Pincus attended Francis W. Parker School from kindergarten through 12th grade and graduated in 1984. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania earned in 1988 and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he founded the Communications Club with Sherry Coutu.
He returned to the United States in order to attend Harvard Business School (HBS) where he was a contemporary of Chris Hohn, Guy Spier and Chris Shumway. He graduated in 1993 and also spent a summer as an associate for Bain & Co. in 1992.
He then started his second company, Support.com, in August 1997. As Chairman and CEO, Pincus built the company into a leading provider of Service and support automation software. The company went public in July 2000. In 2002, the company changed its name from Support.com to SupportSoft, Inc.
In 2003, Pincus and Reid Hoffman purchased the Six Degrees patent, a broad, sweeping patent that describes a social network Service that is the heart of social networks from the extinct Sixdegrees.com company for $700,000.
In 2008, Pincus married Alison Gelb. Alison Gelb Pincus went on to found One Kings Lane, a furniture and home accessories sales website that was sold to Bed Bath & Beyond in 2016. The couple had three children, twin girls and a boy, and lived in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. In March 2017, Alison Gelb Pincus filed for divorce citing "irreconcilable differences" and challenged the validity of their prenuptial agreement.
In October 2009, Pincus started Zynga.org, which is "committed to transforming the world through virtual social goods." Zynga.org has since raised more than $20 million for more than 50 international nonprofits by occasionally selling virtual goods for charitable causes.
In 2010, some criticized Zynga.org for keeping up to 50 percent of the donations it collected for Haiti earthquake relief. The criticisms were based on a Brazilian magazine article but were widely reported over social media and the blogosphere. Some follow-up articles reported that Zynga.org had confused its users about donations to Haiti relief efforts.
On March 11, 2011, Zynga announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from the purchase of virtual goods from more than seven of its games would go toward Japan's Save the Children Earthquake Emergency Fund. During the 2012 holiday season, Zynga.org partnered with Toys for Tots in its largest charitable campaign not related to disaster relief. The campaign raised $745,000, with 100 percent of the purchase price of certain virtual goods going to Toys for Tots.
In July 2007 Pincus founded his fourth company, Zynga Inc. In 2011, Pincus took the company public with a $1 billion IPO. Pincus served as CEO of the company from 2007 to 2013. On July 1, 2013, it was confirmed that Don Mattrick, the former President of Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft, was to succeed Pincus as CEO. Pincus also stepped down from his role as chief product officer to focus on his role as chairman of the board, the company announced in April 2014.
In 2014 Pincus started SuperLabs, an incubator to fund startups. Zynga acquired SuperLabs in 2015.
Pincus returned to the role of CEO of Zynga in April 2015. On March 7, 2016, Pincus stepped down as CEO, but continued his association with Zynga as Executive Chairman of the Board with Frank Gibeau in the role of CEO.
Pincus is a member of the board of the Presidio Trust, a federal agency that operates and maintains the Presidio as part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area. He was appointed to the board by President Obama in 2017.