Earlier this month, SoundCloud made some drastic cost-cutting measures, slashing 173 staff members
Rather than see all that talent absorbed into other companies and their culture, Damian Bradfield, the founder of WeTransfer, sent each of those 173 ex-staff members an offer of a $10,000 cash injection in order to stop looking for new jobs, and instead to try and build something as innovative as SoundCloud.
The idea came to Bradfield during a talk at the Tech Open Air Conference in Berlin. “What if each and every one of them had been offered ten thousand dollars to refrain from getting a job?”, he proposed. “To leave and start something. To leave and start working on the new future of music, whatever that might be.”
“SoundCloud has always been the challenger”, he continued. “Look what they’ve achieved: they courted, vetted, groomed and trained these 173 people who specialise in music, technology and innovation. It seems sacrilegious to just let them go out and get regular jobs. We desperately need innovation. We need challengers.”
Bradfield sent the below letter to these ex-staffers.
He would muse on this idea on Medium, writing: “Hidden at the core of this crazy notion is a very serious idea. We need to keep innovating. Everyone — the folks at SoundCloud included — would love to see these former employees go on to develop great things. $10,000 isn’t enough to build an entirely new company, but it is enough to get an idea going, to design something, or have it designed. It’s enough to get an iOS developer friend to build an MVP that we could introduce or shine a spotlight on. That is, after all, how WeTransfer started.
“We want people to create. What could be better? We want to see amazing proposals. Start something — that’s what we’re saying. We’ll do whatever we can to help, but we aren’t VC’s. This isn’t an investment. It’s not a loan. It’s an opportunity. We aren’t trying to compete and don’t want to own anything. It’s a chance to have some fun.”
It’s an interesting idea, although it will remain to be seen if there truly are no strings attached to this offer.