Linden Lab’s staff reductions are apparently continuing as we push on through Q3 this year.

It’s difficult to pin exact numbers down, as the Lab has declined to be very specific, but with some reductions in Q1, 5% in April, 30% in March and more since then, my rough back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the staff reductions are approaching 45-50% since the beginning of this year so far.

This roughly meshes with my notion that the Lab would lay off 50-60% of the staff by the end of the year. While it’s hard to pin down, given the scarcity of data, it does actually appear that Linden Lab has been planning an approximately 60% reduction in staff given the numbers cut out of particular teams. Well, either that or something else has gone wahoonie-shaped that we don’t know about yet.

The whole picture is a little muddled by other patterns of hiring and departure through 2010, of course, but yes. My gut feeling from the available info is that things will settle at around 60% by the end of September, if all goes well.

“If all goes well”? Yes, it doesn’t sound very good, does it? But it will mean that the company is still there, and hasn’t gone all belly-up.com – which would be the worst possible outcome for everyone, including Linden Lab’s competitors. Few people would actually want to see the Lab go out of business, and it certainly appears to be making all the right moves to ensure that it doesn’t.

Something I can’t get a straight answer to is the question about staff numbers. Linden Lab outsources a number of things, and doesn’t talk much about them, but has been known to include the number of people working for call centres and so forth into its headcount figures.

Last I looked, Accounts Payable and almost all of Customer Service (live chat, phone support etc) was being dealt with by companies other than the Lab. Those numbers could well make the Lab look bigger than it is, and skew a lot of other figures.

In any case, reductions continue slow and steady at present and we can only guess at the reasoning behind them.



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