Teaching Plan | HBS Case Collection | September 2014

Linden Lab: Crossing the Chasm

by Thomas R. Eisenmann


In early 2009, managers at Linden Lab, creator of the virtual world Second Life, faced decisions about the company's growth strategy. Despite profound initial skepticism about demand for a user-generated virtual world that was not a traditional game, Second Life was profitable and growing fast. But sustaining growth would prove challenging. Growth had strained Linden Lab's technical infrastructure, and though Second Life had attracted a large, loyal base of early adopters, it was unclear whether their preferences were similar to those of mainstream consumers. In this context, management faced choices about platform strategy and target markets. Should Linden Lab continue to offer an open platform or build its own solutions for customers? Should it target adult consumers, teens, enterprise customers, or the education market?

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Growth and Development Strategy; Technology Industry;


Eisenmann, Thomas R. "Linden Lab: Crossing the Chasm." Harvard Business School Teaching Plan 815-053, September 2014.