Mark Pincus, CEO and founder of Zynga, the hottest social gaming startup on Facebook, just stepped off the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010 in San Francisco, where he spoke about success of his company and how social gaming has become such a disruptive force.
Right from the get-go, Pincus treated the audience to the latest Zynga statistics. The company now sees 215 million monthly active users and yesterday alone saw 33 million users. With 13 game studios in eight countries (including recent expansions to Beijing and Tokyo), Zynga has hired over 1200 full-time employees, about half of which are engineers.
But is anyone impressed anymore by Zynga’s core usage rates or expansion numbers? What really proved most surprising came after Pincus made this little comment: “We are data junkies. We measure everything.”
Apparently Zynga is tracking every click from every user in every game every day, a data harvest of such epic proportions that it takes up a petabyte per day. (If you’re like Pincus and don’t know how much a petabyte is, that’s 1024 terabytes or just over a million gigabytes.) To house data of that magnitude, Pincus says Zynga has “somewhere north of 20,000 servers.”
That’s some serious click storage.
Might this be Zynga’s secret to its success?
It most certainly plays a part, at least, since most everyone knows how important it is to track user retention rates. All of this click tracking ultimately goes into forming a Net Promoter Score (NPS), which Pincus defined as a standardized survey of a user base that tells whether any given user will or won’t recommend the product.
Zynga, in attracting nearly half the entire user population on Facebook, has likely perfected its NPS formula. And since his company always knows what is and isn’t working, Pincus says developers don’t have to waste time fixing bugs that don’t matter or improving areas that are often ignored by users.
As easy as it would be to poke fun at Zynga for being so obsessed and data-hungry, there can be little doubt that the efforts are paying off for them when it comes to project management and efficiency.