A few months ago, I wrote a post on “beta” and how a sound international strategy could help offset a social game company’s risk. I just finished reading Michael Lewis’ The Big Short and it made me want to revisit the topic.
For those who have not read The Big Short, it is a great book about some Wall Street traders who took short positions (selling assets they didn’t have on the assumption the value of the asset would decrease) against sub-prime mortgages before the economic meltdown in 2008. These traders understood that the market was unsustainable and would collapse; by being short they made hundred of millions of dollars. Continue reading “Correlation and Risk Abatement”
One of the most effective elements of building an effective international social gaming operation is collaboration. Although collaboration is useful in all aspects of business, it takes on even greater importance in the international side. A proactive collaboration strategy can have a greater impact than a large marketing budget or superior product.
The reason collaboration is so important when launching social games internationally is that the number of stakeholders is dramatically higher. Continue reading “Collaboration”
With inflation imminent or already in most major markets, the next question is “What must social game companies do to survive?” The answer: A lot more than they are currently doing. Continue reading “Inflation and Social Gaming”
It is easy to focus on specific conditions for your company, your game, etc., when evaluating an international opportunity. With all the opportunities available and competing demands on people’s time, there can be a rush that leads to a misallocation of resources, poor revenue projections, or missed opportunities. It is very difficult to step back and look at the macro environment. Continue reading “Social Gaming and the European Debt Crisis”
I wanted to talk a little about the right way to set goals to grow your international business. Much of this discussion is applicable to virtually anything, so even if you are not responsible for international growth, hopefully you will find this discussion interesting.
Over the past few years, I have learned one of the most important things a leader does is set effective goals for his business and employees. These goals help decide which activities to pursue, where to allocate resources (especially time, our most limited resource) and how to measure performance. Without goals, businesses and people tend to flounder. Continue reading “Goal Setting for your International Strategy”
As I have stated repeatedly, most members of the social gaming industry approach international markets in a tactical, if not knee jerk, manner. All whining aside, today I wanted to write about the first step in formulating strategies for specific regions. That step is to analyze each region using a distance framework (before anyone accuses me of plagiarism, I consider Pankaj Ghemawat the best international business strategist around and have adapted many of his methodologies). Continue reading “My Definition of Distance”
In the social game industry, financial beta is often overlooked, especially when crafting an international strategy. In financial circles, beta is a measurement of risk for stocks and other investments in relation to the market. This is how closely the financial instruments performance is correlated with the overall market performance. Continue reading “My Definition of Beta”
When surveying the social gaming industry, it is amazing how none of our competitors are taking a strategic approach to international markets. I like to categorize them into three different segments, in no particular order:
- Mollusks chase one “exciting” opportunity today just to chase a different one tomorrow.
- Imperialists seem to believe everyone in the world should be playing the exact same game … and loving it.
- Rustics assert that there is no social gaming market beyond Facebook in North America.
Even companies that are relatively international (many based outside the US) often take a “one size fits all” approach that at best sub-optimizes and at worst leads to outright failure.
I will discuss it more in future posts but social game companies need to look at every territory individually and determine the best strategy for that market (which may be not entering the market). Some markets will require adaptation, some markets will be open to the US product, some markets will need local content, etc. The important point is that each territory needs to evaluated systematically and the company needs to develop a specific strategy for the market, not an “international strategy.”
Although I started this blog a few months ago, today is my first post. The delay was largely due to trying to figure out where I wanted to take the blog. The last thing the world needs is another person predicting the future of social gaming. Although the explosive growth in the North Carolina game community (in part due to Disney’s presence here) is very interesting to me, it only impacts a small demographic. So I decided to focus this blog on the international side of the social gaming business. I will touch other topics when I have something interesting to say (or at least something I consider interesting) but overall will provide insights into the global social gaming ecosystem.