Coinbase CEO responds to corporate culture claims from anonymous post

A since-deleted online post began circulating yesterday calling for the removal of three Coinbase executives, citing failures of the exchange’s non-fungible token (NFT) platform, an aggressive approach to hiring failures and communication.

On Friday, CEO Brian Armstrong addressed the claims in a tweet thread.

The author is positioning himself as an employee of Coinbase or a coalition of Coinbase employees, although The Block was unable to verify the identity of the poster.

“We, the employees of Coinbase, believe that the management team has recently made decisions that are not in the best interests of the company, its employees and its shareholders,” the message read, according to a statement. archived version posted on social networks.

The post names COO Emilie Choi, CPO Surojit Chatterjee and Chief People Officer LJ Brock as “the most prominent executives who executed plans and ideas that led to questionable results and negative value,” and calls upon their withdrawal.

The revendications

These “questionable results” include a toxic work culture due to feedback and performance appraisal systems, aggressive hiring and recent cancellation of offers and “over-prioritization of certain products” leading to a lack of focus on what the poster perceives as important issues, “like infrastructure.”

The message also cites “an overall apathetic and sometimes condescending attitude” on the part of the appointed leaders. He proposes a vote of no confidence to revoke them.

The message claims that the actions of Choi, Chatterjee and Brock have hurt employees, “who have to deal with the unrealistic demands of said executives and the damage they have caused on a daily basis”, as well as the damage caused to shareholders. Coinbase’s stock has fallen in recent weeks.

The Block spoke to several Coinbase employees who were unable to verify if the post was from a colleague, but said the claims are consistent with grievances they have seen voiced in the workplace.

One employee said some teams have grown to a size that doesn’t make sense for their mandate and that over-expansion can dilute cultures. Another said Choi, Chatterjee and Brock are internally unpopular among certain groups in the company.

The answer

Armstrong pushed back the letter in a Twitter threadposting a discussion on the Hacker News forum about the post and calling the claims “really stupid on many levels”.

He urged the poster to quit and find a company they believe in if they have no faith in Coinbase’s leadership. While he said he welcomes suggestions to improve the business, Armstrong said “our culture is to praise in public and criticize in private.”

“Posting this publicly is also deeply unethical, as it harms your colleagues, as well as shareholders and customers,” he tweeted. “It’s also dumb because if you get caught you’ll get fired, and it’s just not an effective way to get what you say you want.”

The supposed employee post mentioned specific HR tools that Coinbase tested, naming the Dot Collector, a tool developed by Ray Dalio that enables real-time feedback and micro-feedback polls to improve performance. . Armstrong specifically responded to this claim, saying he was “shocked at how well this has been played out, for such a small thing in the organization.”

Two teams tried the tool for about a quarter, according to Armstrong, and didn’t use it much. Feedback received has been positive, he said, but there were no plans to use it further at Coinbase.

“A non-event from my perspective,” Armstrong wrote.

He attributed some of the anger to general frustration over a bear market and encouraged teams to stick together in a tough time. Given the size of Coinbase, Armstrong said he expects a small number of individuals to leak information periodically.

“There’s probably a lot of things we can do better, but if you’re in a place where you want to disclose things to the outside, it’s time for you to go,” he said. “You are hurting yourself and those around you.”

Reporting contributed by Frank Chaparro

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