Bitcoin licenses for sellers might become a thing that exists in New York. The state is going to soon start holding hearings about regulating the digital currency. [The Verge]
Dan Porter said ominously that he “knew it was our time” to sell OMGPop to Zynga before it was taken out back and essentially shot. [New York Times]
Over the next six months, Google is improving the blockage of child porn using technology that tags pictures and keywords as illegal. [Telegraph]
Apple is close to snapping up Israeli company PrimeSense, which developed the technology behind Kinect. [Digital Trends]
OK: “Watch Airbnb’s Chef Rap About Food at a Hackthon.” [TechCrunch]
Former OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter is bouncing back. He’s reportedly partnering with Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel to create a mobile entertainment startup. [Business Insider]
Layoffs are expected to hit Aol’s Patch unit today. [AllThingsD]
Square’s spacious new San Francisco headquarters supposedly has the city’s largest roof deck. [Wired]
Sony received the greenlight to stream Viacom channels on its new Internet TV service. [New York Times]
Birchbox’s ecommerce sales are on track to triple this year and it has no plans to raise additional funding. [TechCrunch]
Exit This Way
When news came down yesterday that Zynga was shuttering three of its locations and laying off 18 percent of its staff, employees in the New York office, many of whom joined the social gaming behemoth following the acquisition of an indie game studio named OMGPOP, were prepared for the worst.
According to an OMGPOP employee who was laid off yesterday, the office seemed like it was winding down over the past few months. Zynga’s VP of mobile, Sean Kelly, who had been tapped to replace OMGPOP cofounder Dan Porter, was rarely around the office, and though he had charged the teams with brainstorming ideas for new games just two weeks ago, he didn’t follow up with a roadmap to help guide their new game concepts into fruition.
You’ve got to wonder what employee happy hours are like in the legendarily intense environs of Zynga. (We’re gonna guess testy.) A couple days ago, the company announced the departure of New York GM Dan Porter, and former employees are already dishing to Fast Company. A lot of former Zynga staffers, it seems, are ready to trash talk the OMGPOP acquisition, which cost Zynga a $95.5 million write-down.
One former employee complained to Fast Company, ”They bought it at the peak [of Draw Something], and people got tired of the gameplay quickly and the usership dropped. We got the timing wrong.”
Exit This Way
Dan Porter, the former CEO of New York-based gaming company OMGPOP which was purchased by Zynga in March of last year, has left the company, according to a release obtained by Betabeat.
UPDATE: Yesterday evening after our post went up, Zynga’s What’s the Phrase moved from no. 3 to no. 1 for top free games in Apple’s App Store and is currently holding down the top spot.
Zynga New York hasn’t always had the chummiest relationship with Zynga’s corporate office back in San Francisco. The East Coast outpost was formed a year ago after Mark Pincus acquired OMGPOP and its mobile juggernaut Draw Something–installing OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter as general manager.
Things started to sour last fall when Zynga blamed a $95.5 million write down on its $183 million OMGPOP acquisition for a bad quarter. But after a round of office closures, Zynga New York remained open, which is in line with gaming giant catching the all-mobile-all-the-time bug from Mark Zuckerberg. COO David Ko (Mr. Pincus’ no. 2 man) also continues to speak highly of Draw Something and the upcoming, Ryan Seacrest-approved Draw Something 2.
Soon he may have even more to crow about to wary Zynga shareholders.
Celebrity revelations rarely arrive without some behind-the-scenes orchestration, which is what we imagine happened this afternoon when Ryan Seacrest “gave away Zynga’s secret,” by outing the launch of Draw Something 2 on Twitter.
After all, Mr. Seacrest’s production company RS Productions also happens to have acquired the rights to the Draw Something game show.
Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
I’m a big fan of organizations and groups that encourage more women to get involved in the traditionally male-dominated worlds of tech and entrepreneurship, by creating community and providing guidance and support. And this week, we have a ton of these women-focused events.
There is the Ladies Who Code hacknight, where they encourage you to bring your brilliant self, your laptop, and your beloved text-editor of choice! There is Celebrating Extraordinary Female Founders at Levo League (a site for Gen Y female professionals), as well as the launch party for PlumAlley (a new site supporting female-founded companies). There is the Go Connect – Ignite Your Ambition event organized by NY Tech Women and The White House Project. There is JumpStart Your Dreams, organized by She Creates Change (a community supporting women as they make their professional dreams a reality). And finally there’s Women 2.0 Founder Friday, with guest hosts Alexis Tryon (cofounder, Artsicle) and Anagha Nadkarni (cofounder, AppGuppy).
Exit This Way
Before the sudden success of Draw Something, things weren’t looking so great for OMGPOP. Several developers got the ax. But an anonymous source tells Business Insider the story didn’t end there. As soon as the prospects looked good for a deal, CEO Dan Porter hired them all back:
Be Like the Virus
The App Store official charts for last week showed the new version of an old standby, Angry Birds in Space, at no. 1 and hometown heroes OMGPOP at no. 2 with Draw Something. But a look at the charts today shows Draw Something is now the no. 1 most downloaded paid app, beating out other popular games Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Where’s My Water and Fancy Pants as well as the app-ified Suess classic, The Lorax. The iPhone/iPad version has five stars with 94,481 ratings.