Zynga’s CEO on Leadership

By in Business on February 22, 2012

Came across an interesting article today by Om Malik.  He was able to sit down with Mark Pincus, CEO at Zynga, and have a nice little interview on what it means to lead and how one must grow and change as they expand in their career.  The title of the article is:


Here’s the important bits:

OM: Mark, so you have seen the ebb-and-flow that is startup life. How have you changed over past decade?

Mark Pincus: I had to go through a lot of change to be successful. For a while I thought it was about control and VC and things like that but I don’t think that the story served me at all. I needed to grow up. I needed to be a CEO and not an entrepreneur and a leader to be followed. My approach involved having to grow up and evolve.

OM: How?

MP: I have had to learn. In fact, I have to be constantly learning. If you don’t learn something new every week, you lose your edge and in the end you lose. You need to be aware of that in order to adapt as a CEO.

With Tribe, I didn’t do that — and I never changed Tribe and that we were an open social network like MySpace, when Facebook was clearly having success with its private, trust-based model. I was not changing. I was just trying harder.

OM: What is the biggest lesson learned of this past decade?

MP: I think the biggest lesson I have learned from the last decade is that to be a good leader, you don’t need to be liked or loved by everyone. I wanted to be liked by everyone. I think if you know what is the right course, you got to go full in, but also be willing to listen to the right input and most importantly listen to your customers.

Do I really need to say more?

A good leader is one who is always growing upward, and maturing with experience.

A good leader is not afraid of being unliked, as long as that dislike isn’t from the customer in relation to your product offering.

Finally, as he said, a good leader “most importantly” listens to his customers.