Maciej Mróz shared the experience his team had with growth within the company in his session at Casual Connect Eastern Europe 2014. “So when you grow, things start to break down,” he says. “Obviously it’s not something that happens overnight, but it does, and it’s because you have a successful product, and the product grows in complexity.”
Maciej Mróz’s childhood dream was to get into the games industry. As a student, he was interested in computer graphics and did his M.Sc. in this field, while also being active in the PC demoscene. He planned for a career in computer graphics research, but discovered that, for him, online gaming was a much more exciting part of the industry, with a completely different set of challenges.
At Ganymede, Mróz has worn many different hats as the company grew from five to over sixty employees. Currently, as CTO, he focuses on whatever areas of the company are having the greatest challenges and where he can provide the most value.
Good People Bring Success
He emphasizes that getting and keeping the right employees is key to company success, so this is where he expends much of his energy, something he does not expect to change anytime in the near future. He sees this as the biggest challenge, not only for Ganymede, but for the IT industry as a whole.
The company mitigates this challenge by moving away from precise job descriptions, and instead aiming to find great talent while doing more structured training on the job. To find this great talent, they are focusing on more visibility in the local development community and in cooperating with universities. Their latest initiative is the Ganymede Academy, a series of training sessions for those wishing to work in the games industry.
Ensuring the efficient functioning of software development and continuing to improve it is also an important responsibility in Mróz’s work. This includes both day-to-day management and strategic initiatives. His technological expertise means he continues to be involved in gaming platform and other critical IT projects. Because he has had past experience in development, operations, and product management, he is able to relate to both the deeply technological and the business-oriented people.
A Data-Driven Approach
Mróz believes the most important trend in the games industry now and in the near future is making good use of the data we gather about our customers. In fact, the proudest moment of his career came through doing just this. At the time, he was working as the product manager for Ganymede’s Bingo game, and after six months of rigorously optimizing the game with A/B tests, his analysis of long-term game performance showed huge growth in game revenue, growth which occurred despite a seasonal change in the number of players. He says, “I had undeniable proof that the data-driven approach to optimizing online games can bring great results.”
Since most companies are nowhere near the scale of Google or Facebook, he does not believe the data-driven approach is necessarily about “big data”. Instead, he insists, “While data infrastructure and analytics technology projects will play a very important role at gaming companies, it’s a lot more about cultural shift and building the right skill sets. Ultimately, we all want to make sense of the data in a way that will provide truly better gaming experiences for the players.”
Away From Work
When Mróz is not working, he prefers to spend his time riding his motorcycle, cooking, reading fantasy and sci-fi books and programming side projects. In fact, he claims to feel guilty for not playing games enough recently.
But he does play games, of course. Currently, he is playing Remember Me on his PS3, having been a Playstation fan from its first generation; he plans to own a PS4 after he works his way through his many PS3 games. He also plays Civilization on PC, claiming this series will never grow old.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.