The Virtual Goods Summit Is Close! October 12-13 in San Francisco

The Virtual Goods Summit in San Francisco is going to be two days of talks and panels from experts in virtual goods, and you don’t want to miss it. It is my belief that virtual currencies have only begun their transformation of the way goods and services are consumed in North America. We’ve been seeing virtual goods as a key reason for growth in the social games industry, and Facebook itself has only been accelerating their use of Facebook Credits. If you’re interested in learning more about how these currencies will evolve, you really should attend the Virtual Goods Summit.

We’ll have speakers from Facebook, Microsoft XBox Live, Zynga, Digital Chocolate, Playdom and more. The full speaker list is below, and the link for registration is right here as well. I hope that you can make it, and if so, make sure to get in touch with me and we can chat. There are also some great parties during the event, so contact me if for nothing else than to find out where those are!


Mick Bobroff

MICK BOBROFF is an audit partner in Ernst & Young’sNorthern California Technology practice who specializes in the software, digital media and on-line games industries. He has over twenty years of experience and has been an audit partner since October 2000. Mick serves a portfolio of SEC registrants and non-public companies. His portfolio of non-public companies are involved in social games, mobile applications, online media services, wireless networking and firewall technologies. Mick is very experienced with complex revenue recognition models and is leading the firm�s efforts in providing its views and guidance on revenue recognition on the sale of virtual goods. Mick spent 6 years at the Ernst & Young offices in Moscow, Russia and Singapore from 1992- 1998 where he served U.S. multinational companies in the former Soviet Union and in Southeast Asia. Mick graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley.

Alan Chen

ALAN CHEN has been with Perfect World since January 2008, assuming the role of Senior Vice President of the company and Chief Executive Officer of the company’s American and European subsidiaries. Prior to joining Perfect World, Mr. Chen had held a number of executive positions in the industries of computer gaming, IT, and telecommunications, and accumulated valuable experience in product development, business management, operations, sales and marketing. From 2006 to 2007, Mr. Chen was the Chief Technology Officer of The9 Ltd., where he led game development and technical operations. Prior to that, Mr. Chen assumed the Executive Vice President role of Hewlett-Packard (China) Ltd. from 2005 to 2006, where he was responsible for the company’s server and storage business; the Vice President role of Professional Services of Lucent Technologies (China) Ltd. from 2003 to 2005; and the General Manager role of Carrier Packet Solutions at Nortel Networks (China) Ltd. from 1998 to 2003. Mr. Chen received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in telecommunications engineering from the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and received his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Ottawa.

Tim Chang

TIM CHANG brings a combination of operational, technical and international business experience toNorwest Venture Partners (NVP).He focuses on investments in mobile, gaming, digital media, and also leads NVP’s investment practice in China and Asia-Pacific. Tim led NVP’s investments in and joined the boards of directors of ngmoco, Lumos Labs, Brite Semiconductor and 3jam. He also led NVP’s investment in Playdom, a leader in social gaming, and PCH International, a turnkey global supply chain services firm based in Shenzhen. Tim is a board observer working closely with Borqs, deCarta and Veveo. Prior to joining NVP in 2006, Tim was a principal at Gabriel Venture Partners where he was actively involved in over a dozen wireless-related deals. Tim built Gabriel’s wireless sector practice and helped establish business development capabilities through strong, strategic relationships across the wireless value chain, particularly in Asia-Pacific.@timechang

Lee Clancy

M. LEE CLANCY JR. is the Senior Vice President of Product Management and General Manager of Direct Revenue at IMVU. Lee joined IMVU in September 2008 from Yahoo!, where he was Senior Director for Community Products. At Yahoo!, Lee also led product management for Yahoo! Groups, a global community of 110 million users, and Yahoo! Personals, the most visited destination in the dating market. Prior to Yahoo!, Lee co-founded a music-focused social networking startup. Lee also worked at Broadband Office in business development and at PricewaterhouseCoopers in strategy consulting advising entertainment and media clients. Lee earned a B.A. in Spanish Literature from Amherst College, an M.B.A. from Cornell University, and an M.A. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.@mleeclancyjr

Karl Mehta

DAVID ETLING has spent the past nine years atInComm, holding various management positions including Sales Engineering, Merchant Services, and Business/Product Development. Over the past four years he has been instrumental to InComm’s success in product partner acquisitions and subsequent successful retail launches; specifically as it relates to prepaid digital entertainment products, including game cash cards as well as digital music and software applications.Prior to his service at InComm, Etling spent seven years at a startup consulting company and last served as VP of Engineering where he managed a team focusing on financial institution network design and implementation.


Trip Hawkins

BILL GROSSO is the CTO and SVP of Product for Live Gamer. Mr. Grosso is responsible for the efforts of the technology and product teams, tailoring product offerings to customers� needs and delivering the right solutions to Live Gamer�s global customer base. Previously, Mr. Grosso served as CTO for virtual economy platform provider Twofish, which was acquired by Live Gamer, where he headed the Twofish Elements product roadmap, platform development and engineering organizations. As an active participant in the software development community, Mr. Grosso has published two books and more than 20 journal articles. He also served as a long-time board member for SDForum, and has held various chief architect and executive engineering roles at companies including Engage, Echopass and Hipbone. He received his Masters of Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley.

RON GUTMAN, Founder and CEO, HealthTap

Trip Hawkins

TRIP HAWKINS, founder and CEO of Digital Chocolate, also founded and built Electronic Arts. Best known for Millionaire City, MMA Pro Fighter, Rollercoaster Rush and Tower Bloxx, Digital Chocolate led all software companies in App Store downloads in 2009 and in 2010 has been the fastest-growing maker of Facebook social games with virtual goods. Hawkins got the world’s first college degree in video games and was the first game business executive named to the Hall of Fame by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. The inventor of three patents and the NanoStar virtual goods platform, he has also led the design and production of many hit games including John Madden Football.@DChocGames

Niren Hiro

NIREN HIRO is the CEO of CrowdStar, the creators of the social games Hello City, Happy Aquarium, Happy Island, Happy Pets and Zoo Paradise. CrowdStar games are some of the largest on Facebook and have growing popularity on the Japanese social network Mixi across both the PC and advanced mobile phone platforms. As the former Vice President Managing Director of Asia-Pacific and Latin America for AdMob, Niren was responsible for the company’s strategy, partnerships and traffic acquisition, and business expansion. Niren has 20 years of start-up and leadership experience at high growth Internet, mobile, media, and entertainment companies, including AdMob, Yahoo!, CBS Sportsline, MTV Networks, Plus Channel, and BPL Mobile (a France Telecom joint venture).

Teemu Huuhtanen

TEEMU HUUHTANEN is the executive vice president, Business Development and Communications, Sulake Corporation and the president, North America, Sulake Inc. Huuhtanen is instrumental in leading the continued development and growth of Finnish-based Sulake�s topproperty, Habbo, one of the world�s most popular online social networking and virtual world communities for teens. Huuhtanen is responsible for cultivating relationships with major music, television and motion picture studios, as well as retail, fashion and sports industries, to generate relevant and interactive brand partnerships. His mission is to bring real-world mainstream entertainment properties and brands that are important to Habbo�s teen user base into the virtual community. Huuhtanen oversees global public relations efforts for Sulake Corporation and leads the Sulake team responsible for the company�s communications and PR. In 2008, The Hollywood Reporter ranked Huuhtanen on its �Digital Power 50 List� of top innovators who influence the creation and distribution of online content. In 2009, he was named one of Digital Media Wire�s �25 Executives to Watch in Digital Entertainment.� American Venture Magazine appointed Huuhtanen to their list of the �Top 40 Under 40� executives to watch in the technology industry for 2007. Huuhtanen is based and oversees Sulake�s North American headquarters in Southern California.

Benjamin Joffe

BENJAMIN JOFFE is a renowned expert on Asia�s digital scene. During the past 10 years, he has been part of Japan�s mobile revolution, Korea�s Internet boom and the rise of China as a digital superpower. As CEO of the strategy consultancy +8* he brings the best practices from Asia�s digital scene to clients worldwide (e.g. Microsoft, Adidas, China Mobile, Harvard Business School, IMVU�). Bridging technology, sociology and anthropology, his research covers virtual economies, digital third places, artificial artificial intelligence (AAI) and online social dynamics. Benjamin shared insights in over 100 talks across 16 countries, and was selected among China�s Top 100 Mobile Industry Influencers in 2007 and 2008 as founder of Mobile Monday in Beijing. Last, he is an angel investor in Asia-based startups, including Cmune (, maker of the first �social FPS� on social networks ( and MyGengo (, a global human translation platform. @benjaminjoffe

AMY JO KIM, CEO, Shuffle Brain

ALBERT LAI, President & Co-Founder, Kontagent

DEBORAH LIU is manager of product marketing for Facebook Credits and Games at Facebook, where she oversees initiatives related to game applications on and the Facebook virtual currency. Prior to Facebook, Deborah spent seven years at eBay and PayPal, where she had various roles including Director of Product Marketing Management for the eBay business at PayPal and Director of Product Management for the eBay Buyer Experience. Deborah has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a bachelor�s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Duke University.

Karl Mehta

KARL MEHTA is Founder & CEO of PlaySpan, Inc., a leader in monetization platform development for online games, social networks and new media. Karl brings more than 18 years of experience to PlaySpan in founding, building and funding technology start-ups in the U.S. and international markets. Prior to founding PlaySpan, Karl was part of the founding team at MobileAria Inc. (acquired by Wireless Matrix) based in Mountain View and co-founder/ CEO of OmniLabs Inc., based in Singapore and India. Prior to that, he held executive positions at Hughes, leading new business and technology development.@karlmehta

Marco Priewe
MARCO PRIEWE is the Managing Director of Atlas Interactive Deutschland GmbH and Sales Director for access and billing solutions for the global Atlas Interactive Group of Companies. Marco Priewe, born in 1969, started his professional career after graduating from university in 1992 as Branch Manager for the international trading company Behn Meyer in Medan, Indonesia. From March 1996 until October 2003 Marco Priewe has been Chief Executive Officer of INA Germany AG. He joined Atlas Interactive in November 2003. Furthermore, Marco Priewe was one of the founding members of the FST (the German Association for the Voluntary Self-Monitoring of Value-Added Telephone Services). He was Deputy Manager of the grievance board of the FST from 1998 to 2000 and has been elected as a Member of the Executive Board in October 2000, which he is still today.

Christa Quarles

CHRISTA QUARLES oversees Playdom’s financial management and forecasting, and helps drive the company’s strategic planning. Christa comes to Playdom from Thomas Weisel Partners, where she served as managing director for four years and a senior equity research analyst for almost a decade. In 2009, while covering market leaders from Google to Yahoo, Financial Times ranked Christa the #1 Internet software and services analyst for earnings estimates in the United States. Prior to joining Thomas Weisel, Christa held an assistant vice president position at Merrill Lynch. Christa graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Carnegie Mellon with degrees in economics and German, and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.@cquarles


ANDREW SHEPPARD, Chief Product Officer, Kabam

Sam Shrauger

SAM SHRAUGER joined PayPal in April 2004 as a product and marketing manager for several of PayPal’s small merchant products. He later oversaw PayPal’s Checkout product team and drove overall acceptance across the web, in addition to leading the integration of Bill Me Later on the PayPal platform. Currently, Sam is Vice President of Global Product Strategy, where he is responsible for defining PayPal�s long-term global product portfolio strategy and ensuring that PayPal�s product architecture evolves to support this long-term strategy. Prior to joining PayPal Sam held management roles in technology consulting and product development at, VerticalNet, Deloitte Consulting and Quantum Consulting.@paypal_sam

Mark Skaggs

MARK SKAGGS is an award winning game developer and most recently known for creating the world-wide phenomena, “FarmVille” for Zynga. With a career spanning 17 years, 2 AIAS awards, 4 console transitions and a track record of creating games which have sold over 16 million copies at retail, Skaggs is also known for creating multi-million selling RTS games such as “Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2”, “Command and Conquer: Generals” and “Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth”. Skaggs joined Zynga in 2008 and is currently Vice President of Product Development, leading the charge to create new and interesting games in the social gaming space.

Ben Smith

BEN SMITH is a seasoned product leader with a focus on innovation and experience. Ben Smith leads Program Management for Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and Kinect Platform Software � everything from the custom-built OS to the e-commerce platform to the Xbox LIVE user experience. Ben has played a key role in defining, building, and bringing to market NXE, Avatars, Netflix, and coming this holiday: Gold Family and Kinect. Ben is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer serving Mauritania after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder. After returning from the Peace Corps Ben studied business at both The Ohio State University and Harvard University.

Chris Smutny

CHRIS SMUTNY is Vice President, Virtual Currency & Online Gaming at Adknowledge, a leading internet advertising technology company. Chris has helped lead the company�s growth in becoming the largest privately-held ad network in the U.S. Adknowledge has been recognized as a Red Herring Top 100 and AlwaysOn Media Top 100 award winner. In his current position, Chris oversees the externally-facing functions of two business units — Virtual Currency and Banner advertising � that were acquired by Adknowledge and have operated under the Super Rewards and Cubics brand names. Chris is responsible for advertiser and publisher sales, marketing, and customer service. He has led the integration of these two businesses into the core Adknowledge product suite. Prior to Adknowledge, Chris was at Yahoo! Search Marketing where he lead teams across finance, product management and outsourcing functions working to provide the highest level of performance to Y!SM�s advertisers. Chris holds a B.A. in Economics from Occidental College.

Ian Swanson

IAN SWANSON is the co-founder and CEO ofSometrics . Ian brings together publishers, advertisers and consumers from all types of online experiences MMOs, casual and social games.Ian helps maximize revenue for publishers, drive traffic and leads for advertisers, and enhance gameplay for consumers with Sometrics technology. Under Ian’s leadership, Sometrics launched the industry’s first virtual currency platform in December 2008, to help publishers manage all virtual currency monetization from multiple offer providers.Today, the company’s Offer Solution and Payment Manager have a global reach with more than 4,000 ads across the global network. Before launching Sometrics, Ian was business development manager for Userplane, an AOL company that provides social media applications to hundreds of thousands of online communities, supporting millions of users daily.Before Userplane, he was an executive with Sprint and helped launch two mobile web startups.Ian actively advises several successful social networking applications, Fortune 500 companies and startups with their brand and marketing strategies within the social media ecosystem. He is often invited to share his insights at industry events .

Chung-Man Tam

CHUNG-MAN TAM is the vice president, platform and monetization at Booyah!, the creators of mobile social games MyTown and InCrowd as well as Nightclub City on Facebook. Prior to joining Booyah!, he led product development for advertising products at AdMob. Chung has over 11 years of consumer and enterprise experience in the areas of mobile, web search, and social software at Google, Yahoo!, and Homestead. Chung earned a B.S. from Stanford University in Computer Science and a M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie-Mellon University. @chung

Gabe Zicermann

GABE ZICHERMANN is an author, highly rated public speaker and serial entrepreneur. His most recent book,Game-Based Marketing (Wiley, 4/2010) has achieved critical and industry acclaim for its detailed look at innovators who blend the power of games with brand strategy. His next book on game mechanics is a detailed technical look at architecture and implementation. A resident of NYC, Gabe is a board member of, advisor to a number of startups and Facilitator for the NYC chapter of the Founder Institute.