Me again. You seemed to be OK sending an email to millions of people - so, I figured it’d be nice to send one to a hundred, or whoever is left on your team.
Years ago, I remember standing in the BART station in the Embarcadero in San Francisco. In front of me, I saw a sign that definitely caught my attention:
“We fire people” it proudly proclaimed. At the time, I remember thinking: “I do too! This must be a company that aligns with my values.” So, I applied at Expensify and spent the next two years of my life working for your company.
During my interview, you asked me a question:
“What’s one thing you want to do with your life, and how can Expensify help you achieve that goal?”
Well, I wrote that book, David.
Dear Atlas: It’s Me, your Dad, is now available for purchase on Amazon.com, and it is one of the greatest things I ever wrote.
I can’t really thank you for helping me write that book. Directly, at least. However, I do have to thank you for firing me, because it was one of those difficult life situations that propelled me back into life as an entrepreneur, years spent traveling abroad and enough time to really take a good, hard look at the world around me and discover my place in it - which wasn’t at your company.
There are a lot of things I’m thankful for that have happened over the last few years, including the joy of becoming a Father to the most beautiful little boy on the planet, Atlas. dearatlas.com | atlaskicks.com
I think you’ll agree with me that there’s a lot of joy in being a Dad. You and I share the bittersweet experience of being single Dads, too. In that respect, I’m in your corner - because I know the excruciating pain one feels when separated from the little one they love most in the world.
Now, a lot of people on your team are probably having doubts about how they’re going to provide for their family, or salvage the broken dreams they entrusted you and the leadership team at Expensify to help them accomplish.
You failed them, David. And as CEO, I’d encourage you to eat your own words and fire yourself.
See, I think that it takes great leadership to run a great company. Expensify lacked that in every way, shape and form, and I didn’t see any measure of accountability for the egregious errors that have now cost you and everybody who put their hope and trust in you.
Great companies need great leadership. I’m sure we can agree on that. Yet, over the years I was at Expensify, I saw rampant failure in leadership that cost the company millions - if not billions, because that’s what you could have been.
You emailed millions of customers, urging them to vote for a particular presidential candidate - and if they didn’t, they would somehow be a traitor to those who fight for democracy.
I can’t remember the last political debate I’ve had that ever brought me closer to my family, or won me more friends. Apparently you didn’t learn this lesson.
There are some things I don’t like talking about in a work environment - politics, religion, to name a few. Why? Because it doesn’t do anything to promote the bottom line of running a business, which is to earn revenue, deliver value to your customers and create a culture that’s healthy, sustainable and challenging for those who work in the office.
That’s just common sense.
Common sense is the least common of all senses…
I’m guessing at this point that you and I can agree that emails like this aren’t what most people want to read…
You had a strong company culture, David. And there are a lot of things that contribute to a company culture that go far beyond revenue.
One of the things I appreciated most about your brother, Kirk, was that he was a true friend to those on our beloved CS team. Kirk fired me with tears in his eyes, and was met my own.
Those tears were still in my eyes when I stopped to thank you for the opportunity you gave me to work at Expensify, before I walked out the front door of the bank.
You didn’t even acknowledge me as I left, David. That hurt.
However, that’s not the type of man that I wanted to work for. You, to be clear. I’d work for Kirk any day of the week, because he knew how to listen, care for and help the people on our CS team - which I always felt was a bit of a tight-knit bunch of misfits that truly loved and cared for each other. They were the heart and soul of your company, and Kirk was the one who curated that element of teamwork.
Of all the people I miss at Expensify, Kirk was the one I loved the most.
But this isn’t about Kirk, David. It’s about you.
You grew Expensify to a point where money flowed as easily as the Kombucha you kept on tap in the office - which was incredible, thank you - and it seemed as if there was no end to it.
You pushed us all to 10X our efforts ahead of the Super Bowl ad, which you spent $5M+ on developing.
2Chanz? Did you REALLY think that accountants would relate to 2CHAINZ?!
You would have 10X’d your revenue if you made a commercial with stock videos of accountants at an office and aired it on any other day than the Super Bowl….see ^ for reference to common sense.
10X didn’t happen. And that’s really when I started to see the cracks in the wall of the organization that you built.
Sort of like writing an email to a predominately republican group of people - you know, the ones who run businesses…and your customers…telling them to vote for Biden.
There’s a war brewing right now, David. It started when a terrorist group attacked innocent people….and the one who funded them? Iran. Who funded Iran? Biden. To the tune of $6B….
Nice presidential pick, David. Let’s not even get into what’s happening in Portland, SF, New York and Chicago - cities where these policies effectively defunded the police and are now flooded with hundreds of thousands of unvetted migrants after years of tooting their horn as “Sanctuary cities”
It’s a dangerous thing when personal beliefs don’t align with reality. It’s an even more dangerous thing when somebody realizes too late in the game that they made a mistake.
When mistakes happen, people should get fired. And in this case, it’s you, David, that ought to finally take one for the team and fire yourself from Expensify.
You could have turned Expensify into an ESOP - though I’m not entirely sure the mechanics of how that would work - but I know that for the $150M+ in revenue that you were earning at the time I was fired, that could have easily fed, funded and helped everybody on your team accomplish the goals you asked them about during their interview.
Instead, you went off to Wall Street….and became like the dirty dark capitalists that you and people like Biden seem to loathe…
For nearly three years after you fired me, I suffered from repeated nightmares where I got fired all over again…and it was really hard. Really, really hard.
Yet, I healed. I got back on my feet, and now I have the most incredible life that I ever could have imagined. Not because I’m rich, but because I am content, loved, respected and provided for.
I imagine that a lot of the people who entrusted you with their time (This Is My Everything), money and dreams are now wishing they had picked somebody else to work for.
To those people, I would encourage them and tell that that there is life after Expensify. Perhaps it will be a difficult transition, and one filled with a lot of questions, regret and even shame, but the best years are ahead for many people on your team, despite the road you and the leadership team have led them on that now looks as bleak as your stock price.
Still with me, David? I hope so. I also hope that you join me in the ranks of being a former Expensifier, because it’s time that you followed your own words and fired yourself.
Sent with love from Texas,
P.S. It’s really, really rude to send long emails, sort of like being stuck on the phone with somebody that doesn’t let you get a word in.
“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter” - Mark Twain