Leveling up the gaming industry…

Guest post: 5 lessons from the designer of Farmville

July 3, 2012

Guest post from Simon Newstead, CEO of Frenzoo a YetiZen Accelerator portfolio company

It’s not often you get to hear from a game designer whose work spans multiple genres, from blockbuster social games like Farmville while at Zynga through to girl games hits like My Horse for the iPad and many more.

Raymond Holmes of MunkyFun gave a talk at the YetiZen Innovation Lab last night on the different games he has designed and what he learned from them:

1/ Minimum viable product can be very “minimum” if you’re early

Farmville was pulled together in an incredibly short amount of time and with a very small team. It went to show that a MVP can be very “minimum” and still succeed, particularly in the era of freemium and games as a service with fast iteration post launch. He cautioned that it only works if the market is new, but given all the rapid evolution in gaming platforms these days there are likely to be plenty of situations where that remains the case - there are plenty of new markets that don’t even exist yet in gaming.

2/ Learn to think from a user point of view

One of his early gigs was helping design Barbie Team Gymnastics. The game did well and taught him “the important ability to design from a player point of view”. It was a game that clearly he wouldn’t enjoy playing himself, but he learned a lot about the actual players who enjoy that type of game and how they play and interact. That resonated with my own personal experience in designing Style Me Girl.

Lesson 3 ->

Post GDC update!

March 13, 2012

Hello everyone! How are you?

Did you have a great GDC? We certainly did!

We had countless productive meetings with partners and startups, not to mention two unforgettable major events during GDC this year—our Get In the Game Pitch Competition and the YetiZen party!

As always it was super fun judging startups at the Get In the Game Pitch competition with Michael Chang from EA, Terence Fung from Zynga, Michael Klein from Canaan Partners and Rob Coneybeer from Shasta Ventures. As you can imagine this is quite a powerhouse of judges and their feedback to the startups was very valuable.

We had a lot of fun putting on the YetiZen party. The venue of Ruby Skye worked super well. For those who wanted to dance the bottom club floor provided ample opportunity to do so. The upper floor and back quiet room provided an excellent opportunity for individuals to network and debate. I walked into many passionate debates between startups and investors.

We have also received lots of kudos about the entertainment. We interviewed dozens of entertainers to choose the ones you saw through out the night—belly dancers, dancing lady on stilts, aerialists, friendly magician, and of course the painted models.

Quick word about the painted models, majority of the attendees loved the painted models. Over the weekend I have seen a few others say the painted models denigrated women.  As a female CEO of a games accelerator that does its best to promote female entrepreneurs in every capacity this was a bit surprising. These models are beautiful ladies whom we hired for celebration and not the intent to offend anyone. Their outfits were tastefully done and all private body parts were covered. That being said I realize everyone has a different standard for what is tasteful and we as a company respect your right to choose.

For everyone else, we are glad you had a good time!

If you are outside the Bay Area we look forward to seeing you next year if not earlier!

For those in the Bay Area we look forward to seeing you later this month!


Sana N Choudary
CEO of YetiZen

A Big Thank You to Josh from Tap.Me!

September 20, 2011

The YetiZen team and August 2011 class would like to publicly thank Josh Hernandez from Tap.Me for our space sponsorship. This sponsorship has allowed YetiZen to cover space expenses for its evening program and subsidize the desk space for YetiZen companies.

Josh Hernandez Founder of Tap.Me, is one of our many valued advisors at YetiZen. Being a graduate of an accelerator program himself, Josh was one of our first few champions and has always gone the extra mile to be helpful to accelerator companies.

Josh’s company Tap.Me is an in-game advertising platform designed for game developers by game developers. Tap.Me creates ads that do not disturb the game experience as they are within the context of the games they appear in. For example, if a game has an endurance ability, a company like Gatorade that wants to be associated with endurance, could sponsor deals and encouragement in game as your progress in developing endurance. (more…)

Common Mistakes in Investor Pitches

September 12, 2011

Pitching to investors is a crucial moment in your company’s life. It’s easy to get so caught up talking about all the big-picture awesomeness of your product that you forget to go into the specifics of your business plan. But investors expect your to address both the business and product sides of your endeavour. If you spend too much time explaining one side or the other, it might leave investors unsatisfied or confused about your company. So, in order to help you better understand what specifically investors are looking for in a presentation, we at YetiZen have decided to describe some of the most common mistakes in investor pitches and how to avoid them.