We're on a Mission

Merit exists to grow the worldwide adoption of digital currencies and help the world take control of their financial freedom.

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HISTORY

It all started back in 1999. Adil and Max had both started High School together at Downers Grove South High School in the northwest suburbs of Illinois. Max had already been programming for years, and Adil recently got hooked on networking, and completed his Microsoft Certification at age 14. By 2001, Adil and Max take AP Computer Science together, and become friends. Max tops the class; Adil has the second highest grade.

By 2002, Adil starts his first company, a small web development firm called SteeZo Media. Max creates a sweet custom logo in Blender; and it becomes the official SteeZo logo.

Adil and Max stay connected, but follow different paths: Max focuses on going deeper into Computer Science. Adil goes deeper into Entrepreneurship and Product Management. Years later, they decide to come together in building FoxCommerce, an enterprise eCommerce platform built in Scala, Go, and C++. When FoxCommerce does not have the commercial success that they hoped; the business is sold to Every., and Max and Adil create Merit.

TIMELINE

A team that goes way back. Let's start at the beginning.

Max

Max

September 1996

Max learns BASIC, writes text adventure games.

November 1997

Max writes a 3D wireframe editor in BASIC

December 1998

December 1998

Max learns C++, writes some games.

May 1999

Max writes a 3D software rasterizer and game engine.

July 2002

Max decides art school is not for him and that he is better at programming.

May 2006

May 2006

Max gets into the GIS field writing server software.

June 2009

Max builds a large scale computer vision system for HERE Maps.

July 2012

July 2012

Max, builds a secure P2P communication system called Firestr.

Adil

Adil

October 1998

Adil builds his first database-driven web application.

March 1999

March 1999

Adil receives Microsoft Certification at age 14.

July 2001

July 2001

Adil starts SteeZo Media.

September 2002

Adil and Max start college.

August 2005

August 2005

Adil starts Graduate School.

June 2006

Adil starts Crowd Interactive.

February 2007

February 2007

Adil becomes a co-founder at ModCloth.

December 2008

Crowd Interactive surpasses 100 employees.

February 2010

ModCloth named as #2 fastest-growing private company in America in the Inc. 500.

May 2015

May 2015

Eugene joins Adil at FoxCommerce.

September 2015
September 2015
Max and Adil join forces at FoxCommerce.
February 2016

February 2016

Tony joins forces with Max, Adil, and Eugene at FoxCommerce.

June 2017

Max gets a patent related to work at HERE.

December 2017

December 2017

Merit Livenet is Launched (Kingdom release); Merit becomes the world’s first invite-only blockchain.

January 2018

Daedalus release lands; Merit is the first digital currency to have ‘mineable invites.’ Merit adds aliases to make sending and inviting easier.

A global team and a decentralized organization.

We take decentralization seriously. We operate in three countries and have a team based around the world.

Seattle

Core Team

New York

Decentralized Entity

Amsterdam

Decentralized Entity

Moscow

Core Team

Singapore

Decentralized Entity

WHAT WE BELIEVE IN

The majority of the Merit team has been fortunate enough to work together for multiple years. In that team, the team has enjoyed a number of late nights talking about what we believe is important. We’ve thought deeply about culture, core principles, and the things we really believe in. And we’re not too shy to talk about them.

Meritocracy

Meritocracy

We believe that, above all else, it is what people accomplish at an organization that should define their tenure there. Not how many years of experience they have, what their resume says, or who they happen to know. We also believe that each and every context is a new one; and prior success or failure is not necessarily a predictor for each in the future.

We believe that, because important contributions can manifest in more ways than one, leadership does not have to fit a certain mold Some of the most important contributions can be made with long stretches of time, a good pair of headphones, and a lot of focus. Other contributions are built on actively leading, engaging, and inspiring the people you work with. And even others are built through engaging with the community.

Prove It

Prove It

If you are critical of an idea, plan, or project – that’s not a bad thing. We want to improve everything we do. At some point, a decision needs to be made. If you find yourself deeply disagreeing with a prospective decision, you must remember that opinions are cheap; proof is expensive.

The onus is on you to come up with something better. If you are in the minority, and want to change the opinions of the rest of the team, you should do everything you can to prove it. Gather evidence, create an experiment or a proof-of-concept, and show everyone why your path is the better one.

DISAGREE AND COMMIT

DISAGREE AND COMMIT

We know that we won’t always agree with the decision made by person who is driving a project, feature, or initiative. While we may have done our level-best to prove it and build a case for the vision we believed was right, we know that it will not always be enough to affect the decision. And that’s OK.

Because we also understand how deeply damaging it can be to a team or initiative to subtly undermine a decision and a path forward. This is why we commit wholeheartedly to the decision that was made and do everything we can to make it a success. In the future, when data has been collected and we’ve had to time to gauge the outcome of the original decision, a path to re-evaluate will likely present itself.

NO ONE IS GOOD ENOUGH TO BE AN ASSHOLE

NO ONE IS GOOD ENOUGH TO BE AN ASSHOLE

We strive to find the best talent possible as we build our team. In that search, we believe firmly in the total package of attributes that comprise a candidate for our team. While we value aptitude and technical accomplishments highly, these do not tell the full story about what type of leaders, teammate, and collaborator a candidate is.

Sadly, some organizations foster a culture that being particularly talented earns one the right to be an asshole. We don’t buy it. That’s a cognitive crutch that encourages people to avoid things (like working on their attitudes) because it’s hard. So, it doesn’t pass our test on two accounts: 1) we want the best people, and we include attitude and communication skills in that assessment. 2) we believe in continuous improvement and not shying away from hard things. Assholes: don’t bother applying.

DECIDE; THEN COURSE CORRECT

DECIDE; THEN COURSE CORRECT

In early-stage organizations, there are many decisions that have to be made relatively quickly. Further, these organizations often lack the large user bases, analytics instrumentation, and data warehousing capabilities to use data to help drive decisions. So, these decisions are often made through semi-scientific speculation. At best, we might have the ability to engage in scenario analysis and thought experiments.

Merit believes that the highest performing early-stage organizations are decisive, but not afraid to course correct. This is the standard by which we strive to work. We consider input from members of the team, and engage in rigorous discourse. Of course, where data is available, we consider it as well. We act decisively, and we are not afraid to be wrong. When the time is right, which is usually when the decision meets the realities of implementation and we have some data to examine, we re-evaluate to be sure we are on the right track.

IT SHIPS WHEN ITS READY

IT SHIPS WHEN ITS READY

We like to go fast. And while it is important to us to be a high-velocity team, we all know what death marches are like. They suck. And they often produce bad software that lacks strong usability. We believe that building really great software takes time. And it’s never a one-iteration process.

So, we believe in shipping software when its ready. Yes, work to be agile when we build products. We try to create shippable and usable chunks of functionality, and see how they feel in the wild. And, of course, we set aggressive goals and do everything we can to meet them. But, at the end of the day, we want to ship awesome software that people love. As such, it’s not ready until it’s ready.

YOU CAN’T FAKE COMPASSION

YOU CAN’T FAKE COMPASSION

We believe that compassion is critical, both inside and outside of the organization. Inside the organization, this is thematically similar to the Asshole Rule above. In a team of talented and committed people, it’s important not to forget that everyone is a person. Sometimes things come up that prevent people from contributing to their maximum potential. We try to keep in mind that these things are almost temporary, and do what we can to help in a personal capacity, where appropriate.

Outside of the organization, compassion is critical to creating truly user-centered products. One needs to think deeply about who is going to be using their product or feature on a daily basis. What is the context in which they use the product? What is the context in which they will interact with others, either through or around the product? What other factors need to be considered in their lives? These are the questions we must ask, in addition to many more, to work to build the kind of products that people really love.

meet the Team

Forget about the code, the product, and the pedigree for a second. Get to know each member of the Merit team a little more personally.

Adil Wali

Adil Wali

Adil used to be an avid gamer. He started playing Starcraft competitively as a youth, and that quickly morphed into a competitive gaming team. Wat? Gaming fielded teams for Counter-Strike, Halo, and Call of Duty. For Halo on the PC, they placed 3rd at the CPL World Championship in 2003 and won the World Championship in 2004. These days, Adil is way worse at video games; he occasionally embarrasses his friends (who are actually good) when playing Dota 2. Recreationally, you’ll find him either reading a good Sci-Fi or Fantasy book or drinking wine. He’s happiest when he gets to both at the same time.

Maxim Khailo

Maxim Khailo

Max got hooked on programming since he was eleven years old, getting into graphics and game programming. Max was going to go to Art school to become a graphics illustrator until he realized he was good at the programming thing. At some point max wrote a P2P network called Firestr because his passion for democratizing computing and communication compelled him. All Max’s spare time was spent programming and playing his classical guitar. These days Max spends most of his spare time programming and playing classical guitar, some things never change.

Tony Grebnev

Tony Grebnev

Tony is a big fan of sports, and goes deep in everything he does. He started training at football (soccer) when was 7 years old; going to a special school for it. He was a very successful goalkeeper, full of the potential to consider professional sports. Yet, in high school, he decided to concentrate on his studies and left football school. He then went to Bauman Moscow State Technical University to pursue a Software Engineering degree. He decided to continue playing football for the Univerisity Team. He now plays in three different amateur football teams in Moscow. Tony is a big fan of great UX and frontend development. When he has the time, he studies emerging technologies. He also loves visiting new countries and discovering new kinds of winter sports.

Eugene Sypachev

Eugene Sypachev

In addition to having a life-long excitement about electronics, Eugene is passionate about skiing, fly-fishing, and wine. He started skiing when he was 14 years old, and has had the opportunity to enjoy some of the best Ski Country in the world, from Bad Gastein in Austria to GrandValira in Andorra. He started fly-fishing with his father in 2004, and was drawn to the challenge and creativity of self-made lures. His most recent passion is wine, which stems from the desire to find and eat delicious food around the world. His desire to go deep in all areas of study, combined with a passion for adventure, has made him quite knowledgable in a short time.

Josh Ferrerra

Josh Ferrerra

Josh is a coffee, tea, and gaming enthusiast. From a young age, video games have been a big part of his life. Growing up, he played Starcraft, Diablo, and Counter-Strike. Today, he actively plays offline and online games alike. His top choices today include Borderlands, Warframe, Breath of the Wild, and Witcher 3. He enjoys watching Twitch, mostly following eSports and Speedruns. Living in the Pacific Northwest allows him to indulge in his passion for Coffee and Tea as well as the outdoors, where he enjoys hiking and hammock camping.

Fedor Avetisov

Fedor Avetisov

Fedor has been passionate about soccer since his early childhood. He played in High School as well as at University, spending a big part of his life on the football pitch. While he wasn't quite able to play professionally, he always wanted part of his career to be driven by athletics. So he became a sports journalist and even became the Editor-in-Chief at one of Russia's electric sports media outlets. After having been a professional engineer for a number of years, Fedor founded a startup powering Amateur Soccer Tournaments in more than 30 cities in 4 countries. He never stopped playing soccer; he's the captain of an amateur team; playing every Sunday.

Ibby Hadeed

Ibby Hadeed

Ibby hails from Canada, and has been passionate about Software Engineering from the young age of 12. He is a big fan of open-source Software and has been one of the early core contributors to Ionic and Ionic Native. He's always on the lookout for new and exciting open-source to leave his fingerprints on. When he's not writing code, you can often find him reading a book. If not, then he's likely working on learning some new skill or attempting to reverse engineer his brain.

Vladimir Gutorov

Vladimir Gutorov

Vova hails from the Ukraine. He cares deeply about creating awesome UIs and user experiences. He enjoys learning new programming languages in his spare time. When not in front of the computer, you'll find him swimming laps at the pool or out hiking in the wilderness.

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