Mobile advertising startup Tapjoy just announced a big hire: Peter Dille, a longtime marketing executive at Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Dille's first stint at Sony ran for most of the 1990s, where he said he was part of the team that launched the first PlayStation gaming console. He returned to Sony in 2006 and then left again in March of this year.
Despite the cachet that Dille brings to Tapjoy, his new role as chief marketing officer seems like a big shift, especially since Tapjoy's customers are advertisers and app developers, not consumers. However, Dille said he was also hired with the goal of turning Tapjoy into a consumer brand. It's too early to offer many details about what that actually entails, but Dille argued that given the size of Tapjoy's audience (it claims to reach 50 million people daily), "we can become a go-to place for consumers to know about the types of mobile apps that they'd like to enjoy."
Dille added that Tapjoy's position as an independent startup gives it an advantage over bigger competitors like Google and Apple because it's not tied to a specific mobile platform. (Google's AdMob network isn't limited to the company's Android operating system, but obviously the search giant is heavily invested in Android's success.)
As for why he left Sony, Dille said he felt that the company was in a "great place" and that it was time to look for new opportunities. He acknowledged he isn't the first gaming executive to make the leap to a startup, and he predicted that he won't be the last one tempted by all the buzz around the mobile and social networking industries.
"That's not to say that my former category is going to fall off a cliff, but there's an awful lot of excitement here," Dille said. "[Chief operating officer] John Schappert left EA to join Zynga. . . . It's fair to say that you'll probably see more of that."