New York Times hits Zynga, says hard-charging culture a liability

Credit: flickr/ftchris

Two weeks ago, Wall Street Journal reported on Zynga clawing back stock options. Now the New York Times says the crushing culture leads to employee anger and mutiny.

CEO and founder Mark Pincus, a Harvard Business School graduate who spent time on Wall Street, is cited for "executive overreach" and being "driven to the point of a madman," by analysts quoted in this article. Each Zynga product team, like CityVille and FarmVille, are autonomous and compete with other product teams within the company. Hours are long but there are rewards, such as stock options for the IPO expected before the end of the year. The Mafia Wars team, for example, met a milestone two years ago, and was treated to a free vacation to Las Vegas, including $500 cash each.

Pincus, a "self-confessed data obsessive," tracks games and employees through weekly reports and multiple spreadsheets. The pressure reputation has led to several companies rebuffing Zynga acquisition attempts. One acquired group threatened to walk out unless the group's general manager was replaced. Such stories, Silicon Valley experts say, could lead to tough recruiting and talent retention problems as Zynga expands.

Startups are hard work, get used to it

Hard work, sometimes 80-100 hrs per week, in exchange for equity packages likey to be worth millions. Sounds like a fair trade to me.

GroovyGeek on

So they got vacations? :P

Pezdispenser on

This pressure stuff comes with the territory in law firms.

Sandy Lewis on

No place is just ice cream all day long, there's some dog food too sometimes, sometimes there's stress.

linuxhansl on

Staying away

I work at zynga and i can attest to the terrible culture. Planning to quit once I can cash in the IPO. The hours are long and management is just simply bad.

PerplexedHuman on

What happens when investment bankers run amok. there's a reason profits are flattening....

melindajb on

Insults for Zynga

Zynga's history of one of blatent theft -- there is a hair's breadth between their games and the people whose originals they ripped off.

gfodor on

Burn Zynga, burn.

TheRealDoshu on

I'd say Zygna has handily surpassed EA in the horrible reputation department.

pkteison on

Could it possibly be a problem that the company doesn't produce anything of value? I mean, actual value, not IPO value.

DH94114 on

I also hate Zynga, mainly due to the child of a Zynga exec who I had the misfortune of tutoring...

VanDyke on

How bad is it inside Zynga if the New York Times spends this much ink on stories this close together? Or is there something else going on here?

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.