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What is going to happen to Zynga? - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet


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"Is the brain drain going to kill Zynga?

Maybe. This is the real risk. Zynga has $1.6 billion in cash, so they aren't going out of business anytime soon. In hindsight the IPO was a fortuitously timed event to ensure the company had the cash to make it through a tough transitional period. That is, if you believe they can keep their talent.

As you have no doubt noticed, some of the talent has already left the building. But, so too has plenty of dead wood with soft spines that wouldn't have been helpful in a tough time like this anyway. Not every exit you read about is a bad one.

There are still a lot of amazing people at Zynga, but I'm sure most are itchy. They were hired into a fast growing, high risk, startup. They've watched a company do what a lot of companies do over time, get bloated, fill with bureaucracy, and try to solve uncertainty with austerity. That's no recipe for success.

But Mark is, if nothing else, an entrepreneur. The company can go back to its roots, get people motivated about the risks instead of wishing them away. Mark can take some bold, even extreme, moves to show the folks he has left that he cares about them. And if he does that it would be hard to count Zynga out."

Better analysis from former GM/exec.

I call shenanigans.

Besides Poker and Words with Friends, every Zynga game has been a Roman candle -- exponential growth followed by exponential decay.

Show us Zynga can innovate and build a game with staying power -- Angry Birds or Plants vs Zombies -- and I will believe Zynga has a future.

If they cannot innovate, they're dead. The market is anticipating this scenario.

I think what he's saying is they have $1.2bn in cash to do so. That's 10-20 AAA titles for another world-class video game outfit. At any rate, I think his commentary was fair and balanced. He's not saying they will succeed, but that they can take a big, bold, ambitious bet...or they can sell, which Mark P controls. Given that the investors have already cashed out significant stock, I can't imagine he feels pressure from any folks but his employees.

I can't imagine he feels pressure from employees, either. He tried.

Also, Zynga is very good at not being emotional about shutting a lot of things down:

zynga funny

Someone in Zynga is doing a metrics-driven analysis on direction for the company, ha. Level-up, Zynga!

That's the problem. All numbers, no soul.

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