I recently ran across an article on Quora that struck a chord with me. I am generally not very active on Quora but felt compelled to provide my answer and thoughts there. The question was how do Zynga employees feel about the Stock Price drop. Below is the answer I provided.
I joined Zynga in October of 2008. I have both Zynga RSU’s and Zynga Options. I am proud to have my name in front of my answer to this question. I strongly caution anyone against taking the anonymous answers too seriously.
I agree with what Steve Kilnker pointed out. This question is about the Stock Price – not about what it is like to work at Zynga. I have worked in roughly 4 different teams here at Zynga and have had truly different experiences in all four of the teams. They are distinct business entities. One users experience is not reflective of the company as a whole.
Am I disappointed in the current stock price? Of course I am. Everyone who owns stock is… What kind of dumb question is that? That’s like asking someone if they enjoy getting kicked in the nuts.
I got richer then I could ever dream on the day I got married. My personal stock has split three times at the birth of each of my three kids. If you put money first – then be prepared to receive only that – just money – I pity you if money is all you have.
The bigger question here though is why am I disappointed in the current stock price? I am disappointed because the Stock price is reflective of hype, bad blog stories and in no way reflects our current position and strategy.
Let me provide some details as to what is being overlooked in our current position.
- We have a healthy allotment of cash to use to help fuel growth.
- We make hard business decisions – always have – cutting products and teams that are not profitable. Games have been cut the day of their scheduled launch. We always make the hard decisions that are best for the company.
- We still attract unique talent – you can now argue that they are interested to join due to our vision and strategy – rather then hopes of getting rich quick. Isn’t that better?
- Previous answers referenced Pincus’s control stake in the company. Isn’t that better then having a divided Executive team that can’t reach a majority vote? Isn’t that better than an investment board which makes decisions that are in the best interest of the board rather then the company? Isn’t that better then a 3rd party company controlling your shares and making decisions that benefit the parent company?
- Blue ocean opportunities. Who knows what Online Real Money Gaming will provide. We are pursuing it which must make you wonder… “What kind of data does Zynga have on the potential of this opportunity??” It does not take a genius to realize that there clearly must be a good amount of data supporting the opportunity otherwise we would not be pursuing it.
- Growth of Mobile. Very few companies have really figured out how to truly make money on Mobile. Why is this looked at as a bad thing? This simply means that there is a plethora of opportunity out there for us to try out. Maybe it’s a platform approach, maybe its ads, maybe its virtual goods, who knows??
- The guys who don’t leave. Everybody freaks out when someone leaves Zynga. But what about the large list of 4+ year employees who are still hear and still play a very active leadership role? What about the 2+ year employees who are stepping up to higher level positions and embracing new responsibilities? I see heavy investment in future leaders at many different levels.
Instead the blogging community seems to focus on what keywords will make their post about Zynga have the highest hits (which is afterall how they get paid). It’s sad.
A story about an exec leaving or a story about certain death due to a couple bad quarters will make a lot more hits then debating what kind of opportunity new games will provide, what online gaming will be like, etc… It’s demoralizing and sad. To be honest most blog stories I prefer not to read because their facts and conclusions are so off base.
I’ll say it agin. I got richer then I could ever dream about the day I got married. My personal stock has split three times at the birth of each of my three kids. Money does not control my life.
Zynga’s future? Who knows – not me – but I’m in it for the long run. I have been able to push code that affects millions of users. From an engineering standpoint – that is one freaking cool accomplishment.