It’s Friday, so rather than do any real work, I’ve been soaking in the news, networking, and catching up on all the gossip surrounding the developing sale of Slide to Google for some $182 million + employee retention bonuses.
Slide, you say? What’s that? They make “casual games,” which is Silicon Valley speak for: goofy cheap stuff you can build quickly then flip. And what’s the big technology innovation Slide will leave the world for $182 million? Superpoke! — the Facebook app. Yipppeeee! In 10 years will anybody give a damn what Superpoke! is?
The gossip is juicy. Credit where credit is due: TechCrunch had a huge scoop here, digging up the story before it was announced and even publishing the amount that everybody will make (or not make) on the deal. Judging from chatter on various message boards, the top employees at Slide make out well but the great-unwashed — pretty much everybody on down the line below employee #10 — didn’t make diddly.
The $182 million for Slide has been pre-acknowledged by its founder to be a disappointing ending. Once upon a time, Silicon Valley deals were the venue of great technology innovation and revolution. With Slide, we got Superpoked!
This is possible confirmation that the Web 2.0 world is filled with self-serving Ponzi schemes in which A-list founders suck in higher and higher rounds of VC funding based on some frenetic development of “casual games,” then when they realize an IPO isn’t in the works, they pawn it off on Google for a few hundred mill. Damn, I should have gotten into this racket.
I have no idea whether Google will “monetize” Slide, but the economics are eyebrow-raising. Any deal in which later investors had to excercise their liquidation preferences to avoid losing money, as Fred Wilson points out, can hardly be declared a rousing victory. Sure, founder and CEO Max Levchin — of PayPal fame — will pull out nearly $40 million. He did well. But what about all those employees and investors came in late after a reportedly egregious $500 million valuation on the last VC round? I guess they will be content to either get their money back or get a job at Google.
I’ve never used Slide. Never Superpoked! anybody, for that matter. I guess I’m just another one of the clueless. But you know what, I love writing “Superpoke!”