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:

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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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