The social app companies, those successful application companies that came of age on Facebook and the iPhone, have created their own ecosystems with successful titles that feed on each other.
Now what do they do? How many different types of monetization schemes do they need? What can they learn from the bigger companies? Should they recruit executives from the "old world" companies, to help with partnering or organizational discipline? What will the social/mobile/gaming look like in two years?
Sebastien de Halleux
Sebastien de Halleux is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Playfish, a social gaming company, overseeing distribution, monetization and business development.
Prior to Playfish, de Halleux was at Nokia where he was responsible for Strategy and Business Development for the newly formed mobile advertising group. He helped accelerate this key new group by completing the successful acquisition of Enpocket, a US-based mobile advertising company.
Prior to Nokia, de Halleux was Strategy and Operations Director at Glu Mobile (nasdaq:GLUU). During his tenure, he structured the European financial planning and analysis organisation and the tactical sales operations department responsible for prioritising, deploying and tracking several million mobile gaming SKUs.
He was previously Head of Strategic Alliances at Macrospace where he was responsible for corporate development and key partnerships, resulting in the merger with US-based Sorrent and the formation and integration of Glu Mobile.
Prior to Glu Mobile, Sebastien was a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, working on Finance and Media strategy projects across EMEA and APAC. de Halleux holds an MEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering from Imperial College.
John Pleasants is CEO of Playdom, a leading social games developer for Facebook, MySpace and hi5. Most recently, he served as President of Publishing and Chief Operating Officer of Electronic Arts (EA), where he oversaw global operations for the $4+ billion gaming company and led its consumer-facing businesses, including EA Mobile, Pogo, EA.com, global online gaming and Rupture.
In addition, Pleasants drove a push to move EA from a software to a services model, and spearheaded the company's expansion into social gaming. Prior to joining EA, Pleasants served as President and CEO of Revolution Heath and CEO of Ticketmaster, the world's leading live event ticketing company. During his tenure at Ticketmaster/InteractiveCorp (IAC), John also oversaw several leading online entities such as Evite.com, Match.com, CitySearch.com and ReserveAmerica.com.
Pleasants is a Director of the Board for The Artists Den, a music production and promotion company, and previously held Board of Director positions with Expedia.com, Active.com, Fastclick, Going.com and Extend Health. Pleasants holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Roy Sehgal is General Manager at Zynga, the largest social gaming company on the web. In this role, Sehgal is building the future of social gaming through the production, development and operation of games that connect the world and drive new revenue streams through virtual item business models.
Previously, Sehgal was the Vice President of Premium Games & Services for MTV Networks' Nickelodeon Kids & Family division, where he helped build, manage and monetize several of the world's largest casual game brands and services such as AddictingGames.com, Shockwave.com, NickArcade.com and MyNoggin.com.
Roy is a new media veteran with extensive experience building new businesses in the online, digital and mobile industries. Previously, Sehgal was Vice President of Business and Corporate Development for online entertainment pioneer Atom Entertainment (acquired by Viacom/MTV Networks in 2006), where he managed partnerships, strategy and M&A for AtomFilms.com, AddictingGames.com, and Shockwave.com.
Prior to Atom, he was a founding team member and SVP of Business Development at July Systems, Vice President of Mobile Commerce at InfoSpace (NASDAQ: INSP), Director of Business Development at Prio (acquired by InfoSpace in 1999) and a strategy consultant at Marakon Associates. Sehgal graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics.
Dean Takahashi is lead writer for GamesBeat at VentureBeat. He covers video games, security, chips and a variety of other subjects.
Takahashi previously worked at the San Jose Mercury News, the Wall Street Journal, the Red Herring, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register and the Dallas Times Herald. Takahashi is the author of two books, Opening the Xbox and the Xbox 360 Uncloaked.
Neil Young is the CEO and Founder of ngmoco, creator and publisher of games exclusively for iPhone and iPod touch. Prior to founding ngmoco, Young held various positions at Electronic Arts, most recently as the Group General Manager of the EA Blueprint Studio group that included Maxis (creators of Spore and The Sims) and EA's collaborative partnership with Steven Spielberg.
Young joined EA in 1997 as the General Manager of EA's Origina Systems subsidiary, where he supervised the launch of the world's first Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing game, UltimaOnline. Prior to EA/Blueprint, Young served both as Vice President and General Manager of EA Los Angeles (EALA) and EA Maxis where he oversaw all aspects of the studios responsible for the blockbuster franchises Medal of Honor, Command & Conquer, The Lord of the Rings & The Sims.
In 2002 and 2003, Young also led the development of the first The Lord of the Rings games at EA Redwood Shores - The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King.
In addition to his other producing and management credits, he was also the creator and driving force behind Majestic, the first Alternate Reality Game (ARG) and a pioneering internet experience that blurred the line between fiction and reality by engaging readers through non-traditional gaming media.
Neil Young, CEO of ngmoco:), anticipates that improvements in the implementation of Facebook Connect on the iPhone will have a dramatic impact on the popular smartphone's ecosystem in regards to how people stay connected while away from their computers.