Morning Tea #5: best job in the world, zero to $12bn, my life in crypto

I’m starting this week with an ask. Altroleum is on a mission to create markets in hydrogen and we’re searching for excellent people to join us in software engineering and business roles. As part of the process, you’ll be able to meet some of our investors who can tell you why they think this is the opportunity of a lifetime. If you think you can help us build a hugely important company (even if your ideal job isn’t listed) please get in touch with me! If this sounds like your friend, get in touch with them!

We’re building a core team in London capable of architecting & implementing robust software, facing our most challenging technical hurdles, and managing a high-growth business that values its people and its culture. We have an exciting few years ahead — there’s much to do.

For now, we have a few spare desks in our little space in Soho. If you’re fed up with working in your bedroom or on your kitchen table, come and pay us a visit, work amongst our many beautiful plants, and have a coffee on the terrace. I promise we won’t try to recruit you.

Two of our colleagues

Zero to $12bn

Intuit bought Mailchimp, a bootstrapped email marketing company, for $12bn. Profitable from day one, Mailchimp hit $700m in revenue after twenty years and its product has reached 4.5 billion people. For a company that has never received outside funding, it’s an astonishing story.

Mailchimp started out as a marketing agency called Rocket Science Group. They made an email marketing tool which they hoped would make enough to pay for lunch whilst they worked on big ticket marketing projects. As revenues for the tool grew, in 2006, they mothballed the marketing agency and went all in on what they called Mailchimp (Chimpmail.com was taken). They pioneered SaaS before it had an acronym. They were early adopters of the freemium model that businesses and consumers now take for granted. They sponsored Joe Rogan’s podcast when podcasts were still known as radio shows (nearly).

However, it turns out that Mailchimp’s employees have zero equity, causing a bit of blacklash. It was apparently justified by the founders intent never to sell or IPO. Well, they sold and got rich. Meanwhile, the employees are seeing 2.5% of the deal in bonuses to get them to stick around. To be fair, this would have been made clear to new hires and it’s likely salaries would have been greater (apparently they were rolling in cash), which is probably why many of the complaints aren’t from Mailchimp employees.

Personally, I’d like to see the hard work of early believers in my company rewarded when our efforts come to fruition and properly recognise efforts along the way. In any case, Mailchimp’s strategy, along with near flawless execution, obviously worked for them.

My Life in Crypto

I promise this is the last crypto-related piece for a while (at least until next week). I included this addendum as part of a recent Medium piece about the crypto landscape, but I’m recycling it. The opinions expressed in the main part of the article have since changed (a daily thing), but this part still stands.

I have been a believer in Bitcoin for almost a decade. When I was a poor undergraduate in 2013, I bought £20 worth as a curiosity and it promptly lost half its value. Luckily, I still have my keys and it has since gained around 10,000%.

I have weathered two ‘crypto winters’. However, both times, it truly felt terminal. This is why so much Bitcoin is lost forever. Why would you spend so much time and effort protecting a string of characters that is now basically worthless? In retrospect, everything seems obvious but, at the time, $200 felt a bit like a bit much for a digital curiosity that was heading to zero.

Throughout all this, Dogecoin kept it fun. It was a great community of people messing around, learning about crypto, and taking nothing particularly seriously. It’s a shame to see the cesspool of cryptobros that it has become. However, it remains true that 1 DOGE = 1 DOGE.

In 2017, I added a small amount of Ethereum to my ‘portfolio’. There was a tidal wave of tokens emerging and, since they all ran on Ethereum, it seemed like a good way to get exposure to all of them. It has since become clear, at least to me, that most of them are useless.

Nevertheless, I hodl.

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