After a series of nose-dives and precipitous declines, Zynga’s stock is hovering near $3 after opening at $10 in December of 2011. It’s a surprisingly weak position (even more surprising for shareholders) and despite rallies throughout the beginning of the year that saw Zynga top $14 for a while, the company is now facing the spectre of lower user counts and a difficult upwards climb and the stock seems deflated.
In response, an anonymous Zynga user took to Quora to explain how “devastated” he/she felt about the stock crash after working 10 hour days with “terrible management” in the hopes of a payout. The post had 600 upvotes, but since the post has gone viral, it’s been seriously downvoted and attacked by other Zynga employees have come out of the woodworks (all anonymously) to counter the original poster’s complaints.
The top post is a post by Zynga General Manager Nike Vuori,who spells out the reality – stocks sway in the market, and while it is disappointing, it’s part of the deal that every employee has made with the company. To the biggest complainers, he explains that he is surprised by their gripes about the culture.
I am surprised by your experiences. That is not my experience at all. Of course, the culture does not sit well with everyone, no company culture is perfect. Yes, we work hard. Yes, we care about metrics and numbers. Yes, we all wish that Q2 had gone better and that the stock price was higher. But no one forces anyone to put in “years being worked into the ground” and no one forces you to “put your life on hold.” If the only thing keeping you around was the IPO after “three and something miserable years” then your priorities are all wrong.
It’s a bit telling that Niko introduces himself by explaining how he’s “not afraid to hide my real identity, unlike the other answerers on this thread,” effectively labelling the many anonymous Zynga employees who defended the company as cowards. It’s telling because one of the gripes that even the Zynga defenders had was that the culture made the little guys feel especially little because management rules with an iron fist, and in cases like Schappert – enter the company late, make millions, and leave. Niko is kind in his response, but the undercurrents of frustration are there to be seen, especially a bold, all-caps statement that “NO ONE IS FORCING ANYONE TO WORK HERE AGAINST THEIR WILL”. That’s typically how a boss gives an employee an unsaid ultimatum as they ask them to stay the weekend.
It’s not just the managers that are defending Zynga – employees have explained that even though they’ve worked hard, they appreciate the job and how it’s better than “95% of jobs out there”. This coder sums it up nicely:
Am I upset about the stock price? Yes. Am I mad and bitter that executives like Wehner and Schappert who came in way later than I did raked in millions? Yes. Do I still believe in Pincus, Zynga, and its direction? Yes. Was the last 3+ years working in Zynga tough as shit? Yes. Would I have traded my time and experience at Zynga with anything else? Heck no!
As with any anonymous discussion, it’s impossible to completely verify whether these are all actually Zynga employees or just trolls having a laugh. Check it out and let us know what you think.