Kenny Rosenblatt is the co-founder and CEO of Arkadium, a casual games developing company with more than 300 titles in its portfolio. Prior to co-founding Arkadium, Rosenblatt worked for On2 Technologies managing their databases, and with Systems and Computer Technology Corporation as a consultant. He co-founded Arkadium in 2001 with Jessica Rovello, to whom he is now married. He has a degree in information technology management from Syracuse University.
Sramana: Hi, Kenny, tell me about yourself. Where do you come from?
Kenny Rosenblatt: I grew up in Livingston, New Jersey. I was always a little rebellious and fidgety. I could never sit still in a classroom. At the same time, I always had a strong passion and desire to build a company. I went to Livingston High School, after which I went to Syracuse University in 1992. When I got to Syracuse I was immature, and did not realize how much freedom I had. I was in the arts and sciences program but quickly failed out of college because I was more interested in the freedom and opportunity to do my own thing.
My sophomore year I went to Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York. I took two buses to get to school each day, and I quickly realized that I wanted to make a success out of myself. I knew I had to work hard to get back into Syracuse and graduate in four years to have a career. I took credits during the summer and was able to get back into Syracuse; however, the only college that would take me was a new one called Information Studies. It was a combination of business and computer science to take advantage of the information superhighway.
Fortunately, once I got into that school, I found it to be very interesting. I brought my GPA up to a 3.2 and I was able to graduate with a degree in information technology management, which helped me get a job right out of college.
Sramana: What kind of career did you gravitate toward after college?
Kenny Rosenblatt: There was some on-campus recruiting for Systems and Computer Technology (SCT) Corporation. That company brought me in and trained me on systems architecture, database programming, and all these technical programs that I did not get in college. They put me through about three months of training and allowed me to become a consultant for that company. I traveled around the United States giving talks on networks and implemented systems that the company had produced.
Sramana: How long did that go on, and what time was it?
Kenny Rosenblatt: That was from 1996 to 1999.
Sramana: That was when the Internet was going gangbusters.
Kenny Rosenblatt: Correct. By 1999, I was a certified road warrior. I had visited almost every city in the United States and I was exhausted by the travel. There was a lot of excitement about the Internet going on, and I was very interested in that. I decided to leave SCT and join On2 Technologies in New York City. It was a really cool media company that had a technology called a video codec that allowed you to watch TV-quality video over the Internet in 1999. That was long before YouTube and broadband.
I was brought on to run their database systems. That company raised $60 million and blew through it all. Instead of taking their technology and licensing it out to companies that created content, such as NBC, they decided to make their own content with huge production values. That was a tremendous mistake. I quickly saw that management was making mistakes, and I was not happy in the job. I saw how not to run a business. I saw how SCT, an established public company with a training program, was run, and I was able to compare that to a 1999 startup that was the exact opposite. The first job was complete discipline and the second was complete chaos.