Dan Ghitza’s journey of becoming a CEO was a little different than the usual trail of most business leaders. First off, it took him a long time to understand ‘who he really wanted to be’ and what was important to him.
As a son of an ex-judge and lawyer in Israel, it was clear to everyone, including himself, that he would follow in his father’s footsteps, but guess what! Reality had completely different plans for Dan. After a few years of studying law & business & working at the family office, Dan quickly realized that he was very drawn to entrepreneurship and building his own companies. When he was 25, he established his first marketing company.
Building and selling companies and moving where work took Dan to locations like (India, Greece, and Thailand) and definitely took its toll on him. After almost 10 years of doing that, he decided to take a needed break and went on a life-changing bicycle trip around southeast Asia while working as a freelancer.
When he returned to Israel from his journey without a plan, Dan realized that he needed to try something completely different. He decided, against his initial instinct, to take on a low-level sales job with an Israeli company that was part of a bigger group of companies. He thought that he needed to re-learn everything from scratch and improve his people and sales skills.
Little did Dan know that after less than a year, he would be promoted to be a junior manager at the company and since would continue to get promoted every 6 months until finally, he received an offer to relocate to Malta as the CEO of the group’s mobile games brand, Zarzilla Games.
Moving from an entry-level position to being a CEO in such a short time (under 3 years) was definitely not an easy thing. It took a lot of determination and dedication. Still, it taught Dan that everything is possible and that once you find the right people and mentors around you, not only ‘the sky is the limit’ but that you actually get to define for yourself what ‘the sky’ and success really means for you.
In this interview with CIOLook, Dan shares his professional tenure while highlighting his journey to the horizons of success.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
Our company, Zarzilla Games, wants to create the world’s most fun and innovative casual card games with a lot of focus on community, social interactions, and live activities.
We want to create games that give players much more than just a way to pass the time, challenging them by playing with other real players, participating in events and competitions, and sharpening their minds.
We truly believe in the value of our fan community and that the more value we give our players, the more we get back and profit. It’s a win-win situation!
Enlighten us on how you have impacted the Mobile Gaming niche through your expertise in the market.
One thing that makes our company disruptive and innovative in the mobile gaming social card games niche is that we bring gamification elements from casual games to card games, thus combining the two worlds and creating a completely new experience.
Instead of the old card games that were technical and repetitive and depended more on luck than skill, we create in our games a content world that enriches the gaming experience with social, innovative & competitive features.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
One of the principles that constantly guide me in leading our company is to create a safe, honest, and more than anything, supportive environment for all the employees that form the Zarzilla Games family.
As I went through the same path from an entry-level employee to a CEO, not only should everyone have an impact and a say, but sometimes, the best advice comes from the most unexpected places. Our company’s motto is ‘if you truly believe in something, show us, and we will build it together.’
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
The mobile games industry is incredibly dynamic, so we constantly have to resharpen our skills, update with new technologies and always be flexible and always learning.
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the Mobile Gaming Sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
Most definitely, the developments in AI and procedurally generated content are changing the very fabric of how we define creativity in gaming and many other fields.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Zarzilla Games?
I see Zarzilla Games positioning itself as one of the world’s top Gaming studios and publishers, becoming a public company and building the future of mobile games.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Mobile Gaming Sector?
I get this question a lot, and I think the person that answered it best was Mahatma Gandhi:
“First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Almost all of the innovations and mega success stories we see in the Mobile Games sectors started as a niche idea, disregarded, and brushed off by high-paying executives interested more in doing the same thing over again.
It takes courage and determination to push what you believe in even if no one else sees it, but once they do, you have already won.