I quit my job and I'm fleeing the country

Posted on 9/4/09

I started working at NextC about a year and a half ago after they bought Mingle2 from me. Since then, the site has grown to massive proportions and I'm happy to be leaving knowing it's doing well. I wanted to write this post to provide some clarity on my job situation, because it's a bit confusing.

Why'd I quit?

I can design, develop, and market websites entirely on my own. The return I can get on building my own properties is much greater if I work for myself instead of a larger company. In other words: NextC has been great, but I want to go back to building my own stuff again. If I have the skills take a website from concept to profitability entirely on my own, there's no need for me to work for anyone.

What about RecipeStar?

RecipeStar was a website I'd designed for NextC in the spring of 2008. Due to limited resources, I decided to code it myself rather than having our programming staff handle it. I figured I could code a quick prototype in a few weeks rather than waiting 8-12 months for our programmers to build it. About halfway into development is when I decided I didn't want to be full-time with NextC anymore, so I decided to finish it out, do a few viral linkbait pieces for it, and then make my exit. In the week I spent doing viral marketing for the site, I drove 400,000 page views and 150,000 unique visitors - a great start for a brand new domain. I know there's been some confusion from people who thought RecipeStar was my next big project, so just to be clear - it's not mine anymore. NextC is still going to retain me as a contractor to work on the site as needed, but it's no longer my baby. The same goes for Mingle2, although I still have equity in that website.


What am I going to do now?

In the interim, I'm doing some light consulting to keep myself busy, but the long term goal is going to create what I can only describe as an "entertainment website." I no longer want to create linkbait for the sake of building links. I want the linkbait itself to be the product. When I create a comic, quiz, or whatever else, millions of people are drawn to it, and I feel like that itself can be monetized. I am also tired of building businesses that rely on SEO. It's a brittle business model to create an entity that relies entirely on the whims of another company, in this case Google. My plan is to create an entire website chock full of 100% Matthew Inman viral creations, and to monetize it through merchandise. I figured I'd start with a coffee table book full of comics, which will be similar to the format I used in some of my previous successes. The "How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you" comic got close to six million page views upon launch. If I'd paired that with some kind of book, poster, or other tangible item, I think it would have done really well. The site will be called "The Oatmeal," and the timetable for launch is sometime in late may. This type of business is new for me, but I've got the time and money right now to take risks.

The Oatmeal
The logo for my new site has meat in it, because I think meat is delicious:

Am I really fleeing the country?

Not exactly. My brother is finishing med school and will officially be Dr. Bryce Inman, MD, so we're gonna go on vacation to Thailand together. I'm leaving on monday, April 13th, and I'll be back just before May.

Now that I've quit, can I be hired?

Regarding full-time employment, see the above paragraph: "why'd I quit?." Regarding consulting, I'm doing a little bit of that right now, but my current contract minimum is $8,000 and I'm picky about what kind of projects I take on. If you have something super interesting feel free to send me an email:


New Comments disabled

Due to the high volume of spam and the fact that I barely update this blog anymore, new comments have been permanently disabled.

  • Ben Margolis writes on 9/4/09
    Great stuff!! My brother just finished up med school too and is in Thailand with his girlfriend till late April. Craziness. Good luck with your future ventures, though you probably don't need any :)
  • Brett Borders writes on 9/4/09
    Congrats Matt, you are one of the most inspiring guys in the Web industry. Very much looking forward to your new entertainment site.
  • Gwen Bell writes on 9/4/09
    Gonna have to agree here, Matthew. You're good at this. Congrats on the quitting & the travel. Good luck out there!
  • Dr. Pete writes on 9/4/09
    That's awesome, Matt - congratulations! Looking forward to seeing the new project come together, but in the meantime, enjoy your vacation.
  • Corey writes on 9/4/09
    Hey Matt! Congrats on the move and good luck! Can't wait to see what you continue to do!
  • Lisa Williams writes on 9/4/09
    Congratulations, sounds like a great move. We met at SearchFest this year and I enjoyed your smm panel. Have a great time in Thailand and best of luck in your new venture.
  • Pete W writes on 9/4/09
    Congrats on the change in lifestyle. You did great at SEOmoz, you've done great at NextC, and I'm sure you'll do just as awesome on your own.
    I can't wait to see what you come up with.
  • Ben writes on 9/4/09
    Congrats on the move. Looking forward to following your endeavors and inspiring linkbait!
  • Nate St. Pierre writes on 9/4/09
    Congrats! I'll be watching for your new site . . .
  • Andy writes on 9/4/09
    Good luck in Thailand! I look forward to seeing some of your upcoming projects!
  • Andrew Warner writes on 10/4/09
    Congratulations. Looking forward to seeing what's next.
  • Ryan writes on 10/4/09
    How did you ever get that Gmail account name! That's genius!
  • Matthew Inman writes on 10/4/09
    I signed up a long time ago
  • Steph Woods writes on 11/4/09
    I personally think you're making a great decision (and I'm not claiming to be a business expert or anything).
    I believe you can survive as your own brand as I have always been a big fan of the work you produce. I've sent things to co-workers in the past (when I worked for a company) and could tell they were looking at it because I could hear the laughs across the office.
    Best of luck on your new venture and have a blast in Thailand!
  • john andrews writes on 12/4/09
    I look forward to witnessing your execution, Matt. Um...err... I didn't mean it like that!
  • vanchau writes on 13/4/09
    Good luck Matt! I'll be sure to buy "The Oatmeal" in hardback when it comes out.
    It was great working with you at NextC.
  • Gokkasten writes on 20/4/09
    Congrats. Looking forward to your future projects!
  • Steve Heffernan writes on 28/4/09
    Ever considered reselling products online? I'm an aspiring Matt Inman, but lately I've found a few niches where any good SEO could make a living doing minimal work. Meaning you could probably make a killing. I know, probably sounds boring as heck, but just a thought.
  • Michael E. writes on 1/5/09
    The Oatmeal - The logo for my new site has meat in it, because I think meat is delicious.
    I agree :)
    Hope you had a great trip to Thailand. Just moved (back) to Malaysia myself recently.
  • Rollins- dtechweb blog writes on 13/5/09
    I'm inspired. Good luck.
  • Ralph Jones writes on 14/6/09
    Thats really great to hear that you are finally getting around to doing your own thing. Wish you the best of luck. Enjoy the trip to Thailand
  • NNY writes on 26/6/09
    when are you coming back? I miss your funny comics lol
  • Anonymouse writes on 29/6/09
    /slap Matthew
  • noneya writes on 6/7/09
  • Rob Docherty writes on 15/7/09
    Now that you've realized you should have done this all along; Want to discuss my sites and how I could help you? Hit me up via email.
  • 東京ウェブ開発者 writes on 15/7/09
    it is amazing how you manage to put all those skills on balance. SEO, Designing, Programming.
    I recently got delayed projects on websites because the designer have her usual tantrum sickness. I'm an ASP.NET MVC developer but I'm considering CakePHP too.
    I hope I've read this earlier before your trip on Tokyo.
  • Renee writes on 26/7/09
    "How to tell if your cat was plotting to kill you" was you?
  • Matthew Inman writes on 26/7/09
    Renee: yep. I drew that last summer.
  • ferd writes on 28/8/09
    I've randomly stumbled upon your website a couple of times. Everything about you exudes self-obsession and extreme arrogance.
    We get it, you're proud of yourself, and you do have some decent work, but stop talking like you're so far above every other web-designer ruby on rails twittering web 2.0 ajax expert.
  • Matthew Inman writes on 28/8/09
    ferd - you forgot to mention I'm a social media guru.
    Oh, and I porked your mom. It was magical.
  • ferd writes on 31/8/09
    My name is Matthew Inman. My skills defy occupational titles, but if I had to give myself one, it would be master of the internet. I have been blogged about more times than Barack Obama. The sites I've created receive a combined twenty billion page views per month, and thats just from Senegal.
    In my free time I design the most beautiful sites you will ever lay eyes on. They are not just pretty, they have changed the fabric of modern society as we know it.
    At parties I make jokes about ninjas dinosaurs and the internet, you will probably find them hilarious and me delightful.
    If you think you have a project worth my while, and to save you some time it probably isn't, the fee is 50$ per email you send me. In fact, you probably shouldn't bother unless you have at least thirty thousand followers on twitter.
  • Matthew Inman writes on 31/8/09
    Ferd, you forgot to mention I have biceps the size of watermelons.
    Oh, and I porked your auntie last night. It was enchanting.
  • cuikai writes on 7/9/09
    do what you like to do
  • SEO Seattle writes on 22/11/09
    So totally agree with the statement of, "I am also tired of building businesses that rely on SEO". Even as a professional SEO, it's still like luck and voodoo depending upon Google's flavor of the day... Good to hear you're picky about what you take on btw. Think we all need to be a bit more picky. Cheers!
  • Dave writes on 14/12/09
    Ferd , you have just been owned by some awesome reply commments kudos to Mat for not deleting them !!
  • genji writes on 22/12/09
    you rock Matt! Good luck with your future endeavors and remember to keep us posted :D
  • Search Engine Reports writes on 31/12/09
    I am starting to save my $8000 right now. Serious. I never thought my $8K would be able to do so much. Your designs are works of art, man.
  • whatever writes on 5/1/10
    read your post abt your trip to india, dude. inspite of your problems, it was pretty hilarious..sorry but it was!
    on a more serious note, a backpacking trip is a common coming of age experience here in america but should not be undertaken without some serious research. didn't you read up on varanasi and delhi at all man??? or were you seduced by how cheap everything seemed to be when converted to dollars? stupid decision, kid. next time stick to paris or barcelona. indians will probably only try to fleece you of your money..certain other countries would want much more of your chapped butt. Good luck with future travels and travails!
  • RogerV writes on 7/1/10
    It's funny yo me that trolls like Ferd come here, on your turf, to tell you you're not the best thing since sliced T-rex sandwiches. Did he forget he was lured to your media by awesomeness or inane drivel depending on one's POV?
    I just send props, and beer when you're in LA

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About Matthew

I am no longer updating this blog, but you can follow all of my latest work over at The Oatmeal


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