CTO Cory Ondrejka will be leaving Second Life over differences with CEO Philip Rosedale, the most visible departure from Second Life, well, ever (most of the early team has been there ~7 years). Cory, Philip and I spent much of the early days together brainstorming and debating what Second Life should be. We all brought very different perspectives which resulted in a better product and ambitious goals.
Although we haven't kept in touch very much since I left SL in 2003 (i do see Philip a few times a year), Cory left a lasting impression on me. He was the gruff guy with a heart of gold, and someone who was a great colleague.
I first met him during my interview process in late 2000. One day i was on the top floor of 333 Linden talking to Philip when Cory popped his head in and asked Philip to stop by his desk when we were done. After the conversation wrapped up, i headed downstairs and noticed that a small mindbender on the landing had been completed (it was not yet solved as i was walking up the stairs earlier). It was clear that, while taking a break from coding to walk upstairs, Cory had quickly solved the puzzle and then returned to work. It immediately struck me that this was the place I wanted to be - that we actually had a shot at building this incredibly complex vision because we were filled with some early engineers who were committed to solving hard problems, even in their spare time.
I look forward to seeing what Cory does next and the evolution of Second Life.