Thursday, July 17, 2008

Zynga Strikes Biz Dev Gold

Zynga recently announced that they hired two new executives. Normally, I don't cover things like executive hires, and I never publish press releases. I'm loathe to publish news if I can't add any value to the story with my analysis. Besides, if you are interested in news-oriented coverage, you don't need me. Justin Smith's Inside Social Games does a great job of covering news as it comes out.

However in this case, I'm more than happy to cover it. Why? Because I think Hugh de Loayza, Zynga's new vice-president of business development is awesome. I met him at Interplay, a few months ago and I found him to be a warm, thoughtful human being, and one of the reasons I wrote my post: Why I Love Being in the Games Industry. To be a good biz dev guy, you have to enjoy talking to people. But to be a great biz dev guy, you have to been unalloyed, to allow your humanness to be shared by others. Most of us don't. Hugh does. Zynga is very lucky to have him.

Boy, now it's going to be totally awkward if I run into him at Casual Connect next week.

Here's the press release. They also hired an executive from Yahoo, which seems to be a trend recently. :)

San Francisco – July 16, 2008 – Zynga Game Network ( ), the largest social gaming company on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks, announced today two additions to its leadership team. Scott Derringer joins Zynga as vice president of product management and Hugh de Loayza joins as vice president of business development. Derringer will be responsible for developing online games and product evolution and will report to CEO Mark Pincus. De Loayza will be responsible for developer relations, mergers and acquisitions and licensing opportunities and will report to Andrew Trader, executive vice president of sales and business development.

Derringer joins Zynga from Yahoo! Inc., where he served as senior director of product management. At Yahoo!, he played a key role in developing the company’s community strategy and overhauling Yahoo! Groups, one of the company’s largest community properties. Prior to Yahoo!, Derringer was a co-founder at Creation Chamber, a technology solutions provider, where he also served as vice president of product management and development. He has also held product management positions at Carpoint, Egreetings, and Excite, focusing on developing online community and ecommerce services.

De Loayza is a games industry veteran having served as senior director of business development for Oberon Media building partnerships with EA/POGO, United Online, Verizon, ATT, Hewlett Packard and Hasbro. Prior to Oberon, de Loayza was the director of content development for and responsible for launching the Pogo ToGo downloadable games business as well as managing production for He started working in the industry at Sony Online Entertainment where he produced Jeopardy! Online, Wheel of Fortune Online and The Dating Game online.

“We are excited about the leadership position we have built in social gaming and look forward to driving innovation,” said Pincus. “Scott will play a key role in building a world class product organization and developing next generation social games. Hugh brings deep game industry DNA and will drive Zynga’s partnership, network and acquisition strategy.”

About Zynga Game Network Inc.

Zynga Game Network Inc. (
) is the largest and most popular social game network. Zynga games are found on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5 and Friendster and include Texas Hold’em Poker, Blackjack, Scramble, Word Twist, Mafia Wars and Triumph. The company is funded by Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures and The Pilot Group, as well as leading individual investors Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.

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