The best successes often arise from failures. Chris DeWolfe, the former founder and CEO of MySpace, is applying the lessons he learned at the once red-hot social networking company to a new venture with big ambitions.
DeWolfe’s latest act is a mobile gaming company called SGN (Social Gaming Network) that he founded in 2011 along with fellow MySpace alums Aber Whitcomb (former MySpace CTO) and Josh Yguado (Former MySpace COO).
This week SGN announced it has scooped up $US130 million in funding from NetMarble, one of the largest Asian gaming companies.
For DeWolfe, the investment in his company is a chance to gain ground on top companies like Supercell, Zynga, and Machine Zone, whose top games include Clash of Clans, Words with Friends, and Game of War.
To accomplish its mission, the founders of SGN are making sure not to repeat the same mistakes they made at MySpace, which was once the top social network before being made irrelevant by Facebook.
For starters, DeWolfe says that SGN is much smarter in its hiring.
“We are hiring the right people for the right positions and trying to do more with less,” he told Business Insider in an interview.
During the MySpace days we got up to about 1,500 to 1,600 employees and when we had an idea we’d say, ‘OK, go hire 20 people and we’re going to have the next great email service,’ or ‘OK, you hire 20 people and we’re going to have the next best Craigslist because we have 130 million MAU (monthly active users) on our platform and we should be able to do whatever we want.’ So we were a mile wide and an inch deep. Now, I think we’re super deep and focused. We’re doing a lot with 200 people. That’s something that we think about and talk about every day.
DeWolfe and his team also have access to a much wider scope of data than they did back in the MySpace days. He says:
We do A/B tests versus those days where there was a lot of guessing and a lot of submitting requests to a database administration team of 25 people and waiting for the query to come back and not knowing if it was right or correct or not. The decisions become much more data-driven at a certain point, which is fun. I could never have imagined that data was fun 10 years ago but… it’s fun now.
Considering all of the successes and failures the team has dealt with throughout the years, is there anything positive they have taken from the MySpace experience? DeWolfe leans back in his chair and smiles: “What’s similar is that we’re very aggressive and want to win. That’s something that a lot of people don’t do. We’ll take measured risks more than the average company. “
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