FarmVilles or FarmVillians? Former employee says Zynga CEO encouraged workers to copy competitors

Zynga head told employees to copy others’ ideas, claims ex-employee

You know when Hollywood cons you into thinking a character is lovely and warm before revealing them to be a cold calculating villain by the end of the film? Well, if allegations from an anonymous source are to be believed, some would say FarmVille developer Zynga could be the real-world equivalent.

An ex-employee of the FarmVille team has recounted Zynga boss Mark Pincus' alleged words: "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."

Interviews conducted by SF Weekly with several former Zynga workers apparently indicated that stealing other companies' game ideas and then using the company's market clout to crowd out the games' originators was the norm.

The former employee went on to reveal Zynga's unofficial company motto of "Do Evil", which is an adaptation of Google's much friendlier "Don't Be Evil".

"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," the source said.

"I've tried my best to make sure that friends don't let friends work at Zynga."

FarmVille became popular via social networking on Facebook along with games like Mafia Wars, also developed by Zynga. Social media analyst Lou Kerner estimated that Zynga would be valued at $5 billion if the company were to go public in earlier this year.

Sep 9, 2010

Source:CVG,SF Weekly,Business Insider


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