Slapping Zynga's Mark Pincus while defending the 'Google Chef'

When Zynga CEO Mark Pincus defended clawing back stock options, he said he didn't want a "Google chef" scenario. Turns out people like the Google chef scenario more than they like Pincus.

Quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying "some early employees will end up with bigger windfalls than latecomers who contribute more to the company," Pincus wants to rescind non-vested stock offers to some employees. But the kicker is the "latecomers who contribute more to the company" line. If the early employees didn't succeed, Zynga wouldn't have gotten big enough to attract those latecomers.

The Silicon Valley startup gameplan is straightforward: join a company with a tiny chance of success, ride the wave with hard work for years, and cash out if everything works. Think of this as a lottery ticket bought with years of hard work rather than a dollar. But to insult your early workers saying they didn't do as much as the "latecomers" turns this model upside down. Latecomers cut in line at the payout window, and rewarding that behavior insults all the early workers who built the company.

Pincus is sadly mistaken

Zynga: "we need to go back on the deal we made when we hired you so we can make more attractive deals with new hires". Sounds like a great way to prevent smart people from wanting to work for you.

Laurence Gonsalves on

I've always believed in judging people by the way they treat the receptionist, the janitor, and the waitress/chef/etc.

AJ on

Pincus should be ashamed of himself. What an ass. Not only is Zynga no Google, he's barely got a functioning company. 95% YOY drop in profits. wtf. its hard not to root for this guy to lose.

Anonymous on

I have disliked them for the insipidity of their "games", heartily loathed their use of Palovian reward psychology to addict users, and now I can disdain them for being crappy managers and double-dealers.

Peter Schmidt on

Isn't this the same guy that told his developers to copy and steal from competitors*. How can you expect anything buy unethical moves from this guy?

Anonymous on

Praise for the Google chef

Pincus, I knew Charlie. Charlie was my neighbor. And Pincus, you're no Charlie.

Unshod on

Maybe anyone can be a line cook, but not everyone can be a chef. Chef school is brutal. And not everyone can plan and run a large meal plan for a large group of people with sporadic hours and special meals, either. And, as somebody else pointed out, the chef's existence -- and the supreme quality of his work -- was one of the big draws for tech talent to come to Google.

ahoyhere on

I love the Google chef, and being the main cook for my own startup, I can say that as he said: "A company is as good as the food it serves its employees, because they are their most valuable asset."

Trend Guardian on

I'm just laughing at Zynga. Charlie started the same week I did and he made every day I was at Google better. I looked forward to coming to work early and to staying late in part because the food was always incredible.

Doug on

Praise for early employees

Pincus has violated the basic tenant of start up economics and, thus made start ups vastly more risky for people to join. In short he's just ups the cost of hiring at start ups by 10-15%.

Anonymous on

Working at a startup is hard. The hours are long, the stress can be brutal, and there is no guarantee of success. In fact, the odds for a raw startup (which is what Google was when Charlie joined) are very much against you. I have no idea what Google's deal with Charlie was, but typically you take a pay cut for a shot at the brass ring. Charlie didn't make $20M for cooking, he made $20M for taking the risk that the company he was joining would fail and that he could end up five years older, unemployed, and with nothing to show for his trouble.

Ron on

Pincus wants you to think of this portion of your compensation as an employee, instead of an investor. Charlie made money because he became an investor, not because he was a chef.

hfthrowaway on

Google got millions of dollars worth of publicity early on because of chef Charlie Ayers. Story after story talked about Google's groundbreaking "chef scenario" of providing great food to attract and keep talented employees. Doesn't Ayers deserve something for the revenue and publicity he brought to Google?

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