By Sahil Lavingia, @shl, founder of Gumroad, the article describes how the currently 25 people work at Gumroad.
Fission isn’t organized the same way as Gumroad, but shares some similarities. For instance, we do have full time employees, and believe that a lot of work we do is long term, builds over time, and not directly captured by “hours”. This is because of the R&D based nature of a lot of our work – we need to research AND develop. aka unknown unknowns is part of the work we are doing.
We are seeing a lot of interest in flexible work schedules that are less than part time, and we work with a lot of people as contractors, some of which then join on a more full time, permanent basis.
The internet has enabled new ways of working, but we’re just starting to see them unfold. There are a lot of different ways to make work work. Ours is just one.
No one is an employee, everyone is a contractor, and they get paid hourly. They have an “anti-overtime” rate: past 20 hours per week, peoples’ hourly rate is cut to 50%.
They don’t have meetings or deadlines. People pick what to work on. They use Github, Notion, and Slack to “talk”.
- How do we decide what to work on?
- How do we communicate?
- What does working at Gumroad feel like?
- What’s not so good at Gumroad?
Today, working at Gumroad resembles working on an open source project like Rails. Except it’s neither open source, nor unpaid.
There are no deadlines either. We ship incrementally, and launch things whenever the stuff in development is better than what’s currently in production. The occasional exception does exist, such as a tax deadline, but as a rule, I try not to tell anyone what to do or how fast to do it. When someone new joins the company, they do what everyone else does: go into our Notion queue, pick a task, and get to work, asking for clarification when needed.
Instead of setting quarterly goals or using OKRs, we move towards a single north star: maximizing how much money creators earn. It’s simple and measurable, allowing anyone in the company to do the math on how much a feature or bug-fix might be worth.
People work at Gumroad as little as they need to sustain the other parts of their lives they prefer to spend their time and energy on: a creative side-hustle, their family, or anything else.
We also have an “anti-overtime” rate: past twenty hours a week, people can continue to work at an hourly rate of 50 percent. This allows us to have a high hourly rate for the highest leverage work and also allows people to work more per week if they wish.