Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank You, Jameson Hsu: Mochi Media Acquired for $80 million

For the first time in about a year have I been inspired to write a post. It's not for lack of ideas or analysis, those nuggets have been going to my employer, Zynga. However, this is the first story in a long time that I really felt was important. On both a personal level and an industry level.

You'll have to discern the importance to the industry here:

Here's the personal and this speaks to the reason why I'm so happy for Jameson Hsu (CEO of Mochi Media):

Jameson is the reason I'm still in Silicon Valley.

And he probably doesn't even know it. When I first moved out to Silicon Valley about 3 years ago, I only knew one person: my co-founder. Fortunately, he'd met a few people in his eight years out here and one of them was Jim Young, an angel investor in Mochi Media.

My co-founder spent the first few months working on some ideas destined for failure and we had gotten to a point where things looked pretty bleak.

I had been assiduously following the tech and games blogs and had realized that Flash was the future (probably courtesy of Daniel James of Three Rings). We decided to built a flash MMO with embedded multiplayer flash games (which ultimately is what Three Rings built: However, we intended to build ours on Facebook and ours was going to be a ripoff of the Nintendo game, Animal Crossing (which Playfish did successfully copy, err...homage, about a year and a half later wisely without embedded flash games). But frankly, we were pretty burnt out and I was having serious thoughts about abandoning the whole thing and going back to the east coast where I had misplaced the woman I intended on marrying (but didn't - a much longer story).

Jim Young intro'd us to Jameson. Jameson was the first person we pitched the concept of a multiplayer flash gaming platform on Facebook. Before VCs, before angels, before employees, he was first.

Not only did he think it was a great idea...he offered to help. Advice, connect us to developers, the whole nine. And he didn't ask for anything in return.

I remember leaving the Mochi offices and noticing that the sun was shining. And both John and I felt hopeful for the first time in weeks.

Though ultimately we failed and never took Jameson up on his offer of help, that meeting keep us going for another few months. Long enough for me to realize that even though my partnership with my co-founder was doomed that Silicon Valley where I wanted to be. I can honestly say if not for that meeting with Jameson I would back on the East Coast reading Techcrunch and telling sour grapes stories.

So thank you, Jameson. And congratulations on your exit, it's well-deserved.