Scopely CEO: To excel at business, create a narrative

Dec 03, 2013

Chanelle Bessette was a reporter for Fortune between 2013 and 2014.

FORTUNE -- Walter Driver is a longtime social gaming entrepreneur whose company, Scopely, works with independent gaming studios to co-develop, distribute, market, and monetize multiplayer games. Prior to Scopely, Walter founded and served as CEO of O Negative Media, where he developed social network gaming applications. Before that, he co-founded Ignition Interactive, one of the first developers of third party applications on the Facebook platform.

In 2012, Driver was recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Shapers, and in 2013 he was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Brown University. After he attended Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, we picked his brain about his accomplishments, technology, and the surprising thing he learned in school that has helped him as an entrepreneur. 

1. What business or technology person do you admire most? Why?

My father, Walter Driver Jr.  He’s had a very successful career in law and now finance and showed me that doing everything the right way all the time pays unforeseeable dividends over time -- shortcuts rarely take you where you want to end up.

2. What other companies do you admire? Why?

Valve and Vice are two companies I think are very cool -- they have an identity that means something to people who work there.

3. What technology sector excites you most?

I’m pretty thrilled to be coming of age at the advent of the smartphone era. Having a connected device in the hands of billions of people is going to create fundamentally new opportunities that are just beginning to take shape yet and are easily taken for granted in the U.S.

4. Is business school necessary for entrepreneurs?

I've never had any formal business education, so I honestly don't know how useful it is, but it's definitely not a requirement. From my perspective, most people who start companies do it because they either a) are wired that way and can’t imagine doing anything else, b) they have a unique insight into a particular market, or c) there’s a problem they are insanely passionate about solving. Business school seems like a more useful training ground for being an executive than an entrepreneur.

5. What is the best advice you ever received?

Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in the short-term and underestimate what they can accomplish in the long-term.

6. What is your greatest achievement?

The friends I’ve made. Life wouldn’t be very much fun without them.

7. What was the most important thing you learned in school?

I studied creative writing in college. I was writing poetry when most of the folks that are now my peers were writing code. How to create a narrative was the most valuable thing I learned in school -- it’s how humans make sense of the world.

8. What is one goal that you would like to accomplish during your lifetime?

My aspiration is that everyone who works at Scopely to view it as one of the highlights of their professional career.

9. What was the last book you read?

Spent by Geoffrey Miller. Any entrepreneur doing something consumer-facing should read it. It's a very interesting take on the real reasons we buy the things we buy.

10. What is one unique or quirky habit that you have?

I don’t eat any condiments. No sauces of any kind. People ask what kind of diet I’m on, but no, I'm just weird like that.

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