On salaries & selling

On salaries

I hate doing or saying the same thing twice, talking about salaries, happened already 2 times, so it’s time to have this written so I won’t need to repeat myself, again, this is mostly an internal note, hopefully it would be helpful for other people as well which aren’t working in our company. I’m also not trying to teach you anything through those notes, but rather give more visibility into how I’m thinking.

First of all the amount of money you earn aren’t equal to how much you worth, probably neither directly related to how smart you are, but rather to how much value you bring to the organization. This relationship can be very productive, where your best skills are put to use + the company manage to transmit that to customers, so it makes money and you get paid, or can be unproductive, either you aren’t using your best skills or the company ( can be other departments, people, etc ) aren’t able to deliver that to customers.

A special thing probably is the amount of responsibility you have or ownership you assume, or in other words how much you “care” about things happening around you.

For example, doing the same thing, like writing an article, if you write it on your newly started personal blog, would probably bring you nothing and worth close to nothing, however doing it on forbes.com, would create a great amount of value.

Sometimes however you might be unproductive on purpose, for e.g I’ve got close to 0 experience in running a 20 person company, so probably working on some things not only that I’m not creating value, but through mistakes I’m costing the organization money, however in some areas I’ve got lots of experience, so I balance those to earn a living, but is not the maximum I can earn, I’m earning less than some people that work with us due to this.

The same way if you are a developer, you are good at that, but 40% of your time you wanna play with photoshop and work also on the design part, on which you aren’t that great, that work would likely won’t pay, so theoretically you’ll get a 40% smaller salary ( if you have no idea about design and just learning), if you are ok with that, you would probably get a smaller cut.

In some cases maybe you are doing some work which is repetitive and from which you can’t progress that much, so you wanna spend x% of your time on learning something new as well, in short term might reduce your pay, but in long term not really.

In our organization  I assume that you spend 5-10% of your time on learning by default, we’re not really expecting that you would deliver results 8h per day, then probably around 10-40% depending on the role, you have the freedom to allocate your time, either to things you wanna learn or improve, or to things you are great at, this means you have the freedom to influence through this your pay.

Wanna earn more, let’s figure out along with your team-leader what works for us as an organisation and how you can focus on those to maximise your pay.

On Selling

Figured out that one concern employees have is company direction, in some industries like WordPress space, acquisitions are getting more and more popular, generally is also a common way to “exit”, so the question is: when we would sell and how this might affect everybody?

Note before starting: This is mostly meant to be an “internal” email addressed towards our employees, though that is no secret and others might benefit from it as well. I’m also not trying to teach you anything through those notes, but rather give more visibility into how I’m thinking.

Since I’ve started creating the first project I was interested in buying/selling marketplaces as a way to understand how much is worth what I’m building or what I’m working on, but also acquire potentially interesting projects, so I got quite early to understand how businesses are evaluated in our space.

Over the years I was asking myself multiple times if selling some of our projects makes sense and it is something that I’m always considering, let’s explore various scenarios, but before let’s define what the company means to me:

At this point for me VertiStudio is not about WordPress or themes or content, but about the people, because it’s how those products were built at the end of the day, from the day was my vision has been to create a place where people willing to work and grow would be able to get on-board and they would learn and grow, what we would work on and how we would serve our customers better, would likely be your job, not that much mine, with this in mind let’s look at scenarios:

We will be receiving a buying offer for the company

There are 2 possible scenarios here, they might be interested in our team + assets or in our assets, however in both cases, this is likely good news, here’s why:

a) If they are interested in our team, is because they’ve probably envisioned that in a different setup/ecosystem we would be 10x more productive, so they would be willing to pay a premium on what we are doing right now, which means that we’ll get to do much more and be more effective.

b) They are interested in our assets because they believe that in their ecosystem they would worth 10x more, which is also great, why would we keep something that other could use in a more productive way ( maybe reach more people or make it better through integration), sooner or later this would happen.

a) is probably the option that would introduce the biggest change for everybody, but the good part for you is also the option where you can get to decide, so in case this would happen it means that most of you would have agreed on that, which means you would be ok with it.

b) This is more likely than a), however without being a very product-focused company, it would be hard for somebody else to get our products to much better use, considering that our marketing is good enough as well, but still, it can happen. So we’ll probably get a few million $$, which would be enough for us to re-start. It would probably be a great opportunity to explore new ideas, redo some internal organization or change roles, I personally, don’t plan to retire this early.

We’ll sell a product

This is probably the most likely option to happen, however, it would also be the less disruptive one, sooner or later would probably happen, but it would allow us to pivot, re-organize and experiment working on different things.

Hopefully going through some hypothesis would help you realize that at least in our case, I’m sure that selling would be a great thing not only for the owners but also for other people involved.

Change might make people anxious, however, I believe it would just create opportunities for all of us.

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