If you spot co-founder, (former) CEO and leader of $1.5billion global company, Afterpay, Nick Molnar out on the town, and you’re one of his 400 employers, don’t you dare call him, or refer to him as your ‘boss’. That’s just not his game.
Molnar actually says feels he feels so grateful people actually want to work for him that it’s a bit awkward when they refer to him as their ‘boss’. But this isn’t just a personal thing for Molnar, it’s also a business tack. Molnar told Financial Review that his non-hierarchical workplace culture is what makes his staff thrive. I believe it, and why shouldn’t I, his company is only worth $1.5billion.
Disruptive Millennial leaders are a different breed. And this is a good thing. Because who are they most likely leading? Millennials. We can all learn a thing or two from Nick Molnar and his peers.
Less than five years ago 29-year-old Nick Molnar was a University student who was pretty good at sales. After building up an eBay business selling jewellery on line, how very Millennial of him, he managed to get a couple of million behind him. It was then he approached his neighbour Anthony Eisen (now CEO), who also happened to be the former chief investment officer at the massive, Guinness Peat Group. Nick’s idea for a consumer lending start-up rang bells for Eisen, and so Afterpay was born.
The basic principle of Afterpay, in case you have been living on another planet, is a like Lay-by meets a credit card. Only it’s not credit, you pay the purchase off with your own money in four equal instalments. Molnar based the idea on his belief that Millennials don’t trust credit. And it makes sense, since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, when most Millennials were probably starting to understand the value of things, perhaps when some received their first pay-check, nobody really trusts credit.
While he may have seemed like a disruptor in 2014, it was actually right on target. The perfect time to launch an alternative to credit. A 2016 survey revealing only one in three adults aged 18 to 29 owned a credit card. And while they may not have had the money for big purchases because they were possibly spending it all on lavish brunches, Millennials are consumers and they do like to shop. And what better way to do it then buy now, pay later––with a touch of discipline.
Afterpay wasn’t only popular with consumers, retailers saw its value exponentially. With customer orders said to have jumped by 20-50% with the introduction of Afterpay services––in 2017 Afterpay reported to have processed $561 million in retail sales. It all made so much sense. And Molnar was the genius behind it. Genius, or simply a Millennial.
You see it might be a genius idea, but I think what made Molnar and Afterpay so successful, wasn’t just the idea behind the service, because to be honest, great ideas happen all the time. And they don’t always turn into successful businesses. Hello Shark tank! I believe what makes Afterpay and Molnar so successful is their business culture, particularly Molnar’s leadership qualities.
What would a (disruptive) Millennial leader do?
- Own Social Media: Afterpays popularity can be greatly attributed to it’s strong social media presence. IN 2017 just a couple of years after its conception, the company had 70,000+ followers on Facebook. And they used that following to grow the company even more.
- Selfie-power: In 2016, when Afterpay was lobbying to get more retailers on board, he made a call to Afterpay users/fans to use their social media profiles to campaign and get their favourite retailers using the service.
- Keeping up with Pop-culture: Afterpay used cultish consumer-celebrity icons, the Kardashians to help launch the Afterpay service in the US
- Don’t call me boss: Nick Molnar removed hierarchy from the workplace, instead valuing everyone’s roles on their own merits.
- Lives and breathes self-actualisation: Not only does Nick Molnar 2017, Nick Molnar publicly shared his top tips to a start-up community, “ Surround yourself with good people. Dare yourself to be brave. And hustle!”