OMGPOP CEO: What It’s Been Like Selling To Zynga And Watching The Stock Plummet

Dan Porter

OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter helped his company get acquired by Zynga for close to $200 million earlier this year.Since then, Zynga’s stock has tanked. 

At a venture-capital industry event in New York Thursday, investment banker Linda Gridley of Gridley & Company asked Porter what the whole surreal experience has been like.

While the OMGPOP deal was in cash, the stock obviously has an impact on employees’ future earnings.

The hardest part, though, Porter says, is managing the expectations of his former staff—especially when he’s no longer CEO.

“Before you sell, you’re this triangle, and you’re at the top, and you’re looking down at all the people you work with,” Betabeat quoted Porter as saying. “And then you sell, and then you spend all this time looking up above you. The staff feels that too.”

(The Betabeat article cited in this write-up has since been taken down because the interview being reported on was apparently off the record, and was thus published in error. This story is based on the article while it was still viewable by the public. BI was not party to any off-the-record agreement regarding this information.)

To keep employees happy, Porter tries to advocate for them and instill a sense of loyalty and trust. He works hard to keep good leaders in place, so those who respect them are less likely to depart.

“For me, it’s a lot of begging and pleading and reminding [employees] of those relationships and then also making sure that, you know, people see what the opportunity is,” Porter told Gridley.

He also said, according to Betabeat’s account:

We always wondered how [Zynga] worked when we were in competition with them, and now you get to see the inside. What are the things they’re good at? What are the opportunities to learn?

For others, the future at Zynga is bleak, and Porter doesn’t try to sugarcoat it. “I was completely honest,” Porter recalls. “I was like, ‘You should leave.'”

Of course, that’s a natural thing in most acquisitions, since acquirers typically take over operating departments like human resources and finance, and those people won’t have the same opportunities to advance that they might at a standalone company.