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As the co-creator of the virtual online community Second Life (Linden Labs), Cory Ondrejka is the world's preeminent authority on the economic and technological impact of virtual worlds. He is an expert on the interrelation between innovation and learning, as well as the technological and social requirements of product development.
Mr. Ondrejka constructed the core code and built the multinational team that created the award-winning Second Life. With over 12 million "residents" and an economy larger than several countries, Second Life has transformed the way millions of people think about community, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. From core engineering around distributed computing and user-driven co-creation through the groundbreaking decision to allow residents to maintain the intellectual property of their creations, he has been at the center of the meteoric growth of the company.
Beyond Second Life, Cory Ondrejka has also driven Linden Lab's unique distributed culture for geographically diverse software development, establishing tools and practices for building the right internal teams for specific tasks, independent of the geographic location of the people. This culture has allowed the Linden Lab development team to grow from 1 to 120 people, while still remaining independent and entrepreneurial.
The need to solve impossible problems drove Mr. Ondrejka to develop an unprecedented level of transparency and collaboration with external resources, allowing Second Life to reach a diverse set of communities. His speeches and collaborations have directly led to Second Life use by a range of diverse groups including game developers, print media, television, Hollywood, hundreds of universities, non-profit organizations, philanthropic foundations, the US military, State Department, intelligence communities, climate change researchers, medical and social science researchers, and more.
Cory Ondrejka is also an accomplished writer, having written the chapter "Education Unleashed" in the MacArthur Series on Digital Media and Learning, and the recent "Collapsing Geography" in the journal Innovations: Technology, Governance, and Globalization, both published by MIT Press.
As a skilled and exciting speaker, Mr. Ondrejka regularly addresses corporate, academic, and government organizations on how virtual worlds change our understanding of communities, geography, and entrepreneurship. These talks have led to the creation of hundreds of new ventures at Fortune 500 corporations like IBM and Cisco, experimental class structures at Harvard Law School and other top universities, and government use of virtual worlds from the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet to the Singaporean Ministry of Education. As virtual worlds continue to transform communication and business, he is uniquely positioned to help organizations understand the new worlds that are coming.
Cory Ondrejka received his BS in Weapons and Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, graduated from the Navy Nuclear Power School, and served as an officer in the United States Navy. He is currently a visiting professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication. He is co-teaching in the Charles Annenberg Weingarten Program on Online Communities and advising the MacArthur grant-funded Institute for Network Culture.