As a provider of player modeling services for dozens of social casino brands, Optimove has access to massive amounts of player data that reveals plenty of interesting information and patterns. As seen in this interview with Pini Yakuel and the video below of his speech at Casual Connect Tel Aviv, we’ll dive into the data to see what trends are occurring with players and what possible implications these changes may have on the industry. “Of all of the people who are going to convert (into paying players), 7-15% will do it on their first day. . . It is always faster on mobile so that is something to remember”, Pini advised. Pini also presented their findings, primarily around differences in player behavior between web and mobile platforms, as well as data regarding the actual growth rate of mobile in this space.
As the Co-founder and CEO of Optimove, Pini Yakuel has two decades of experience in analytics-driven customer marketing, business consulting and sales. The Optimove retention automation software, used by over 150 brands, is an advanced solution for managing hyper-targeted, multi-channel customer marketing. Recently he discussed his work and life with Casual Connect.
Casual Connect: Tell us about the work you do at Optimove. How did you come to work there?
Pini Yakuel: I am the co-founder and CEO.
CC: What is your favorite thing about your job?
Pini: The ability to be creative and to be a part of the action across the different realms. To be a mathematician in the world of product, an author in the world of content, a hunter in the sales arena, etc.
CC: How have your past career experiences been helpful to you in your current position?
Pini: My academic background comes in handy when dealing with algorithms and product.
CC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
Pini: I always wanted to do something on my own – to create something from scratch. A chance encounter with a university friend led us together down a new and exciting road.
CC: How did you become involved in the game industry? How did you make your start? What do you find to be the most fun part?
Pini: As a supplier to the game industry, our involvement stems from two main reasons. The first one is circumstantial: Israel is a force to be reckoned with in the gaming industry, and since we’re an Israeli company we encountered the gaming scene in the early days. The second reason pertains to this industry’s appreciation of data science. Since that is our main business, it was only natural that we should pair up.
CC: What are some of the challenges you have faced in your current position? How have you overcome these challenges?
Pini: To scale is always a challenge. Following every significant growth stage there comes a moment when you need to reinvent yourself – to power the innovation that will propel you forward. You always imagine that there will come a time when you can sit back and relax and something will simply project you onwards, but that’s almost never true, and when it is – it’s only for a short time.
CC: What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
Pini: Generally speaking, I’m either at work or spending time with my family. I try to spend every day some quality play-time with my one year old son.
CC: If you were not in this industry, what would you be doing?
Pini: I have a dual personality – I can either be very dynamic and energetic, or a couch potato. If I weren’t doing what I do today, chances are that the couch potato would have taken over.
CC: What was your dream job as a child?
Pini: I sort of borrowed it from the Michael J. Fox movie Secret of my Success: to be the young guy who takes over the company.
CC: What has been your proudest moment during your career so far? What led to this moment happening?
Pini: My proudest moments are those when I hear employees coaching each other in work methods which I partook in their invention. It’s a feeling of having created a world which you can see in action, but which is no longer attached to you. That’s the fun part.
CC: What do you think your staff most commonly says about you? What do your employees think of you?
Pini: They probably think I’m a nice guy.
CC: What attributes do you look for in a member of your team?
Pini: I like hard workers. As a potential couch potato, I hate other couch potatoes. The other important thing in a team member is a sense of humor. People with a sense of humor are, generally speaking, more flexible and whole. They rock.
CC: What type of talent do you find is the hardest to find?
Pini: Brilliant developers are the hardest to find.
CC: How do you handle complications within the team?
Pini: Complications within a team can be avoided if you recruit well and build teams on strong foundations. A healthy corporate culture is also important. If problems do arise, it’s always helpful to remind everyone that we’re all working for the mutual good of the company.
Emily Baker is the Production Supervisor for www.gamesauce.biz. Emily loves learning about cultures, taking care of her hobby farm and spending time with her two kiddos.