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Zynga CEO Mattrick admits that Supercell ate its lunch

Zynga CEO Mattrick admits that Supercell ate its lunch

June 5, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

"Look, the fact that we didn’t have a mobile version of FarmVille is what created the opportunity for Hay Day. So we’re just detangling and doing the obvious things. Imagine we went to the schoolyard, left our lunchbox unattended, someone was eating it. We're just kind of picking up our lunch now."
- Zynga CEO Don Mattrick

In a lengthy new Q&A conducted at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Technology Conference, Zynga CEO Don Mattrick admits that the company had lost its way and missed out on even the most obvious opportunities -- as he attempts to steer it toward being a mobile-first competitor with the upstarts that have, of late, been trouncing it in the market.

As a first step toward that goal, Zynga launched FarmVille 2 on mobile in April of this year -- long after Supercell proved with both Hay Day and Clash of Clans that tablet-only social games could be massive successes. The game is a sophisticated attempt to capture mobile users directly, while also giving its Facebook audience reasons to play both versions.

It's interesting to see the CEO of the company cop to his company's inability to compete on stage, in front of investors and analysts, even if it's true.

Mattrick also affirmed that he's been cleaning house in the company's management. "The majority of our team has turned over," says Mattrick. He says he "candidly de-cluttered" Zynga's management -- he's "taken a couple of layers of reporting structure" out of the company.

Plenty of execs have fled the company since his tenure began -- three this week -- and Mattrick says that's no accident: He specifically reviewed them.

Says Mattrick, "And over the past 10 months I've tried to engage with people in a very thoughtful and deliberate way. The first thing when I on-boarded, just meeting people who were there and saying, 'What do you do? Show me the tools that you’re using. Do you have a point of view about competitors? About the market? Do you have plans for growth over the next period of time? What do you love about our company? Our space? What is your personal legacy that you want to leave? How are you making teams better? How are we competing?'"

You can read the full transcript of the interview at Seeking Alpha.

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