SM: I recently watched a program on 60 Minutes about lions being poisoned in Africa. Over the holiday, we were in a forest which is the home of the Royal Bengal tiger. In that forest there are 274 tigers left. The idea of doing social causes with your gaming networks is very interesting.
SP: If we could find a group that is taking care of those tigers, we could create a pet that is the Royal Bengal tiger and then have physical and virtual proceeds from that sale go to that foundation. If you have the connections, it would be an interesting experiment to see what games can really do.
SM: I can help there. You are now a venture funded company as well, correct?
SP: I am always passionate about the companies, but the timing and positioning of where we are today is a mix of luck. The entrepreneurial bet I made when I started doing iPhone games was that someday Apple would do subscriptions and micro transactions. That became a reality with the iPhone 3.0 announcement. I didn’t think it would happen until 2010, but the fact that it just happened is huge for us.
SM: Are you the first company that is set up to take advantage of that?
SP: We are one of the first to be so well-positioned, but that could go away if we do not execute correctly. The next 90 days are crucial for me. I built the company to be frugal based on past lessons. We are building with talent around the world. We have scaled a team from six to 35 people in Buenos Aires. They are young, brilliant people.
My vision for global development is that as entrepreneurs here, we have good marketing and product instincts. We have access to data faster than anywhere else and the framework to apply it very well. The rest of the world does not have that yet.
SM: I have a large international readership and a very interesting experience, speaking of Buenos Aires. I did some strategic planning there for MercadoLibre. It was eye-opening to see how sophisticated that company was.
SP: There are some incredibly talented programmers throughout the world. Ukraine is another place with a lot of talent. I am about to go to China, and we have a few developers in Romania. Ten years ago those markets were not ready. As I make those rounds now I realize that they are now ready, their talent has caught up to ours.
SM: Are they coming up with their own projects, or are you giving them projects to work on?
SP: It is collaborative. My vision for the iPhone was iGolf and iBowl. The engineering happened in Argentina. They have built the most top 10 games of any company down there. With iBowl when you swing someone else in the world sees your ball going down the lane live. I wanted to connect the iPhone to the PC via the 3G network with live data. We did that, so it essentially made a Wii controller out of your iPhone for your PC. We are the ones who connected those worlds. The ability to do those things is there. I want to scale and continue to build those pools of talent.