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A follow up to Coinbase as a “mission focused” company

Last week, I shared that Coinbase is a mission focused company. received quite a bit of attention, and sparked a lot of debate about how companies should operate.

We subsequently decided to make a generous exit package available to any employee who didn’t feel they could be on board with this direction. Today, I sent the following email to the company. Hopefully it sheds some light on how it has unfolded.

Hi team,

I wanted to send you a follow up now that the deadline has passed for people opting in to the exit package.

I know there have been many difficult conversations happening to help clarify what our apolitical culture means in practice. It’s been great to see the whole team come together to reach understanding here, and support each other through it. It’s not easy to get through, but I think it will result in us having a stronger and more united team.

I also want to acknowledge that we could have done a better job bringing the Operating Group and managers along on this clarification of our culture so everyone was prepared before it went out to a wider group. Our practices will continue to evolve as we grow as a business, and we’ll work to do a better job on this in the future.

Many of you are probably curious about the outcome. I wanted to share that about 5% of employees (60) have decided to take the exit package. There are a handful of other conversations still ongoing, so the final number will likely be a bit higher. For those of you who have decided to move on, I want to thank you for your contributions to Coinbase and we wish you the very best. And for those of you who are opting in to the next chapter, I want to thank you for your trust and commitment to this mission. I’m excited to build the future with all of you.

I’ve heard a concern from some of you that this clarification would disproportionately impact our under-represented minority population at Coinbase. It was reassuring to see that people from under-represented groups at Coinbase have not taken the exit package in numbers disproportionate to the overall population. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on this to ensure we are building a diverse, inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong.

Finally, I saw a few misconceptions pop up in public responses. And I know many of you have had friends and family read various articles and send them your way. I thought I would take a minute to address a few of them.

Isn’t crypto inherently political?

Yes, we are ok being political about this one particular area because it relates to our mission.

Do employees have to pretend politics don’t exist?

No, we support each other through tough times and also have conversations about recent events like any team. We have just made a decision to not engage in broader activism as a company outside of our mission.

How will I know what counts as political?

We recognize it’s a blurry line, and ask that employees use good judgement. Our goal is not to look for violations, but rather to support employees in adapting to these clarified expectations.

Does Coinbase just stand for making a profit?

No, we stand for accomplishing the mission and for creating a great place to work. Growing revenue and profit is the only way we will be able to grow our team to build all the things that are needed to accomplish the mission. And we need an environment that is welcoming to everyone to attract and retain team members.

Hopefully these clarifications help clear up any remaining misunderstandings. To help create the same clarity for our external audience and prospective candidates, I’ll be posting this email to the Coinbase blog a bit later today. If you still have questions or would like to discuss further, I encourage you to reach out to your manager, HRBP, or me directly.

While having team members leave is never easy, I think we will emerge as a more aligned company from this. From time to time we need to rearticulate and clarify our cultural norms as we continue scaling. I’m excited to be moving forward as #OneCoinbase to pursue our vision of economic freedom for every person and business.

Thank you,
Brian


A follow up to Coinbase as a “mission focused” company was originally published in The Coinbase Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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