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TheStreet Open House

Zuckerberg Killed Zynga -- and No Jury Will Convict Him

Stocks in this article: ZNGA FB EA

Here's what happened at Zynga. And here's where things get dicey.

Like Zuckerberg at Facebook, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus has "too much" power. And, worse than that, lots of people don't like him. That's never a good mix.

Consider the source, but I talked to a guy who works for Electronic Arts (EA - Get Report) the other day. I asked him what he thought about the recent happenings at Zynga. He said, paraphrasing a tad, Well, what do you expect? You can't run around blatantly stealing what everybody else does and expect it to not come back and bite you.

If only EA guys were running around saying these types of things, I would be more skeptical of the comment. But, it's really a prevailing thought. Takes a simple Google search to figure that much out.

Pincus has no business being CEO of any company, let alone a big one that is publicly traded. He's socially awkward. Just a horrendous public speaker. But he's a great visionary. When you hear him speak, you can tell -- he is one of those amazingly bright and cerebral people.

Pincus is what I miss about college! There's nothing better than killing half a day talking to a guy like that. The conversations stimulate big time. However, you give Pincus too much power and this is what happens -- an implosion of epic proportions.

He doesn't have that way with people like Steve Jobs did. He's not genuine like people say Tim Cook is. And he lacks that boyish smile and authentic enthusiasm of Zuckerberg.

Even though he's filthy rich and owns a San Francisco home I would cut my pinky finger off for, I feel bad for Pincus.

Evelyn Rusli of The Wall Street Journal wrote a must-read article a couple weeks back going behind the scenes of Pincus's struggles. She humanized the guy. Rusli reports that Pincus was near tears when meeting with a prominent Silicon Valley CEO coach. I believe it.

No matter how badly Pincus screwed things up at Zynga, the last several months must be tearing his heart out. Your stock implodes. Most of your management team leaves you stranded. The media trashes you. Facebook, for all intents and purposes, abandons you. And to keep the rank-and-file happy, you have to reprice options on your sub-$5 stock.

That said, Pincus never learned the lesson of swallowing pride, showing some humility and recognizing your weakness. Without much legitimate oversight at Zynga, there's nobody around to make him step down at CEO and hand the gig over to somebody who actually knows how to do it. Pincus would be much better off as the brains behind the brawn.

After Facebook's recent moves, however, it might be a little too late.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.
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