Interview

Yodo1 – Ten years, ten voices

As Yodo1 celebrates its tenth anniversary, PocketGamer.biz speaks to 10 of the company's employees around the world about what makes the company special

Yodo1 – Ten years, ten voices

Yodo1 may have marked its 10-year anniversary in November 2021, but the celebrations for a dynamic decade have carried over into 2022.

The Beijing-based start-up, which began in 2011 with two visionaries and a few games to publish, has evolved into a global gaming force with a player base of over 1.5 billion, built via partnerships with over 1,000 developers and 5,000 games across 50 countries.

A diverse workforce, numbering over 150 across 35 countries, has contributed greatly to this growth. But numbers don’t tell the whole story. So, here we look at this first decade through the lens of 10 Yodo1 team members who helped write those chapters.

PocketGamer.biz: What inspired you to start Yodo1? How has it evolved since then?

Henry Fong, co-founder and co-CEO, Australia: Games have always been a personal passion and Yodo1 was an opportunity to combine that passion with my work. We founded Yodo1 as smartphones transformed the way that people played games, as well as the way that people built them, where one- or two-person teams could now bring their games to life and reach a global audience through smartphones.

Yodo1 was founded to enable these indie teams of game developers to not just make great games, but also make a great living out of these games. I look forward to helping more game developers turn their games into multi-million dollar franchises.

I look forward to helping more game developers turn their games into multi-million dollar franchises
Henry Fong

What do you love most about being a part of the gaming industry? And what are the challenges?

Polina Ozhylevska, MAS customer success manager, Ukraine/USA: I understand the impact of customer satisfaction on businesses. Therefore, I took the time to learn the skills it takes to be a good customer success manager and obtained industry-recognised certification.

Here at Yodo1, I found a perfect environment to not only apply my experience but also refine my skill set. Every challenge I’ve faced at Yodo1 has provided me with valuable learning required for growth, professionally and otherwise. It’s not easiest to keep up with the ever-evolving tech industry, but I look forward to constantly innovating alongside Yodo1.

At the end of 2020, Yodo1 pivoted to being a fully work-from-anywhere (WFA) environment. How is that working out?

Flo Alcasas, head of human resources, the Netherlands: In the space of a year, we've gone from 99 per cent of the company being in Beijing to having almost half of our team spread out across some 25 new countries. We've brought on almost 70 new people in 2021 and only a quarter were China-based.

How is it working out? The team is beautifully diverse and I think we're doing a whole lot more than would have been possible in the confines of an office – in terms of creativity, experiments, and overall productivity.

On the employee side, people who were tied to Beijing for work had the freedom to go back to their hometowns, see their families more, or even travel to new countries. And for hiring, we can put a job description out and people can apply from anywhere in the world. There's no limit.

All in all, the past year has been an amazing learning experience and I'm looking forward to the innovations and improvements we’ll make in the new year.

The team is beautifully diverse and I think we're doing a whole lot more than would have been possible in the confines of an office
Flo Alcasas

What are the strengths of having a multi-cultural workforce at Yodo1?

Syed Ali Shah Baacha, head of customer success & developer support, Pakistan: As a naturally curious individual, Yodo1 has provided me with a consistent learning environment and a space to think creatively and in a global context.

This has not only served me professionally as head of customer success but also in my personal approach to problem-solving. Operating in this sort of environment also allows me to tap into global expertise on a daily basis which is not only a professional advantage but also a personal privilege for me, as I have always been excited being exposed to cultures outside my own and I get to experience that while being gainfully employed.

What is the best part of working at Yodo1?

Ma Jun, human resources (HR) operations support, China: I was in the admin department when I joined Yodo1 nine years ago. Then, four years later I was given an opportunity in an important HR role, although I had no previous experience in HR.

That is Yodo1 in a nutshell. It gives you that platform to challenge yourself; learn and grow professionally while also improving your personal circumstances. My colleagues are also very friendly and helpful and that makes work all the better for me.

That is Yodo1 in a nutshell. It gives you that platform to challenge yourself
Ma Jun

As a long-time employee, how do you feel about the shift to WFA?

Vivien Zhang, head of intellectual property (IP) licensing, China: I’ve experienced significant professional and personal growth during my 10 years at Yodo1.

I joined as a young, single girl in the capacity of marketing manager and have gone on to get married and become a mother all while being promoted to marketing director and then my current position as head of IP licensing.

Yodo1 has always provided a great work environment, nurturing all my aspirations and growth potential but also equally supportive of my personal development through building a results-oriented foundation of trust and continuous innovation.

What do you love most about your job?

Ahmed Tohamy, leads explorer dashboard (LED) frontend developer, Egypt: I can work from anywhere. I can travel anytime. I can live anywhere I want to live.

Yodo1 – through its smart Talent Acquisition team – recognised early that the world will change after COVID and nobody would want to work from offices anymore. They recognised that if they want to get the best talents and keep them, they have to offer unique advantages, and this is what they did!

They were able to put themselves ahead of the other companies and get the best talent because of their smart culture.

And the killer advantage that I found in Yodo1 is the unlimited paid time off (PTO). Only a few companies offer this advantage and have this smart culture, and I'm proud to be a member of one of them!

I can work from anywhere. I can travel anytime. I can live anywhere I want to live

Do you have any advice for someone looking to get into gaming as a career?

Nitesh Oswal, leads explorer dashboard (LED) lead, India: The gaming industry is diverse and has a lot to offer. You don't have to play or create games to be part of it. You get to work on solutions to problems that are touched by millions of players worldwide.

As an engineer, I witnessed firsthand Yodo1’s emphasis on independence, leadership, and ownership. The company promotes better habits, helps employees set clear goals – personally and professionally – and incentivises them to succeed. We welcome anyone who wants to make the world more playful, one game at a time.

I love that I am able to work virtually, which is something any mom would appreciate
Tsitsi Chogah

How did you get into this field and what do you like about it?

Tsitsi Chogah, legion team lead, South Africa: I worked for one of co-CEO James' startups and liked the working environment and culture. I wasn't a gamer or anything but the fact that James encouraged me to try my skills in a new industry gave me the courage to try. The results have changed my life and it all started when I took the first step, enrolling in a MAS BD Course.

I love that I am able to work virtually, which is something any mom would appreciate. I also have a forward-thinking, supportive manager, Marina (Espin, head of sales & support) who has guided and mentored me.

I have learnt a lot from her and look forward to learning more. I also enjoy working one-on-one with developers from all over the world which has allowed me to develop my ability to communicate clearly, not only with them but also with other team members.

Where would you like Yodo1 to be in another ten years?

James LaLonde, co-founder and co-CEO, China: We believe both Web3 and the digital creator economy will be centred around the number one form of entertainment: video games.

Yodo1 is committed to being THE platform that supports all game developers with an easy to use, yet powerful platform of monetisation tools, business support, and education offerings to enable developers worldwide to turn their games into scalable businesses.

Powered by diversity and inclusion, Yodo1 will continue to innovate its service offerings into the next decade as a key player in this growing, global industry.

Find out more

If you read this all the way through to the end you’re either curious, passionate or both as they relate to gaming and Yodo1 culture, you could help the company to write its next successful chapters?

Check out the Yodo1 career page to learn more.

PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.

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