Russian-born Igor and Dmitry Bukhman are seeking growth to challenge Tencent and Activision.
Almost two decades ago, in a remote Russian city best known for its butter and linen, two brothers shared a bedroom and a Pentium 100-powered computer they used to code their first game.
Wall Street wants a piece of what they’ve built since.
Playrix has met with some of the biggest banks “and visited their skyscrapers,” said Dmitry Bukhman, 34, citing meetings with dealmakers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. For now, though, “we are focused on growing the business.”
He and Igor Bukhman, 37, are the brains behind Playrix Holding Ltd., the creator of popular games similar to Candy Crush, including Fishdom and Gardenscapes, with more than 30 million daily users from China to the U.S. and annual sales of $1.2 billion, according to Newzoo. That makes the company one of the top 10 iOS and Google Play app developers by revenue, data from researcher AppAnnie show, putting Playrix in the same league as Tencent Holdings Ltd., NetEase Inc. and Activision Blizzard Inc.
Today, each brother is worth about $1.4 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. They haven’t previously appeared in a global wealth ranking.
Their road to riches started in 2001 in the city of Vologda, almost 300 miles (483 kilometers) north of Moscow, where Igor learned from a university professor that he could sell software online. He decided to try with Dmitry, who was still in high school at the time.
“We had no experience, no business understanding whatsoever—everything we could imagine was writing games,” Igor said.
The U.S. is Playrix’s biggest market, followed by China and Japan, the brothers said in a recent interview in Tel Aviv, where they spend some of their time. The two remotely manage about 1,100 employees, including personnel at its Ireland headquarters and developers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
“For $3 billion we won’t sell”
The brothers’ first product was a game akin to Xonix in which players must use a cursor to open pieces of a hidden picture before being struck by flying balls. They wrote it during a summer break and generated $60 in the first month and later $100 a month, about half of the average salary in Vologda.
“We thought, ‘If one game makes $100, we can write several dozen of them and make a lot of money,”’ Igor said.
Their second game, featuring an animated character designed by an outsourced artist, brought in $200 a month. Their copycat of Tetris brought in $700 a month, but the brothers shut that down after learning that the game was protected by a license. In 2004, when the business reached $10,000 of monthly revenue, they registered a legal entity, rented space for an office in the basement of a book warehouse and hired other staff to accelerate production.
In the early years, they sold casual games through sites such as majorgeeks.com or download.com, before moving to bigger platforms like Yahoo! and AOL. Then, within the past decade, games started moving first to Facebook and then smartphones. Many of them were available for free, with users paying only for certain in-game features.
Playrix makes most of its money from in-app purchases and the brothers mostly shun advertising, which detracts from the user experience. Ads generate less than 3 percent of revenue, Dmitry said.
“It was a major challenge for us to switch to developing free-to-play games—that’s totally different DNA,” Dmitry said. “Free-to-play games aren’t games that you develop, release and move on to making another one. They are services that need to be supported constantly as users are waiting for regular updates.”
Playrix succeeded in this transition, achieving worldwide recognition over the past three years with Gardenscapes and its sequel, Homescapes, a new variety of match-3 puzzle in which a player completes rows of at least three elements to pass levels and progress through an animated storyline—in this case, helping a butler named Austin renovate a house with a garden.
“Austin engages in dialog with you, you help him to select ways to decorate the mansion, you dive into the history of this character and become related with him,” Dmitry said. “This genre variety we introduced—match-3 with meta game—became very successful, and other companies started copying us.”
“Playrix is certainly responsible for the first major innovation in the match-3 genre since King Digital Entertainment Plc seemingly had the market locked down with Candy Crush,” said Newzoo analyst Tom Wijman. “Playrix managed to add a layer of complexity and ‘meta game’ to the match-3 genre without driving away casual mobile players.”
The company employs several full-time script writers who work on Austin’s dialog, and it’s always improving the games, Dmitry said.
“It’s like apps, like Spotify—people can use them for years,” he said. “More and more people are getting accustomed that it’s perfectly normal. Why not pay $5 to get pleasure from playing a game on a smartphone rather than watching videos or listening to music?”
While Playrix hasn’t introduced a new title since 2017, the company recently acquired several gaming studios to expand into new genres, Igor said, declining to disclose which studios until it releases games developed by them later this year.
Successful titles attract whales. Activision Blizzard acquired King Digital in 2015 for $5.9 billion, and a year later Tencent led investors in an $8.6 billion deal to acquire a majority stake in “Clash of Clans” maker Supercell Oy.
Could Playrix be next? In February, the Information reported that it could be sold for $3 billion, citing Chinese firms iDreamSky Technology Holdings and FunPlus Game Co. as potential suitors.
The brothers dismissed the report.
“For $3 billion we won’t sell,” Dmitry said with a smile, while acknowledging that Playrix had been discussing strategic options as recently as last year, noting its meetings with Wall Street banks.
Their goal, for now, is to become a “top-tier gaming company,” that rivals Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts in the West, and NetEase Inc. and Tencent in China, Igor said.
“We want to grow as big as they are, using developer talent from our region—the former USSR and Eastern Europe,” he said.
There’s no magic number that would compel the Bukhmans to sell the company, because they say money is secondary to doing what they love.
“Some may think that when you have a lot of money, everything becomes different and more interesting, you start doing different things,” Dmitry said. “But no. We just keep working.”
Your ultimate guide to getting hired in UX design
f you want to get hired in UX design, you need to know what design managers are actually looking for in their candidates. We’ve talked to design recruiters, hiring managers, and UX coaches to bring you an ultimate guide to getting hired in UX design.
With their help, we broke down the most important factors for UX designers to consider throughout the job search process—your portfolio, your UX resume, the interview itself, and everything in between. Let’s jump in!
1. Your Portfolio
Crafting a UX portfolio is no small feat, but if you do it right, you’ll reap major dividends in the job search process. Design Recruiter at Figma Korin Harris has a few portfolio-building tips to share:
“I see a lot of portfolios as a design recruiter. Applicants often make the same mistakes again and again—from including far too much text in project highlights, to overcomplicating animations on their landing page. I recommend you build your product design portfolio the same way you would tackle any design challenge: Start by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
Leaders like this are very busy. They’re always running to their next meeting, phone call, or candidate interview, so they have limited time to review a portfolio (we’re talking minutes or even seconds). They’re trying to quickly parse a lot of information in that short period of time:
- What type of design you do
- Where your talents and passions lie
- Whether you have the right experience for this particular role
- How you tackle design challenges
- Your overall design abilities
You can’t expect them to dig through pages of content to figure this stuff out. Instead, you need to spoon-feed the most pertinent information for the particular role you’re applying for.”
LANDING PAGE TIPS:
How many clicks does it take to get to your work? Does your landing page only consist of “about you” content? Click. Is your “work” icon in the upper right-hand corner? Click. Are your projects laid out so you have to pick one? Click.
Your target audience can’t go hunting for information. Your homepage should give them an overview of your design projects, so they’re only one click away from your work.
PROJECTS TO DISPLAY:
Tailor your project choices based on your career goals. Are you interested in mobile, web, or virtual reality design jobs? Make that clear by highlighting your experience in that area. Are you dying to quit the e-commerce industry and want to move into fintech, healthcare, or something else? Choose previous work accordingly.
“Tailor your projects” may seem like obvious advice, but applicants often struggle with this. They try to capture the entire breadth of their design career in one portfolio. They assume people will take the time to go through everything—but hiring managers often can’t.
For more UX portfolio tips see How to create a UX portfolio to land your first job
Happy 2020! I recently updated my portfolio site. I am still working on it, but it’s at a point where I want to share it. I built the site in Webflow, and I loved it. Check out the live site here Thanks for looking!
2. Your Resume
To create a stand-out user experience resume, UX designer and coach Sarah Doody recommends doing the following:
- Tailor your resume to each role you apply to: Before you apply to a role, you should devour the job description because that’s where you can find out exactly what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. Based on what you find in the job description, use this to tailor your resume for each role. By tailoring you could:
- Think of yourself as a product: The company is hiring you to do a job for them. What do great products do? They don’t just talk about their features. Instead, they highlight their benefits. By benefits, focus on the outcomes you’ve achieved. For past projects you worked on, what happened? What was the benefit to the team, business, or product?
- Include a title and a personal elevator pitch: Often times, especially in UX, job titles mean different things to different people. Ask 10 people what a “UX Designer” specifically does, and you’ll get 10 different answers. I recommend that you not only give yourself some type of title, but also have an elevator pitch. Your title quickly lets people know what you do at a high level. The elevator pitch helps clarify exactly what you do, and what you don’t do.
Check out the rest of Sarah’s resume building tips in her ultimate guide to designing a stand-out UX resume.
Hello dribbblers, Here is my first shot, a minimal CV/Resume template in Figma. Hope you guys will like it. Feel free to use it for your personal project! Kindly check it and let me know your comment below 🙂 https://www.figma.com/file/qh3tQSbsvXEXrc…
3. The Interview Process
Now that you’ve got your portfolio and resume ready, it’s time to prepare for the actual interview! Design Recruiter at Facebook, Carl Wheatley explains why proactive storytelling in a UX design interview is one of the most powerful techniques for demonstrating your expertise and communication skills:
“I’ve understood something from my many years of experience with UX interview sessions, which is the difference between telling your interviewers about you and showing them something about you. Which do you think is more powerful? I choose the latter because it’s been my greatest weapon in winning interview sessions and landing the job.
There’s no better way to shine during an interview than sharing a few compelling stories about your best design work. Your interviewers are always interested in learning about your past experiences, especially when you share them through captivating stories that help them make informed decisions faster. Anyone can tell an interviewer “I know how to run a usability test.” Instead, share the story about how you once ran a usability test and what the outcome was.
Hiring managers, like most people, are more captivated by stories than facts or data alone. Just remember not to go off tangent by sharing stories that aren’t related to the position you’re applying for. You don’t need to share stories about your degrees, family, or whatever. Focus on your working experiences, awards if any, your ultimate roles, the changes you’ve enacted, and the teams you’ve worked with.”
Here’s a list of 21 questions to expect in a UX interview and how to approach answering each one.
by ALBEE SHEN
Try to use mixed mode to draw this illustration, I hope you like this style. Next, I will try to keep drawing T T Last but not least, hit “L” on that keyboard to share some ❤️ and stick around for future inspiration. Thank you all. Follow me to see more.
4. Negotiating Your Salary
Remember, the sharpest candidates also spend time researching and preparing for one of the most important yet often anxiety-inducing questions: “What salary are you looking to make?”
Based on her experience facilitating interviews between designers and hiring managers, Alayna Burton shares a few tips for approaching the salary conversation:
- Do your research. What is the average salary for your design discipline? How many years of experience do you have? Know your numbers.
- It’s always acceptable to bring up your salary expectations in an interview. You’ll end up saving both you and the employer’s time if it’s not the right fit.
- The initial offer is typically not the final offer. Don’t be afraid to counter the first offer if it’s not too far off from what you asked for. There’s likely a little wiggle room.
- Don’t forget to discuss your compensation package (health insurance, perks, etc.)—negotiations can also be made in this area.
- Know your worth. It’s ok to walk away from a job offer if it isn’t right.
For more salary negotiation tips from Alayna, check out How to negotiate your design salary like a pro
by MIA DITMANSON for SIEGE MEDIA
Part of a larger infographic about how to ask for a pay raise.
5. The Follow-Up
Never underestimate the power of a follow-up message! Design Recruiter at Facebook Carl Wheatley explains why this is important and suggests some helpful language to use:
After applying to a company, send a nice message to their recruiter or hiring manager letting them know you applied and are very interested in the role. This goes a long way. I recommend following up twice within the first month you applied. After that, I’d wait a month before you message them again. It always helps to follow up! Not everyone will reply, but it’s certainly worth doing. Here’s an example of the type of messaging you can use:
“Dear Carl, I’m a huge fan of Dribbble and how you connect all of us designers around the world. I applied to your UX Designer position and believe I could add a lot of value to your team. Please review my portfolio and feel free to reach out with any questions regarding my experience.”
by NATA SCHEPY
Fly, bird, fly! Instagram
We hope you found all of these tips helpful! At the end of the day, remember that hiring managers especially want to see that you are a stellar communicator and have confidence in your expertise. Put yourself in their shoes when crafting your portfolio and resume, and remember that the interview process is where you should let your communication skills shine. With the help of these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing your next best UX design job.
Why Online Casinos Are Poised To Expand Globally
Right now, online casinos produce very popular games in certain parts of the world. Gaming sites in this category are concentrated largely in Canada, Oceania, Great Britain and other parts of Europe. However, given their nature as browser-based games, they also have reach around the world. Most anywhere that real-money casino gaming is legal, people can access sites from these areas; in some cases, they can even do so in a way that allows them to play the games for free, if real-money gambling isn’t an option.
Even given the global status of modern online casino gaming though, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that this category has potential to expand even more around the world. Consider the following factors.
The Mobile App Obsession
Given the estimation that smartphone users spent $120 billion on mobile apps in 2019, it’s safe to say that the world’s obsession with mobile apps is nowhere near drying up. People are always looking for new apps, whether for productivity, social interaction, information, or whatever else it may be. But gaming still makes for a significant portion of mobile app expenses, and it just so happens that casino games are increasingly available as mobile options.
Of the aforementioned casino gaming hotspots in Canada, Europe, and Oceania, many have games that can either be accessed via mobile device, or which even function as their own apps. And looking at the history of this genre of gaming in the mobile space, it looks as if more games could make their way to the medium in time.
The Natural Appeal Of Bonuses
Across all genres of gaming, and many of the most popular games, there are reward systems in place. From mobile apps in which you can unlock new levels with small payments, to console experiences in which your accomplishments open new possibilities for your character, the argument can be made that bonus incentives actually drive modern gaming. And when you really think about it, it’s fair to say casino gaming invented the model.
The bonuses at online casinos in Canada, which we pointed to above as being some of the worldwide leaders, demonstrate this in multiple ways. First and foremost, they offer matching deposits for people who register anew with Canadian gaming sites – which is not a model we see imitated too frequently in other gaming categories, but which very directly attracts gamers who love to get more, or get something free. Additionally, when you explore individual casino platforms in Canada or in some other places, you’ll find that some games – primarily among slot arcades – contain their own special bonuses and mini-games that can act as reward structures for players.
As the gaming world falls more and more in love with idea of bonuses and extras, casino games should only achieve greater appeal.
More Casino Content In Other Areas
Interestingly enough, we’ve actually seen some other, more mainstream video games embracing casino content in interesting ways, too. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Games from Super Mario RPG to Far Cry 3 have been including various forms of just-for-fun gambling for decades. Lately though, we’ve seen some popular console games going further to embrace full casino gameplay.
The most prominent example is Grand Theft Auto V, within which there’s a full-fledged casino. Featuring games, horse racing, membership options, and even penthouses, it’s arguably the most elaborate casino we’ve ever seen within a larger video game. This should only further general interest in casino play, perhaps specifically among gamers who haven’t delved into online casinos before.
Virtual Reality’s Lingering Potential
Finally, there’s also virtual reality’s lingering, looming potential to consider. Some have essentially written this medium off already, and this is understandable. There are reasons it isn’t mainstream yet, from prohibitive pricing to struggles in the development of good games. However, the technology remains astonishing when it works well, and developers haven’t given up yet. There’s every reason to believe that VR will ultimately produce some very engaging casino games – possibly in direct collaboration with some of the existing platforms in Canada, Europe, and around the world.
Altogether, these reasons comprise a case for even more expansion of online casino gaming around the world. Right now most people think of it as a popular form of gaming, but one confined to certain populations or niches. In the near future, we may simply think of it as a massive, global entertainment industry unto itself.
Tips For Writing A Good Thesis
Are you in the final year of your studies? Then there is a good chance that you will (almost) start writing your graduation thesis. This is a big project, and it will take a lot of time and energy. Quite exciting so! customwritingservice.com give you a number of tips for writing a thesis:
1. The Subject
Coming up with a good and fun subject is often one of the most difficult things about writing a thesis. The subject must probably meet certain requirements for your education, and it is also important that you find it a nice subject. Then of course it should interest you a bit!
You probably hear it throughout your school career: planning is incredibly important. Chances are that you always thought: ‘What nonsense! I write all my reports in one day (or night of course) ‘.
For your thesis we can help you from that dream: That will not happen now! Writing a thesis really takes a lot of time and moreover you will usually have to do research, for which you certainly need a couple of weeks (or months).
And that is also with your side job and your hobbies! So start on time and stick to your schedule as well as you can! In addition, also plan moments of relaxation. Otherwise you will scream crazy.
3. Use Your Supervisor Or Supervisor
At most schools / universities, students have appointed a supervisor for their thesis. This is usually a teacher or professor who knows a lot about the subject on which you write your thesis.
An expert! Make use of his or her expertise! Schedule regular meetings with your supervisor, present him or her your work, and ask for feedback. This will only make your final thesis better. You can usually also contact your supervisor or supervisor for more general questions about writing a thesis.
4. Keep Your Source List Up To Date!
A list of sources is required for every thesis. It is therefore useful if, at the moment that you add a source to your thesis, you immediately add it to your source list.
This saves you a lot of time and stress at the end, just before you have to hand in your thesis. A tool that helps you keep track of sources is Mendeley Highly recommended!
5. Keep In Touch With Your Fellow Students
Writing a thesis can be a bit lonely. Often you have no or very few lessons, and so you see few classmates or studymates during that period.
Meet them occasionally. You can spar together about certain things that you are not sure about, and they can give you new insights. In addition, it is also just really cozy!
6. Request Feedback From Others
When your thesis is finished at the end, ask your parents, your brothers or sisters, your friends or your classmates if they want to read your thesis. Ask if they want to pay attention to spelling errors (they just sneak in, no matter how well you check your thesis) and whether they can follow everything correctly. Schedule time to process their feedback and make some final adjustments.
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