John "Pathfinder" Lester

John "Pathfinder" Lester

The Oasis of the Surreal:
Synthetic Worlds

Synthetic Worlds include perceptually immersive 3d spaces, online social networks, augmented reality and global communication environments. Together they provide compelling opportunities to augment the mind and improve the human condition. John will discuss how the different facets of Synthetic Worlds intersect and why they are so compelling to human beings. He will also share strategies for success in using Synthetic Worlds, discussing how they can be used to leverage our basic biological and neurological tendencies while giving us a chance to grow beyond their limitations.

John Lester previously was the Information Systems Director for the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he pioneered the use of the web in 1993 to create online communities supporting patients dealing with neurological disorders. As a Research Associate in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, he also created online collaborative education environments for professors and students to advance the case-based teaching method in medical education.

John Lester worked at Linden Lab from 2005 to 2010, where he was commonly know by his Second Life avatar name "Pathfinder Linden." At Linden Lab he focusing on cultivating the education market and helping it grow into the vibrant community it is today. He also founded Linden Lab's initial East Coast presence in Boston in 2007, which has grown to an office of 40 employees. While at Linden Lab, John acted as a general strategist and product expert to help customers using Second Life for teaching, academic and healthcare research, medical education, simulation, and scientific visualization. His last role at Linden Lab was "Lead Evangelist in Market Development," broadly exploring and cultivating innovation at the intersection of emerging markets in Second Life such as education, healthcare, enterprise, government and entertainment.

John is currently exploring opportunities to help organizations understand and cultivate innovation at the intersection of virtual worlds, online communities, neuroscience, education and creative expression. For more info on John, please see