Get inspiration from others. Whether it’s posting your favorite quote on the wall, talking with your team, or taking time to read a new business book, you don’t have to do it all yourself, it’s good to learn from others.
Kate Gorman is Founder, CEO, & President of Fort Mason Games. She skyrocketed onto the mobile gaming scene before even graduating from college. Kate took her first full-time job at Zynga, where she experienced her first IPO, drove growth for multiple game launches of over 10 Million Daily Average Users. At 25, she became the youngest Director of Product at Zynga and the highest ranking woman in Product. She took the Slots genre from $0 to $145MM+ in revenue before founding Fort Mason Games at age 26. Kate holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California at Berkeley.
Where did the idea for Fort Mason Games come from?
I saw that most mobile games are not designed for women. I wanted to be able to fill this huge void in the market and provide fun mobile games that meet the needs of female players.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I get up at 6:00 am, eat breakfast, and do cardio exercise so I know that I can get my exercise in regardless of the day has in store for me. Then, I go to the office, and I spend some quiet time thinking about goals and what needs to get done today and make a plan. I’ve found that when I take care of myself and schedule in exercise I get more done, and I’m less stressed.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The first step is to discuss my ideas with my team at Fort Mason Games. The team is strong and they often bring in new ideas or spot pitfalls. Our brainstorming always results in an even stronger idea. Then, we either build or test the idea in a fast and easy way. I’m a firm believer in taking action and exploring with the minimum viable product before committing a lot of resources. In this way, we can learn fast, and iterate fast to get to a successful result.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The trend towards using your mobile phone to consume “bite-sized” entertainment throughout the day. If you look around, you’ll notice people playing games on their phones while waiting in line for coffee or waiting to pick up their kids at school. This trend towards people wanting to entertain themselves in these “downtime” micro-moments is one of the things we are very interested in. Being the CEO of a mobile gaming company, we are always looking for ways to delight players. So, having players want to come back frequently for bite-sized play sessions is a trend that has influenced how we’ve designed several of our mobile games to be delightful in small sessions throughout the day.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Getting enough sleep. I know. It sounds basic, but I find that getting enough sleep is key to being productive at work, and getting everything done that you need to when you run a company. Ariana Huffington has a best selling book about the need to get enough sleep. So, many executives burn the candle at both ends. It’s amazing how much more you can get done when you are well rested.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I wish I had started my own company sooner. Sometimes, it’s our fears and doubts that hold us back. However, the greatest journeys always start with a single step, so don’t hold yourself back. Get started on your big journey.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning on an avocado is heaven on earth. Enough said!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Hire the best people and trust them. Your team will make or break your company.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Provide an easy way for customers to easily recommend your product or service to their friends. We create mobile games, so we always include a way for players to easily tell their friends about the game.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
In the early days of our new mobile app, Lucky Scratch, a free to play game where you can scratch, match, and win real prizes, the prizes are awarded randomly at various times in the day, when I was setting up the code for the random prize awarding, there was an error that made all the prizing award at midnight. So, the next day, when I was looking at our statistics, I thought, what happened last night? Now, we use a code review system so that another engineer confirms any code changes before we deploy. We also have reporting to help us spot anything out of the ordinary.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Experiment with international expansion. It’s a big world out there, and you may find segments of customers in other countries who really love what you have to offer.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought AppleCare for my new Apple Watch. I had skipped it on my last watch, and when my prior watch was damaged, I had to pay full price to get a new one. Lesson learned.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
We use Facebook ads as a great channel for acquiring new players into our games. Facebook has the best targeting options of any ad network. So, it’s been a very helpful tool.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Daniel Pink breaks down motivation and guides readers into how to create environments to motivate yourself and others around you – through 3 principles: Mastery, Autonomy, and Purpose. This paradigm resonates deeply with me on how I am motivated, and has guided my management style and company culture creation at Fort Mason Games.
What is your favorite quote?
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.” -Henry Ford
- Women are a huge market segment. Look for opportunities where others are not providing products or services to meet women’s needs.
- Look for scalable tools like Facebook ads, to help you find your customers and scale your business.
- Get inspiration from others. Whether it’s posting your favorite quote on the wall, talking with your team, or taking time to read a new business book, you don’t have to do it all yourself, it’s good to learn from others.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep and add regular exercise to your calendar. Whether it’s scheduling a yoga class or having a set time for your morning run, make sure you build healthy habits into your schedule so then you have more energy for building your company.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.