If you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen FarmVille. Like it or not, you’re getting updates from your friends saying that a wolf just ate three of their pigs, or that they just picked a new batch of virtual tomatoes. FarmVille is a a stupid, simple game about maintaining a farm. So why is the head of the company such a slimy character?
Mark Pincus is the CEO of Zynga, the developer that produces FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and other similar Facebook games. Zynga is believed to be valued at around $4 billion. With its 223 million users, it’s easily the most profitable and popular Facebook developer. How did Zynga get so big? Apparently, they stole.
In a recent profile for San Francisco Weekly, Peter Jamison interviewed ex-employees and Silicon Valley insiders to get a feel for Zynga’s inner workings. One employee recounted a story, quoting Pincus as saying, “I don’t fucking want innovation. You’re not smarter than your competitor. Just copy what they do and do it until you get their numbers.”
It gets better.
“Zynga’s motto is ‘Do Evil,’” an ex-employee said. “I would venture to say it is one of the most evil places I’ve run into, from a culture perspective and in its business approach. I’ve tried my best to make sure that friends don’t let friends work at Zynga.”
Pincus is at the head of all this. Former employees say he’s as a man who cares about nothing other than making money. He encourages employees to rip off new ideas from smaller developers because he knows Zynga will then be able to muscle them out of the market. Somehow Pincus has only been brought to court once, and Zynga settled for an undisclosed amount.
Those FarmVille alerts probably just got a little more annoying, huh?
Listen to him talk about screwing over his customers.