Zynga CEO voices regret over initial handling of his 'founding team'

Pincus: Initial team had too much power

Zynga CEO Mark Pincus says referring to his first employees as the "founding team" was a mistake.

At USA Today‘s CEO forum, the founder of the social gaming giant spoke of his regrets, which included giving his inital team too much power.

"It’s really hard to take things back from people," said Pincus.

"It’s really hard to change their status with you — especially when you are creating a company"

Pincus said he wanted Zynga’s logo to become more recognizeable than the Nike Swoosh; creating a brand that carried real weight and meaning around the world.

When asked where he thought he made his early mistakes, Pincus answered, "attracting a team."

In a desire to inspire great talent, Pincus called his early hires the "founding team."

"In the short term, it was great, because it really motivated a lot of people," said Pincus. "But longer term, it creates some weird egos and things where people feel like they’re co-founders. I had like 30 or 40 people who felt like co-founders."

Pincus says start-ups should be clear from the start about relationships.

"At the outset, be really explicit about what you’re agreeing to and what you’re not," he explained.

"I see lots of, you know, entrepreneurs and founding teams make assumptions about the relationship before they’ve all agreed on it."

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