Branko Milutinovic left war-ravaged Serbia, only to return and create a soccer game that’s been downloaded more than 170 million times.
When Branko Milutinovic was growing up in Belgrade, air-raid sirens routinely cut short pickup soccer games with friends. “If you heard a siren you had about five to 10 minutes to get to a shelter,” says Milutinovic, now 34. “You’re watching from the window and seeing rockets coming up and coming down, then things explode. It was like in the movies.”
The bombings ended in 1999, leading to the eventual downfall of former Serbian president and accused war criminal Slobodan Milosevic, but the prolonged conflict left the country’s economy in tatters. Milutinovic, who enjoyed tinkering with computers, did well in school and received a masters degree in computer science. Then, like many ambitious young Serbs, he left the first chance he got.
Milutinovic decamped to Copenhagen for a low-level job with Microsoft Corp. The work was fine, but he didn’t love it. He was anxious to return to Belgrade to be with his ailing father.
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