Almost exactly four years ago (April 4, 2015), I took over the social gaming team at Stars. While we have had some great professional achievements (increasing LTV more than 10X, winning best social poker app, launching Live Dealer games for the first time in the social space, etc.), it is the friendships that will be missed. In that time, I built some wonderful relationships with co-workers and business partners that will sorely be missed.
I learned early that Stars is much more than a company but a family, where people truly care about their colleagues. I remember the outpouring of support when my mother passed away and continue to be encouraged how people come together to help coworkers in difficult times.
There are too many people to thank individually, or even list, for an amazing four years. I want everyone to know, though, how appreciated you all were and how you have had an immeasurable impact on me.
The most trying part of leaving, however, is the realization that I will no longer be part of the social gaming team. We have built an incredible team, one that is a success order of magnitudes more important than any revenue milestone or gaming award. While the business often faced challenges, I looked forward everyday to working with my team to overcome these challenges. In the best times, and the worst times, we all came together to deal with tactical issues but also to build something special. Everyone on the team remained focused on the team, helping each other overcome trials and leap on opportunities. We worked as a whole, and it is still surreal that I will no longer be part of that great entity.
Many of you moved to the island to be part of our adventure and I hope it was as satisfying for you as it was for me. We did many things that were considered impossible and created something special.
Fortunately, I am not moving locations and hope to continue and build on these incredible relationships. I care deeply about my friends at Stars and will work tirelessly to stay close. The team is in great hands and I am sure will continue to collaborate brilliantly while overcoming all hurdles.
I am excited to announce that my book (with an assist from Wendy Beasley) on lifetime value, Understanding the Predictable, is now available on Amazon in both a Kindle and print edition. Understanding the Predictable is based on my blog posts about lifetime value with some case studies added to illustrate the various concepts and key takeaways (now a staple of my blog) for each section.
If you do read Understanding the Predictable, I would appreciate it if you posted an honest and open review on Amazon (good or bad) so others will see the plusses and minuses. I hope you enjoy.
If you are attending Casual Connect next week, please stop by the panel I am on about user acquisition Monday morning at 11 or my talk about bringing Blue Ocean Strategy to social casinos Monday at 16:30 (4:30 PM for you Americans). I look forward to seeing you there.
I wanted to share with my friends and colleagues the most recent phase of my professional career. Last month I left Zynga and moved to Isle of Man to become Director of Social Gaming at Amaya’s Rational Group (PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker). At Rational, I will be leading and building the team responsible for replicating PokerStars’ success in the real money gaming world into social gaming. In addition to poker, where nobody can question Rational’s expertise, we see great opportunities in social casino, slots and social sportsbet (and, of course, some blue oceans).
The opportunity was irresistible because of Rational’s focus on the player. It has grown to be the leading real-money gaming poker product (Rational was sold to Amaya last year for $4.9 billion) because of a laser focus on making their players’ happy. From my first interview, it was clear they were not interested in the short-term tricks that boost revenue but drive a wedge between the player and the company (all too prevalent in most social gaming companies) what is often referred to as bad profits, and instead creates value by creating the best player experience.
This customer-centric philosophy has not yet been tried in the social space and I find it incredibly compelling. I am excited about what my team and I will be doing soon and will surely share my experiences on this blog with my colleagues.
Happy New Year!!! Rather than make predictions, which I find as valuable as reading tarot cards, I wanted to look back at some of my favorite posts from last year. Below is a list of the ones I felt were most useful:
I am going to be speaking at the TiE Carolinas Dinner: Are you serious or social? Gaming as you have never known before. The dinner is Thursday, 17 May in Raleigh, and I think it will be really interesting. If you are planning on attending let me know so we can chat.