Sash MacKinnon

makes games

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What it’s like to have gay parents

“At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God.” Pope Francis

I was born into a family with two mothers, Laurie and Kerrie. I wasn’t adopted; I was conceived through artificial insemination using donor sperm. My parents fell in love and went through the process in the late 80’s, which was pretty controversial at the time. I’ve met many other children who were conceived the same way, but they were always younger, conceived after it had become more socially acceptable. The only thing I was told about my father is the color of his hair.

Mum and Kerrie are both female feminist family therapists so I have never exactly had a father figure in my life. Despite this, our family was...

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What it’s like to die

Six months ago, I died.

I have no recollection of the event, but I’ve heard the story retold so many times that I may as well have seen it all. I was at the gym in my apartment complex with my roommate, Sam. I was running on the treadmill when I turned and told him I was going to faint. I collapsed and fell onto the still-moving belt, which tore the skin off my knee and pushed me onto the floor. Sam was shocked. He called for help. A personal trainer and her client ran over, called an ambulance, and assisted Sam in giving me CPR while my body slowly drained of color.

My heart had gone into ventricular fibrillation. “Vfib”, as I heard numerous doctors call it, is an type of arrhythmia–a series of irregular electrical signals in the ventricle chamber of the heart. Instead of beating normally, the walls quiver erratically, like they’re having a seizure . The heart quickly becomes...

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What it’s like to work with Mark Pincus

A little more than a year ago, I sat in a conference room with 30 other Zynga new hires. The energy in the room was palpable. People were sitting on the edges of their seats, waiting anxiously. We were about to meet our CEO, Mark Pincus.

He came into the room and sat on the arm of a chair with his feet resting on the seat. He looked around and smiled. His casual, inviting persona has a way of making people instantly admire him. As he began to talk, I furiously scribbled notes.

Since I was six years old, I had wanted to build a games company. At 16, I was making games. By 19, I had two employees and a small amount of revenue. But despite my early luck, I had never been more excited to be in the games industry as I was in that room with Mark Pincus. At age 21, I was starting to realize just how much I had left to learn about building a company.

After Mark finished talking I nervously...

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