Dror Gensler, Sugar’s Co-founder and CTO, has been a gamer all his life, but he is new to the business side of the games world. We caught up with him to share his experiences and why he loves this industry so much.
Hi Dror, Tell the Sugar readers a bit about your background?
I’m from Israel and I started as a ‘Linux Guy’ back in the days when we had a broom-closet full of servers in the office, and evolved from there to DevOps, architecture and leadership.
I spent a lot of time working for start-ups and tech companies like Zend Technologies promoting the adoption of Cloud Computing. Since I moved to London 5 years ago, I have worked on some major enterprise and government projects as a Tech Leader & Solution architect, always trying to improve development speed and utilise the latest tech.
What do you love so much about technology?
Apart from the interesting ‘puzzles’ I get to solve, I think tech is one of the few fields in which a small group of people can create complete worlds. Anyone can toil away in their garage and come up with something fantastic and captivating.
Are you a gamer at heart? And what games do you love most?
Absolutely. Through and through. My laptops always have a proper graphics card which I justify for Artificial Intelligence use, but we all know what it’s for most of the time!
There are so many games I love; it’s a tie between Diablo 1 that captivated me in my youth or Counter Strike which I’ve been playing for more than 16 years! They are both great multiplayer games with a relatively simple design, combined with extremely well-polished mechanics.
You’re relatively new to the business side of games – what have been your first impressions?
For me it’s such a treat to work in this industry, where a product’s value is determined not just by its functionality, but also by the artistic and creative efforts poured into it.
What has surprised you about working in the games world so far?
I’m surprised at how few finance and investment options are available to studios and developers to really scale their games! Coming from the ‘classic’ tech world where investments are abundant, it seems there are far fewer VCs and funds willing to engage with games, which seems strange and really needs addressing. And that’s why I believe in Sugar so passionately.
Where do you hope Sugar will be in 5 years’ time?
I’d like to see Sugar become a key part of the industry; the first port of call for growing games studios to access funds in a simple, effective way that will enable them to release games that would otherwise not have been possible.
What’s your work ethos and routine like?
I’m a big believer in agile methodologies and I very much consider myself a creative. Therefore, I don’t stick to the 9 to 5 routine, instead preferring a coding session in the middle of the night when I often feel more inspired.
What’s the culture like at Sugar?
We’re all about work-life balance here and that stems from our appreciation of our colleagues, trusting their judgment and commitment to the business, knowing that they will deliver.
That extends beyond flexible working hours to decision making as well. We believe we hire the right people and we encourage them to express themselves by producing the best solutions using methods and tech that interests them.
As a co-founder what are the best learnings from your tech experience that could be applied to other aspects of the business?
In tech, we place a lot of focus on agility; how we handle shifting requirements and the ever-changing ecosystem. This definitely applies to all start-ups and even enterprise companies adopt methodologies such as Agile and Lean for that purpose. This goes beyond programming into product design or our place in the market. We’re definitely implementing these understandings here at Sugar, focusing on delivering value. We’re biased-for-action and not afraid to experiment and fail from time to time!
If you could change one thing about the way the business world operates, what would that be?
I’d like to see it become more honest and merit-based. Too often I’ve seen talented people pushed to the side lines and the interests of customers neglected.
What can you see changing post-Lockdown for the better in the working world?
Better communication, more trust and flexible working hours. This will make our world happier and more productive.
What do you do when you’re not working or playing games?
What else is there?! I used to race motorcycles (actually the main reason I came to the UK was to join the British Motorcycle Racing Club!) and I really hope to pick that up again in the near future once Sugar is a bit more established and can suffer me resting in the hospital for a few weeks once in a while 😉
If you could go on holiday now (just imagine!) – where would you go?
Relaxing in the Caribbean with my wife, sailing a yacht around the Adriatic Sea on the footsteps of Odysseus (a lifelong dream) or camping in the desert which I dearly miss.
We hope you enjoyed hearing a little a bit more about our Co-Founder Dror, Sugar’s ethos and why he is so excited about the future. Keep an eye out for more blog posts following Dror’s tech progress at Sugar!