On leaving Uniswap to build something new

Oct 9, 2023

I left my job at Uniswap last week. I’ve learned so much from the most talented team in web3 and am proud of everything we’ve built. Here are my reasons for leaving:

I’m really excited to explore

I can’t stop thinking about ideas. I’m excited to build, prototype, or do user research to validate them. When I was taking the night shift for my newborn daughter, who woke up every 45min from 9pm to 5am, I chose to build prototypes rather than get sleep. Here is what keeps me up at night:

🔒Priverify: Bot prevention for websites with privacy-conscious users

♾️Code that runs free, forever, and without maintenance

🔐Balancing trust and privacy with advanced cryptography

🤯Problems I’ve encountered

It gets me closer to where I want to be in a decade

Building a company gets me closer to my professional goals. I want to be fascinated about what I work on, have the freedom to choose what I spend my time on, and work in my ideal work culture - writing and async first, as-needed meetings, high trust, remote with frequent onsites.

It’s also the next stage of my growth. I’m at a crossroads now - do I want to go up the PM career ladder or learn what it takes to build a business? The first will always be there for me, but the latter gets harder every year.

Life is meant to be challenging, fulfilling, and curious

I’ve heard a startup is excruciatingly difficult yet incredibly fulfilling. I’ve always been curious about startups, and have watched friends fail and succeed working on theirs. For some time, I’ve explored ideas, built prototypes, and hopped on customer research calls on the side. I’ve appreciated the ups and many downs, and am ready to jump in fully now.

There is never a perfect time to build a company. The best time to build a company was before I had a child. The next best time is now. The life I want is splitting my time between my family, friends, and exploring what’s interesting to me. Why wait?

This has capped downside, unlimited upside

From a risk perspective, the downsides are opportunity cost and stress. The career risk is limited, since startup exploration accrues to my future role. My guardrails are to get to breaking even on my monthly expenses in 2 years, and my wife being able to veto this endeavor if I’m not present for my family or my emotional and mental state is negatively affecting us.

Looking back, I never regretted trusting my gut even when it was off. I declined big tech companies to intern at a startup that ended up going under. I left a stable job to explore machine learning at a pre-product market fit startup and we never figured out monetization. I left another great well-paying job to dive into crypto even though the market collapsed immediately after. Yet after all this, I’m energized to take another leap of faith.

I look forward to exploring with a community

I’m joining South Park Commons, a community of founders who are exploring ideas. I thrive working around others who share a similar energy, and looking back, those were the most productive periods of my life.

I hope you’ll join my community. Please say hi, share your thoughts, or make an intro! Give me your email if you’d my monthly progress update - I’m not going to blog publicly.
Join me as a cofounder! I’d appreciate an intro to anyone who’s thoughtful, technical, and in the SF Bay Area!

Relevant Reading

I was inspired to write this post by similar posts from Linda Zhang and Lachlan Green.