Today, Alchemy is one of the most well known names in blockchain development, providing the infrastructure for a big chunk of the web3 ecosystem. With a recent valuation of over $10B, many might be surprised to learn that the company was relatively small for a long time.
Joe Lau, Alchemy's cofounder and CTO, has been there to see the team grow over 10x times its size in the last couple of years alone. As he tells it, along with that growth came the requisite growing pains most startups experience: "Once you get bigger, you have to work harder to make sure everyone is aligned on knowledge and goals."
While Alchemy was able to pull off an impressive amount of work without a formal documentation system in place for a while, it became obvious that if the company was going to continue to scale at the same pace, there would need to be a more formalized way to store and share knowledge.
If the Alchemy team can point to one factor that's made the company so successful, it's their transparency. As Joe says, "Knowledge sharing is very important to everyone here. We believe that having smart people sharing as much knowledge as possible is our formula for success."
This was easy to do verbally with a small team, but today many employees are spread out remotely. The team needed a formalized knowledge sharing tool. "It was clear that we needed to use something like Slab to keep everyone on the same page."
Before Slab, there was no single source of truth at Alchemy as far as documentation was concerned. Things like onboarding documents, OKRs, and important updates to policies existed in many different places: Google Docs, Slack messages, and on whiteboards. This fragmented approach became less sustainable over time. "We needed to put everything where it could be easily referenced and continually updated," says Joe.
The company's main tool for documentation, Google Docs, was accessible, but less organized and searchable than what the team needed. As Joe tells it, "The folder structure actually made it harder for us to stay organized and find things."
"Knowledge sharing is very important to everyone here. We believe that having smart people sharing as much knowledge as possible is our formula for success."
Slab turned out to have all the features the Alchemy team needed to continue to scale, and then some. At a high level, Slab provides three main benefits to the team:
Collaboration: Whereas before, the team relied on verbal communication, Slack, and Google Docs to share information, having a centralized source of truth that's accessible to everyone has been a game-changer. As Joe says, "It's really helpful that everyone can edit documents at the same time. It's much easier to keep things up-to-date."
Organization: As the company has grown, so too has the need for a more formalized, streamlined way to keep information in order. "It's great that we're at a place now where documents can be added and referenced easily," says Joe. "There's no question of where to go to find new information. It's our one source of truth."
Searchability: As Joe shares, being able to search for things easily is "super important". He goes on to say, "We just had information in too many places before, and now it's so much easier to find what you're looking for quickly. The search function is great."
Beyond these benefits, the Alchemy team experienced some more specific upsides from using Slab, like overhauling the onboarding process. Before, onboarding documents were split up across a number of documents and channels. Now, everything new hires need lives in one document, with a checklist that can be easily updated. "Overall, this system has shortened the length of onboarding time for new hires," says Joe.
Alchemy's plans for the future are ambitious, and thankfully, the company now has a knowledge sharing tool that will allow for that growth to continue unencumbered. "Slab has become a repository for all knowledge at Alchemy, and it will only be more valuable as we grow," says Joe.
"Slab has become a repository for all knowledge at Alchemy, and it will only be more valuable as we grow."