All for one, and one for all.
Published: January 18, 2022
Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno.
At the end of 2021, the Adomni leadership team and I made a move that I have been wanting to do for many years.
We created a new Employee Stock Option Pool (ESOP) from which every single employee in the company is participating. From the most entry-level position to senior leadership. From all current employees to all future employees.
And not just employees. Every single advisory board member and every single board of director member has equity too.
The higher you climb within the company, the more stock you can earn.
We are all, for the first time in our company’s history, true partners; with interests aligned to build the biggest and best company we can and to celebrate and share in its success when the day comes to exit or IPO.
This decision did not come easy. Some opponents of the idea felt that granting stock options was like a giveaway, framing the move as a mistake because our stock was the most valuable thing that we had.
What won the day was the notion that we aren’t giving away anything. What we are really doing is enabling everyone that chooses to work with and for us, to earn their share(s) over time, rewarding their commitment and their contributions.
Companies like Amazon and Publix Supermarkets are firm believers in the importance of employee ownership. And for good reason.
Why Employee-Owned Companies Are Successful
An article published recently by the Employee Ownership Foundation explains, "Employee-owners have a different attitude about their company, their job, and their responsibilities that make them work more effectively and increases the likelihood that their company will be successful. Fundamentally, employee-owners are more accountable for their job performance and their fellow workers' job performance simply because they have a common stake in the success of their company."
That’s the dry, literal explanation.
The real explanation is actually kind of a selfish one.
If we go public one day, I want to ring the bell with as many of my colleagues as I can possibly fit onto the podium. Or if we get acquired, I want to sign the purchase agreement with as many people in the room and watch live through a zoom video.
I have found that the greatest joys of my life have been those that were shared.
I am inspired by the trifecta of building an amazing business, making a lot of money, and distributing the wealth across the people that contributed along the way.
Conversely, if you have ever seen the movie Into the Wild, you witnessed the profound and destructive power of solitude.
In the movie, (which is based on a true story) the main character realizes that while individual achievement has its merits, life loses meaning when you can’t share special moments with others
So I say to all the Adomni partners, current and future, and really anyone building or running a business that values high growth and performance:
- Life is short.
- Do epic shit.
- Challenge yourself.
- Don't just accept failure, welcome it. You need it to improve.
- Push everyone around you to be their best and don't be afraid of friction.
- Have fun along the way and don't take yourself too seriously.
- See how high you can climb.
And when you get to the top, whenever that day comes, whatever that looks like, it will taste so much sweeter when you are surrounded by those who chose to make the arduous trek with you.
Here’s to achieving shared, mutual success, from the top to the bottom and everywhere in between.