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Philip Rosedale

I make things, usually with software.

Writing on Substack, Medium, Wordpress, and Twitter.

You can also contact me on LinkedIn.



Born in San Diego, the son of a Navy carrier pilot whose deployments took my family all over the United States before returning to San Diego for high school and college.  BS Physics, UCSD '92.

Fell in love with coding in middle school, and started a software company in high school which helped me pay for college.  Moved to San Francisco in '94, discovered the Internet, and created FreeVuea videoconferencing  app that worked over dialup with the earliest web cameras.  Acquired by RealNetworks in late '95, where I led the creation of RealVideo and became CTO.    

In '99, I left RealNetworks and founded Linden Lab to create Second Life and fulfill my dream to build an open virtual world.   After 10 years running Second Life as CEO, I started several experimental new companies with two co-founders, including LoveMachine,, and Coffee & Power.   In 2013, after experimenting with the mems gyro chips that would enable the Oculus Rift, we started High Fidelity to build a new open-source virtual world platform for VR Headsets.   In 2019, with VR failing to gain wide consumer acceptance, refocused High Fidelity on spatial audio.

Presently working on a number of new projects at IRL415 lab in San Francisco, including  FairShare, which aims to provide a basic income and reduce wealth inequality using a group-based digital currency. 


Selected Writings

Hopefully of some service

Wrote this in 2017, still makes sense.   There is an industry to come around tele-operated robots, and it could be a uniquely American industry with jobs for everyone.

Civil online places will not be possible until there is a safe system for establishing singular, non-PII based identity.

To correct the escalating wealth inequality inevitable in free markets, make a currency that uses a sales tax to fund a basic income.  Can be done with a cryptocurrency.

In smartphone slo-mo, every frame is 4 milliseconds.  Capture and count.

Physics is what everyone agrees will happen next.

Fun to build, for older kids.


Videos, Podcasts

A 2011 interview at the under-construction Coffee & Power office at Market & Guerrero.  We did a lot of crazy experiments in co-working and P2P markets out of that office.

2006 TED video about Second Life

Original video by James Cook giving a tour of the alpha version features of Second Life.

A panel along with Elon Musk and Baroness Susan Greenfield, a neuroscientist.

Peter Diamandis onstage interviewing me as a remote-operated robot.  Looking at the YouTube comments makes me happy.


... some of
the more interesting ones


Rather than wear gloves and HMDs, immobilize a person and measure the forces they apply to an exoskeleton to move their body in a virtual world.   Allows for zero latency as well as inertial mass, haptics, and full body locomotion.  And it was a frightening-looking machine that we called 'the rig'.


The first thing we did at High Fidelity was to try to figure out how you could make a huge space where everyone could hear each other, using servers connected together in some way.


Distributing simulation of a virtual world across tiled servers so you could make a really big space.  Still hasn't been replicated broadly in gaming.


Back in the days of modems, at RealNetworks, we were trying different ideas to better measure how bad your connection was.  This was the idea that if you send two packets at exactly the same time (from a server), you could learn about the speed of the network by looking at the time delay between when they were received.

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