April 25, 2022
Paradigm does a few things quite differently than the average tech company. Some things that struck me as unique are the super-generous do-whatever-you-want personal tech budget, the fact that salaries are the same no matter where you live, employee-specific holidays, and our incentive-based relocation budget. I was pleasantly surprised by these policies when I joined, and after talking to old-timers here I’ve come to learn some of the backstory. The differences are rooted in a realistic approach to security, fairness, and equality.
$5K Personal Tech Budget
Let’s start with the personal tech budget. Upon joining, each employee can purchase up to $5,000 in computer, home office, or software gear. No questions asked. This budget is topped off each year with an additional $2,000. Your tech is your responsibility, and the company doesn’t take anything back if you leave (as long as you’re here for at least 6 months!).
Frankly I’m not even sure how I’d spend $5,000. A top of the line ThinkPad is on the order of $2,200; the crazy expensive MacBook Pro M1 Max starts at $3,500. I got a ThinkPad, a monitor, some software, and ... that’s it. I’ve got everything I need (I already have a chair and a desk) and I still have over two grand I could spend. Coworkers with more imagination than I do have some pretty tricked-out setups. We actually have a slack channel named “#share-your-battlestation”. It’s got pictures of fancy desks, three and four monitor setups, computers with neon lights, you name it!
The stuff is all yours, too. There’s no corporate-installed spyware. You get to keep what you bought. Pretty much every tech company will take back and destroy your laptop when you leave. This has always struck me as really wasteful. The reason given is always that you could have sensitive information on your laptop and so you can’t have it after you leave. It’s as if they never heard of USB drives, and could never imagine someone making a backup of a laptop. I chalk that up to either compliance mandates gone awry or security theater. Anyway, where precisely would we send old laptops to? We’re a small company, and frankly everyone has better things to do than deal with returned laptops.
The next perk is our location-agnostic compensation package. Discrimination comes in many forms and, as a company, we’re committed to building a truly inclusive and equitable workplace. We’re also an almost entirely remote company. With the recent increase in remote work, we found that one of the areas where traditional tech companies discriminate is location. At Paradigm, there are literally no salary adjustments between where I live in Silicon Valley and my colleagues in other zip codes or other countries. This hasn’t affected me personally (because, dang, I live in one of the most expensive places on earth), but my colleagues around the world - Brazil, Italy, Latvia, India, you name it - express wide-eyed joy and wonder at this. Paradigm views this policy as paying people based on the value they bring to the company, not a discount based on the going rate for their location. This comes with the added benefit of being able to easily attract top talent globally instead of just in the U.S. (and trust me, there’s some amazing talent across the world).
Paradigm’s team has folks from 18 nationalities spread across 25 locations in the world. Rather than enforce a fixed set of holidays based on the U.S. or a particular faith, Paradigm approaches holidays a bit more personally. Paradigm provides 13 company holidays that are split between national holidays and employee-centric floating holidays. Us Americans get the 4th of July; if I were Muslim, I would get to celebrate Eid and other holidays that are more relevant for my faith. If I were Indian, Diwali may be one of my preferred holidays. Paradigm has deliberately chosen a path that embraces diversity.
Singapore Relocation Incentive
Rather than penalties for location and work style, Paradigm has chosen the opposite approach of incentives. We recently moved our headquarters to Singapore, and leadership has realized the benefits of being physically near some of our largest investors and customers. So it makes sense to move more people there. To drive this, Paradigm is offering a significant bonus ($15K) plus relocation assistance ($10K) to any employee who wants to move to Singapore. Plus, you also get your own excellent personal setup in the Singapore office: Standing desk, Secret Lab Chair and a multi-monitor setup/docking station of your own configuration.
Personally I’m pretty tied down, but if I were younger and more footloose I’d take a serious look at moving.
A lot of companies talk a good game about diversity, equality, and fairness. Paradigm has put its money where its mouth is and put policies in place that truly reflect that. If this sounds appealing to you, have a look at our Careers Page. We’re hiring!