November 28, 2011, 12:17 PM — Maybe Mark Pincus is a jerk. Maybe he's not. I don't know first-hand because I've never met the Zynga founder and chief executive.
But when I read that he demands employees give back stock rights granted by Zynga when they were hired or face termination, I can't help but think, "That guy sounds like a jerk!"
Now, lots of people are willing to put up with jerks -- for enough money. That's why someone will always be willing to work for a Donald Trump.
But I don't want to work for a jerk. I've done it before. It's no fun.
A lot of people feel the same way I do. They'll pass up opportunities to make a lot of money if taking such an opportunity means they'd be controlled/abused/threatened/manipulated by a jerk. Life's too short.
Some of these people who don't want to work for a jerk apparently run mobile game companies that Zynga wanted to buy, according to the New York Times.
In July, Zynga lost a bid for PopCap, a mobile game company. Zynga offered $950 million in cash.
But PopCap’s founders worried about the company’s reputation after hearing rumors of the company’s rescinding share awards and fierce internal competition, said two people with first-hand knowledge of the situation. Instead, PopCap agreed to a rival offer from Electronic Arts, worth $750 million in cash and stock and the potential of an additional $550 million if certain earnings goals were met.
Several start-ups have also rebuffed Zynga this year, including Rovio. This summer, Rovio, the maker of the popular mobile game Angry Birds, walked away from discussions of a deal worth roughly $2.25 billion in cash and stock, three people briefed on the situation said.
Of course, maybe it's unfair to assume these deals fell through for Zynga because of its cutthroat workplace reputation. We're on the outside, so we're not able to judge its corporate culture.
Zynga's employees are, though. In a recent quarterly survey, the Times reports, "frustrated workers complained about the long hours and stressful deadline periods."
These complaints are echoed in reviews at Glassdoor.com:
"You'll work 8-18 hours per day 5-7 days per week
Company leaders demand creativity of employees after overworking them, and ignores most ideas that don't follow the same technique/code base that most of their games currently use.
Not much of a social life
Coworkers are grumpy because they've been overworked"
"Poor leadership and communication. Awful work-life balance."
"Being told by my manager that if i am not at home sleeping, then i am here working.