OMGPOP Employees Party Like It’s 2012 After Getting Laid Off

OMGPOP,Zynga, New York Startup, Dan Porter

We’ve chronicled the rise and fall of OMGPOP, the creators of Draw Something. Before their huge hit with Draw Something, they had produced dozens of mobile games that didn’t hit it big. Draw Something hit the app store though, lives changed, and quickly.

Draw Something shot up to the top of the app charts. They amassed over 240 million users who were playing all the time. In just about a month’s time, they went from “another game studio” in New York City, to being acquired by–at the time–social gaming powerhouse Zynga back in March of 2012. Zynga didn’t disclose the financial details of the transaction but word on the street was that the deal was between $180 and $200 million. Around the same time this year, Zynga reported taking a $95 million dollar write down on the OMGPOP deal.

Porter, who had worked on events at Pimlico in Baltimore and had strong ties to Charm City, named all of OMGPOP’s conference rooms after characters from the HBO hit series, The Wire. That, coupled with Porter’s WYSIWYG attitude quickly earned him the respect of many tech journalists.

After OMGPOP was acquired by Zynga, Porter became the head of New York operations for the company. According to the announcement back in March of 2012, OMGPOP was to be Zynga’s top mobile unit. However, as Business Insider reported on Tuesday, things didn’t quite turn out that way.

According to Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell, Monday afternoon around 2pm the dreaded “all hands meeting” was called at the NY office of Zynga. These meetings had become common practice in New York, and as the employees filed into the room, they grabbed beers, “Sensory-numbing beverages were now essential for these gatherings.” Shontell wrote.


The resident HR employee at Zynga’s New York office told the employees the news. The New York office was being shut down. Employees quickly filled out paperwork to get there severance packages and then it was party time.

Business Insider reports that hoodies, t-shirts and anything with a Zynga logo were quickly destroyed, however morale stayed positive. Desks were cleaned out, trophies from Zynga meetings were left behind.

“There were no hard facts or figures. No real explanation. Just typical corporate BS,” one former employee who was in attendance tells Business Insider. “Everyone was just like, ‘Yep.’ Not surprised at all. It was like the weight had been lifted off our shoulders, that a decision had finally been made.”

“Most layoffs are sad. You imagine big corporate settings where security is there to lead people out of the office so they don’t make a scene. This was the opposite,” says the former employee. “Music was being played loudly, and people were ripping up Zynga hoodies and T-shirts. Anything that was Zynga was completely left there. The sentiment felt positive.”

The OMGPOP team was never really integrated into Zynga. Right around the same time of the purchase, Zynga had gone public and their stock started falling immediately. Shortly after that it was reported that Zynga would no longer have the stranglehold on social games on the Facebook platform, meaning that the company would need to rely on other money making avenues.

You would think that with Zynga’s focus coming off of the “ville” franchises, a mobile team like OMGPOP would be put to work full steam ahead. Employees told Shontell that really wasn’t the case at all. Earlier this year OMGPOP released a refresh of Draw Something as Draw Something 2. Right before Dan Porter’s exit from the company in April, Ashton Kutcher had actually tweeted how much he liked the new version of Draw Something. Kutcher had gotten an advance copy of the game.

Porter has already moved onto another startup and continues with his Just a few months before Porter’s exit, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus was named the 4th worst CEO.

Check out all of our OMGPOP coverage here.



A Tribute To My Personal Favorite New York CEO, Dan Porter, Wire Style

Dan Porter, OMGPOP,Zynga,New York, New York Startup,The WireDan Porter, the CEO of OMGPOP became Zynga’s New York chief when the popular social games company acquired the New York based company that created “Draw Something”.

Sure one of the main reasons I like Dan Porter so much is that he named every conference and meeting space in OMGPOP’s headquarters after characters from the hit HBO drama “The Wire”.  Being from South Baltimore and having extrad a few times during the run of “The Wire” I naturally loved the idea of meeting rooms named after such influential characters as Avon Barksdale, Marlo Stansfield and Proposition Joe.

What came apparent though, as Zynga set sail with OMGPOP on board was that Porter was like the Stansfield character. Porter told it like it was, probably causing a major level of discomfort for Zynga CEO Mark Pincus.

Porter drew fire when Quartz, a business news website quoted him as saying that Zynga copies other publishers games.

Porter is leaving his post as vice president and general manager of Zynga’s New York operations. It’s unclear whether or not he is staying with the company.  He is leaving his post as Draw Something 2 is preparing for release.

The original Draw Something caught on like wild fire. The game, which allows two players to play in a head to head win lose or draw style competition, was the game of the month right up until the sale to Zynga. It’s popularity faded as hits like SongPop started picking up steam.

The exact amount that Zynga paid for OMGPOP was never reported. What was reported, was the fact that Zynga had to write down $95 million dollars on the OMGPOP deal.

Even with all that in mind, Porter is credited with helping to move Zynga from the Facebook dependent social gaming space to the mobile screen. Reports surfaced on Monday morning that Zynga was about to unveil online gambling games in the UK as well.

While Zynga’s focus isn’t clear to anyone at the moment, we are confident that Porter’s is. So Dan closes your eyes, and breathe easy, your next big thing is right around the corner.

See why Dan Porter earned that bump like a mother fucker, here.


Dan Porter: You Earned That Bump Like A Mother Fucker

One of OMGPOP's "The Wire" Inspired Meeting Rooms (photo: Business Insider)

Dan Porter the CEO of OMGPOP became a very wealthy man yesterday. After six years of producing games and the blockbuster hit Draw Something, OMGPOP hit the big time being acquired yesterday by Zynga.

During the press conference call yesterday Porter highlighted how Zynga got exactly what OMGPOP was doing with Draw Something. He also spoke about how Zynga would back their mission with future games. Porter will become the VP and General Manager of Zynga’s New York office.

Porter shot up in my book ten fold today when I read this walk through of OMGPOP’s offices in Business Insider. With Jason Kincaid gone from TechCrunch it’s hard to find segments like TechCrunch Cribs anymore.

Of course the news of the OMGPOP Zynga merger made the office tour piece a goto piece today. But what I found out when I viewed the story is that Porter has had all of their meeting spaces named after the hit HBO drama “The Wire”

More after the break
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Zynga Officially Announces Purchase Of OMGPOP, Won’t Disclose Financials

Zynga held a conference call earlier today where they formally announced their purchase of OMGPOP the creators of the hit game “Draw Something”. Zynga’s head of mobile David Ko conducted the call from OMGPOP’s New York headquarters.

During the call Zynga announced that they are at 240 million monthly active users (MAU), and still have their sites on one billion monthly active users. Ko said that their mission at Zynga was to continue connecting people through games.

If for some reason you’ve been living under a rock and you’re not sure what OMGPOP or “Draw Something” is, it’s a Pictionary style game that you can play on your phone against your Facebook friends or completely random strangers. You take turns drawing one of three possible pictures, based on difficulty. Easy pictures like a leg or an arm will earn you one coin for drawing and guessing correctly. Tougher pictures like running or bacon will yield you two points. The most difficult category is often proper nouns like Lil Wayne or Lady GaGa for those you get three points.

More after the break
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