Anonymous Targets Zynga – But They Should Let The Market Take Its Course
AS reported on Forbes.com
I’m generally okay with groups like Anonymous or Wikileaks revealing State secrets – mainly because I believe the State keeps far too many secrets and those secrets often lead us down a dark and bloody path.
But now the hacker group Anonymous is apparently targeting the mobile and Facebook game publisher Zynga over that company’s decision to layoff workers and outsource jobs.
This strikes me as entirely wrong-headed.
Targeting a private entity for a business decision isn’t going to win Anonymous any brownie points with the general public, and it’s probably not going to do any good in terms of actually helping Zynga employees.
Worse still it’s incoherent by design.
Zynga is struggling in a huge way, largely because they have an absurd business model that relies not only on ripping off other companies’ IPs but because they placed far too many eggs in the Facebook basket, and now the bottom’s fallen out. Mobile is the new king, and Zynga’s been caught with their pants down.
The publisher, in other words, is in a tight spot because people aren’t happy with the product they’re being fed. All the Zynga hate out there may indeed be justified, but the result is a decline in Zynga’s profitability.
So what happens when a company starts losing money?
Well, they start to look for ways to staunch the bleeding. Maybe they shift course and start putting out better games or adopt a more robust mobile strategy, but almost certainly they look to cut costs. Labor is where the big expense lies, and labor is where the axe almost always comes crashing down.
So layoffs are all but inevitable. This is why I’m sympathetic to the notion of corporations as people. Not because corporations are actually, literally people, but because corporations hire people and peoples’ lives are indelibly bound to the companies they work for, as are the people who invested their money into those companies.
So when Zynga exhibits bad management, adopts a crummy business strategy, and risks copying even games made by other major video game publishers like EA, it’s going to be the people who work at the corporation who end up getting hurt.
That’s the way it works, whether we like it or not, and Anonymous can’t really have its cake and eat it too no matter how much dirt they have on Zynga.
The fact is, if Zynga does poorly its employees will pay the consequences. You can’t blackmail that reality out of existence.
The only thing that can actually be done in this situation is to allow the market to take its course.
Either Zynga gets out of the rut it’s in or they don’t.
There’s not some middle area between success and failure where the behind-the-scenes hacking of groups like Anonymous can work their black magic and make it all go away.
This is unicorns-and-rainbows thinking. In the real world, when companies fail people struggle right along with them, and no threats can cajole a different outcome. Anonymous wants to be its own black-market regulator, but you can’t regulate success. You can ameliorate the suffering caused by failure, but you can’t make it disappear.