Mark Pincus started and sold three companies before he founded Zynga. But he doesn’t see the serial entrepreneur label as a badge of honor. Instead, he told the crowd at PandoMonthly, he sees it as a failure. He had hoped his first company, Freeloader, had gone all the way, “but I failed,” he said.
“The entrepreneurs I respect the most have never had to start another company, “he said. “I wanted to do something more with my career than just start things.” He wanted to build a brand and service that mattered 10 years after he’d started it.
Pincus started Zynga at 41, an age that to many VCs is “over the hill to be an entrepreneur.” The difference this time around is that he set out to be a CEO, not an entrepreneur.
Many founders begin a company and then pass it off to the “adult” CEO to run things. But the CEO sets the direction and priorities of the company in a way that no one else can. “You can’t delegate and outsource that if you want to build something big,” he said. Pincus aspires to stay CEO of Zynga for the rest of his life, because it’s his ambition to build something big and lasting. “There is no exit,” he said. “The only exit is by natural causes.”
Watch the excerpt here: