November 14, 2013

An interview with Philip Rosedale

Philip Rosedale (his blog and his Twitter) is the Founder and former CEO of the online virtual world Second Life (325 employees at the peak). This interview is from 2011. 

Lessons learned
  • He wanted to learn how to program to make "cool stuff" - not because he liked to code. This was in 7th grade. When he was 16, he founded his first company within databases. This was before the Internet so people were not really aware of computers. 
  • The idea behind Second Life began early, but in 1995, the Internet speed was too slow and so was the computer power. So he began working with video compression, and he thought he could use his physics background to make it work. The video speed over Internet at these early times was about 1 frame every 4 seconds, but Philip Rosedale created a video speed of about 12 frames per second.
  • In 1999, broadband and fast computer graphics happenrd, so Philip Rosedale knew he now could create what would become Second Life. He funded the first year and a half with his own money.
  • You should be open with what you are doing so you can attract talent who are also interested in the idea. It's much harder to recruit talent to a secret black box.  
  • Everyone is not an entrepreneur - but the one who is has this feeling that he/she has to test the idea they've been thinking about. Leave your normal job to make more money is not a good idea from a statistical point of view that says you will make less money. 
  • His latest project is an open cafe called Coffee and Power which is a "meta-company" that enables people to connect for small jobs and services.
  • Try to always spend as little money as you can. Philip Rosedale has never seen a big idea combined with a big budget work.
  • Every quarter when he worked as a CEO, Philip Rosedale used to send out an anonymous survey with the following questions:
    1. Do you want to keep me as the CEO or get a new one?
    2. Regardless of the first question, do you think I am getting better at my job or worse?
    3. Why?

More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews