Long, long before the current fascination among technologists and investors seeking the “next big thing” in virtual worlds, exemplified by Facebook’s renaming itself “Meta” and committing billions to develop related technologies (see “Mark Zuckerberg on the Metaverse”, posted here on 2021-10-29), Philip Rosedale founded Linden Lab in 1999 in San Francisco. In 2003, the company opened the Second Life virtual world to the public and, nineteen years later, it is still going strong, generating profits for Linden Lab, supporting an ecosystem of independent developers and service providers, and attracting a peak of around 40,000 people simultaneously in the world on most days.
In September and October 2022, Philip Rosedale and a number of Linden Lab developers and Second Life users did a four-part interview with Kate Linebaugh and Ryan Knutson of the Wall Street Journal podcast, “The Journal”. Each episode is a little more than half hour, and discusses their experiences in creating and operating a virtual world where almost all of the content is built by users within it. Each part linked below includes an audio player and a complete transcript of the interview.