Mark Pincus is Really Something
Mark Pincus stands out. He really does. He does not fit the stereotype. The guy is responsible for one of the fastest growing companies in history, but his past is littered with all sorts of entrepreneurial failures. To the seasoned eye, those failures were the stepping stones to his grand success, but only in December 2009 he was being pilloried by some small name journalist to whom Pincus pleaded on the air: "We go way back."
He did not drop out of college. He was not 19 or 23 when he started Zynga. He is not 20s young. He is not the most photogenic entrepreneur out there. His public appearances tend to be littered with all sorts of horror stories of him having had to deal with venture capitalists and other creatures of the tech ocean. John Doerr's firm rejected him several times, and Zynga has been better for John Doerr than Google has. Now why would John Doerr do that? I think there is a cultural bias against people who are not the most photogenic.
For an aspiring entrepreneur there is more to be learned from the Mark Pincus story than there is from, say, a Mark Zuckerberg story. The guy has seen all sorts of twists and turns in his career. Zuck has had it easy and straightforward by comparison.
And Mark Pincus is not a programmer. And Zynga got roasted by Mike Arrington for some of its early tactics. But the proof is in the pudding. When Pincus says he has Amazon size ambitions for Zynga, I do believe the dude. He is made of special fiber. He is resilience embodied.