Editor’s note: While this article from 2017 does not contain most recent partner pay model, the framework we use to pay our partners remains the same. We’re a partnership because we are the owners. The model is simple: value created is value rewarded.
Why we’re a partnership.
Invisible is a partnership. This is how partners get paid. Why did we structure things this way? Because we went through hell. For the first six months, the company was a rocketship. And then it crashed. All the people who were along for the ride quit, because we ran out of money. But six of us stayed. When things got even worse, we stayed. For eighteen months, we bled. We paid ourselves almost nothing. When we needed money to survive, we did some consulting work on the side to keep going. When we needed motivation, we motivated ourselves. By some miracle of determination and insight, we rebuilt the company from scratch.
Now that the company is a rocketship, and profitable this time, we’re not going to make the same mistake again, and hire a bunch of people who are along for the ride. We’re hiring capitalists. We’re not offering wage socialism, like Google and the rest. You’re not going to get a free equinox subscription, free uber rides, free sushi lunches, free flights, free healthcare, free this, free that. Your salary is directly tied to our profits, and you’ll only get your full salary if our profits grow. Your equity won’t vest for a year, so if you quit before that, you don’t get any. We bled, we own the company. If you want to own the company too, you’re going to have to bleed too.
But if you do want to become a partner in the business, the sky is the limit on how much you can make. A Tier 1 salary is capped at $96K, but with bonuses and dividends and appreciation in the value of your equity itself, there is no limit to how much money you can make. All great fortunes are made with equity.
The value of creating a culture like this is that everyone is aligned. We work remotely, so nobody is going to stand over your shoulders to make sure you’re being diligent. You’re free to work when you want, how you want. Penultimately, you’ll be judged on how much value you add. And ultimately, you’ll be rewarded on how much value you add. Because if you make this company great, you’ll be rich.
Meritocracy is not for the faint of heart. We believe that the person who creates the most value for the company should receive the most compensation, and that the next-most valuable person should receive the next-most compensation. In practice, it is difficult to measure value and compensate contributions without creating perverse incentives. But we’re doing our best. And that’s the mindset.
But the people who cared about money left, and the people who didn’t care about money stayed. So the real reason we’re a partnership is because we are owners. When you own something, you care about it. Not because you own it, necessarily — but because it is an extension of you, an expression of you; it is you, and you are it.
We are Invisible. And no amount of money can compensate us for the loss of not being able to build the greatest company in the history of the world. We are not founders. The founding moment is always now. The moment the founding moment is in the past, the company has begun the process of dying. The new idea, the new evolution — the new vision of beauty, the new mission to save the world — is always now.