Darren Smith

Experienced Product Manager
Seattle, WA
I bring a broad set of experiences, ranging from work with industry-leading corporations to startups, developing both the business and the underlying technology for consumer-facing products, and managing both local and international teams.

  • Senior-level Product Manager with experience designing, launching, and operating successful consumer-facing digital products.
  • Deep gaming experience (25+ years in the industry) with start-ups and industry leaders (20 years at Nintendo). 
  • Strong mobile expertise, including developing and launching a mobile game for iOS and Android.
  • Experience managing local and international teams.
  • Deep technical expertise coupled with user experience insight and a strong business instinct. 
  • Able to convey technical details in a clear and concise manner to technical and non-technical stakeholders from executive level to entry level. 
  • Startup mindset and entrepreneurial spirit with ability to navigate and maximize big company strategies.
Professional Experience
2012 - Present
Darren Smith Consulting, Seattle, WA
Product Management and Software Industry Consultant
2017 - Present
Oliver Henry Games, Seattle, WA
Conceived and developed GridFL, a multiplayer mobile football bingo game. 
  •  Developed app for iOS and Android platforms using Unity and C# for the client, and JavaScript, MongoDB, and GameSparks for the backend, integrating Firebase for notifications and deep links.
  •  Launched free-to-play app in App Store and on Google Play, with integrated in-app purchases.
  •  Created a unique system to crowdsource football event data to verify bingo claims.
  Client: Slemma, Inc., a Business Intelligence SaaS Platform
Product management consulting focused on helping company evolve their product strategy. Key accomplishments:
  • Led an Agile Product Management team remotely located in Russia and Los Angeles
  • Transformed startup from a bottom-up, feature-driven development approach to top-down approach driven by the product vision
  • Aligned executive leadership on the product vision, strategy and roadmap
Client: Enterplay LLC, creator of Hasbro’s My Little Pony collectible card game
  • Created first web-based collectible card tournament management system.
  • Captured business requirements to fulfill client’s vision. Developed functional specifications, wireframes and prototypes for end-to-end user experience.
  • Developed critical algorithm for pairing players in a variety of complex tournament styles in PHP.
  • Sourced and managed an India-based development team to develop the site and integrate tournament logic, utilizing PHP with the Yii framework and MySQL.
2013 - 2017
Amperdex, Seattle, WA
​CEO & Founder​
Product recommendation startup offering an entertaining game experience for gathering preferences and providing recommendations.
  • Created vision and developed prototype for a new and engaging user experience designed to help users to discover new products through profile-based predictive analytics.
  • Developed recommendation engine powered by a unique collaborative filtering algorithm, based on Pearson correlation between graph network surfaces and nodes.
  • Paired predictive engine with a novel game mechanic to elicit consumer preferences, using PHP, MySQL, and HBase.
2000 - 2011
Nintendo of America, Redmond, WA
Led North American product management of all online experiences through Nintendo platforms with a team of eight. Championed the adoption of internet technologies within games and platforms, spurred development, and fostered the transition from physical to digital distribution. Promoted to Director in July 2007 and contributed as an independent consultant from December 2000 through August 2003.

Key Projects:

Nintendo eShop: Nintendo’s online marketplace for digital games, applications, and add-on content.
  • Collaborated with software development partner, IT, UI, legal, finance, and marketing teams to develop and launch the front end, back end, and stored-value eCommerce system for the marketplace, starting the company's transformation from physical to digital distribution.
  • Invented system for downloading games to Wii that were developed for other game platforms, and to play them on Wii, enabling Nintendo to add more than 650 classic game titles to the catalog.
  • Analyzed customer feedback and conducted usability studies to improve the experience.
  • Operated and grew each platform’s store, improving scores on key performance metrics over a four year period of publishing weekly content.

Netflix Streaming Video on Wii: Identified opportunity to increase the number of internet-connected Wiis by offering streaming video services and sold the concept to senior executives. Negotiated deal with Netflix, bridged efforts of Netflix and Nintendo engineers, and managed test and launch. Result exceeded goals for connectivity, and led to a significant increase in digital sales and of Wii hardware itself.

Facebook Feature on Nintendo's Mobile Platform: Identified opportunity to impact engagement and awareness of Nintendo's mobile gaming platform through the ability to share photos taken with the system's camera on Facebook. Developed specifications and wireframes for experience, and led Japan-based development team to implement and launch.

Nintendo WiFi Connection Multiplayer Gaming Service: Created vision for online services for Nintendo’s platforms.
  • Championed the development of a multiplayer gaming service to support the WiFi feature of Nintendo's mobile gaming platform. Evaluated build/buy scenarios, proposed solution to executives, and negotiated contract with 3rd party solution provider. Developed functional specifications, and bridged the efforts of internal and external development teams. Worked with marketing teams to develop messaging to launch the brand, and with third-party game developers to incorporate the technology.
  • Developed vision and functional specifications for consumer website to provide customer support for the service and promote the brand. Collaborated with site developer using Agile methodologies, serving as Product Owner.

McDonald’s / Wayport (AT&T) WiFi Connectivity: At a time when WiFi was still relatively new, I proposed making WiFi access free for the users of Nintendo's mobile platform at retail locations. Requested proposals from providers, evaluated technical feasibility with each, and negotiated agreement for this service with Wayport (now AT&T), offering service at McDonald’s. Invented a means for background authentication at these locations, making getting online as simple as starting up a WiFi-enabled game at a McDonald’s, and worked with IT to implement and deploy it. Results exceeded Nintendo’s goals for WiFi connectivity on its mobile platform.
2000 - 2001
Neutron Games, Sammamish, WA
​CEO & Co-Founder
  • Established business relationships with video game publishers for porting games from Sony’s PlayStation 2 platform to Nintendo GameCube.
  • Developed vision and game concept for original karaoke game to leverage company’s speech recognition software, worked with engineers to develop a Minimum Viable Product, and pitched to publishers.
Adoto.com, Seattle, WA
  • Led the development of a unique, fashion-focused product recommendation engine that helped consumers find products that fit.
  • Created the technical vision, sourced a software development team, and guided the development to launch of a Minimum Viable Product.
  • Pitched concept to angel investors.
1990 - 2000
Nintendo of America, Redmond, WA
​Manager 1996 - 2000, Project Manager 1993 - 1996, Engineer 1990 - 1993
Key Projects:

Nintendo 64: Product owner for North America, and key collaborator with development team in Japan.
  • Bridged engineering efforts at Silicon Graphics with Nintendo in Japan, developer support, testing, PR, marketing, and senior executives in North America to launch product.
  • Evaluated game software developers and proposals to assess capabilities and feasibility, and advised senior management on selection of licensee products to support.
  • Collaborated with Mr. Miyamoto and his team in Japan to conceptualize and coordinate the development of Pilot Wings 64, a Nintendo 64 launch title, using a Texas-based development team.

Nintendo Entertainment System Online: Developed prototype for online service in a game-like environment on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 6502 assembly language. Service included user-drawn avatars, text chat, message boards, and physical and digital eCommerce with game downloads.
Recent Hands-On Experience
Past Experience
C / C++

Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Studies focused on telecommunications, internet, and computer engineering
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