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Posts tagged: John Swiderski

The Mean Hamster fallout: where did the tech firm’s last workers go to find jobs?

This should be, if all goes well, our final post related to Mean Hamster Software, and its recent demise. We wrote about it three weeks ago, highlighting the issues that forced the tech company's CEO, John Swiderski, to shut it down.

Last week we posted that Swiderski struggled to find a decent-paying tech job in the Spokane area. He ended up taking a job with Seattle-based DoubleDown, a virtual casino company.

We asked Swiderski what happened to the eight workers he had in Deer Park. What happened to them?

The answer: one moved to the Tri-Cities, two moved to Oregon, one moved to California, one moved to Seattle for a job.

“For the other three, I am not sure and am checking,” Swiderski wrote by email.

Mean Hamster’s John Swiderski lands with in Seattle

John Swiderski, the Deer Park business man who started and recently had to shut down Mean Hamster Software, has taken a job in Seattle with an online gaming company.

We wrote about Swiderski and the Mean Hamster demise last month. In a world of apps, Mean Hamster got to the point where it wasn't able to compete with much smaller or in many cases much larger software firms.

Swiderski has been hired to be “casino producer” for,  a Seattle company that calls itself “the world's largest virtual casino.”

After shutting down the Deer Park company, Swiderski said he struggled to find a like-paying job in the Spokane area. He took a job for a week with Glyph Language Services, a downtown Spokane tech firm. That lasted a week. Swiderski said he had to accept the job offer from Double Down, as it paid far more than Glyph did.

And the new job is more challenging, Swiderski said in an email.

We'll post later on how succesful Swiderski's eight last Mean Hamster workers are in finding new jobs.

Deer Park’s Mean Hamster Software shuts down, eight positions eliminated

We have to say, dang it, we wanted Mean Hamster Software to make it.

But, sadly, owner John Swiderski just closed his eight-person software shop, which has operated in Deer Park since 2005.

Here's the gist of an article soon to appear on

JOHN SWIDERSKI'S technology company has been wiped out by the apps tsunami. His Deer Park firm, Mean Hamster Software, just closed down, crushed by the inability to compete with mobile games.

From 2005 to 2010, Swiderski’s energetic software firm grew to 21 workers and built several successful games for sites like Yahoo Games and PlayFirst.

But websites where people play games are out of fashion. The game industry has shifted toward mobile games played on phones and tablets.

Once mobile apps became the dominant system for game developers, companies that were depending on web-based games got caught.

“We couldn’t compete with thousands of people who were able to become low-cost developers,” he said.

Plus, the new marketplaces of iTunes and the Android store made it vastly simpler for anyone to upload a game and reach thousands of potential customers.

 “So there was a lot more competition with the very large app companies, and with indie developers, and that all left me unable to acquire any more third-party contract work,” Swiderski said.

By July 1 Mean Hamster had shrunk to eight workers.

Swiderski tried hard to find jobs for his crew, calling firms from Spokane to Seattle.

He shut down the office last week,

“I paid my workers before I closed shop. That was the right thing to do, but it left me personally broke,” Swiderski said.

At this point he’s joined his former workers on the job-search front. “If I can’t find employment here, I’ll have to move to Seattle. I don’t only do games. I’m a producer, a project manager and a designer. But there aren’t many jobs in Spokane.”

REMAINDER of story will appear in this weekend's Spokesman Review.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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