An Open Post to Monzo's Senior Management

I mean that’s clearly not the point I’m making. I’m not saying “don’t bother saving any money and just make more people redundant” - just that the gesture of not paying the CEO is not a ‘crisis ending’ solution.

The point is though, it’s just not a sustainable soltuion, and sure it’s nice as a short term measure and may inject some cash into the business, but in the face of redunancies and the likely recession we’re facing, it’s not going to be enough.

The 120 at risk, if you assume take an ‘average salary’ - that’s about £3.4 million in annual salaries.

Some of the suggestions of “let the user base bail out the bank”, and “just open up plus even if it’s not ready, I’m sure people will pay” or “the senior management should take a pay cut” - all of those things simply won’t do it justice, and again aren’t sustainable approaches.

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I agree , the solution is to get back to work, thats the only solution for everybody, to have a functioning economy again, Monzo were doing very well financially before the coronavirus hit , then circumstances beyond their control took over

I have some thoughts on this. But, they aren’t finger-pointing thoughts for the sake of venting, nor my frustrations on things that didn’t pan out even though I had tried to raise them.
Rather, I think I’d like to take a minute to be a little reflective.

I think during our hypergrowth period, we likely failed to imbue the community-first strategy for new staff that the earliest employees, myself included, learned through osmosis. We were lucky in that we had a handful of staff who came via the community, or who had posted here before deciding to join. Kieran, Rika and Hugh are all people who spring to mind and who have historically been super engaged.

Because we hadn’t formalised this, and engagement was often ad-hoc, the value of the community for many people wasn’t internalised for many in the same way that it was for us. And with limited resources, and other responsibilities for everyone that was highly engaged here, it became virtually impossible for that change to happen from those of us who did understand and espouse the value. At one point, we did try to hire a Community Lead, who could have sat very high up and led a strategy from the top down. But it might have been too late by that point, and my understanding of what happened (there may be context I’m not aware of) was simply that none of the applications felt like they were of the standard we’d need for this to happen, and so the role was quietly removed.

So, I don’t necessarily think that level of transparency is unsustainable, I think that we (past tense we) as a company, may not have pushed hard enough to sustain it in a way that could scale. I think and hope that there will be scenarios where that high level of engagement could be seen as necessary again, but with the current situation around redundancies and changes it’s unlikely to happen soon, and if the company moves back towards that in the future it’d be through a different set of people, and hopefully some hires (in the future) in different areas of the business who understand the value of community.

From my perspective there was not a a deliberate shift away from transparency and engagement - although it’s possible that there was, and that information never reached me. More so that the increasing company growth and product complexity made it increasingly difficult for everyone to align on it, and we failed to strategically place a system and set of responsibilities that could scale with it.

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Monzo should’ve promoted you to lead the community strategically.

But I remember you wanting to work for a start-up again.

Thanks, Simon, for your past and present engagement.

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Thanks, Jamie. That’s very kind :heart:

For what it’s worth, I’m building these same values into the heart of what we’re doing at Sphere. We’ll have a public bug tracker as early as next week, and that’ll lead into a public feature tracker in the next few months after we have aligned on the goals of our next feature sprint. We might even have a forum in the future (haven’t come to a decision on that quite yet!)

I’m excited for you all to meet our CEO, Nick, as well, and we’ll hopefully start holding virtual open office type events in the near future. Even if building group chat that people want to use is a ridiculously hard task (which it is), I believe that operating from true community-first principles will help us build something amazing that people want to use and set us apart :slight_smile:

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2 posts were merged into an existing topic: Sphere Chat - Updates and what I’m up to :globe_with_meridians:

Currently Monzo website states 4,296,476 customers.

Forum has had 43,700 people register (all time), and in the last 30 days a grand total of 3,400 used the forum.

We don’t need to be subjective, the stats are available. The number of people active on this website is a very very small portion of Monzo customers (regardless of how you then slice and dice ‘customer’ and ‘active’ the % is still very low).

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Yes, but - I found this page the other day: https://monzo.com/transparency/

Talk about how they use the community for feedback, testing etc etc, and therefore you can’t say that it represents a small community so there’s no point when Monzo themselves recognise it. I can’t say they’ve done that for a while.

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“Recognised” is a better word.

That was then and this is now.

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Well actually you can still say that the community represents a small subset of Monzo’s users. Just because Monzo say the community exists for those purposes doesn’t change that reality, not that they really engage much anymore anyway.

I need to be careful with what I say here, because of an NDA, but Atom Bank’s kitchen is exactly the same. Utilised for the purpose of providing feedback and testing new features. But that community too is tiny (around 50 members) compared to their overall user base, with actual engineers and designers engaging with almost all of them on a daily basis. The subset of users is so small, and mostly older folks with ideas that I suspect the vast majority of their customers would not appreciate. Atom’s app UX still absolutely sucks in my opinion, and I’m sure most people here would agree, but their community can’t fault it.

No surprise, of course. That’ll be true of pretty much any forum, whatever the subject. This forum was instrumental in getting the product on the map for its target audience.

The forum as it stands is a good source of information for new folk and place to chew things over. And it does that well.

I’m pretty sure it has no influence on the product roadmap.

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To be fair, that’s not what the page says - it says they still do it. If they don’t want to do it anymore, that’s fair enough but don’t have it on a public page on their website with all due respect.

You are correct, maybe a better thing would be to say even in spite of the fact it represents a small user base, they still say they recognise it.

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Must admit, I didn’t know they had a forum…:face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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Which means nothing in reality.

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They’ll take ideas and feedback from here, but there’s so much rubbish posted by people that they can’t take on board every single thing.

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It’s quite a very secret club. You have to be invited to it. The community itself is new, but the program has been around since Atom launched. I can’t really talk much about the goings on, but mentioning that it exists should be safe. :grimacing::shushing_face:

I’m talking about reality. You’re talking about a web page :man_shrugging:

Just because it’s written doesn’t make it true and I’ve been here long enough to watch the transition.

I think you missed their point in that if it’s not true, it shouldn’t be written.

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I think the greater problem is that that was written more than 3 years ago. And apparently had 76 members of staff. Do they go back and change it as the stance changes? Keep a rolling version with tracked changes like T’s and C’s.

Do they then go back and update everything historical when something changes? Ideally something like “this information is obselete”?

I did think the point around “secrecy becoming a burden” was interesting, I wonder how staff today feel the principles outlined there are followed?

Well, you could argue that having this on their page could be seen as Marketing Material which in itself isn’t true - It could be argued it’s about optics.