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Donald W. Laabs

VP / SR. DIRECTOR PRODUCT MANAGEMENT - Exceptional portfolio of award-winning, top-selling product lines. Proven history of delivering high quality work on time and within budget. Led teams of up to 100; managed P&Ls of up to $50M.

Executive Summary

15+ years’ experience leading development organizations. Strong commitment to maintaining exceptional quality while driving revenue growth. Played key role in multimillion-dollar business growth and award-winning game franchises. Proven strategic and hands-on leader with history of turning around under-performing groups and managing complex, high profile projects.

Professional Experience

20122016

Sr. Director, Product

LINDEN LAB, San Francisco, CA

Linden Lab is the creator and publisher of Second Life, the largest 3D virtual world created entirely by its users.

Managed $50M Second Life virtual world product, leading team of 30, including producers / product managers, (virtual) land operations, first party content development, and customer support.

  • Transformed a disorganized, distributed, and dispirited group into a close-knit and highly functional team; ranked #1 in the company for employee retention.
  • Refocused Second Life, earning frequent praise from stakeholders for quality of product.
  • Reversed long-term downward trend in MAUs, delivering consistent gains during final months of tenure, by utilizing A/B testing to improve conversions and optimizing the purchasing flow.
  • Overhauled development and product processes to improve scheduling accuracy; eliminated “mystery projects,” ensuring all employees were working on agreed initiatives.
20052012

Senior Producer

ELECTRONIC ARTS / EA MOBILE / POGO.COM, Redwood City, CA

EA is a Leading international video game company.

Recruited to assume control of Sims 2 Expansion Pack team as part of newly formed Sims division. Led teams of 30-100 releasing two products per year to maintain growth of the flagship product. Served as voice of Sims, travelling extensively on media and PR tours.

  • Quickly gained trust of existing team by demonstrating passion for product and showing respect for former leader while also introducing own personal ideas.
  • Delivered The Sims 2: Open for Business and The Sims 2: Pets in 12 months, both on time and on budget. The products ranked #1 and #2 among all PC products and earned critical praise.
  • Lead designer of High School Story, a story-driven game for mobile platforms that combines player skill progression and city building.
  • Led development of online game creation community SimsCarnival.com, advocating for additional features and overseeing design and launch of pioneering new site that allowed users to create over 60,000 games.
  • Led production of 24 Flash games for Hubworld.com; recruited producers and developers, selected Hasbro properties, and oversaw on-time delivery of all 24 games, including many top performers.
20002004

EVP, Product Development

FLUENT SOLUTIONS, Novato, CA

Oversaw all aspects of start-up company, including HR, finance, operations, and business development. As company grew, focused efforts exclusively on product creation and roll-out. Managed staff of up to 30 and multimillion-dollar budget. Built development team, created software concepts, and secured investor interest.

Impact: Served as key catalyst in company’s growth from start-up mode to $7M in revenues by 2004, shipping two major and numerous minor products.

  • Established infrastructure that allowed development team to grow and flourish.
  • Identified market opportunity and conceived Majestic Chess, a pioneering game that blended a chess teaching system with adventure gameplay; secured 3-year, $4.5M deal with a major publisher and produced game that achieved #2 market share and earned a Metacritic rating of 80.

Additional Experience

Vice President, Product Development - MINDSCAPE, Novato, CA

Played leading role in growing small company from 30 employees to 500+. Led development of entertainment and edutainment software product lines and held full P&L responsibility for business unit. Key titles included Chessmaster, the Mario suite, Hunt for Red October, Warlords Battle Cry, and Earth 2150.

Impact: Drove development and launch of 70+ products across 16 different platforms. Increased revenues from $2M to almost $1B during tenure.

  • Turned existing Chessmaster game into a groundbreaking product line with multiple proprietary features, creating a long-running, market-leading franchise.
    • Achieved 80% market share, 4M+ in total units sold, and consistent on-time, on-budget launches for new versions. The game remains a market leader to this day.
  • Directed and participated in development of groundbreaking piano instruction software that generated over $30M. Rolled out Miracle Piano Teaching System to rave reviews, garnering significant media attention, including Good Morning America and NBC Today.
  • Added $35M in revenues by leading the creation of Mario “edutainment” lines; recruited top-flight designers and worked with Nintendo Japan to ensure the highest quality.

Project Manager / Software Engineer - HEWLETT-PACKARD, Santa Rosa, CA

Designed automated test/process systems and databases, and taught classes on data analysis and programming. Drove significant process improvements including the use of reusable code modules and earned additional project management responsibilities throughout tenure.