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Australian CEO Todd Hooper sits down with Jeff to talk the future of mobile gaming and why location matters when starting up your tech start-up.

Self-proclaimed lifelong geek Todd Hooper lets us in on the path that led him from a summer job in Australia to CEO of mobile gaming company, Zipline Games. He shares what lessons he’s learned over the course of a long career in tech – from trusting your partner to knowing when to give it up. He also offers his own personal insight on moving to the US to bring his start-up dreams to life: “a lot of people aren’t prepared to make the sacrifice to get in the right place…the US, with a critical mass of connections.”

  • Todd knows the key to success is the balance of persistence and flexibility. These “two opposing forces” manifest in start-ups in a major way; you have to be determined and committed to your vision, but you have to be a little bit flexible too. “Winners never quit” Todd says, “but don’t try something for fifteen years and waste your time.”
  • If he could go back in time, Todd says he would have been bolder. “Plenty of people come from circumstances where they play it very safe,” he says, “but when you’re young you can take more chances.” He remembers a trip to Boston ten years before he moved to the States, where he might have taken a job…though he doesn’t regret the path that led him to Zipline.
  • After years of working around the tech sphere, Todd is happy to be coming back to video games which he’s always been passionate about. He and Jeff explore the expansive future of gaming, from international markets to mobile platforms for smartphones. “Mobile gaming is the most vibrant, rapidly-expanding space I’ve ever worked in my career.”
  • Todd’s advice to young start-ups has three components: a great idea, a great team, and the right location. If you’re missing one of these elements, you can still make it but it’ll be tough. “There are plenty of people who have had good ideas and lousy talent” he notes. Likewise, “even with a great idea and a good team, if you’re in the remote outback of Australia…”
  • Plus, which gadget can’t Todd Hooper live without? Hint: it’s not an iPhone. He also tells Jeff what he’d do with an extra $100,000 and why it’s so important to dot those i’s and cross those t’s.

About Todd Hooper Todd is a twenty-year veteran of high-tech companies, including Apple Computer and WatchGuard. Since moving to Seattle in 1998 he has founded two companies in the media and enterprise markets.

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