenlab.com

Robin Harper - robin@lindenlab.com

John Zdanowski - johnz@lindenlab.com

Mark Kingdon - markk@lindenlab.com

Tom Hale - tomh@lindenlab.com

Frank Ambrose - franka@lindenlab.com

Brian Michon - brianm@lindenlab.com

Joe Miller - joem@lindenlab.com

Howard Look - howardl@lindenlab.com

Marty Roberts - martyr@lindenlab.com

Cyn Skyberg - cyns@lindenlab.com

Judy Wade - judyw@lindenlab.com

Gene Yoon - geney@lindenlab.com

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Customer Service Part Two...or is it Three?

I need to give fair warning to everyone reading this, please sit down before going any further.

I have acquired space and time at the upcoming Education Faire Pavilion. That's right, yours' truly has been scheduled to speak to other Educators about Educating in Second Life.

The strange thing is, I was trying to sign-up to do my New Resident Q&A events there, to give the Education Faire a look at how real Residents learn about Second Life.

It went like this. After being admonished to play nice by Katt Linden, I thought I would go ahead and offer my New Resident Q&A events for the week the Faire was going on to Pathfinder Linden. That's exactly what I did too, explaining just how I saw my involvement and exactly what I would do. About a week later I got an apologetic email back from Pathfinder Linden asking what dates/times I would like to be added. I explained that I did my New Resident Q&A's on Monday's at 2PM SLT, Wednesday's at 3PM SL TIME, and Friday's at 10AM SL TIME and run 1 1/2 hours. I got an excited email back an hour or so later explaining I'd been signed up for those dates/times at the Main Pavillion and needed to let Pathfinder know what my Title should be, what my Talk would be about, etc. Now, I'm all for giving me 1 1/2 hours of time to speak to an audience in Second Life, but that's not even close to what I said I wanted to be doing. So, very sweetly, I emailed Pathfinder Linden and pointed out that I wasn't asking to Speak at the Faire, but to run my New Resident Q&A event. Once again I got back an apologetic email from Pathfinder Linden about the "mis-communication" and again was asked, what my Title should be, what the subject I would be speaking about, etc. I've yet to respond, fearful that if I do, I might be signed up to be CEO of Linden Lab all the sudden; oh wait.....that would be a good thing :)

OK, sorry, let's not get off track here. Now, before you Pathfinder lovers start screaming at me that he's busy and should be cut some slack, I agree. As a matter of fact, I think if one person is so damn busy, he probably shouldn't be alone in setting up something so important.

That's not my point here though. The point is, that when dealing with Customers, you should probably take a deep breath and very carefully read what's being transmitted. Pathfinder had two chances to get this right, but each time, chose to breeze through what I was saying and then decided on his own what I wanted my participation to be.

I'm not picking on Pathfinder here, but this is the problem at Linden Lab that I've been talking about for so long; employee's aren't listening! This goes for ALL employee's, not just Pathfinder. In the past 4 years, I can honestly say, I've not experienced one good Customer Service issue within Second Life. From being told to wait, after only explaining half a problem, to being talked down to by some New Employee. Customers should NOT be treated in such a manner and if Linden Lab doesn't wise up to this fact, they will be the next "Circuit City".

Now I have a dilemna. Should I try and get through to Pathfinder about the event I was offering or should I just go ahead and present a talk about educating in Second Life? The real problem I see is my bad habit of going off the prescribed subject and get into Linden bashing. The Education Faire would not be the right avenue for this. Then again, if I do a successful talk, perhaps I would be viewed as someone with intelligence by Linden Lab rather then just a vitrol acid spitting ass.

I think I'll give Pathfinder one more try and see if I can't get him to understand exactly what I've offered. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll just have to use my time and give one hell of a talk, wouldn't that surprise the hell out of most of you :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What is Customer Service?

If you ask a Linden Lab Employee what Customer Service is, they'll give you a URL or ask you to contact Live Support. But IS that Customer Service? Personally I have to answer NO, and let me explain why. I currently own 3 stores in Second Life. Whenever a Customer of mine complains that they either didn't receive what they paid for or complained about what they bought, I don't haggle with them, make them prove they bought something from me, or tell them to talk to someone else. No, I have one simple rule to my business, "The Customer is HAPPY". I apologize to my Customer, then give a full refund, then give them what they didn't get in the first place or try and find an alternate to what they were looking for. To me, this is proper Customer Service, not only that, but it's proper Business and Marketing. The Customer, when taken care of properly, will gladly spend his/her refund in your store after treating them like they were KINGS/QUEENS, not only that but they will also tell their friends about this fantastic place where they treat you wonderfully!

Now, let's compare that to two examples I ran into recently.

First, I have this friend, who's a Premium Member New Resident (meaning he's already SPENT money for the privilege of playing Second Life. His main acct, on his Second Day, got stuck in world and wouldn't logout. So, he contacts Support and reports the issue. After NOT hearing back for two hours, he creates an Alt and comes in-world seeking help. I have him do some things, hoping to shake his Main Acct loose, but nothing we tried worked. I then asked a few Lindens that were online to help him out, seeing that the Lindens are all big on the "New Resident Experience". Robin Linden responded, asking that he email her the particulars and she'd look into it. Now, before we go any further, let's give Robin KUDO's for at least responding and taking time to help out. Benjamin Linden didn't respond at all and Siz Linden responded with the URL.

My friend then sent Robin in the information via email and got back a response that shocked even me. Boiled down it said, "Contact Support". So much for being Helpful there. Having the appearance of being Helpful and actually being Helpful are TWO SEPERATE things.

So, there's an example of how HIGH LEVEL management responds to cries for help in-world, now let's look at another example.

This morning I logged in, hoping to work on my store in Garman as I'm currently expanding it. I logged in, did my IM maintenance, and then tried Teleporting; as usual for the past week, I was told that the teleport took too long and I should try again LATER.

Now, here's my thinking on this. If Second Life isn't working, then those Linden's in-world should HELP those left in distress. That's the PROPER way to treat a CUSTOMER so they remain HAPPY and feel good about SL that they will tell their friends and more and more Residents come to SL. Frontier Linden feels differently of course. I asked Frontier Linden to drop me off in Garman, very nicely, since Teleports weren't working. After 15 minutes Frontier came back with the URL and told me to contact support. I said I didn't need Support, just needed a quick ride over to Garman. Frontier Linden refused my offer, and I then said, "Nice Customer Support". At this point, you would think, any employee would stop and think to themselves, "Am I handling this correctly?" I don't mean according to the "Policies", as we all know, Linden Lab Policies are flat out WRONG when it comes to Customer Service, and a number of other things too! Now, back to our thought here, "Am I handling this correctly?" What would be in the best interest of the Customer and our business? How can I best handle this request so the CUSTOMER is HAPPY with our product? All of these are valid business questions and SHOULD be asked before responding to any Customer. Instead though, our friend Frontier Linden just used the old stand-by "Contact Support".

Here's one of my BIGGEST PET PEAVES in all of Second Life and in Linden Lab employee's. If you read the profile of the Linden's you run into, 95% of them have in their Profile that if you want SUPPORT, you should contact the Website and leave them be. If you are going to be in-world as an employee of Linden Lab, you should be overly kind to ANY Customer that contacts you and before you brush them off to "Contact Support", you should LISTEN to what they are saying and ask yourselves those questions we mentioned earlier. IF the issue isn't something you can't take care of quickly and easily or you just don't know how, then perhaps you should contact Support FOR the Customer and put the two together for a chat, instead of coldly saying, "Contact Support and leave me alone". Remember, we pay YOUR salary. WE are the reason YOU have a job!

Without Customers Linden Lab employee's wouldn't be able to feed their families. Without Customers Linden Lab employee's wouldn't be able to pay rent or their mortgage. Wihout Customers Linden Lab employee's wouldn't have a job. What would they do next? Blame the Customers? If Second Life fails, it will fail in part due to the FAILURE of Linden Lab employee's practicing Common Sense Customer Service.

So here's to you Robin and Frontier, it's time to brush-up on your Customer Service skills. Don't, and you have no one to blame but yourselves if Second Life fails!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Looks like we made it....

As promised friends, here's your update from the Linden's as I promised:


Everett Linden said:

"The Linden Prize is open to all Residents, but the focus of this prize is on projects that have demonstrated real life impact. There are Residents doing amazing things strictly within SL that are having impact, but that's not the focus of *this* prize.

Having said that, we debated different types of Prizes, all with the goal of showcasing the work, creativity and contributions of different Residents.

As a result, I expect you'll see other contests and prizes in the future with different areas of focus.

Glad that SOMEONE finally said something, even though they didn't answer the original question, Everett did admit THIS PRIZE (like there's going to be others; sure) isn't for everyone, actually not for 99% of the Second Life Community, but at least Everett had the balls to admit this!


There you go, silence. Even after a NICE email and an even NICER Forum Post, Linden Lab remains silent; so much for "it's how you ask" that doesn't get a response.

I want to give a shout out to Ciaran Laval who has decided to declare a new word today, "Bunderfelded", I'll let you read about it instead of ruining the surprise.

Now, let's get back to this issue where Linden Lab refuses to respond, even when asked NICELY.

Katt Linden made a HUGE deal about how I interact with her and other Linden Lab employee's and went as far as saying this was the reason no one answered my questions; here's what Katt had to say:

"Katt Linden: Now please remember that if you want to be part of the conversation, you must be civil."

So, if I'm civil, I can be part of the conversation. Should we remind Katt Linden what "conversing" means? It certainly isn't having one person asking a question and the other not responding. I thought ALL Linden Lab employee's were High School Grads, don't we teach basic grammar in our school systems any longer? I would ask Katt Linden just what "taking part in the conversation" means to Linden Lab, but apparently no matter what tone I use, she's not going to respond.

I also asked Blondin Linden to respond to the Linden Prize issue, but he also refused comment. I guess Linden Lab believes that if you don't respond to the hard questions then they don't exist. This is the most common way for Linden Lab to deal not only with hard questions, but also with hard problems, like login issues, teleport issues, asset server issues, almost all the other bugs listed in JIRA, except those which require spelling or color changes.

The question is, what am I to do now? The only time Linden Lab employee's respond to me is when I piss them off. If I ask nicely, they ignore me, even though they say that's what they want. I guess I'll just have to go back to pissing them off, since that's the only way that seems to get a reaction.

So here's to you Katt, Blondin and Pathfinder! The nicer more civil Bob Bunderfeld is finished, back to being the asshole, since it's the only time you ever responded.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where oh where has the TRUTH gone?

Today, I took an opportunity to hijack a Forum Thread over at SecondLife.com to ask a simple question:

"How is winning a $10,000 prize from Linden Lab recognition from the Second Life Community?"

As you recall I Blogged about this Linden Lab Prize earlier this week and this was one of the HARD questions that simply fell on deaf ears when Katt Linden closed the Forum there.

Katt Linden took offense at me asking this question, and removed my post. I of course, pressed the issue and posted the same question again. This time, instead of removing my post and locking me out of that Forum, Katt decided to confront me in-world.

Now, I originally was going to blast Katt Linden for her inconsiderate behaviour and lack of ethics, but something Katt Linden said to me made me realize that she was right about one thing between Linden Lab and myself; I've been quite acidic in our relationship.

I'm not one to run from the truth so I'm here to tell you, I'm quite the asshole at times when I deal with Linden Lab and the Employee's that work there.

So, now that I've come forward with my truth, let's see which Linden Lab employee comes forward with their truth. Like closing Forums instead of answering questions or confronting acidic assholes in-world and still refusing to answer questions or making accusations during said confrontation and running away, instead of again, answering questions. Does Katt Linden have the ETHICS to step up and do the right thing or is she just looking for me to back down and stop asking hard questions?

Here's what I'm going to do. I'll be emailing a copy of this Blog Post to Katt Linden and give her a chance to confront her own truth and see if she might be willing to actually answer the original question asked:

How does winning $10,000.00 from Linden Lab equate into recognition from the Second Life Community?

Now, like the RULES and QUALIFICATIONS of who can participate in the Linden Lab Prize, I have a qualification myself; I want an answer to the question, not propaganda, not what the top 10 people will be getting, but the simple truth, "How does winning $10,000.00 from Linden Lab equate into recognition from the Second Life Community?"

So, stay tuned here to see if Katt Linden cares to respond or will she just "run for the hills"?

Linden Lab and Television commonalities....

Just like Sunday Afternoon TV has nothing but crap or re-runs, Linden Lab has the same problem with Teleporting and Login Failures.

If anyone wants a real interesting read, head over to the GRID STATUS page for Second Life.

Notice in the past two weeks how many times Linden Lab has had problems that caused them to either restrict logins or disable them all together.

Now, I know it takes a while to track down issues, and I'm for giving Linden Lab their time to fix things, but these issues have been ongoing for two years; just how long is long enough?

Maybe I'm old fashion, but I know if it took me better then two years to fix a problem in a system when I was working in Coding, I'd be out of a job; matter of fact, I'd been out of a job at the end of a month, but who's counting?

So, for all your Linden Lab support kiddies, just HOW LONG should we give Linden Lab to fix these issues before we complain?

For me, we've past that point, quite a while ago actually, so while I wait for the Engineers at Linden Lab to fix this latest problem, I'll be asking for people's heads.

Thanks, I hope your Sunday is going better then mine!

Friday, January 9, 2009

All Publicity IS NOT good for you....apparently

This week, our "friends" at Linden Lab, posted a blog reminding everyone in Second Life to NOMINATE anyone they feel who might be worthy of winning a prize from Linden Lab.

This time though, our "friends" decided to open a Forum on the subject so the Community could ask questions, respond, give feedback.

The idea, according to our "friends", is that this prize (Grand Prize is $10,000USD) is somehow a recognition of the Second Life Community. I suggest you read the Forum posts before listening to me drone on.

OK? Ready now? Notice how the Forum "closed" after hard questions and poor feedback were presented? Guess Lab can't stand the idea of "Open and Transparent" Communication.

As you see, Linden Lab Employee's were at a loss to explain just exactly HOW this prize equates into Recognition from the Second Life Community. If you read the rules and qualifications of the Contest, you will see very few Residents in Second Life are actually able to participate. Mostly, those that are qualified are from the "GRID", those "little" guys that made it big building by contracts in Second Life, like Fizik. If you take a really close look at this Contest, it really does seem slanted to just a few individuals.

I don't mind that Linden Lab wants to run a Contest to bring more recognition to Second Life, but do they have to be so closed minded in how they run these Contests. Apparently, someone like myself, is woefully unqualified to be a Linden Lab Poster Child, even though I have been working for nearly 6 years in New Resident Education. Even great Builders like Barnesworth Anubis isn't qualified for this contest, which is the most amazing thing I've seen, since Barnesworth would be a great Poster Child for Linden Lab; at least he would'nt be bad mouthing Linden Lab during interviews :)

Once again, our "friends" at Linden Lab have failed to understand the Community of Second Life. This is due largely in part to the idea that Linden Lab Employee's don't come to OUR world unless it's something to do with their job. I know of only a handful of Linden Lab employee's that still log into their pre-employment accounts and even then it's for such a small period of time that even they aren't able to gauge the Second Life Community.

Linden Lab isn't looking for a real Community Mover and Shaker in this "contest", they are looking for a Poster Child that will speak wonderfully of them; looks like this contest was tailor made for our friends like Fizik Baskerville. I think it would have been a lot wiser to just hire someone like Fizik to be the Linden Lab Poster Child instead of running some faux contest and pretending to be looking through the ranks of the REAL Shakers and Movers of the Second Life Community. Maybe Linden Lab understood one thing about the Movers and Shakers, that they could care less about Linden Labs' prize or contest. None of the Movers and Shakers in the Second Life Community would even allow themselves to be considered for this type of cheap sell out process Linden Lab has setup.

First Linden Lab screws the pooch with the Open Space SIMs and here they are shortly after, hiring a spokesperson thru some faux contest. Once again, our "friends" at Linden Lab prove their inability to do the simplest of things. Here's to our "friends" at Linden Lab, when you screw up, you do it so well!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

They did something right!

I woke today to find a simple, but amazing fact staring at me from my inbox:

"Hello Bob Bunderfeld,

We at SL Forums would like to wish you a happy birthday today!

Linden Lab, in all their ineptness, was able to send a Birthday greeting to yours truly!

I want to congratulate Linden Lab on their incredibly hard work to get this working. It must have taken them months in the coding and development, but it works!

This is great news, for now Linden Lab can use their hard won experience in this battle to attack and defeat all the other problems we see in Second Life!

Look up my friends, our freedom fighters approach, our day of atonement is close at hand, for Linden Lab has finally done something RIGHT!

Thar she blows!

Auntie Robin has a new "blow hard" piece up on the BLOG. Another Artsy-Fartsy way that Second Life was used.

About the ONLY THING noticeable in this Blog Entry was that Auntie Robin actually had a Forum open for discussion; nothing like discussing nothing when we could be talking about the incredible lag everywhere. Looks like Auntie Robin is starting to hear the Community's cries about what she promised just three years ago, "Open and Transparent" communication.

Perhaps Auntie Robin can instruct the rest of her staff on the correct procedures necessary to open comments and Forums!

Then again, maybe Auntie Robin will offer up a definition of "Open and Transparent" Communication for us all to enjoy sometime soon!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Shut Up and Take It Like a Man

Well, it's official, after much outspoken criticism of Linden Lab by it's own Second Life Community, Linden Lab has decided to go ahead and move forward with their plan to either convert OpenSpace SIMs (OS) or critically limit them, as of January 5, 2009.

Let's take a little stroll down the History Path shall we?

For you that missed it, Linden Lab announced that they would be selling OS to users for just $75USD each. Apparently Linden Lab thought these OS would be used merely for water property, sparce forest land, or just cute gardens that took no critical resources to run. In the TOS of the OS purchase, it did state that these OS were to be used in such a manner, but, in their usual way of "screwing the pooch", Linden Lab failed to sale these OS with the current prim/script limits. Instead, they gave the user 3750 PRIMS and did NOTHING to curtail scripts. Not only that, but there was no enforcement of the TOS Policy, and people do what people do when they are given 3750 PRIMS and no script limits, they use them!

Last August these OS Servers apparently hit a Critical Mass and things began lagging out badly on these OS; never mind the horrid lag on the mainland. So, after "careful inspection" it was decided that the problem of the OS lag (never mind the mainland lag) was due to the CUSTOMERS who used up all those resources they were given and never managed by Linden Lab. Now, during this same time, Linden Lab opened a new land mass called Nautalis; this point will become important soon, bear with me. It was decided by the "brainiacs" at Linden Lab the best way to handle the OS meltdown issue was to blame the customer and force them to either abandon their OS or convert them over to a much HIGHER PRICED private sim; in the retail world this type of action is known as 'Bait and Switch'. This action caused a public outcry not seen before in Second Life. Over 10,000 Complaints were logged (thought I didn't know that eh Auntie Robin?), and many of these pointed out that the new land mass made generous use of OS Sims; that's right, Linden Lab used these OS just like their customers did, but did they blame themselves? Those "brainiacs" over at Linden Lab then said they were going to push back the time limit before ROBBING their customers and have a meaningful discussion with the Second Life Community concerning the OS issue. Once again, Linden Lab proved they didn't know the meaning of "Open and Transparent" communication, as during this time, they received more complaints about their new pricing and time table, then positive comments, and in true Linden Lab fashion, they went ahead with their plan, making absolutely no changes to it; during this time Linden Lab changed their motto from "Where Worlds are Born" to "Where we steal your money":)

So, here we are today, one day before Linden Lab begins 'ripping off' their customers. Jack Linden is the latest to drink the Linden Lab Kool-Aid as he Blogs about this upcoming crime. As done before, this Blog Post is closed to all comments and has no Forum open for their Customers to comment. Most likely Linden Lab is just tired of reading all the complaints, as I would be if I "screwed the pooch" this badly.

Once again, "Open and Transparent" communication has a completely different meaning at Linden Lab then the rest of the world. At least this time "Open and Transparent" isn't the only saying that gets beaten up, so does the meaning of "Fair Market Practices".

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New year - Here we go again!

Well Friends, welcome to another New Year in our lives. As 2009 starts up and 2008 gets laid to rest, our "friends" at Linden Lab has kicked in the propaganda machine already.

Up this time to blow the Hot Air Machine for Linden Lab is Claire Linden. Claire writes about the International expansions in Second Life and points out that 60% of the users in Second Life were from countries OUTSIDE the United States. What Claire didn't report was how many of these "users" were bots or alts left running; one wonders just what the real numbers are when you subtract those two. Claire also speaks about 2009 and how Linden Lab hopes for a good year, while Linden Lab is hoping to do better in 2009, I wonder just how well things would go for them, especially with the Second Life Community, if Linden Lab began practicing their ever faithful phrase, "Open and Transparent" communication.

You see, while Claire Linden likes to speak of the "hope of the future" for Linden Lab, what she fails to do is Open Comments or even open a Forum Discussion for the Second Life Community to chime in. Linden Lab is getting an early start on shoveling the manure for sure and as usual is hoping the Second Life Community will just sit back and be brain-washed by its Hot Air Propaganda.

So here's to Claire Linden, the newest in the "drink the kool-aid" club at Linden Lab, and to our Favorite Auntie Robin Harper, for once again showing us all that "Open and Transparent" communication, is no communication at all.