The Next Chapter: Deeper in Payments and FinTech
By Adil Wali , 15th Aug 2019

I knew at then end of 2017 that I wanted to transition my career from plain old Commerce to FinTech, Payments, and Investing. This is why, in 2018, I set out to build an open-source blockchain protocol (called Merit) that pushed the boundaries of social dynamics built-into a cryptocurrency.

Ideating and building Merit was one of the true joys of my career. For lots of reasons, it became clear that Merit (and the altcoin market in general) was not in a sustainable place by the beginning of 2019. The summary of challenges boils down to a fundamental lack of need for the product we were building. While we added a lot of interesting social and security innovation to the blockchain, we found that fiat wasn’t really broken.

As I started to think about paths forward, it occurred to me that there were a handful things I wanted to solve for as I took my next step:

  • Having the chance to have broad impact (millions of businesses or hundreds of millions of users.)
  • Learning from the discipline and rigor of a long-standing organization with access to the world’s top-talent.
  • Getting to go deeper into FinTech, Payments, or AI.

The above considerations led to me look closely at top technology companies. As someone who has never really had a real job in my life, I assumed that there would be very little demand for me in a larger company. Yet, my brilliant wife saw a blindspot here, like she often does. Her guidance was simple, “Does it hurt to have a couple conversations?”

So, conversations I had. I was shocked and honored to find that all of the companies I talked seriously with extended offers. This was far from the place I thought I’d end up, and I was woefully unprepared to make a decision.

So, I went back to the first principles above. I asked myself which opportunity would empower me to go deeper in the areas I’m passionate about, have a broad impact, and grow as a leader. Further, I asked myself which organizational culture felt like the right fit. Finally, I asked myself which well-established company had the most upside given it’s current market capitalization.

I found myself with a surprising sense of conviction, and a clear answer: Facebook. I joined Facebook as Director of Product for Payments and Commerce in April. And I couldn’t be happier. While I can’t totally talk about what I’m up to yet, I can say that the culture is entrepreneurial, fast-paced, and very collaborative. You’ll find out more about what I’m up as soon as I am able to talk about it.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Adil Wali. I became a Microsoft certified professional at age 14 and started my first web development company. That led to a career as a serial entrepreneur, advisor, and startup investor. I got my first “real job” at 33, and I’m now a FinTech executive with a passion for the markets.