The maker of some of the most popular video games on the planet, Zynga, has just made a fortune. Yesterday, the company — which makes Words with Friends, Farmville, and other games played mostly on Facebook and mobile phones — priced its initial public offering at $10 a share, raising about $1 billion for the company.
Not a bad day’s work.
But what makes this a big deal, literally, is more than the staggering amount of dough. When you reflect on just how fragile an economy we have in the U.S.– a system plagued over the last few years by mortgage-backed investment scandals, Bernie Madoff, auto industry bailouts, TARP, and so much more — you realize how many things can go wrong. It’s more than enough to discourage you.
When so many things can be corrupted, politicized, and made to fail, it’s nice to remind ourselves that the basics of our free market economy still work — despite a global economic downturn. Zynga created (and acquired, in some cases) products that have such a huge demand, people were willing to part with $1 billion to grab a piece. Their products are so good they’re addictive: 20 million people have installed Words, and 31 million play Farmville daily. I’ve seen folks unable to remove themselves from picking crops for hours. And recently, Alec Baldwin was so engrossed in his Words game, he couldn’t put down his phone during takeoff — an act which got him kicked off the plane in the process.
So my message is simply: have hope. Even if the economy is rough in your neck of the woods, and corruption and fraud are seemingly everywhere, you can still succeed through basic supply and demand fundamentals. Make a widget that everybody wants, and you can still profit richly.
That’s the American Dream after all, isn’t it?