FAQ: Paulina Bozek
Thursday, 16th June 2011 at 8:00 am
The Singstar legend gets the rapid-fire question treatment...
[Develop’s archive of FAQ interviewees can be found here]
Who are you and what do you do?
Paulina Bozek, co-founder and CEO of social gaming start-up Inensu. We make games and apps for social networks and smartphones with a focus on bringing games and social mechanics to popular themes like music and fashion. Previously I was the executive producer of the SingStar music game franchise for PlayStation.
What are you working on right now?
We formed Inensu last May and have built up a team of technologists and designers and will launch our first two products over the next few months.
One is a social fashion app that is all about swapping clothes with your friends. It’s for teens and carries a sustainability message that champions personal style over disposable high street fashion. It is being developed in collaboration with Channel 4 Education and will be on Facebook, iPhone and Android.
We are also working on a music fan platform that is all about connecting fans to music stars in a social game environment. More on this very soon.
What was the first video game or product that you ever worked on in the industry?
My first ‘professional project’ was at Paper Magazine, an arts, fashion, culture magazine based in New York City. I was an intern and did a weekly online fashion feature called Cornered Style, which consisted of finding cool-looking people on the street and interviewing them. My first job out of university was with Ubisoft; I joined as a PR assistant and later became the project manager of Kasparov Chess – an online multiplayer chess site that was part of the Ubisoft online games portal.
I worked with Kasparov’s team in Israel and NYC and I was based in Montreal. I was pretty young and didn’t really know what I was doing so all the learning was on the job and had to be fast. It was stressful but I learned a huge amount and the team was very talented.
What was the first video game you ever played, and did you enjoy it?
I played a lot of Super Mario Brothers with my brother. But as a little girl, I was more into Nancy Drew novels than games and putting on talent shows with my friends.
What is your favourite game ever, and for what reason?
Would it be cheating to say it’s SingStar? This is my favourite game ever because it’s all about friends and music. Otherwise I’m playing Nintendogs on the 3DS, Words With Friends on my iPhone and various new Facebook games.
What do you enjoy about the video games industry today?
The fact that it constantly reinvents itself – there is no definition of what a game is, and this is true now more than ever.
What disappoints you about the video games industry today?
This is a bit detailed and not exclusive to games, but if I had it my way, I would make legal departments and regulatory organisations more entrepreneurial and take calculated risks to come up with innovations and solutions.
Technology and user behaviour moves fast and sometimes existing frameworks don’t make sense.
Content industries like music have felt massive disruption from technology and I think we’d be better off to act fast and find new ideas for monetisation rather than focusing on policing users.
What hobbies, collections or interests do you have that are completely unrelated to video games?
I have become a runner. There was a time when I couldn’t run for more than 10 minutes. Now I run 50 kilometres over four days.
As for collections, when it comes to music I hate having physical things like CDs, and even downloading MP3s is inconvenient, I prefer streaming everything.
However, when it comes to books, I could never get rid of my books and go digital only. My bookcase is my favourite thing in the entire house.
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