Just a few months ago, “Draw Something” developer OMGPOP was about to tank, soon before Zynga stepped in to acquire the startup for roughly $210 million.
At this time, OMGPOP’s Facebook games weren’t doing well, and CEO Dan Porter was forced to lay off a bunch of the company’s flash developers. Soon after, OMGPOP launched “Draw Something,” which quickly became ridiculously popular, with about 35 million downloads in 6 weeks. This grabbed the attention of Zynga, the sale was made, etc. But apparently, Porter quickly rehired all of the laid-off developers so they would be able to cash in on the merger. According to a source close to the situation, below is the story, as relayed to Business Insider:
OMGPop was not getting traction on Facebook, but it still had a bunch of flash developers.
Porter could have moved them around to mobile or other projects but money was running tight. To extend the company’s runway, he had to let them go. This move bought OMPGPOP another month or two of runway. It was purely a financial decision and a really tough one. The company tried to find jobs for the people who were fired. Once Draw Something took off and it looked like we might do a deal, CEO Dan Porter hired the fired workers back ASAP. He was literally negotiating the deal and jamming the re-hires back into payroll to make sure they were covered with hours remaining in the close. Their options kept vesting and they benefitted from the sale. Porter didn’t have to do it. It was just the mensch thing to do. There was one guy who used to work for OMGPOP who was facing a deadline on whether or not to exercises his options. He couldn’t decide, and Porter didn’t want him to lose out, so he hired him as a contractor to extend his vesting as well. He made money too. Every single employee got something from the deal, even new employees who hadn’t reached their cliff. Porter made sure it happened.
Porter’s human approach to business is likely something that companies like Electronics Arts, recently voted the most evil corporation in America, should try to emulate.