21 Dec 2021

A castle getaway: the Ntropian offsite

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Naré Vardanyan

Co-Founder and CEO

I am often asked about the why behind Ntropy. The truth is that it takes time to figure out your real why and what makes you tick. There is the why which is the initial story you tell yourself and subsequently others. At Ntropy this has always been about unlocking the potential of what machines can do via “the data network”. It was also driven by our personal goals, creatively overcoming and circumventing limitations of systems.

As time has gone and we have learned about ourselves, we have come closer to the raw why behind this mission. We are here to be a trigger, a catalyst for outsized outcomes. This is as true of the product that we are building, as of the team that we have assembled and are growing . Here is what it means.

We are going to make sure every single person on this team has the means and the freedom, including economic freedom, to realize their wildest ambitions.

There is so much that will be built by them, the Ntropians, both inside and outside of Ntropy.

Last week we held our first get-together, at a British manor house in Oxfordshire, more resembling a castle than a house, despite how it was called. A week together: eating, sleeping, walking, cooking, working, living.

The Omicron, international borders, languages, vaccine passports, visas did not stop us from being in the same room for the first time, and the synergy was awesome.

Meeting everyone in person at the airport felt surreal. Shorter, taller, more talkative, less open: Zoom had it all wrong. The diversity of the group was a lot more noticeable and fun in person.

Meeting our Chief Happiness Officer in real life

Some quick Ntropian facts:

  • We had people from Romania, Poland, Armenia, France, Portugal, Norway, United States, Russia and Tunisia arrive at London Heathrow.
  • Each of us have two or three languages in common, French and Russian are the second most spoken
  • The amount of eggs consumed at breakfast averages at 6 per person. That’s a lot of eggs we had to buy
  • Almost everyone is on a form of low carb diet or a fasting routine. The intervals between food ranges from 2–6 hours. One of us who claimed they were fasting was caught sneaking cookies in between (we see you)

This is where and how the labeller magic happens: a close look
  • People’s productivity hours are very different. Some would be up super early, others would eat breakfast at noon and go to bed at dawn
  • Everyone is very into what they are doing. They can talk about it for hours non stop and then some more
  • Factorio is now a company expense
  • My Netflix recommendations are full of Japanese anime and cooking shows
  • The rounds of Mafia played are hard to count : some of us were always killers and never caught, while others would be eliminated at every round for no particular reason. Social deduction is fun!
  • In-house food prepared by our very own Frenchman, Louis, beat the chef catered 4 course meal
As formal as we get : the Ntropian core
  • The meme game is now a form of art here @Ntropy . We even minted our own meme gifs on Opensea
  • Music tastes vary, from Bach to French rap.
  • Some of us are semi-pro musicians or used to play in musicals
  • Some of us can play blind chess at 2am beating opponents after quite a few beers
2am blind chess: Tidor vs Ilia

We have three core principles that every Ntropian can recite in the middle of the night if you wake them up.

  • Ownership : end to end, no questions asked
  • Candor: we are not here to please anyone. Instead we are learning to be brutally honest and forward , which is optimal to perform
  • Fun: this is the most fun we could be having. The concept of time is blurred

Was super cool to see this culture unfold in real life. I came back home humbled and excited, like never before.

After a paintball shootout , clearing out the local farm shop, making the biggest pizza order the village had ever seen, losing my dog in the manor for about the 7th time and the cosy nights around the fire discussing the new and experimental stuff we are building, we watched live crossing 1M daily transactions and cheered to Ntropy core, the people at that wooden old manor house table (+Ramy + Misak + Bagrat on Zoom).

There is an internal metric I do not share, but keep track of religiously: it’s the counterfactual effect of our product and the technology we are working on.

The counterfactual power of this team is going to be big. The things that would not have existed if we did not come together.

Yet, we did, and we are growing and hiring. Check out open roles here.

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