I was offered $1 million for my Go package — and I said No.

Mat Ryer
2 min readDec 13, 2016


If only I were more like Dr Evil

OK — now the headline has you, let me explain what happened. I wrote an abstraction package over a schemaless database which provided a set of JSON/HTTP APIs for storing any kind of data. Go was the perfect language for such a project, and the codebase was (after a couple of rewrites) elegant and pretty sexy. Mixed in with some other useful features that schemaless databases famously don’t include, and I had myself a nice little project.

I originally built it so I could build apps without having to design, build and host a database every time. And I thought others could do the same. Think parse.com before Facebook bought it for $85m and then shut it down.

I was working for a successful small but global company in Colorado and they liked the prospect of what the tech could enable them to do. So one day, the CEO said that he’d buy it for $1M (a mix of cash and company stock which would mature over the next two years.)


Well I’m really not motivated by money (surely this is proof?) and instead started to consider what they company would do with the technology, and how far it would go in their hands. I saw it as my baby, and I wanted the best for it.

The company had a digital tape archive product with a limited amount (although a lot) of customers. The scope didn’t appeal compared to the potential of what the project could do and my code partner at the time agreed with me completely.

I really love open-source projects — the code can be much more useful to the world rather than being stuck as some corporate IP used to make a few rich people richer.

For those reasons, I said, “No thank you.”

I turned down a million dollars.

Since a few of the senior tech people at the company didn’t get the project at all, and thought it was silly, it’s likely it would never have been used inside the company.

What happened next with the project is a longer story than we have time for today; but it is now sat idle and untouched — which may always have been its fate.

So in retrospect, I wish I’d said “Yes” to the million dollars and I wouldn’t have to rely on BitBar donations for my socks.




Mat Ryer

Founder at MachineBox.io — Gopher, developer, speaker, author — BitBar app https://getbitbar.com — Author of Go Programming Blueprints