Don’t Work With Us
Note from the 2020 Invisible Team:
This post does not reflect the way we compensate partners today; yet it is still deeply accurate in two ways. First, in this post you can see that Keenahn isn’t thinking like an “employee,” he’s thinking like a leader. And you can also tell that he’s not writing in a “corporate” voice, but his own. Both of those things are still true today— and they are part of why many of us are still energized to be here. Enjoy our history, dear reader!
At Invisible, we believe in radical honesty. That’s why we publish our monthly investor reports, including our actual revenue numbers. I feel no shame, I fear no competitors.
In this spirit, I will do my best to convince you to not work with us. If I succeed, good. I have saved us both a bunch of time.
1. There’s no Base Pay
This is a big one, so I wanted to put it right at the top.
At Invisible, we work in the spirit of partnership. Team member pay is based on revenue. If you can’t handle a massive pay cut, and the possibility of not getting paid for a few months in a row (which happened to the six founding members last year), then this company isn’t for you.
pay = (revenue/2)/(# of team members)
Our revenue in February was about $22,500 USD, and there were about 14 of us at the time (including partial pay for people who joined in the middle of the month).
1. a. We’re hurting our company by turning away talent
It’s true, there are many talented engineers who have bills to pay, and we can’t hire them. We’re limiting ourselves to people who have already made a bunch of money, or still live with their parents, and that is going to exclude a lot of people.
This sucks. I know it sucks, and I want to change it as fast as possible (by stacking paper in the form of revenue). In order to fix this, I have to do everything I can, including hiring (paradoxically), to help us grow our revenue.
FDR once said, “No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.” Yeah, maybe. Obviously I don’t think a company can exist in this state indefinitely. But, it might be able to exist in this state for a limited time while it’s growing. Every member of our team is here of their own volition and could be making a lot more money elsewhere, but they’re here.
2. There’s no Job Stability
I often tell people that I am Interim CTO at Invisible Technologies, though I have held the position for over two years. I keep the “Interim” qualifier because I know that all positions are ephemeral.
Even my job is not secure.
If we found a better CTO, I would step down and flow to wherever the company needed me.
If I messed up in a major way, I would get fired.
I knew this well from the very first day I joined the team.
If you desire security, sorry. You won’t find it here. You are liable to be fired or demoted at any time, and the company might not even exist a year from now.
Being an entrepreneur means embracing the paradox that the vast majority of startups will fail, and somehow believing that you are in the top 0.01% that won’t (even though all the founders of the failed startups believed the same).
3. It’s Going to Be Stressful (at times)
I shouldn’t have to write this, but in case you didn’t know, joining a startup is inherently stressful.
I wish I could tell you that as an engineer, your job will be well-defined and you won’t have to make tough decisions, but I can’t guarantee that.
Most of the time, the difficult decisions will have been made upstream so that you can focus on what you do best, but sometimes you will get contradictory instructions. When this happens, we expect you to think critically, and we empower you with the authority to make decisions however you see fit.
In addition to the stress of not knowing exactly what to do next, there’s the aforementioned stress of not having a steady income, nor job security of any kind.
Not everyone is cut out for this. It requires mental and emotional fortitude and a certain kind of madness. I’m not judging anyone who decides this isn’t for them. Kudos to you for recognizing what you will and won’t put up with!
My job is to equip you with all the information you need to feel confident in your decision.
From my vantage point in the company, I can see all the things wrong with it, and all the things I want to fix. It would easily fill a roadmap of 10 years or even longer, and somehow we have to compress that down to a year.
It seems impossible.
If I make a mistake, there are 20 other people whose jobs are on the line, not to mention our investors, clients, and 50+ agents, all of whom are (to some degree) counting on me. This (metaphorically) keeps me awake at night.
And yet, I’m still here.
Every day I wake up, make coffee, and sit down to eat an elephant.
I do it because it’s difficult, not in spite of it.
If you’ve read up to this point and are not deterred, you might be what we’re looking for. Fill out this form to get started: https://inv.tech/go