Why Join Immutable: Product, Engineering & Design
We’ve just announced our Series C. By now, you should be seeing the Immutable brand all over your socials, and hopefully you’ll be at least a little bit curious. At Immutable, we are on a mission to secure the best talent in Sydney and globally — we are now the fastest Australian company to hit unicorn status, and are growing as fast as we can to service massive demand from our partners and customers.
I’m Alex, co-founder and CTO at Immutable, and I wanted to write this blog as a sales pitch for those considering joining Immutable’s product, engineering and design teams. If you’re top talent in those areas, you have almost unlimited options — why join Immutable?
Before I answer that question, I actually want to answer our actual most common candidate question — what exactly does Immutable do?
What does Immutable do?
Last year, gamers spent more than $110B USD on in-game items. Despite this massive outlay, users owned none of them — they couldn’t sell them to other players, they couldn’t take them to third-party marketplaces, and all the assets could be seized at will by the game’s developer. If you spend $100 on an in-game item, we believe you should be able to resell it when you’re done with it (just as you could sell any physical asset you’ve bought). NFTs are a fantastic solution to this problem because they allow for digital assets to be scarce and tradable, without requiring a third party (e.g. a game studio) to be the middleman/ledger/source of truth for every trade.
Because of this clear use case, huge market, and the willingness of gamers to put up with the friction of slightly experimental tech, we believe the first truly mainstream NFT projects will be gaming projects. However, most of the NFT projects that have been successful to date have been limited-edition luxury goods or profile picture projects like CryptoPunks or BAYC. This is because it is currently extremely challenging to build a world-class game where the in-game assets are NFTs, for a number of reasons:
- Scale: Ethereum can process fewer than 10 NFT trades per second, for the whole world combined
- Cost: the average NFT trade on Ethereum costs >$20
- Environmental Impact: blockchains inefficiencies are highlighted when trading unique assets
- User Experience: the experience of trading NFTs is highly complex, and highly coupled to the underlying blockchain concepts (e.g. gas fees)
- Developer Experience: developers have to learn a new programming language and paradigm, and any bugs could cost users millions
- (we track more than 20 other core challenges internally)
Immutable has built the leading platform for solving these core challenges faced by games, game marketplaces and gamers when creating and trading NFT assets: Immutable X. Immutable X includes a zk-rollup engine built in partnership with StarkWare, which allows gas-free, high-scale, carbon neutral NFT minting and trading, a huge upgrade on existing NFT protocols. It also offers native wallets, easy-to-use APIs, and a ton of different developer tools and services for building better games and marketplaces. If you’ve ever read criticism of NFTs, we often agree with most of it, but Immutable’s core belief is that these problems can be solved — our goal is to allow projects to “do NFTs right”.
Immutable also has an internal gaming Studio, which builds world-class NFT games like Gods Unchained and Guild of Guardians. These games are fantastic examples of the experiences it is possible to build while still offering true in-game asset ownership, and also act as a proof point and early learning ground for our platform. We have been building Gods Unchained since early 2018, and have had amazing learning opportunities along the way — for instance, we minted more than 10 million NFTs on Ethereum mainnet by creating a new, more efficient way to mint NFTs. This is more than all other Ethereum L1 NFT projects in history — combined!
We are at the forefront of a new and massively exciting space, and with the growth of NFTs in 2021, we are inundated with awesome studios who want to launch amazing games (hence our massive scaling push). OK, so that’s what Immutable does — still, why should I choose it over any of the other companies spamming my LinkedIn?
In this pitch, I’m focusing on the platform side of our business (Immutable X), though many of these points still apply to our Studio. First, we’re working on some hugely interesting product and engineering challenges. To solve the core problems facing NFT games and their users, we need to do genuinely innovative work, on a number of fronts, including building:
- Smart contract NFT minting and trading primitives (writing Solidity and CAIRO), which allow for efficient minting of NFTs, and different types of NFT trading (e.g. limit orders, auctions, AMMs etc.)
- Backend/platform products for NFT games and marketplaces (writing Go), including our shared orderbook and our NFT indexer. We process hundreds of thousands of API requests each minute, and have all the normal scaling challenges of a product of our size and scope (infrastructure mostly serverless AWS with Terraform).
- Our own marketplace (writing Typescript React/Next.js), which is becoming a fantastic NFT trading frontend targeted at gamers specifically
- Our wallet products (writing Typescript React and Go), focused on creating an awesome experience for users who own in-game NFTs
- Our developer experience (our SDKs, our documentation, our examples and guides)
- A number of other exciting products I can’t yet announce in this blog post!
All of the above need slightly different skill sets, but each of these products requires us to hire extremely talented people to make them successful. We don’t have a choice when it comes to talent strategy — we must hire the top 2–3% of the market, because that’s what it will take to build competitive products. Our product strategy needs to be incisive, our designers need to be customer experts, and our engineers need to be able to work quickly while delivering world-class products. This doesn’t mean we only hire extremely senior roles — we want the top 2–3% of every segment (right down to grads/juniors).
Additionally, in our capacity as a platform, we get to work with all the most exciting companies in the space, see their problems up close, and build the solutions they need. There’s a special product and engineering challenge that comes from building a platform in such a nascent space, with customers who are growing massively, and I want to keep delighting these teams (and hundreds of others) with our products.
Second (and related), you will have the opportunity to work with very talented people. Smart people want to work with smart people — in building our product, engineering and design teams we are explicitly looking to find the best talent in the market. We have awesome leaders in place, and we are paying top-of-the-market comp, have rocket ship equity, and an awesome benefits package.
However, we are big believers that top talent can come from anywhere. We are passionate about building diverse teams, and Kevin McHugh (our Director of Engineering) wrote a fantastic article about his journey in this area. Currently, 15% of Bitcoin owners are women, and NFT owners are only slightly better at 16%. Women are now more than 45% of gamers — if we want to build a product which can truly take gaming NFTs mainstream, we need a team which can build for everyone. We are also big on geographic diversity — Immutable HQ is in Sydney, but we are remote first and want top-class talent in any workable time zone, particularly in Singapore and on the west coast of the US. We find that some of our best talent comes from these locations — if that’s you, please apply!
Third, you will have an amazing opportunity to make an individual impact on our journey and mission. Immutable, despite its size and stable funding, is still a relatively small company. We currently have fewer than 40 full-time engineers on Immutable X, and though we’re growing quickly, you will have vastly more individual accountability and autonomy here than at larger companies. I often use the test of “would the company (not your manager) notice if you stopped showing up to work” — if they wouldn’t, I can offer you more impact at Immutable. If you’re looking for somewhere where your work will have a massive impact, but without the risk of a bad experience at a very early startup, Immutable is well funded and is the right place for you.
This potential for individual impact also creates the opportunity for fast-tracked internal career progression. For example, Inga joined as our “chapter lead” for quality assurance on Gods Unchained (in-game testing). 1 year later, she moved into a full-time software engineering position — and only 6 months later (as of last month), she was a full-time Engineering Manager for a team building Immutable X.
Fourthly, Immutable has the chance to make a deep and lasting impact on the world. Yes, I’m hugely biased. Yes, this is the “sell” blog post. But I genuinely come to work everyday deeply excited (and slightly daunted) by the problems we get to solve, and that’s exactly how I like it. We are in one of the hottest spaces of all time, in a market where we can’t just copy competitors but have to do genuine product research, and a space where what we build actually matters. We are pioneers of true digital ownership, and are a leader in the field: the work we do here, the functionality we unlock for projects, the choices we make — the eyes of the world are on us and our partners and customers. We have an opportunity to shape the future of digital ownership for all assets (not just gaming assets), and I’m determined to build a fantastic team to seize it. I don’t believe every digital asset will be an NFT — but if we can succeed in making every consumer of digital goods aware of whether they actually own what they’re purchasing (vs. having a limited licence to it), we’ll have moved digital property forward enormously.
Lastly, this is just a fun place to work. The people are friendly, but direct when they need to be. We treat product as a team sport — we are individually high-performing, but we also know we succeed and fail as a team. And when we have reason to celebrate (which is often), I think we celebrate pretty well:
We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with more amazing people. If Immutable sounds like the right place for you, we’re currently hiring for:
- Engineers (all levels of seniority) + Engineering Managers
- Product Managers (all levels of seniority)
- Designers (all levels of seniority)
We’re hiring for a number of leadership roles as well, including a Head of Product and Head of Data. We’re talent-led — if you think you can contribute to our mission in any role, at any level, please reach out to me for a chat.