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UnInbox, Skiff, and the Acquire-Hire Problem

- Simon Müller

Have you been noticing a trend? I certainly have.
nowadays, there seems to be a lot of different startups being bought out in a couple of distinct spaces.

  • The Privacy-Focused Tech Space
  • The Productivity-Focused Tech Space
  • ...anything in-between?

There is some overlap here, and I feel that is intentional

Well of course, it makes sense to connect privacy and productivity - you would not want either your work, or your thoughts in anyone else's hands but yours. In extension, it only makes sense

One trend however that I don't think will stop, is Aqcuire-Hiring

Acquire-Hiring is when you Acquire some company just to hire all of their people for your own company. The best example of this is Skiff, which recently got acquire-hired by Notion.

I suspect that this won't be changing soon, but I've also heard horror stories about how a lot of this may actually be really fucked up moves to get a promotion. The idea goes like this:

  1. You have X position
  2. You want Y position
  3. You leave your company, create a startup, do it with the goal of getting re-hired at a "higher" position or at a different company at a "higher" position
  4. Repeat when needed

How much merit there is to this is a mystery to me, but with today's world I wouldn't say that it's entirely impossible

As for projects like UnInbox, not only do they seem miles behind things like Delta Chat, but also they had to explicitly put a "will you do what Skiff did?" clause into their FAQs 🤦


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Background: Emily Bernal