Zynga’s new CEO

Don MattrickTo quote GamesIndustry:

Don Mattrick’s jump from Xbox chief to Zynga CEO left many observers stunned this week.

Why would he make this move? And what exactly does this mean for Zynga’s future?

For one, I’m not stunned in the slightest. After Andrew Mason “left” Groupon, it was only a matter of time (one quarter) for Mark Pincus to move on.

I’m always surprised when observers are stunned when someone goes from a division that has experienced its zenith to a company that is in its nadir. Makes no sense to a salary man but it’s great for a person with a career.

Daniel Kahneman explained this lazy thinking process that assumes unlimited growth (or unfathomable depths) in Thinking, Fast and Slow. There’s a much simpler “truth”: you sell the highs, you buy the lows.

Zynga is at its lowest, Don is interested in buying. Xbox has seen its dominance shaken with E3 fiasco, he’s selling it as quickly as possible.

Sometimes, it is that simple.

The real question is… how do you mix oil and water.

You had Mark Pincus confess he cut every corner and broke every business rule to ensure revenue, i.e. he focused on the short term with total disregard to long-term consequences. Now these consequences are upon Zynga.

Don had his success with Xbox precisely because Microsoft’s deep pockets allowed him the luxury of long-term decision-making. He built strong game franchises exclusive to Xbox and he also priced the Xbox aggressively and always cut the price before the competition had the chance to do so.

I’m not sure you can mix the two approaches but one thing is certain, Zynga can’t go any lower. So it must go up.

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  1. July 7th, 2013
  2. July 15th, 2013

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