The Love Machine

Philip Rosedale, Linden Lab’s charismatic founder and chairman, took one long night to build a simple but potent tool for community building. He calls it the “Love Machine.” It’s a Web page that lets any of Linden’s roughly three hundred associates zap a quick-hit message of appreciation to a colleague.

Say a coder beats a do-or-die deadline for patching a troublesome bug that’s infected Second Life’s grid. You click on the Love Machine, write a quick thank-you, and hit Send.

In an instant, the bug maven gets a message with a subject line that reads, “Love from [Your Name].” She feels good, because she’s received the online equivalent of a long-stemmed rose. And you feel good, because you’ve “spread the love.”

Tossing off a love note is fun and infectious, and on average, every Linden associate plies the Love Machine about once a day. Over any given twenty-four-hour period, roughly three hundred such missives wend their way across Linden’s intranet—and everyone in the company can watch them flow.

The cumulative effect of these daily waves of gratitude is to wash away some of the cynicism and insecurity that plague so many workplaces.

They let individual accomplishment shine through.

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