Reply To: Questions for Ken



nico, r., 2007-03-20 15:00:13

1) When did you officially step down as CEO of Sierra? I’ve seen sources from PR Newsire refer to you as the CEO as late as May 1997 (from when Sierra signed on Half Life) and yet some sources that say you left in July 1996 after the sale was complete.

*** My memory is that the sale didn’t close until July 1996, even though we announced it in Feb 1996. When the acquisition closed, I immediately gave up control of Sierra, and took over a pionnering R&D project for CUC to do on-line shopping (called NetMarket). I tried to stay as much out of the communications loop as I could post-acquisition. I didn’t want to risk undermining the new management team.

2) Who were Scott Lynch, Randy Dersham, Michael Brochu and Bill Moore and what were their roles in Sierra after you left? 

*** Scott Lynch was a product manager on Half-Life. He left to become a hauncho at Valve just after the sale (or, was it before?)
*** Randy Dersham was the head of our Dynamix subsidiary in Oregon. An incredibly creative guy! I miss him, and hope he went on to great things, but I have no idea what happened to him. He was still running Dynamix when we sold the company.
*** Michael Brochu was my President at Sierra. He ran things day to day at Sierra while I focused primarily on building great product. We worked very well together, and complimented each others skill-set well. I still golf with him from time to time.
*** Bill Moore was an ex-Starbucks marketer who took over marketing at Sierra. Bill put in place a brand management program that was a huge factor in our success. He was still running marketing when the company was sold.

3) What role did Bob Davidson have in Sierra?

*** Bob ran the consolidated company post-acquisition. He quickly ran afoul of the CUC group, and left the company. Given that the CUC group that Bob didn’t get along with has now been convicted of fraud and at least one of the indivuals is in prison, I think the company was doomed whether I or Bob ran it.

4) Why didn’t Sierra ever seriously enter into console gaming?

*** We should have, and would have had I stayed involved. There was a “minimum” power level that I thought had to be in place for the kinds of games I wanted Sierra to produce to be relevant to game machines. I was especially interested in massively multiplayer games, and would have wanted to pioneer that entire segment on game machines.

5) Last but not least, have you ever considered writing a book which would detail the history of Sierra? I know there’s the book ”Hackers” but that book only spans to approximately 1982 or ’83, before King’s Quest was released. A history of the company from ’79-’98 from the guy who founded and led it would be very interesting….

*** I’ve certainly considered it, and will probably write something, using a ghost writer to do most the work, someday. But, I just can’t seem to find the time to focus on it!