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Zynga's Corporate Culture Bleeds Talent, Money

| 28 Nov 2011 20:41
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Talented game designers may take the money and run after Zynga's stock makes millions.

Many within The Escapist community have demonized Zynga for its initially shady business practices and its, well, demonic games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars. On the eve of a blockbuster IPO - that stands for Initial Public Offering, kids, in which us plebians can finally lay down hard cash for a piece of Zynga's stock - reports are coming in from multiple sources of the social gaming company's rotten core. Mark Pincus, the founder and CEO of Zynga, has been criticized by his employees for his caustic managerial style and not even perks like free Las Vegas trips and acupuncture can assuage interminably long hours and overly metric-based performance reviews. Many Zynga employees have outright stated that once the stock goes public and they can cash out, they are going to tell Pincus to take this job, and shove it up his FarmVille donkey.

Zynga's bad reputation has prevented it from acquiring some top talent. Before PopCap was purchased by EA for $750 million plus stock, Zynga reportedly offered $950 million. PopCap rejected the higher offer over fears that Pincus' personality would infect their offices. Angry Birds developer Rovio also walked away from a $2.25 billion offer from Zynga based on the negative reputation.

The CEO's concentration on numbers as a way to measure progress has turned off many of the creative people at Zynga. "It's very similar to a New York investment bank," said an analyst. "It's data-driven, and it's intense."

"I expect a lot of game and tech companies will begin recruiting Zynga's talent after their equity becomes liquid," said Gabrielle Toledano, who is in charge of hiring at competitor Electronic Arts. "Competitors will make the case that they offer much more compelling opportunities for creative people."

The IPO for Zynga was originally valued at almost $1 billion but with the recent swell of anti-Zynga sentiment coupled with reports that Mafia Wars 2 isn't exactly making money like gangbusters, that number is sure to drop.

Man, karma is a bitch.

Source: New York Times

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