In Rememberance of Ebbe
Reflecting at the Linden Memorial Park.
"Do what is right for the residents."
- Ebbe Altberg, CEO, Linden Lab (1964 - 2021)
"In Second Life we can be our ideal, our best, celebrate all that is good across the world together. Sadly we have also seen some people go, and they will never be forgotten as they touched us, gave us their best from their hearts, minds and souls - this thing called real life sometimes knocks on our door and makes a call.
This is one of those calls."
(Excerpt, Remembering Ebbe, Patch Linden)
Truer words were never spoken on Agni or on Earth, Patch.
To say that I am in quite the emotional state, is an understatement. Those that know me and read this blog know that I have a love-hate relationship with the men and women who reside on Battery Street - Linden Lab.
From various platform issues with the world we residents call home, to the various policies and decisions I have lambasted them for - I still hold an immense respect for Linden Lab and the men and women who work there. They and their predecessors were and are responsible for creating a vast, beautiful virtual world that has connected people from around the globe, cast us free from the shackles of physical limitations and allowed us all to express and enjoy a life of creativity, exploration and merriment.
This is not to say it has been all sunshine and rainbows. It hasn't. It has been the faults of the misguided, the greed-seeking, the corrupted that led the Lindens astray once upon a time, even of our beloved founder, the original Linden, Philip Rosedale, who fell to these very same flaws and mistakes. This is not to say that Ebbe is above them. He has made his fair share of mistakes, as have we all.
But he, after years of mistakes that have hampered our world, saw these faults, took the helm, and aimed to turn the ship around.
Having learned of Second Life by way of his son, who at the time was underage and subsequently, banned for age noncompliance, grew to become a major figure in the Teen SL community, of which was a desolate wasteland according to some, trying to bring content from Agni to Teen SL.
He took the helm after the departure of Rod Humble, in 2014. And over the years, shifted focus on introducing many features that helped improve quality of life, including the Cloud Uplift, Animesh, Bakes on Mesh, among others, as well as opening up Linden Lab and de-corporatizing the company into a more transparent company that was actively communicative with their userbase.
I cannot imagine what he could have brought us to if he was to live 5, maybe 10 years more. He truly has provided to Second Life a second wind, an opportunity to keep ourselves going for twice as long. It would be an insult to his memory, and to the sacrifices the countless residents who have died have contributed to our world, be it big or small, if we did not take great advantage of the opportunity his leadership has left us.
But now is not the time for such clamoring.
Now is a time to mourn a man who is missed not just by friends, family and co-workers, but a world who looked to him as larger than life, a man who saw our world more than just some sex place, or a place for weirdos - but a place for us as people to express ourselves beyond the bounds of 140 characters or a longwinded post about the problem of the week. That lets those of us cursed with physical and other disabilities the chance to explore and see a vast, beautiful world of not just a single company's creation, but everyone's.
I mourn for him much like men mourned for Dale Earnhardt. A man who was experienced, had passion, drive, and was a legend in NASCAR for many a reason. Unlike others in the position of CEO, Ebbe Altberg was benevolent, passionate, and above all, humble - qualities that are rare as they come from not just this industry, but from the corporate world, and have been since time immemorial. He was passionate about our world, and many will speak his name beyond the bounds of his immediate friends and family for years to come, when it comes to our home.
He was a man who I aspire to be like. To be able to lead by his example and do what is right for the things I care about. I pray for his friends, family and for his co-workers at Linden Lab, and hope that they find the closure and determination they need to soldier on, and especially for those at the Lab, the will to change SL for the better, much like he would have wanted.
I have no doubt in my mind that Waterfield shares Ebbe's vision, and that they will find the right man for the job. I personally, would elect Patch to the role. Were it possible, I would willingly take the helm, even if it meant working the daily grind every day for the next 10-20 years. But looking in retrospective, I may not be able to fill his shoes, even if I gave it my all. I lack his experience, his charm. I am sure there is someone at Linden Lab or even in the pocketbooks of Waterfield that can be called on.
But we can never replace him.
Today, we as residents of Second Life, of Agni Mater, mourn. For just like the tragedy of Buddy Holly and his fellow musician comrades of the time, we too mourn the death of a man who died too soon, for our, and more important than us, his family and friends' sake.
Requiescat in Pace, Ebbe.
"I can't remember if I cried,
Requiescat in Pace, Ebbe.