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The CEO of RevolutApp on Slack: “Why Aren’t You Working on Weekends?” (twitter.com)
185 points by deepsy 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 136 comments



I appreciate the CEO being direct. It gives you a chance to find another job before you get fired.


Honestly, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, but I really think you're absolutely right. Some people really like working in that environment. Personally, it's not for me, but at least the CEO is upfront about what he expects. Really, he's being a good leader in that respect. I wouldn't want to work for him, but he's clear about what he wants which a lot of people in management miss.

EDIT

Let me explain why this is good. First as your boss, I'm not your friend. I'm not your pal. My sole responsibility is to ensure that I communicate clearly and effectively what needs to be done and make sure it happens. That's it. Does this mean, I'm not compassionate? No, of course not, but what it means is that I am tasked having uncomfortable conversations about things that need to be done and to make it understood. Have I asked people to work nights and weekends? Yes. Several times? Yes. Do I like doing it? No. This is the job. If you want to quit over this. No hard feelings. I make it clear that this is what we have to do. Have I fired people for under performing? Yes. Do I feel bad about it? No. That's my job. I feel bad, when I have to let someone go, because we don't have the money to keep them. When management says, "lose two heads, because we want to cut costs," and they were good employees. I feel bad then.

Working weekends sucks, I agree, but sometimes you have to. If you've never worked for a company that is on the brink of bankruptcy, you really don't understand what it's like to have to lay things on the line. The CEO is being honest about consequences. We honestly, don't know the situation from that blurb. It sounds like he's being an ass, but there maybe an underlying reason for it. (Probably not, but you never know.) Whether you choose to keep going is your choice.

A previous company I worked for, was on the brink of going out of business. Only a few of us knew (out of 200+ employees). We had a shortfall of money and we didn't know if we were going to make payroll that month. They didn't want to tell anyone (in fact I was instructed not to), but I knew, because I knew several of the executives. I pushed my staff, and myself for those three weeks, because I knew that if we didn't bill, the company could quite possibly go under. People say working weekends crosses a line. Knowing that your co-worker (or employee) may get evicted from the country, lost their house, etc., because you didn't do your job for those couple of weeks, I can't do that. That's crossing a line for me.


I don’t know the specifics of your circumstance but I can guarantee anyway that asking people to work the weekends was still an error on your part.

I can guarantee the following happened:

- your employees made more mistakes during weekend work

- at least a few had deteriorated health / sleep

- your teams morale took a hit

- you accomplished less than you would of had you had your employees come in regular weekly hours

Required weekend work is always a fault of management to properly plan and execute. Always. The few times I had my teams work the weekend I always admitted how I was at fault and how my poor planning would be the subject of a post mortem.

Source: I have been in management and executive positions for 15+ years at startups ranging from super small to rocket ships IPOs.


Well, it's not always management's fault or due to poor planning. Sometimes you have to come in because client work requires it and the regular shift work isn't enough. I'm speaking about support roles or operations roles that might require extra hands due to specific windows of either extra customer load or maintenance windows. Typically though you give people time off during the week to compensate, but it's not always possible.


How is this a responsible position from a company? They are the ones keeping the employees in the dark, withholding crucial information that their very livelihoods are on borrowed time.

That's not crossing a line for you, is it? People on working visas have a set period to find the job and they need to send their applications in advance to stand a better chance of finding one.

It makes for a good story if you were the one who saved the day with 11-th hour heroism, but from an unbiased observer's perspective the management had failed a long time ago.

People often invoke "the company is family" trope to promote loyalty, but imagine that if you got married and then you suddenly found out that your spouse had high six-figure debts or that they were terminally ill. Relationships built on keeping your partner in the dark about things as serious as those are dysfunctional.

People are taking advantage of human kindness, an employee with no significant stake should not be the martyr looking for a sword to fall on.


On the other hand, there is a lot of toxicity in there. If your bonus is zero no matter how work you hard, and you are encouraged by the CEO to "push" your colleagues (some of which are working on weekends), it's a terrible company to work for, no matter what pay they offer (of course it's good, otherwise the CEO wouldn't have the balls to treat his employees in this way as everybody would just walk out).


It is a type of Social Engineering. Politicians are using this all the time. When one group is e.g. on strike, they ignore the 'problem' and wait until other affected groups start throwing rocks at them. Classic example of teachers striking everywhere on the planet. Politicians know that parents will revolt at some point.

This is a shitty CEO and an equally shitty HR director imho. You got problems with deadlines/projects?

Do a root cause analysis, find out what is wrong, fix THAT wrong thing. Don't ask Alice to threaten Bob!


> Do a root cause analysis, find out what is wrong, fix THAT wrong thing. Don't ask Alice to threaten Bob!

I'm cynical enough to assume that the KPI targets, deadlines etc. in this case are deliberately set beyond reasonable expectation to use as leverage when coercing people to work for free. Management in that case is not incompetent, just scum.


I'm not arguing that. I'm merely saying that he is giving people the option to choose if they want to work like that. At least he's being direct instead of waiting until after the bonus is paid (or not), and then firing them without telling them the expectations. In truth, if I saw that, I'd probably walk right then and there, but there are people who like that environment, and it's their choice if they want to continue there.


So did your company pull itself out of the brink or did you just make people work harder to prolong the inevitable? It sounds as though you hid a truth from your employees, you didn't tell them that the work they were doing possible wouldn't be paid. I was in a company that did this, they laid off entire swaths of the company including new hires. They pretty much only survived because nearly the entire company walked out after that. They cut the sales team, marketing, engineering, and finance teams. The CEO also left and a new one was brought in. They are still struggling years later and have never pulled themselves out of debt except for shady dealings that diluted the stock. Most of my team works weekends now if required, not because anyone asks, quite frankly most of us in leadership positions just want to be available and we truly love our team, I'm also salary and paid very well for the amount of work I put in.


When I was 22 I would gladly have doubled down for the money. Over a decade later... not so much.

People forget that there are others not like them. There are plenty of companies that set deadlines and expect you to meet them, even if that means working the weekends when you’re behind. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, lots of people love the money and/or don’t have families. No one is forcing you to work there, so let them be.


That argument would justify unlimited abusive behavior from employers. No time for bathroom breaks? Locked exit doors during working hours? [1] "There are plenty of companies with conditions like those, and obviously a lot of people love the money. No one is forcing you to work there, so leave them alone."

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fi...


I find it fascinating that your reference is from 1911... because there clearly haven’t been any laws enacted since then that would protect workers.

The only potentially relevant statement you made (bathroom breaks at Amazon warehouses) is the uncited one. Also coincidentally illegal in every US state I’ve ever been employed in...


The example shows that the same words could have defended those unconscionable conditions from 1911, which were also legal at the time.

Can you come up with a reason workers shouldn't fight back against RevolutApp's demands that wouldn't also apply to the horrible conditions in 1911?


I never said workers who didn’t like it shouldn’t. If you don’t like it you absolutely could and should.

If you reread my comment I specifically said that some people do like it at certain points in their lives. Let them decide if the job is for them...


RevolutApp is small enough (for now) that working there might seem optional. But working is not optional, and if employers are able to impose conditions like these, they're all going to want to.

Would you feel the same way if a company with 100,000 employees made these demands? If hundreds of companies with millions of employees total did so?


> But working is not optional

I know people who've been on welfare for generations, having never worked a day in their lives.


When I got divorced, the only thing that kept me going was my job. It allowed me to push everything else out and focus. I welcomed it. and I volunteered to work extra, because it was less painful. I wouldn't do it now, but that lifestyle is for some people. I learned very quickly not to judge anyone for their life decisions.


Good for you, but I don't see how the sentiment is relevant to this situation. That you'd volunteer for overtime because it fits your lifestyle is different from the CEO threatening to fire you because you don't work unpaid weekends, or holding bonuses hostage because being a "great contributor" somehow doesn't figure in their KPI metric.


I'm just saying that some people want to work like that. What you see as a threat, others see as an opportunity.


> What you see as a threat, others see as an opportunity.

All right, but in the scenario you describe, you volunteered to work overtime because that's what you felt was best for you, not because of the lingering...opportunity to get fired if you didn't.


> Let me explain why this is good. First as your boss, I'm not your friend. I'm not your pal. My sole responsibility is to ensure that I communicate clearly and effectively what needs to be done and make sure it happens. That's it.

This kind of attitude is a classic indicator of a poor manager. If you think you (a) only have one responsibility and (b) that it's just making sure things happen, then you need to take a hard look at some actual good managers and ask yourself "What makes them effective?"

Good management is about evaluating competing demands and constraints, and then finding a solution. Telling people that the only way to make something work is have them work weekends is just passing the buck downwards for your failures to either deliver what you promised or manage expectations upwards.


If your company is going out of business because it's not profitable, that's called capitalism. Unprofitable business needs to go under.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the same companies who find their way into a cash crunch also find themselves requiring overtime from their employees to try and fix it. Both are signs of poor planning, poor management, and not treating your employees well.

In the end it's the chicken and the egg scenario. Did your bad decisions force you to treat your employees like shit or was treating your employees like shit part of the charter to begin with and it's just now catching up to you?

Either way, requiring overtime is a red flag whose appearance instantly tells me it's time to look for a new job. Whether the company is doing well or not. I work to live, not the other way around.


With this line of thinking, we would still work 14 hours per day...


Which is fine if you want to do that. I agree with the above posters, and you can certainly argue that working so much is bad, but the company is telling you exactly what it expects which is far better than most companies.


I can not describe how sad I suddenly felt when I realized I couldn't be sure this was sarcasm.


Why leave yourself? Just let them fire you and get the severance pay.


I'm not sure if it's sarcasm or not, but asking people to work on weekends means crossing the line, whether it's expressed in a direct or indirect way.


What if during the interviewing process they're very clear that they are a startup that isn't a normal job and the trade off is equity and a great cheque in 2-5 years?


Very clear would be "maybe a great cheque in 2-5yrs but it could be we'll fail and you'll lose your job and get nothing", wouldn't it?

Apparently in USA ~50% survive year 5 of businesses. I see similar numbers for UK.

eg https://www.researchgate.net/post/Most_Start-up_Businesses_F... for USA


Yes! And one way (not the only way) to increase your chances of survival is by working harder than normal to get to a product/revenue point where you can make it. Again, all I'm asking is if the startup is very clear about expectations going into the role is that ok? We have very low unemployment right now so it's not like skilled technology workers don't have a lot of choices. Is there any way to ethically create a startup in today's age and expect people will work more than government mandated hours?


Seems like access to capital is the primary reason for failure, so you working harder might make no difference.

>Again, all I'm asking is if the startup is very clear about expectations going into the role is that ok? //

Absolutely! The truth will set you free.


Some countries have laws for that tho, which were implemented precisely so that all business are not allowed to think themselves as so "special" that they can set any rules whatsoever, they've done it in the past and it was ugly. If I make a mining startup can I say it's not a normal job, this you go back home once a week, work 14hrs day and can bring your child as a mini-employee?

I'd be curious as to what work laws in UK says.


It depends: if they tried to pull this off in Europe, they would face trouble as it's illegal to exploit people whether they agree to it or not.


If every asshole CEO were that sincere I would have lost a lot less time on shit jobs


Self note: never do business with the person that says: Bonus more important that weekend family time.

If projects are behind, re-group, re-train, re-focus. Waving the whip and telling people "work on the weekends" was never my style (to instruct or to receive).


Not only that, but by not having a consistent schedule, for example 40 hours a week, makes it impossible to know how long an upcoming feature is going to take. Because there are people who are willing to do those herculean tasks in the ridiculous timeframe and then burn out. So mangement never really learns anything and continues pushing features at the same pace. It is in your companies best interest to have a predicatable schedule.


That's reasonable


It takes experience to know why this doesn't work and some CEOs / CTOs / PMs / etc get there faster than others.

I was involved with a company once (larger than this one) where something very similar this happened.

They threatened layoffs. What happened was that the team became immediately LESS productive. Effectively instant burnout. If not from the hours than from the loss of morale.

One of the biggest "mistakes" is they told everyone when the layoffs would happen so all the top performers had better jobs lined up for that next Monday. The really high performers phoned it in just enough to not be fired early and took their severance package when they were inevitably laid off.

Personally, I tried not to phone it in. But I actually lobbied to be laid off (there was a significant group of people that wanted to keep me). I built up my vacation time (in the US it becomes due to you as cash when you leave) and got a month severance on top of it plus a 20% raise. And I timed my start date for a week after getting laid off just to have some rest. I was a key player on the product team... the other key players left too and that entire product died a couple months later.

It takes a while for people to realize that workers will stretch or compress their work to meet the schedule. If you expect them to work weekends they will just do the same amount of work just over 7 days instead of 5. Conversely, some studies have shown a four day week has no negative effect on productivity.

Thinking to meet KPIs you throw more hours at it is a sign of a "leader" who hasn't figured that out yet. Maybe by their 5th startup they'll get it.

Edit: As an aside. I too have asked my team to work weekends occasionally (I'm a CTO not CEO but same premise). It always goes like this:

> I'm really sorry to have to do this but we really need you to put in some extra time on the weekend to meet the deadline next week. Pick a couple days next month to take off and we'll let you take them off without using your PTO. Thank you, I really appreciate it! As a company we'll try to make sure this doesn't happen very often.


Perhaps try giving them 4 future days off in exchange for working two weekend days. Weekend days are more valuable than weekdays because your family is free from work/school and there are more events.


RIP RevolutApp with such CEO leadership you are doomed to fail. Nikolay Storonsky - you will lose your best people and drive RevolutApp into the ground.

EDIT: just read a wiki on Nikolay. It all makes sense - his dad is a high up in Putin's enterprise machine (Gazprom - russian gas related entity) = part of the corruption machine. Not surprised that the son has such morals and how he treats other people is probably coming from his dad.

Regular folks are just lowlife slaves and peasants that exist to enrich him and his business (this is the way an average russian oligarch thinks).


Their CFO seems to be sick of weekend 'work' too:

https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/01/revolut-cfo-peter-ohiggins...


"Storonsky also responded to the Telegraph story with a blog post that denies any wrongdoing. He claimed Revolut suspended the use of “a more advanced sanctions screening system” and instead reverted to a previous one."

haha they stopped flagging "certain" suspicious financial activity for a period of time. Its a well known fact that russian politicians and oligarchs launder their money through European banks... How "convenient" that they stopped flagging certain transactions..

Did his Dad or his Dad's buddies have to funnel some money through Europe?


CFO quitting might be something to do with "dirty" russian money ...

Widening Russia Money Laundering Scandal Hits European Banks

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-05/dirty-mon...

..."Revolut suspended the use of “a more advanced sanctions screening system”....


I am very pro work life balance and think anything over 35-40 hours per week will just lead to eventual burnout and reduced performance.

Having said that, I can't bring myself to be too bothered about this tweet. At least the expectation is clear: hit your KPI goal or else.

If you were to find yourself behind, you could either work harder, lobby to change the goal, lobby for more resources, pivot your strategy, or start looking for a new job. This guy is being a dick by threatening weekend work or the dole to push people to hit their numbers, but there are worse management sins.


But what if the KPIs are unreasonable? I would say they are, given that it seems multiple teams are failing to meet them.


> But what if the KPIs are unreasonable? I would say they are, given that it seems multiple teams are failing to meet them.

Yep. Unless the employees are slacking off in their work week (I have no reason to think this is the case) this seems true by definition.


Working on an assembly line, sure 40 hours a week is fine. Trying to do creative problem solving with complex issues? I have met very few people who can maintain peak performance at even 40 hours a week, week after week. In my experience most people burn 8-10 hours a week on water cooler chats and personal issues that need to be dealt with during the business day.

Reasonable KPI's are good, and people should be able to work as much or as little (within reason) to meet those targets. The problem is ownership always wants more.


"The beatings will continue until morale improves"


Plans rarely survive contact with reality. Target KPIs are just that. They are a planning-estimating-organizing tool.

And KPIs are actually benchmark indicators [hence the name], not explicit targets. Sure, you can try to make goals, even have certain contractual rights or obligations pegged to them, and CEOs can even communicate these to employees, but demanding to meet those goals, to place these goals above personal well-being is a very short sighted strategy.


So the strategy is this: Assemble teams with a low salary, then offer the withheld salary as bonus promises as an excuse to have people working on weekends and justify firing. Yes, that sounds like something it'll work for long term and is not toxic at all for the employees.


Seen a lot of comments trying justify it, so check this which is where the pic comes from: https://www.wired.co.uk/article/revolut-trade-unions-labour-...

They were using hiring process for free unpaid work to reach those sweet KPIs... much worse.

Each applicant was expected to bring 200 new paying customers to go to the next phase. Any problem yet?


Ok, won't use Revolut again.


BTW https://www.wired.co.uk/article/revolut-trade-unions-labour-...

They were using hiring process for unpaid work.


Can you recommend an alternative?


Bunq[1] is an alternative to Revolut with a banking license in Netherlands. I personally don't trust N26 from the technical point of view[2], and Monzo is available to the UK residents only.

[1] https://www.bunq.com/

[2] https://media.ccc.de/v/33c3-7969-shut_up_and_take_my_money


I’m happy with TransferWise. I was thinking to check Revolut as well, but now I’m not so sure.


N26 does most of what Revolut does, and it's a real bank. The exchange rates are a bit worse than Revolut but still better than the average bank. They have a webapp but you cannot topup with other cards, you can only transfer money into it.


I have never been very productive when trying to do knowledge work for more than 4-5 hours a day and more than about 28 hours a week. When I start working 50+ hours a week my productivity drops below what I would have gotten done in a 20 hour week, Things become harder, you get less creative, you start brute forcing your solutions. You write bad code or documents. These are things you typically learn with experience.


People aren't robots they need breaks, vacations, time to decompress, time off when sick.


>People aren't robots they need breaks, vacations, time to decompress, time off when sick.

It's worth remembering that the only reason employees get these concessions is because unions and governments forced companies to do so under threat of (sometimes direct) violence, and that part of the "disruptive" philosophy of modern startup culture is an attempt to undermine and roll back these gains in labor rights under the pretense of free-market efficiency.


It is worth remembering the real reason there is a limit of 8 hours a day for work is because of a man called Henry Ford, that studied seriously productivity on his company's 300.000 workers and got to the conclusion that 8 hours a day means maximum productivity.

This man along other industrialists started to lobby for 8 hours a day and they got exactly that.


I think that's a biased take. Ultimately you can't have concessions without enough economy to support it in the first place, so it cuts both ways. There's plenty of glamor stories about certain startup's having shitty work cultures, but in general a startup is a riskier place to work in the first place. That having a shitty work culture would attract employee's from safer, (culturally) better jobs seems unlikely (and contradicts my personal experience, at least).


"How do you dare to say that! Our ancestors took weekends off in the battlefield? GET IT DONE!"


Well, even robots do need periodical checks, maintenance and cooling down sometimes.


The rational response when those receiving the message are not compensated with exactly the same, non-dilutive equity share class as founders, is explained in Urban Dictionary [1] from the Goodfellas movie [2]. Pay peanuts, get monkey effort. If KPI's were negotiated simultaneously with compensation, then perhaps there might be some more negotiating leverage equity between parties and a more honest appraisal and synchronization between goals and compensation, but standard practice is compensation is negotiated on a lagging basis compared to how often KPI's are established/modified.

The whole applicant's-must-book-sales-for-free schtick was so trashy they pulled it [3] once it came to light.

[1] https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fuck%20you%2...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L4HHPTiZN8

[3] https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2018/10/140531-digital-bank...


>I noticed that several product owners / team leaders

>are significantly below targets

>and still do not work on weekends to catch up.

The CEO addresses it specifically to the middle management (POs/TLs) and not line employees.

Given that, the vocal outrage, and the calls on Twitter for the line employees to unionize are both unproductive, and also misleading. Way to discredit your position.


Those people shouldn't work on weekends either. If the only way you can make your KPI's is working middle management to death, you as a leader are making serious mistakes in management. If you can't build a working infrastructure for people and be able to sustain and grow your business on a 40 hour week (except for emergencies, unforseen things), maybe your product or company model is not that viable.

We really shouldn't encourage this type of work ethic in any way or on any step of the ladder.


This is exactly how i feel about all this too. Metrics not met? Sounds like you need to hire more people. How often I've seen management shirking and sending the management THEY should be doing to the next level down...


And what do you imagine that's telling middle management to do? Do the line employees' jobs themselves on weekends while the line employees are enjoying the weekend break? Not bloody likely.

Obviously the pressure from the CEO is meant to trickle down to the line employees.


Can you describe why the sentiment being addressed specifically to middle management whose teams are behind on projects makes the "vocal outrage" and "calls to unionize" discrediting?


Management works on the weekends by making line employees work on the weekends.


Money laundering is totally OK as long as you do it on a large enough scale /s: https://www.ft.com/content/527fe170-3b79-11e9-b72b-2c7f526ca...


ML is bad. My apologies, but I fail to see how this is connected to Revolut CEO.

Edit: Oh SNAP! :) Ok now I read it, a parallel HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19279746


in case someone else hits the paywall: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19279993


Data Engineer from Revolut here. Feel free to ask me anything. To comment on the topic, my team was never ever told to work late hours or weekends.

Opinions my own.

Main thread here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19309597


You have to wonder how agreed upon these targets really were. Perhaps milestones are being missed because they were driven top down and were never realistic to begin with? Developers with ownership are more likely to work to complete their goals. If they aren't then that's a symptom of problems, not the cause.


It reminds me that I once worked for a manager who sets deadlines on Mondays instead of Fridays, so you still had the weekend to finish it.

As with any such managers, the deadlines are set by their own optimistic guesswork, not by the people actually doing the job (and knowing how to do the job).

Did I mention I workED for that manager?


Another example of this executive behavior previously discussed here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1455750


I hate the idea of working on weekends...

This guy was only talking about people significantly behind on their projects, for what it is worth.

Of course they can be behind because they are wasting time or because the project requires too many man hours.


> This guy was only talking about people significantly behind on their projects, for what it is worth.

What difference does that make? If people are behind they're behind. There should be a discussion, not an "work overtime" response. I want to think I'm valued and not just blamed if things aren't going smoothly.


I'm mostly in agreement... the tweet makes it sound like he's just yelling at everyone in the company unless you zoom in on an image and read through the context.


> Of course they can be behind because they are wasting time or because the project requires too many man hours.

A failure of management either way. Hire the right people, get them to do the right job, give them reasonable targets based on reasonable estimates of velocity and the work required to bring the project to completion, create positive incentives to work instead of casually threatening the employees. You know, manage the employees.

If I worked there and knew I wouldn't meet my "KPIs" because of inept management and learned that they'd hold my bonus hostage even if I was a "great contributor", why would I want to work at all, let alone on weekends?

But this is a start-up with unpaid overtime. There is a purpose to deliberately creating unreasonable estimates, and it's to get people to work for free. Based on what I read it seems par for the course, unfortunately.


How do you know the deadlines were reasonable? One of the reasons I quit my last job was because of unreasonable revenue targets from shareholders and the need to push my team beyond what I thought was reasonable due to these pressures. This included some ridiculous deadlines.


you might want to read to the end of my comment


Do you visit the gas station and shop on the weekend? Or is working on the weekend something only the poor should be forced to do.

Of course I think you mean to say "the idea of a 7 day work week is stupid"


Thanks Dr. Pedantry.


Many gas stations work 24hrs a day without requiring an attendant 24/7. I would be fine if no one worked on the weekend. I might prefer the police and power company kept doing their thing, but those aren't exactly poor people being forced to work.


Now the question is: what are the good alternatives to revolut?


Starling or Monzo


Related: Revolut and Monzo are still amazing products. After moving to the US they make it quite impossible to use revolut or monzo (it’s expensive as fuck to top up). I’ve looked into simple/varo/chime but they look pretty bad in comparison to Monzo, they are also reserved to Us citizens only so fuck people with a greencard. I have chase/capitalone/schwabe and their app are just stuck in the past. I really wish Monzo would work here :/ anything I’m not aware of?


Use TransferWise to move USD to your GBP account? Or even more, use TW's borderless account?

You swap a bright pink/orange card for a bright lime green


I don't know about TW's borderless account, but it's not costless to move USD to revolut/monzo with TW (as opposed as moving money from a European account to a revolut account)


Whats tw?


TransferWise.


TransferWise


This tweet is the exact reason I choose to live in the UK, and not the US, when it came to pursuing my career in financial services.

I do not believe that the US approach—in many sectors, but particularly in finance—of putting your career before your family life is a good use of the unknown and limited time we have on this planet.

That said, I am an entrepreneur, and the buck stops with me, so if I need to work weekends than I will juggle that obligation while still being there for my son.

Part of my reason for this approach is based on what my father once told me, that in life you'll juggle a lot of important balls, your career ball, your family ball, your health ball etc. The gist was, life is a juggling act, but his final word on it was something along the lines of, "Your family ball is made of glass, and if you drop it, it could shatter so much that you will never be able to piece it together again."

Obviously what is happening in an employee's life will have an impact on their work life. Saying things like, "if you miss your KPIs than you're fired" isn't going to motivate your staff, especially the ones who need to up their performance. Firing people who don't perform creates a situation where staff members will live under fear and that doesn't usually create great customer experiences.

And this leads to another point, if you are a good leader, you should never be in a position where you need to remind people that they need to work weekends if they are behind or they will get fired. He’s the CEO, the buck stops with him. If he communicated the problem they are solving, the company’s mission, and put in the right culture, hired the right people, you don’t need to say such things.

IMHO a good ‘Culture’ would have the following values:

1. Spartan Wall – We win the battle for our customers by protecting/taking care of each other.

2. Obsessive Customer Empathy – We are our customers’ biggest advocate.

3. Unfiltered Brutal Truth – Feelings, rank, politics NEVER have priority over truth and what’s right.

4. Proactive Problem Solving – When we hit problems, we do not put our hands up, we find a solution.

5. Laser Focus – We only keep to the problem and the mission.

6. One Destination, Autonomously – While we work loosely together, we all have the same mission and we are all in it together.

I bet you all the money in the word Nikolay Storonsky—the CEO of Revolut—doesn’t actually understand that a CEO’s job is to create the environment to find, motivate and retain people who are focused on the problem the company is solving, believe in the company’s mission, and are a fit for the company’s culture. IMHO venture success is the result of building an organisation that does this.

I wish Revolut all the luck in the world but the fish rots from the head!


>This tweet is the exact reason I choose to live in the UK, and not the US

Why are you stereotyping work ethics among western countries? That's clearly wrong because most of them have the same structure. Believe it or not the worst work environments exist in "poor" countries like India, or Pakistan, or even Balcan countries like Romania. White collars are suffering there that's why their only dream is moving to USA or Germany.


Revolut is a UK company, and this attitude is rampant across the British tech sector


If people are behind the expected performance due to excessive workload or poor higher-level management, then this is unacceptable.

If people are behind the expected performance due to incompetence, wasted time or poor self-management, then this is reasonable.

We are all adults here.


I think this is absolutely wrong and, frankly, sickening. It is never OK for a superior to ask or even imply that employees should work overtime (barring jobs with very disproportionate impact). Incompetence on the part of an employee is not punishable by overtime work unless they want to do that on their own volition. You work with them to solve their problems. If you can't do so without requiring that they work overtime (again, unless it is of their own volition), then they are not a good fit for that job. Anything else is inhumane, disrespectful, and out of touch.


I'm as offended by the CEO's attitude as the rest, but this seems like a way over-the-top response. It is literally NEVER OK for a superior to ask an employee to work overtime?

Insisting that your employees work weekends for months on end is obviously unacceptable. Asking your employees to work occasional overtime in certain circumstances hardly seems monstrous to me.


And of course, it's the easiest way to just fire those people without asking about the issues they might be having and that you could improve on by educating or supporting them in the right way. Of course there are bad apples, but the majority doesn't want to be bad at their job. Help them improve and get their workload to a sustainable amount and you gain a loyal worker instead of having to find somebody new.


The expected performance is a failed estimate in both cases.

You can ask for a new version of the theory of relativity from the janitor by the end of the week, but if she fails to deliver I would not put the blame on her.


I’d argue that working on weekends is not reasonable in either case, except for extremely infrequent work emergencies handled with some predefined on-call sort of scheduling.

If it is employee laziness or incompetence, the employees should be retrained, demoted or fired. Grinding them on weekends is only likely to make the productivity drain worse and if they are creating bad work outputs, you’re accelerating the compounding growth of their mistakes.

I like what was said in Peopleware about this, “You can kick someone to make him sit up in his chair, but you can’t kick someone to make him work.”

Despite all of the above, 99% of the time this sort of issue stems from toxic & incompetent management. Is your CEO using Twitter to bark workload policy at you? Well, then you know who the problem is.


Based on the tone of the whole message, what would you guess?

Also, do you think that (given, again, the general tone) that the management would evaluate a low-performing employee in a fair and objective way?

Even asking people to work on weekend without compensation it's illegal in many countries.


Adults or not, the issues here are reasonable expectations and support. As easy as it is to shift the blame to the employee, the real blame belongs with management. As a manager, I accept responsibility for my team and if their performance is lacking then that is something that we address accordingly. If they can’t perform and the proper channels have been explored, then that is where continued employment should be evaluated.


There is no such a thing as incompetence, just people in the wrong position without the proper guidance. (I'm an engineering manager, I would get the blame for such situations, not my employees.)



In his defense, he tied kpis to bonuses.


Culture starts at the top.


Is it like a rule that these "rising star unicorns" have to be ran by Sociopaths?


Standard working hours in China are 9-9 six days per week.


And that country is known for terrible working conditions.

Let's very deliberately not do what China is doing.


They work that long to win. Do you want to win? Or do you want to lose? Business is fundamentally a competition.


Getting worked into the ground so some self-entitled person can "win" in "business" on the back of my labor and broken body and psyche, now that's a loss in my book.


Who's winning? The employee in an early grave, who sacrificed time with their family for a company, to whom they are replaceable? Or the company, if it's the company well them employee is still losing and ultimately that's the real result that matters.


The only thing the Chinese working class is winning at is subsidizing the west's lavish lifestyle with their cheap and exploitative labor.

Some winning that is.

If that's what winning looks like, don't sign me up.


yeah and most of that time consist of surfing on Taobao and checking WeChat, worked for years in China, productivity of white collars it's extremely behind their image in west, what foreigner for in one hour Chinese colleague will do whole day. same with time management, everything decided at 5 to noon and then rushing instead of property management and working at normal pace without overtime


If you have only ever worked a 9 - 5 work week this may come as a surprise, but in the real world in America, lots of highly paid people routinely work weekends and nights and 12 or even 24 hour shifts. Doctors, Police Officers, Morticians, Firefighters, etc. They use schedules to spread the work and many only get one weekend off a month of totally free time.


> Doctors, Police Officers, Morticians, Firefighters

Hold on. A firefighter is on call in the in the firehouse during their shift. The aren't (except in emergencies) working straight 24 hour shifts. I see them at the grocery store a lot during the day. How many teams of software developers are gaming, shopping and sleeping during their shifts?

most patrol officers work 5 consecutive 8-hour shifts followed by two days off, though emergency callouts are part of the job.

I don't know any morticians but I assume that is the same. Doctors are in a different category all together, and I'll bet their shifts and culture surrounding their hours are responsible for many, many deaths.


Moreover Doctor's hours are controlled by doctor's themselves. If the mass of physicians would prefer lower salaries and better hours, they could and would achieve that.


Just because it's common doesn't mean it's right.


That's sort of irrelevant. And employees can be motivated to work happily more than 40 hours a week. But ordering them is inefficient and wrong. (They very likely did not sign up for that.)


Policemen, Firemen, and Doctors are at least doing worthwhile work: usually saving lives and protecting the public.

Tech workers are merely making their CEO and some shareholders rich. They should only be working those long hours if it's going to benefit them, and they like the tradeoff.

I'm not implying that it's OK to overwork Doctors / Firemen / Policemen: simply stating that there's real good in the world they do, whereas most tech companies are net loss for humanity, and not worth the work.


And? That is just as unacceptable.


Never ceases to amaze me how friggin lazy and entitled are the British when it comes to being told they need to work long hours. It’s a high growth startup. They are vesting you with stock. Hell yes you need to come in on weekends, bruv.


Do you think I'm a walking charity?

That's what an employment contract is for.

If you want me to work on weekends, put that in the contract.

I can then negotiate an appropriate wage.

If it's not in the contract, get lost.

Alternatively propose a new contract so we can re-negotiate my compensation.

If we negotiated for 160 hours of my time / month, then that's what you're getting.

And if you can't wrap your head around that, you are not qualified to run a company and probably shouldn't be trusted with any kind of business transaction at all.


I employ 105 people in five countries. 30 in the UK. Feel free to renegotiate your contract when asked to work long hours whilst I contact my recruiter to replace you.


If my employer pulled such a palpable show of arrogance someday, you can bet I'd have quit before sundown.

I know it'll probably take you half a year to fill my position, while I'll happily be working somewhere else within the week.

Though from what I gleamed of your personality from your comments, it's likely you wouldn't have managed to get me on board in the first place.

Also did you ever consider that some of your employees/contractors may be running their own companies/business when they're not working at yours?

Do you really think they value your business above theirs?

And even if they don't, do you think they value your company above their family/friends/life?

Do you think your attitude even has a chance of inspiring different priorities? I highly doubt it.

Your company sounds like a terrible place to work.


Well f me. I've now just to mentally add another 30 to my mental tally of "the collective suffering of mankind"


Sounds like a great way to retain the most mediocre members of staff.


uh... I know this one!

"What is the definition of 'Toxic Employer', Alex?"


Given the attitude displayed in the message I think its more than likely that they will be screwed out of their stock.


How about they hire... oh I don't know... people for their 'high growth'? That could help too, instead of everyone doing double hours (aka two jobs) and getting paid for one.

Just because you're a founder doesn't mean you're a slave owner. Those days are thankfully over in large parts of the world.


You think the people this slack message was aimed at are getting stock? Sorry but that's not the case at all.




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