Since I believe Flappy Bird is a Black Swan case, I tried not to give an opinion about the game. What’s more I don’t think I’m qualified to give comments on mobile games since I had never coded a proper game (besides projects for my bachelor).
But an investor recently asked me about Flappy Bird and I felt I had to give an opinion anyhow. Attracting investment is my job, after all.
So here it is, Flappy Bird through the eyes of an investment person.
Is it easy to create a game like Flappy Bird?
No, Dong Nguyen claimed he coded the game singly-handedly in 3 days. But we never got to see the conceptual process behind the games he creates.
Is it easy to create mobile games?
No. It took Rovio close to a decade of resilience before Angry Birds.
Mobile games are very hard to make because
Why is Flappy Bird so successful?
Luck, a typical Black Swan case. But besides luck let me give you the best explanation I can think of in one diagram.
Besides, Dong Nguyen already explained his secrets on his Twitter.
What about marketing?
I personally believe Dong Nguyen’s story that no pre-burst marketing was involved. It was all viral via influencers and peer recommendation.
Why aren’t clones successful?
Clones are only successful if they are local clones: local language, local community. All Facebook and Twitter clones are dead except Chinese clones. Mobile games are nothing local.
But why can’t people just play the clones now that Flappy Bird is dead?
I guess I have to blame authenticity and originality. Everyone talks about Flappy Bird, if you play a clone, you may fear being judged.
Secondly, it is hard to replicate every exact detail of the game. Horizontal spacing, vertical spacing, movement, arc, the algorithm of sewer generation, haptic response. One tiny subtle difference and the whole experience is altered. It is just not the same.
The case is a validation of the notion that success is stochastic, or in other word more random than we want to believe.
Procint for success, believed by many, is not as random. It takes decades of resilience, self-improvement and blind hope.
The opposite, unfortunately, is not true. Years of hard work and wishful thinking don’t necessarily guarantee success.
In my humbly short career of investment management, I’ve lost count of the times being humiliated by entrepreneurs. But this fanatical case of bootstrap is doubtlessly a prodigious insult.
The worlds beyond Blizzard, Square-Enix, Valve and EA is a vast uncharted and barbaric universe.
Nobody can really be certain about j-u-s-t a KPI. Right, the analyst is left alone in the jungle again, helpless.
We know Snapchat is popular among teens. We know Snapchat is mobile-centric, a weakness of the web-centric Facebook. We know Mark is paranoid about competition and wants to eliminate potentially big threats.
But where is the synergy?
Snapchat does not have a viable business model, but Facebook does. Facebook monetizes what its users share by selling targeted ads. Facebook does provide privacy, but that is not enough. If teens are aware that the information that they’re sharing will be removed shortly, they will share more. This is where Facebook can get its dirty hands on.
Is Facebook that obsessed with knowing what you share? Of course, when it also monitors what you write down on the browser and DON’T post.
|Viber||Best for free call||
||Unsolicited messages from Chinese users|
|Zalo||Flow & interface very similar to WeChat thus lower learning curve||Spam friend requests from teenage strangers with incomprehensible language|
|TalkBox||Hold to talk||Old & boring interface|
What product(s) are you using? How can I add you on that service?
A comment on criticism by Carly Fiorina and Gordon Bethune.
The biggest challenge to Facebook right now is going mobile.
Effectively, Facebook is still in product development phase. It needs a war-time leader, a geek not a slick businessman.
The mobile app, mobile ecosystem industry is still growing without an emergence of a dominant giant. How many business CEO are there who are experienced to run a mobile company?
Mark would do well to take the advice of people who have done it before…
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