It wasn’t long after Zynga announced it would be laying off 18 percent of its staff that fired employees began to speak to the press. But one enterprising ex-Zyngaite decided to circumvent the traditional media route by hosting his own AMA on Reddit.
“What do you want to know about Zynga?” wrote the poster under the handle former_zyngite. ”I’ll try to be as honest and open as possible.” As proof of his identity, the poster included a photo of his layoff paperwork.
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.
After building that enormous $9 million set for his John William Waterhouse dream wedding in an “ecologically sensitive area” without the proper permits, Sean Parker has to cough up $2.5 million in fines. [San Jose Mercury News]
The Chicago Sun Times fired its entire photography department last week. But don’t you worry: They’re now training reporters to shoot using iPhones. Enjoy your grainy, poorly lit news coverage, Chicago! [The Verge]
Scenes from a layoff: “A tech recruiter named Trent Krupp from DeveloperAuction, chasing fresh — and perhaps raw — leads had dropped off business cards for the bartenders to hand out. He left an open bar: two free drinks for anyone from Zynga.” [BuzzFeed]
Speaking of, OMGPOP reportedly took a sword to the belly during Zynga’s Red Wedding. [The Verge]
A few tips on surviving the Series A crunch from a professed casualty. [Sean Percival]
Twitter’s 30-minute outage yesterday was due to “an error in a routine change.” Sounds like somebody goofed! [Reuters]
Perhaps Zynga New York employees running into traffic was a harbinger of terrible things to come: AllThingsD reports that the social gaming company intends to lay off 520 people–about 18 percent of its total staff–and permanently shutter its New York, Los Angeles and Dallas offices.
Lying Bitches 500 Startups founder Dave McClure, known for his rather dirty mouth, made a big slip-up at the Nebraska-based thinkfluencer festival Big Omaha today. According to Valleywag, Mr. McClure was giving a talk at the conference when he asked someone how good her iPhone battery life was. When she responded with a presumably positive answer, Mr. McClure called her a “lying bitch.” On stage. In front of tons of people.
Apple stock is down 24 percent this year. Shares slipped briefly below $400 earlier this week. [Wall Street Journal]
Did an adding error in Microsoft Excel exacerbate unemployment? [Ars Technica]
“It really is that simple–just design something great, something that users love.” Damn, someone ought’ve told Zynga. [Forbes]
Should we really be so worried about hackers? [TechDirt]
Barry Diller says, ”I see the death of irrelevant media.” You think he relishes the angel of death role?[NetNewsCheck]
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.”
It should probably come as no surprise to you that Facebook has employees whose job it is to read private messages that have been flagged as inappropriate, particularly if they contain malicious URLs or child porn. [BuzzFeed]
Zynga’s first big real-money casino games, ZyngaPlusPoker and ZyngaPlusCasino, are launching this week in the U.K. At least you’ll have the potential to win actual dollars instead of spending them on virtual crops? [AllThingsD]
Apple is finally beginning iPhone production this quarter so calm down ya fanboys. [Wall Street Journal]
If you live in California, you may soon be able to know exactly what personal information your telecom company collects on you. [Ars Technica]
Happy 40th birthday to the cellphone. Oh, how far we’ve come. [The Verge]
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.