Re: CJL logo redesign challenge. Post-mortem letter to designers & Crypto Jobs List community.

Yesterday I published a job post that violated my own values and principles that I promote at Crypto Jobs List. Unintentionally, I was asking you, designers, to perform work for free, compensated only by exposure.

Namely, I announced a challenge for a new CJL logo, and asked interested designers to submit 1-3 drafts along with links to their portfolios, in exchange for media coverage, blog post and a video interview with the designer/agency.

Shorly, @CryptoJobsList’s followers + my friends started responding, outraged that what I’ve announced looked like a request for “Spec” work ( and no professional worth their salt would be interested in that. I’d like to especially thank Jonny Burch for articulating the exact problem with the contest. Read full twitter thread here.

Within 30 minutes, I acknowledged the issue with my post and corrected the terms. Request for drafts and sketches was removed, limiting terms of participation solely to submission of portfolio links by interested designers/agencies who would like to help. I left the updated post be for the rest of the day.

This morning I woke up, checked Twitter and learned that updates to the job post were not sufficient, as the outrage continued. I decided to take the listing down to prevent further miscommunication and explain the the rationale in this article.

I believe I made it very clear that the challenge was offered on volunteering basis and I was not deceiving anyone into doing free work who does not want to. The intention was to be open and include CJL community in shaping of the future of professional crypto & blockchain communities. Now I understand that what you really want is paid opportunities and paid opportunities only. I’ve heard you and I’ll double down on that, as this is what Crypto Jobs List has started of on the first place.

10 years ago, before I was doing software engineering, I started off doing graphic design work in my college and DJing. As I started getting better at it and earned some reputation, new clients would often offer to work “for exposure” as they “did not have the budget at the moment”. I felt disgusted — “how could they offer me work for free? Don’t they know my good reputation? They just want to take advantage of me. Nice try!”

I turned all of them down.

Some of these design projects and music events would eventually find a free alternative to my quality services. And those projects would not turn out that bad to be honest. I’d certainly brush their success off and proudly tap myself on a shoulder for “not being taken advantage of”.

What I learned is that even if an opportunity does not match my values and principles, it does not mean that there is no market for it and that other people would not be interested in taking it up. There are plenty of up and coming professionals who do need exposure, more than money. There are also plenty of well-off professionals who are willing to volunteer for a greater cause, without being paid in cash.