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How does approach hiring, specifically equity distribution to early engineering hires given high industry salaries?

Andrew Yates

Co-founder & CEO at

Part of the way the company is structured requires that everybody be highly experienced, because everybody is remote. Getting your head around all the different concepts is extremely expensive, if not impossible, and that's compounded by people being remote. Part of the philosophy there is it's required that we hire in this way to operate the way that we do.

Then, in terms of how we think about hiring engineers, this dynamic of “build in-house” that I just described is no fun for anybody. It sounds like it's no fun for management and leadership. It's also not fun for really talented engineers. No one wants to be told that they're building the world's greatest super-app experience, but actually they build the worst piece of crap that can get out the door, and then they have to fix that worst piece of crap just to keep the lights on over time. That's not a fun experience. The more talented and more experienced you are -- especially if you've come from companies that do it right, including Facebook, Google, or Amazon -- the more you know what good looks like and what trying to copy good in an expedient sense looks like and what it feels like to work in it. It feels bad.

Our pitch is: first, come build what you know is right with us, and you own it. You know how valuable it is to do it right, because you've seen it done right. If someone's going to pay you a million dollars a year to sit around and refresh hive jobs or whatever it is, like do a bunch of A/B experiments on twaddling some parameter, that's worth a hell of a lot more to them than a million dollars per year. The vision is, “Look, from an experience perspective, build the thing that you know is right with people who also know that it's right. Let's do it the right way, and have the company structured in such a way that we benefit from that.” Because we own that system and then we're reselling it out to other people, the quality matters tremendously, versus just the internal dynamics of, “Hey, you’ve got a product manager and they need to get it out there this quarter, and then it’s someone else's problem in the next quarter.”

The other aspect is the value of it. It makes sense when the expected value, if successful -- even if it's maybe a challenge -- is billions or trillions of dollars, and that is the market size for performance media. We talked a little bit about some of the dynamics here of marketplaces just craving performance growth that scales, and there are just no new ideas. Or the existing ideas are getting worse and worse, and there are still no new ideas, so there's more and more pressure. People who are building these systems are smart people, and they recognize that these market pressures exist. There’s a real possibility that this large equity stake that we give to our engineers -- almost like a partnership -- will be worth it. Not only in terms of being proud of the system you've built, but monetarily as well.

Find this answer in Andrew Yates, CEO of, on driving marketplace ARPU with personalization
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