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Reflections on Taking ARCx Private
A brief personal recount
In case you’ve only recently started following me, last year in October, ARCx went private. You can read more about it here to understand what that actually means:
We did that back in October of last year. It’s now been close to 9 months since that decision and I thought I’d share with you all the results of that decisions.
First and foremost, it was the best decision we’ve made. The amount of focus it has enabled for myself and the team is understated to say the least. Having to wake up to ticker price that doesn’t reflect the value you’re working to create yet measuring yourself and your team’s worth to it, is one of the most awful things to experience. We’ve been able to execute with laser like precision and focus on only the things that matter. There’s none of the:
What will token holders think?
What will speculators think about this?
Will this pump the token in the next 3 months?
Will this be able to provide sustainable staking yields?
If you’re a startup and anyone is asking these questions, you’re going to lose. The only questions that anyone should be asking is:
Is this something people want?
How will this make money?
Everything else is so irrelevant I can’t even explain how much this should be anchored into every founder’s head (especially in crypto). Tokens are the fuel to the fire, not the core of the fire. A startup is like concentrating energy into reality and hoping it pierces through to make an impact. The less focus you have, the less energy you have concentrated into that tiny little point. Focus is impact.
That’s not to say it was an easy decision. In fact, it was probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve made as a leader. The anxiety I felt the week we made the move was one that I still remember clearly to this day. Not knowing how it’d be received by everyone, whether it would be the right move or not, how will it play out logistically etc. That wasn’t the worst though unfortunately. Being completely transparent here, we had team members that weren’t a fan of the decision and ultimately, decided to leave. This was a hard pill to swallow looking back and I was worried about what the future of the team would look like. Luckily, things all worked out and I’m excited about the current ARCx team and the capabilities we have to ship the products we’re dreaming of. I’m also grateful to everyone that has continued to believe in what we’re trying to do and has stuck around despite the ups and downs (including you, the reader, reading this)!
Taking a more personal view here, it did teach me a very real lesson about leadership. You’re unfortunately going to have to make decisions that are the right long term thing but extremely unpopular in the short term. This was hard for me to understand at the time because I strive to be the best I can and to be liked by those around me. Although it is what is, you grow and learn.
On a different note, I have seen some teams and people reach out to me since they’re in similar situation but I haven’t seen as many people do something similar and take a hard decision like we did. I think so many teams would benefit from acknowledging that the state of things could be improved and taking decisive action to fix it. Maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s greed. I’m personally not sure.
Where to from here? For starters, we’ve got fuel to keep building for a while so we’re going to be heads down building and shipping so that’s nice! As we get more of our metrics in shape, I’ll be able to start sharing those a lot more openly.
On the topic of tokens, I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of “semi-liquid” tokens. The idea is that I think tokens can exist in a new form than they have in the past. One that is more sustainable and solves the problems that I experienced with fully liquid tokens. Liquidity is a privilege that should be earned, not one that is distributed on day one.