The “Secret Sauce” Behind BitMax.io’s Rapid Ascension
The startup hustle is well-known for its long hours, painstaking effort, and sheer devotion to the success of a product. I had heard all about the startup hustle, but my perspective had been that only product founders would be willing to devote every bit of their day to a product. I could not—did not—believe that employees would be willing to dedicate their mind and body to the success of a startup.
My perspective, though, was challenged when a close friend joined a startup called BitMax.io, which is a digital asset trading platform. There are thousands of startups in the cryptocurrency market so a new addition to the menu did not seem to be a big deal. I was happy for my friend because it seemed she was about to be part of an intriguing and cutting-edge technology. However, it wasn’t long before I started feeling bad for her.
She could not have breakfast without having a phone in hand, ready to attend a call from work, let alone meet-up for a normal lunch date with friends. Her lunches were at her desk; often dinners were too. She’d be in meetings till the evening and important industry events on the weekends. I know full-time work these days means an employee has to give maximum effort, but straight-up devoting most of the awake hours to a company was the recipe for sadness—at least, that’s what I thought.
So, one day, after getting to meet her over a lunch that had been planned weeks in advance, I pointed out to her that no job can be worth it if the bosses are this demanding. She seemed oddly puzzled as she explained BitMax’s founders set high expectations for her but do not force extended labor.
She seemed happy to do the work. I could not understand why or how could she be willing to give so much to a job. But as we continued talking through the lunch, I managed to grasp the fire driving her.
The efforts of genuinely devoted founder are infectious.
She wasn’t forced to give her all; she wanted to give her all. Her company’s founders have a large team and network of partners to ensure the tasks that need to be handled are carried out. Despite this, I learned that the founders’ typical day included 18 to 20 hours of work. Morning, afternoon, night, weekday, or weekend—it did not matter; her company’s founders were working to make sure the product reached its maximum capacity. They set a single mission for themselves and their team: do whatever it takes to ensure their community and users get the very best. They then actioned this mission through their own efforts, day-in and day-out.
With such devoted leaders, the entire team felt that the bar had been set high and that there was work to be done at every instant and it had to be done with precision and dedication to ensure the results that they can be proud of. Naturally, this meant maximum effort on every team member’s part.
But there was more.
I understood that she liked her work and wanted to do her best, but I couldn’t grasp how she could be so happy with giving essentially her entire day.
Then she clarified: she felt she’s part of a family. Her leaders work hard but they nudge everyone at work to do reach their best. They set expectations and they provide the guidance to reach it; the team members know that George and Ariel have given them a growth opportunity that should not be missed. The welcoming environment of the work—like lunches and snacks bought by the founders to encourage everyone to gets along during the day—ensure everyone feels cared for and being part of a warm team that’s working in harmony and keeping up with each other. The founders lead the way, providing guidance while exemplifying the raw hustle that must be devoted to creating a product. And at the end of each day, each member is able to recognize the achievement of their work: a startup that is quickly becoming a giant.
She explained that she has understood that she can be a part of something great but it’s partially on her to make it great. Her leaders have done their best to demonstrate, through their own dedication, that there is a responsibility at hand to see that BitMax becomes something great. As exemplified by her role models—BitMax’s founders—she can do more and she wants to do more, each day. Thus, she explained she didn’t find the work as a burden but as a merry part of her life.
As we wrapped up lunch, I was still genuinely awe-struck that she was happy to commit so much to her work out of a pure desire to meet the expectations of the company’s founders. To invoke such a desire in a team is no easy feat, but it’s clear that founders that lead by example aren’t alone in the dedication to creating the greatest products; their teams, motivated and encouraged to follow the steps of their leaders, become equally devoted to the product.