Two weeks ago today I decided to quit my job at QuickNode after exactly one year and one day. It was certainly a shorter amount of time than I had initially anticipated, but I feel pretty good about how much we’ve accomplished. I’ll cover here what actually got done, how it went and what’s coming next for me.
I haven’t written a single blog post in almost a year, since my last retrospective. which is an indication of how busy I’ve been at QuickNode. We built a lot of stuff from the ground up and that took a big amount of energy and focus.
How it started
I initially joined QuickNode to work on the developer dashboard Rails app (the codebase that powers the quicknode.com website. When I joined we were just three people on that team and the entire company was probably around 15 people. When I left, one year later, the company had grown to over 90 people! That’s a ~6x growth, mostly in the last 6-8 months! As expected, there were some growth pains associated with that, as is the case with pretty much every startup that I’ve worked at.
A few months after joining, I quickly shifted focus to work on a completely new product that QuickNode was building for Twitter at the time, which ended up becoming the current incarnation of the NFT API.
It started as a JSON RPC API for NFT token ownership verification on Ethereum, so that Twitter could continuously ensure that users still owned the NFT tokens that they claimed as their profile avatars. This quickly grew to encompass a lot more than just ownership verification, including more features and other chains, like Solana, for example. We also built a brand new Ethereum blockchain indexer completely from scratch, which now powers both the NFT API and the, recently launched, Ethereum (fungible) ERC-20 token API.
This was all accomplished in a matter of just a few months and released on time, in what I’d call a very smooth soft launch. We initially tested it with a small subset of early/beta testers, but this is now generally available and users can enable it as an add-on for their QuickNode endpoints. It has been live for a while now and generating a sizable chunk of additional company revenue from a brand new vertical, which now became the Developer Experience pillar. This was the inception of QuickNode’s “enhanced” APIs, which I’m incredibly proud to have led to production from beginning to end.
How it’s going
When I left QuickNode, this new APIs team we started had already grown to five people (it was just myself for the first few months). It felt bittersweet to leave this project and team behind, which was like a brainchild to me, but I really felt like this was the time for me to step back and reevaluate where I wanted to go next.
QuickNode was also my first experience working as an Engineering Manager. Besides having managed a couple of interns while at Stripe, this was my first real hands-on experience as a manager, which is a skill I’ve been meaning to sharpen and practice more for a while now. It gave me a completely new perspective on how to add value not just as an individual contributor, but also by empowering the team to bring their best selves to work every day and feel productive and accomplished.
I’m proud to say that our team felt really cohesive and we had a positive culture of open and honest communication. It’s not for me to say whether or not I did a good job playing that role though, but I’d like to believe that my teammates appreciated working with me in that capacity. At least that’s what they told me, so all I can do is to take their word for it 😊
It’s now clear to me that a big part of being a manager is to remain selfless and to fully focus on my team’s happiness and productivity instead. In the end, companies are made of people and a manager’s role is to ensure that the people in their team have all the tools they need to be successful.
I’m intentionally not gonna dive into the details and reasoning for departure in order to preserve company and the privacy of the people there. All I’ll say is that I’m rooting for QuickNode’s success and I think they are well positioned to be a top player in the web3 infrastructure space.
A bear market is the perfect time to get our heads down and build, forget speculation, price action and FUD. It’s what will set apart companies that are well run from the rest. People who are in this space for the right reasons will continue to do so, irrespectively of these distractions.
For me, I’ll continue to closely follow developments in crypto, DeFi, web3, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, etc, as I’ve done so since 2014. For now, I’ll take some time to rest, experiment, learn, think, read, write, be bored, travel.
I got a lot more stuff that I’m brewing in the meantime, so expect more updates here soon 🍻