We’re starting a new series where we interview highly effective people to their insights on the subjects of leadership, productivity, management, personal development, and success.
In the first episode, Week Plan Founder Aymeric Gaurat Apelli is interviewing an old friend and a fellow entrepreneur who created popular games like Vikings Gone Wild, Heroes of Paragon, and the Chronicles of Crime, which raised nearly $800,000 on Kickstarter.
Meet Vincent Vergonjeanne. He’s a highly successful game designer and CEO of Lucky Duck Games, Kobojo, and EverydayiPlay. His games have been played by millions of users around the world across all devices.
I asked Vincent to share his thoughts on charisma and leadership — two areas, among others, in which he’s extremely good at. He also shares some tips and tricks for hiring people, caring for your team, and keeping customers engaged.
On the Importance of Knowing Yourself
Vincent shares his experience leading a large team at Kobojo. He knew he was effective in running a smaller team that had 30 people. But as the company grew to 90 employees, he became unhappy and started to struggle. He realized that no matter how much charisma he had, it simply didn’t scale with 90 people.
No matter how much charisma I had, I realized it didn’t scale with 90 people.
On Having a Company Culture, Mission, and Values
One of the reasons why Kobojo struggled was that it didn’t have a company culture, says Vergonjeanne, it is the foundation. Company culture is not something you can put after; it’s the first step. He also believes that it’s important to communicate the mission and values of the company.
Company culture is not something you can put after; it’s the first step.
On Communicating the Vision
Everything rises and falls in leadership. You have to believe in the mission. Don’t treat your mission like it’s a bullshit poster from HR. In communicating your vision, conduct regular meetings and be transparent about everything.
You have to believe in the mission. Don’t treat your mission like it’s a bullshit poster from HR.
On Dealing with Hardships
Hardships are part of life’s journey, he said, it’s part of any company’s journey. You need to embrace them upfront and you need to have a very strong strategy to move forward.
On Staying Sharp and Focused
The great Stephen Covey said you need to sharpen your saw. Vincent says you need to stay sharp, you need to stay focused, and you need to be critical because you’re working on a shared dream. Vincent also recommends reading a lot of books to help you grow as a leader. He mentions books like the One Minute Manager, Tribal Leadership, and Theory of Fun as his favorites.
On Making Things Fun for Your Team (Theory of Fun)
It’s important to make the job fun so your team doesn’t get bored, he adds. Constantly renew challenges for your team by encouraging them to learn new things that can help them grow. Support them in learning new stuff. Vincent shares how he encouraged one of his employees to learn programming by giving him resources and a 1-week lesson on how to code. That employee ended up writing a program for the company later.
The key is growth. Personal growth is the key to keep people motivated and it shows that you care. It shows that they aren’t just not here to execute the task of the boss.
On Growing Leaders
Finally, Vincent talks about growing leaders in your company. He believes there’s just 1 word for it — reciprocity. If you care for someone, they will care for you, he said. If your job is to build a product, then the best leadership is to care for the people who will build a product, he added. It creates synergy. But he also warns that caring doesn’t mean you’re nice to your employees all the time.
So caring with a strong vision and a strong sense of culture and the value melted together genuinely brings you very far.
Full Transcript of the Interview
Vincent Vergonjeanne: Let’s do it!
Aymeric Gaurat Apelli: Hello guys! So I’m Aymeric — I’m the founder of Week Plan. I’m starting these new video interviews — a new series — that I want to do to interview people that I find to have shown some characteristics of effective people. What I mean by effective people is, as opposed to productive people — productive people do a lot of things, but effective people make sure that they are working on the right things before they actually do the job. Being effective doesn’t have to be just about time management, it’s about how you deal with other people, it’s about personal integrity, charisma — there are a lot of things. It’s also about how you maximize your luck as well. Today I have with me Vincent Vergonjeanne, a long-time friend of mine. I’ve invited him to discuss the topic of charisma and how to better lead people and inspire people. The reason why I’ve invited Vincent is because I found that he is one of the few people that I’ve met who has that… Naturally you’re drawn to what he does and you want to do whatever he is doing because he brings an amount of fun in what he does. Not just fun, but also you just want to be around him. So I want to ask you some questions and to really understand where’s the natural side of your charisma — like what did you get from your genes — and what did you develop, how you develop it, and how you actually do it every day. Actually, in your life story there’s something really interesting and I’ll get to that where you could actually use your charisma to try to inspire other people and it was very important for you, but before I get there I want to give a quick idea of what you’ve done you know in your life. We met at engineering school a long time ago, 14 years ago, something like that?
Vincent: Yes something like that.
Aymeric: We did some software projects together and then you went to Australia, which is one of the reason why I mean in Australia now, but while I stayed in Australia for many years, you went to Ireland, to the US, to France, and finally in Poland. I think we started our entrepreneurial journey around the same time, especially with Facebook, which was a big step stepping-stone for us in terms of our entrepreneurial journey, and I think some of your applications and games reached hundreds of thousands of daily active users. Would that be correct?
Vincent: Actually, millions (laugh).
Aymeric: Okay, so you did well with the Facebook gaming thing. You were running, at some point, a business with 80 employees at Kobojo?
Vincent: Actually it went up to 95 employees. We were called the French Zynga, and Kobojo had over a million daily users, at some point, and hundreds of millions of registered users.
Aymeric: Nice! And then you decided to go to Poland. Can you tell me a bit more why you went to Poland because I don’t really remember that part?
Vincent: Absolutely. So Kobojo grew up very fast. We had seven and a half million dollars. We were a very big company and, ultimately, in that growth, I learned a lot. I learned a lot that I was not very happy with that type of a larger kind of company. Coupled with personal reasons and changes in my personal life, my wife and I decided to leave Paris and, instead of moving to San Francisco, which is where she’s from, we actually landed in Poland. It was meant to be six months but it became five years, and with no expiration date at this point. We’re in Poland and we’re here to stay.
Aymeric: And why Poland?
Vincent: Well, because my parents-in-law are (inaudible) in the US and are both Polish expats and are getting old they decided to come back to Poland to get close to their parents. And also my father-in-law got a really strong position at Google in Krakow (he was number three at Google) so that’s why I’m in Krakow because my parents-in-law are in Krakow, and they left since, and we’re still here.
Aymeric: So what did you do when you arrived in Poland, like professionally, I mean?
Vincent: So I was very thirsty to start a new video game company because there were a lot of things that I wasn’t happy about in my first time doing a really large-scale company — the way we did at Kobojo. Kobojo was very strong, we had a lot of people, but we were very good when we’re 30, but we really struggled when we’re 90 people. Stepping out of it, it’s only when I left Kobojo and ended up on my couch in August 2012 that I realized that the key to why we struggled so much is because we didn’t have a company culture. It’s a big word. It’s something that I realized — was really the foundation of what we had. The recurring word that we had was this, “I don’t understand who we are. I don’t understand where we’re going. I don’t understand what’s….”, you know. People were talking about constantly about communication issues and we thought we were communicating. Yes we were talking yet people were still complaining. And I mean like, “We don’t understand you guys. Like we’re meeting, we’re chatting, we’re telling you what we’re doing.” But people just kept saying yeah we still don’t understand. So moving to Poland, I was eager. And what I did actually the first thing I did is that I put together a website where I’ve wrote three points which are 1) small by design 2) focus on one game at a time and 3) top talent (recruit slowly). And I deeply believed in those. I was like, basically Kobojo and the failure that came through this growth and this early stage of my life of learning really what it means to grow a company. I really put together those values for me and they became the foundation of every day.
AGA: I see. So that’s your video gaming company that you started in Poland when you first arrived?
VV: Exactly yeah.
AGA: So the first thing you did is you started with a mission on your webpage?
VV: Yeah, absolutely. And that vision really… so everydayiplay.com is still around here, but the company has, you know the mobile market is a complicated. everydayiplay.com launched a game within eight months — that game to date has made five million dollars — we got approached for an acquisition after eight months of like literally as we’re launching this game we’re being approached by an Israeli company for an acquisition. Ultimately they acquired 35 percent of the company, so it’s a great premium. I’m grateful. Thank you. And the company grew to 24 employees. Ultimately, everydayiplay.com started to struggle in 2016 because of market condition, and also because of our acquisition. I’ll tell you the story shortly. Because we got acquired, this company started to take care of a lot of things, mostly around publishing, so it means user acquisition, (inaudible), which we let go.
AGA: One of the benefits of having these guys buying shares in your company because they have the distribution for you.
VV: Exactly yeah. I mean that was a win-win for both sides. This company was actually a company focused on social gambling and they wanted to diversify so they were very good at at acquisition but to keep it short they decided to focus to stay focused on social gaming and they left, and they kind of left us, and many realized that we actually wasted a lot of time because we didn’t grow in our capacity in user acquisition. And this market has become so dense — it’s incredibly dense — and so it led me to creating a new company called Lucky Duck Games for the last 2 years.
AGA: Before we get onto that one, I’d like to go to the beginning of your first company, everydayiplay.com, and then how you did that because I think it will show some of the the charisma that I’m trying to explain to people about the interactions we’ve had together. Just an idea to the people (watching the video), when we were students, you’ve made people sing and dance in buses in airports. We’ve won a competition (inaudible) at a Microsoft competition and it was all fun, like it was pure fun, the whole competition we all enjoyed ourselves. I don’t want to say it’s only you because the rest of the teammates were awesome as well and I really saw the the definition of synergy at that time in my life, but yeah I want people to understand.
VV: Fair point. So I moved to a country which I don’t know anybody. I am a complete foreigner from the language perspective (inaudible). I don’t know the city. I have no local friends and I knew I was on a mission to put together a video game company that should mark the world. And so the those first three statement went on this one page website and it became my recruiting tool. The one thing that I’ve learned is that company culture is not something you can put after; it has to come from the from the very first step. So every single interview that I had started with a 15 minute presentation of our company culture. And here is how it goes Poland as like 80 to 90 percent of the video game studio in Poland are outsourcing companies working for rich American or other country. There is incredible amount of talent in Poland but working for others. We’ll never work for others will always be independent working on your own game and if you want to join us, you’re not joining us to work for someone. You’re joining us so that’s you’re gonna show the world we are going to show the world that Poland can put some pretty amazing and badass stuff together and for your enjoyment. Are you in or are you not? It starts with the idea that your mission was to demonstrate that a small group of people of small group of talented people can really make an impact in the world. And it starts with that right? Now tell me about you because it’s important.
AGA: Yeah, exactly. What do you think is other side of the equation, like you’ve clarified what the company is about but how do you make sure that the person that you’re trying to hire matches with that.
VV: I mean after that obviously there are different recruitment techniques and in ways you can judge people. You have a very strong sense of gut feeling but what I’ve learned through the years is that we often make the mistake even in our own personal relationship to to expect others to know and you know to elect its own is right wherever they are gonna company obviously we’re gonna try to make the world but actually after we don’t say the words we don’t put it in line. I mean the rest of the interviews I would suggest a normal interview those anyway you would try to assess people.
AGA: But the other question I have then is where do you get these people likely to want to work for you, like well how did you start that did you put an ad on a Polish website?
VV: Obviously. We’ll you put ads and like any way you would drive traffic to your web sites. And I would drive traffic to my website through advertisements, but what’s interesting is that they will land on a page that is not centered about the company. I mean there’s a little bit of the visual, but the world website is about our values. I mean you can still go to everydayiplay.com right now the webpage hasn’t change in 5 years. I haven’t touched it. The page is all about who we are. Do you want to join? It has a huge effect in the way people come to this interview because they have seen that websites. Obviously they did their research and the only thing they’ve seen is that we care. They know we want to stay small, we pick only the best people, and we want to be focused. That’s what it says. That’s the only three thing it says. So what it creates is that it creates an expectation. It creates a dynamic. The second thing I’ll say is that past the recruitment, obviously I very much look at the journey of someone in a company the same way you look at the journey of a couple together. It’s all butterflies and excitement at the beginning. They have all this mission statements. It’s great. Oh my god I’m in. Oh my god I’m in. It’s great. I’m in love with my job and then the routine comes in and the reality of taking that boss and you think that this guy stinks. And so six months later things have changed and you’re not as excited. So how do you maintain this kind of level of engagement.
AGA: Yeah that’s exactly the question I wanted to ask you is once you’ve stated the mission how do you keep that mission in front of people’s mind?
VV: Well because the only way to keep it in front of people’s minds first of all is to truly believe it and not treat it like a bullshit poster from HR (inaudible). And the way to do this, and the way I did it and again after that many people as different approaches a very personal that it’s my way of displaying this. It may not work for everybody. My way of it is that we add at least one monthly tunnel meeting, like a big meeting where I would share very transparently everything. Like being fully transparent. As in we are all in together. I am not holding anything to you because I want you to work as hard on this as I work, because this is at the fruit of our work. And the 3 things about I was talking about because is something very complex and very specific to my job which is video games. Video games are complex in a sense that they can fail and you have to manage this failure. One of the biggest mistake you can do when you make a video… basically a video game is like making a new startup. It’s really that simple. So we’re constantly making startups. There’s a very simple approach to it — either you hold on to your failing startup because there’s your name on it and your ego is on it and you you’re proud of it, or you are able to kind of turn through it and say, “okay that doesn’t work.” So you move on to the next one. And I guess this is enough to manage it. So there are two acts to this which is most limiting. You need to stay sharp, you need to stay focused, you need a critical because we’re not working for that rich American guy. We’re gonna pay for a check.
AGA: How do you do that. How do you do these things. How do you stay focused, how do you stay critical in the every day work, in the routine that has been installed?
VV: We’ll, first we tell people to do that. Actually the most efficient way to do this is it’s because it’s not gonna be me who will be doing this. It’s going to be them. So tell people how important they are. We forget. We often do. I rarely work for people who reminded me often that what I do matters. So the goal here it’s not so much about babysitting and doing some kind of (inaudible) but just reminding people how important they are in the equation. Especially if you’re small, right? If you’re 10-12 people, every people. So generally the idea is to hammer this idea that even though we might all be individually, extremely talented, it’s only the equation of all of us working together that truly, will actually, achieve excellence. If you see something coming on your desk and you think it’s not good and you ask the person before, actually it seems that good and the guy person before tells you well it wasn’t me, well then don’t stop there. Go back up, then we’ll show it to you and go back up and care up to the end. And the truth is you know it’s not all beautiful. Sometimes I forget. You know sometimes. There were phases we’re in four to five years, there’s sometimes three, four, five months where I forget to do that. And it always will end to the same thing. People stop to care or know people get into the routine. It’s not something that they don’t care, no. There’s only this relationship that once you create this environment that’s very safe environment where it is very critical for people on journey. But they stop being on their toes you know they coup to the factory. That’s how I say it (inaudible).
AGA: In a game how do you motivate them to want to keep going when things are a bit slow. I don’t know how was the experience for a Viking Gone Wild, which I think was your first game. For the first eight months, I’m guessing there was a lot of excitement and the fact that you have any financial metrics, maybe it’s easier to think big and that it will go and explode. And then, maybe the first months didn’t work so well. I don’t know. Like did you have some down moments and how did you deal with that?
VV: Oh, we always have down moments in a company. You know, there’s uhm. So the way to deal with down moments is simple — they are just part of any life’s journey. Of any companies journey. And embracing them upfront with them and having a very strong strategy to move forward is the key right. So ultimately the idea is that instead of hiding at my desk and hoping that nobody’s gonna see that things are kind (inaudible). And the key is just to be chittering about it like being very cheering okay guys this is this is not a great moment for us right now and we have a couple of examples. I’ll tell you one. Google Chrome decided to kill its support for uhh, I don’t know the name of the technology, it was a technology that was holding Java and Unity. Basically you could run a dll in the browser (inaudible). Around 70% of our online users from Facebook who played Vikings Gone Wild were using this Unity plug-in which was basically running an executable inside a browser. And they killed that overnight. So that was rough. Oh that was rough. You know it was not really the team’s fault. It was really a market change. But it impacted us and our solemnity. So we embrace it. Like two or three months before this happened, I said guys okay winter is coming so but we’re not scared right? There are plenty of options. Do you have any idea guys? Yes that is a very good point. All right let’s put this on top on the stuff. Very much embracing I would say the the full policy of the sorry this for management management system called hum…
VV: Yeah, scrum. And the idea of scrum basically is that the team is self-aware, self-driving and is fully embracing everything. So that basically and so that’s the upside of being a small company is that you have a single team (at the point with two teams you know) but they they are they they sufficiently care for what they’re doing. The reward though is that we’re online games with constantly online players. I mean the idea is that everything they do every week, even three four years later, what they are implementing right now is gonna be touched by his tens of hundreds of thousands of player immediately upon release, you know? They won’t be judged for what they’ve done for the last months. Immediately upon release. There’s no 3-month shipping on a the boat from China. No, no. There are hundreds of thousands of players who’s going to charge them for what they do. And they will be judged not by the fat and rich American who ordered that stuff, so there’s some care and pride, you know. The idea is that we were all very proud of what we’re doing.
AGA: By the way you like Americans yeah? (Laughs)
VV: (Laughs back) They pay for the game. But I mean it’s a cliche. Sorry it’s out of proportion, but you get the idea.
AGA: Yeah. Let me take the discussion to back to the innate versus developed skill of charisma. I have no doubt that you’re an extrovert. There are difference categories — there’s introvert, ambivert, and extrovert. I think you would sit in the extrovert category and that would be your innate side. What percentage is developed skill and how much is what you got naturally?
VV: I would say it’s 50-50. So when I left when I left Kobojo, I realized that no matter how much charisma I had, it simply didn’t scale with 90 people. Or like an overall team just it was it’s just not sufficient you don’t even know — you don’t even interact with a quarter of the company at that point. That could just go so far. And I spent a lot of time, I really got absolutely obsessed for the last three years, no actually for the next three years after Kobojo into reading into reading materials around leadership, about management, about human resources in general and other books. And there are a lot of things that I’ve learned, a lot of things that I’ve read.
AGA: What books did you did you read that marked you the most?
VV: Honestly, that was five years ago, but there are a couple of names on top of my head. So there is this book called Tribal Leadership. It really impacted me. I don’t know how to say it in English — I’m still French. There are a couple more that I will share. There’s also this One Minute Manager. Ultimately, these books shed a light on human behavior that if you’re not aware of it, you will completely pass on and those are extremely repeatable and discoverable things that you need to be aware of. And it has really shaped the way I engage with people.
AGA: Give me some some some specific examples where you read something in the book and then you and you applied it.
VV: So I can give you a small summary of Tribal Leadership. Tribal Leadership has this idea that there are four categories of of behavior and what’s interesting is it doesn’t matter what’s the language; you could speak in Japanese — it’s almost culture agnostic. It doesn’t matter where you come from. So level one is basically the idea that life sucks. It’s not even you, it’s that life sucks in general so it’s the lowest level. Typically it’s the language of gang members, of people who have a really really tough tough life. And level 2 is the idea that my life sucks. It means that not all life sucks, but mine really does. Typically level 2 is what you will see in an administration position, a very repetitive job. And these are the people who find each, often stick together and they don’t let any level 2 go to level 3. Level 3 is about, “I’m good, you suck.” So the level 3 is is a level where basically you are a very self confident about yourself — you’re so focused on your own ego and your own development — that there is no room for anybody else around you. You have to shine and you have to go through this. Now we go to level 4 which is I’m good, but together we’re better. And so what these book talks about it when you look at really high performing or highly efficient companies, most of the time most employees are at level 4. So the question is how do you get your entire company to level 4, which is…
AGA: All of them are starting with the why? I’m guessing?
VV: Yeah. Actually, company culture is one thing but this book is very much focused on your intimate relationship with all those people and make sure to figure out which level they are in and what are the techniques to make them move up to a level 4.
AGA: Oh okay.
VV: So me hammering on my company meetings that no matter how individually good we are, together we produce excellence. It’s fully inspired by these things. And me hammering this thing at every single meeting or often often often saying for example that, “Hey, you’re amazing programmer, you’re an amazing artist, you’re an amazing tech, but none of your work would matter if there is no community manager who’s scooping all those things.” So together we create excellence.
AGA: What would trigger you saying that though. I’m guessing you don’t start the meeting and start saying these things. Like do you have any prompts to start saying these things? Is it when an employee start trying to put too much light on himself?
VV: No, no, no, no. It goes very naturally when we re-hammer the fact that our company vision and mission are to make the best game in the world. We’re in to make the best game in the world and there’s not a hundred way to make a game in the world is by truly embracing each others’ talent into one single thing. What we create right now is unique its unique because together we build something — because the some of our talents creates a very unique object. And that’s who we are and that’s how we do it.
AGA: And that’s the term synergy that I mentioned at the beginning of the view that summarizes exactly what you’re trying to describe here.
VV: And one more thing, I could relate to another book that really influenced — and we haven’t touched this — which is more like the long-term: how do you keep people long-term? It comes from a book called Theory of Fun, which is a good question. What’s a good game? It’s a fun game, right? What is fun? It sounds so subjective, right ? So this guy… I can’t remember the name of the author of this book. He’s an extremely renowned game designer in the world.
AGA: Can you repeat again the name of the book?
VV: Theory of Fun.
VV: Theory of Fun says we as human are we are basically cabled, hardwired to look for pattern. We’re pattern searching machines. We’re looking for the shortest path to something and once we find that path we apply this technique, that shortest path. That’s what we do as humans and sometimes even forgetting how to judge that path, trusting that path, even though maybe things have changed. So a video game works like this. You’re playing a video game and we give you a challenge, and you look for a pattern to you can you find this pattern, and if you keep applying and applying in a playing and applying and I bring in win-win-win-win-win then it becomes boring and you give up. If you’re looking for a pattern and it’s noise and you can’t find anything and you can’t find a single pattern and you search and you fell and you search and you fell and you give up because it’s too hard, right? So the Theory of Fun is that you need to be able to find ground where someone asks to search for pattern (inaudible) then the game designer kinda removed something so that’s what you do so you have to search for a new pattern and you search for it but are you finding a pattern to apply. So a good video game is a video game that constantly renews the challenge, constantly renews elements, so that you’re not bored — it’s not too hard it’s not too easy (inaudible). Now I’ll apply this to everyday life. Theory of Fun. Is your job fun? What makes your job fun? And it’s very much the same thing. The idea is that if you come to your job and it’s hard at the beginning, but you find a pattern to do what you do every day, and then you apply the pattern apply that pattern and becomes boring. Then coming to works it feels very much like going to the factory.
AGA: How do you remove that in your teams? Like you’ve got to a small team and how do you renew challenges for your team?
VV: I’m getting there, I’m getting there, I’m getting there. It’s very simple. We have one on ones twice a year and during this one one ones the idea is to force every single person to grow themselves in an area that is non related to their daily job. And that works great. Basically during those one on ones I say okay great thank you but now what are you gonna grow yourself on for the next six months? What is the challenge you’re gonna take on? And feel free to read take on something that and it can be anything right the idea is that…
AGA: Do you have an example? Can you give an example?
VV: Yeah for example, our tester wanted to learn programming. He came doing a very low entry-level job which is just literally hand-testing games. So I said okay well my friend you need to grow yourself you need to keep growing that’s the key of you know beyond just making amazing stuff together you need to keep growing yourself. And he put himself on programming. And I said great — I actually even offered him a one week here training on C#. A year later he actually implemented an entire program for testing. And this guy came in now knowing anything about how to program. It was so it was so proud of me. He was engaged in the company because he found a ground for growth that was beyond what he was supposed to be every day. And for example of an artist the idea to change himself you know like for example a graphic designer asked to do always the same thing often so the question is how do you well? Illustration! I know if you’re a graphic designer is that you’re probably not so good at illustration why don’t you keep putting yourself on this why don’t you pick a subject and and I can give you time out for you for this. The key is growth. Personal growth is the key to keep people motivated and it shows that you care. It shows that they aren’t just not here to execute the task of the boss you know. No we’re working together. I’m here too for you to keep growing.
AGA: It’s actually.. I don’t remember the name. I think it’s John Maxwell, he’s a leadership coach and quite famous in the US. He came up with the five levels of leadership and the level four is about developing your people. It’s similar to your four steps. At level one of leadership, it’s all about authority, so it’s your job title that gives you the leadership role. Then the second one is what people give you. like it’s that people want to be you to be their leader and an extra-extra. So the the level four is when you want to develop your people. And the last level is when you develop other level four leaders. And it’s a loop.
VV: Ah okay I see. Yeah.
AGA: Yeah very interesting. So we need to wrap up. I’d like to hear from you like if you had someone in your in your team that wants you to be become the better leader, what would be the steps you would advise him. Like what steps should he take? Reading books obviously was one of them. How can someone be a better leader according to you? We’ve talked about some of the these like caring for you the people, having a clear mission, and knowing and sharing that mission with other people. Any other things for those who want to grow more in leadership?
VV: I mean, ultimately, I’m trying to kind of put this together. But ultimately, as humans, it’s about reciprocity. If you care for someone, they will care for you. And if your job is to build a product, then the best leadership is to care for the people who will build a product. Because then they will care for back for you and back for the products. And it creates synergy. Ultimately, at the end, it’s about caring. And caring doesn’t mean that you can’t be tough. Caring doesn’t mean like oh yeah we’re all friends. No, no. Caring means that you also show toughness when things are not working. Like dude I’m not happy right now. Like we have a freaking mission and that is not cool. So caring with a strong vision and a strong sense of culture and the value melted together genuinely brings you very far. And that’s been my recipe and it has been working for me very well for the last five years. Obviously everybody has his own recipe and his own special secret weapon, but that for me has been the glue that allows me to really touch a lot of people in the world of entertainment with very small teams. Because small teams are incredibly engaged in those missions.
AGA: That’s very good. By the way so your new project is Lucky Duck Games where you’re basically building a new board game that involves virtual reality. You want to tell us a bit what you’re doing there?
VV: Yeah so basically Lucky Duck Games was built on the idea to license video games and turn them into board games. We’ve license a lot of games, we’ve obviously licensed Vikings Gone Wild, which was our kind of MVP and kind of to prove if this stuff works and it works extremely well. And the company is on a huge for growth. The latest product we’ve launch is called Chronicles of Crime which is a hybrid game that mixes a board game and an app and virtual reality, where it involves a cooperative number of people to solve crime stories and bring this thing that basically any storytelling things is written on the cards, on the book and here the idea is that the cards are just people, objects and places that we took into the app and yet it’s just a book — it’s just a digitization of the text but it basically allows for this the capacity to basically play new stories without buying new physical things. On top of it there is this VR element that is extremely immersive where basically you’re looking at the crime scene and looking for clues. So we have a strong success on this product.
AGA: Did you get on Kickstarter? You finished the campaign a few days ago no?
VV: Yeah we raised funds. Now we have a late pledge, including those, we raised over 830,000 dollars in 23 days.
VV: So yeah. But it’s a fruit of a long preparation. A lot of demonstration. The key for Kickstarter is to always come with your crowd so people knew about this product a long time ago. It’s something we’ve been working on for a very year now.
AGA: Sure. Congrats.
VV: Thank you so much for having me, Aymeric.
AGA: Yeah thanks to you for being the first interviewee. It was great to talk to you. Cheers.
VV: Cheers. Bye bye.