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10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jason Citron

Jason Citron

Jason Citron, the CEO of Discord, has recently been in the spotlight for hinting that the platform would enable non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and ethereum wallets. Since consumers are keen on reducing environmental impact, Nitro users were enraged; some even canceled their subscriptions. Whether or not the company pursues the NFTs and crypto wallets is still under speculation. As we wait to see what Citron decides regarding the subject, let’s tell you what we know about him through these facts.

1. His Father Introduced Him to Technology

They say that children are like sponges, absorbing whatever they see and hear. Therefore, when Citron observed his father working on personal computers, he became interested in technology. The first computer he ever saw was a Pentium One with an 80 MHz processor in Windows 95 or 98. According to an interview with Medium, Citron’s grandfather bought him his first computer, and he considers it money well-spent.

2. His Inspiration to Become an Entrepreneur

Besides his father introducing Citron to technology, he also inspired him to be his own boss someday. Citron’s father worked hard and for long hours in his two Haagen Dazs stores. It taught Citron the value of discipline that helps him to stay grounded. The enterprising spirit must run in the family because even Citron’s grandfather was an entrepreneur who ran an electrician consultancy dating back to the 1900s. Funny enough, the consultancy firm had been operated by Citron’s great grandfather, who taught his son the ins and outs of the business.

3. He Started Coding as a Hobby

Although Citron’s father inspired the young boy to become an entrepreneur, Citron was not sure of the career path to take once he got older. However, when he was 13, he knew that he wanted to turn gaming into a career. Citron had enrolled in his first computer class when the family moved to South Florida. The CEO clarified that although he was not taught programming in class, he became friends with someone who invited him for a sleepover during Citron’s birthday. That night, the two friends taught themselves QBASIC. Citron made a text adventure inspired by the “Final Fantasy VII” story, with animating circles creating special effects. The game was so captivating that it got the CEO thinking about gaming as a career.

4. The First Time He Made a Significant Amount of Money from Coding

Since he already had competent computer skills by the time he was 13, the CEO decided to make some money using his knowledge. He had noticed that the elderly lacked computer skills and were willing to pay him to teach them. Therefore, Citron’s father would drive him to older people’s houses, where Citron would spend hours teaching them what they needed to know. By the time he was 16, Citron was earning from his coding knowledge. The entrepreneur told Pocket Gamer that he earned $500 in one weekend when he wrote PHP for clients halfway across the world. The amount was so huge that his parents were worried their son was engaged in drug dealing, but he explained the money was from coding.

5. His First Encounter with a Role-Playing Game (RPG)

Citron revealed to Insider that he began playing video games when he was five years old. His parents bought him a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), and he became hooked to gaming. Other parents were strict on the amount of time their children spent playing video games. Fortunately, Citron’s parents only had one request; that he should finish his homework first. As a result, despite being exposed to all types of video games, RPGs captured his imagination, particularly “Final Fantasy 3,” his first encounter with an RPG. However, “Final Fantasy VI” is his favorite game to date.

6. He Started His First Company While in High School

The CEO disclosed that he founded his first company in 1999. He was still in high school, and it entailed writing code for internet services. However, most sources regard Aurora Feint Inc. as his first company, yet he founded it in 2008.

7. He is a Strategist

Although Citron had always yearned to create a games company, he had no idea how to go about it. He had run a successful operation in high school, but that was a single-person business, yet he wanted a company that would hire people. Instead of giving up on his dream, the gaming expert decided to seek employment in the games industry. Therefore, after graduating from University, he became a gameplay programmer. Citron later joined Double Fine Productions, where he was the tools engineer.

8. He is a Serial Entrepreneur

Even after founding Aurora Feint and OpenFeint, he still wanted to have another gaming company. Therefore, according to TechCrunch, in 2012, the CEO began working on Phoenix Guild and even sought venture capitalists to support him. By July 2012, he had raised $1.1 million from Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, and YouWeb. He now is the CEO of Discord which he founded in 2015.

9. What He Considers His Only Significant Financial Success

By the time Citron founded OpenFeint, he was broke and contemplated moving in with his parents. The team had two months’ worth of money in the bank, and it was not enough to launch a new company. Besides, the other video game versions they were releasing were not profitable despite having many players. Finally, he convinced developers to sign up, and the team spent 45 days coding. Eventually, OpenFeint was founded, and he ended up selling the company for $104 million.

10. Why He Founded Discord

Citron told Greylock that after selling OpenFeint, he launched another game, “Fates Forever,” but it did not do as well as he had hoped. He, therefore, had to shift his strategy. Instead of focusing on developing games, the CEO wanted to fill another gap he had noticed in the games industry. He said that communication tools for gaming platforms were outdated thus launched Discord, a voice, and text chat app.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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