Jean-Sylvain Sormany, president, Snowed in Studios

2017 Forty Under 40 recipient
Jean-Sylvain Sormany

Age: 38

Birthplace: Montreal

Company: Video game developer

Education: Bachelor of computer engineering, Polytechnique Montreal (2001)

Charitable involvement: International Game Developers Association

Biggest biz achievement: Starting my company, making it grow to 25 employees and favouring diversity in employment.

Biggest biz obstacle: Taking a group of talented individuals working in a troubled economy after the 2008 economic crisis and building a studio from scratch while there was an overall slowdown of our sector.

Biggest influence: There is not one single answer to this question. I was influenced by a group of brilliant people from the local industry (John Criswick, Scott Simpson, Andrew Fisher) as well as other industry influencers (Jason Della Rocca) and other entrepreneurs (Wes Tam, David Fugère Lamarre) going through similar challenges.

Biggest lesson learned: Communication and honesty are the most prized values when working with customers. After a tough project where I was trying to maintain the company’s image by hiding some issues from a client, things got bad and eventually even worse. That was the last project I did where I was not upfront with a client about problems. Today, transparency is key to all our projects.

First job: Working on a golf course

Advice I’d give the younger me: Don't be shy; go out and meet people. (It's a lesson it took me years to learn!)

What’s left to do: Professionally, I want to build the biggest game development studio in Ottawa, a home for hundreds of brilliant game developers. Personally, there are so many countries left to be visited!

Favourite pastime: Biking

I’m currently reading: Pain and Prejudice: What Science Can Learn about Work from the People Who Do It by Karen Messing

Favourite movie: Life is Beautiful

Favourite song: Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2

Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa Senators

Favourite local summer event: Ottawa Bluesfest

Preferred social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

Twitter handle: @jssormany