Tech

No1 Anthony Pompliano’s Wild Career: Facebook

Introduction Of Pompliano

When tech and bitcoin bite, he bites back, politely.

Bang. Bang. In the winter of 2014, a 25-year-old Anthony Pompliano was reading a book on a plane that would change his life.

Pompliano

The former army sergeant from North Carolina — who had turned 21 while serving in Iraq — was on his way to a job interview at Facebook for a product manager role. Pompliano had founded two small tech startups after he left military service and sold the second, a track record that attracted the attention of recruiters at both Google and Facebook. But he had spent his life so far away from Silicon Valley that he had no idea what a product manager even was.

That didn’t stop him from pursuing the job. Instead, he read some product management blogs that were all mentioning the same book. So he bought a copy. “On the flight to San Francisco, I literally read a book called ‘The Art of Project Management,’” he told TechCrunch. “Then I went into the interview and tried to regurgitate everything that I had read in the book and not sound stupid. I was fortunate enough to get the job.”

Ten years later, his level of fame in the tech industry is so wide that he’s known by a single-syllable name: Pomp.

The Rise of Pomp

Pompliano earned his Valley street cred doing “growth hacking” for two years at Facebook; he then had a potentially career-ending controversy with his next employer, Snapchat. He bounced back to become an investor with an enviable track record, then gained fame as an unflagging advocate for bitcoin and crypto. Today, his businesses encompass multiple podcasts and newsletters, venture investment, and research firms.

Pompliano recently announced his most recent venture: Professional Capital Management. It’s a company he created about two years ago to incubate startups and provide traditional asset management with some of the profits from those incubated companies. Pompliano is upfront that this business idea is going to be difficult to pull off, and that’s one of the reasons he’s attracted to the idea. Any normal person, he said, would probably not sign up to do incubation and asset management at the same time.

His story is of an unconventional rise to success and a reputation built on hard work, luck, respect, and always taking his shots.

The Man Behind the “Bang Bang”

To know Pompliano is to know he’s a man of routine. First, there is that catchphrase he uses at the start of each podcast, “Bang. Bang.”

Pompliano laughs that he has “no clue” why he started saying it. “I did it three or four times and then I didn’t do it, and the audience was like, ‘Hey, what happened?’ And I realized it almost became like an inside joke with the audience.”

He also wears the same blue and gold striped tie whenever he makes a television appearance — and which he wore during both interviews with TechCrunch. Every day, he tweets the same message: “Good morning. Today is going to be a great day. Let’s get after it relentlessly.”

“Pomp is one of the hardest-working people I have ever known. He just gets it done. I love the guy,” Mark Yusko, founder and managing director of Morgan Creek Capital Management, told TechCrunch. Morgan Creek is a North Carolina-based hedge fund claiming more than $1.3 billion of assets under management.

Diversified Interests

In addition to the newly formed Professional Capital Management business, Pompliano’s business interests span multiple ventures:

  • The Pomp Podcast: Over 530,000 subscribers on YouTube, hosting names like venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood, and boxer-turned-investor Jake Paul.
  • The Pomp Newsletter: Over 260,000 subscribers and three tiers, from free to $10 per month or $500 a year.
  • Pomp Investments: His family office for investments.

Pompliano was a co-founder of early-stage investment firm Full Tilt Capital, which backed companies like Lyft, Reddit, Everlywell, and Imperfect Produce, which sold to Morgan Creek in 2018. He has over a million followers on Twitter, over 558,000 total YouTube subscribers, 135,000 followers on Instagram, and is a frequent guest on financial TV shows like Fox Business and CNBC.

Within the Professional Capital Management venture, Pompliano folded in his existing crypto hiring firm Inflection Points, which recruits, trains, and employs people in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry. He also partners with founders in other ways. He sold one of his first incubations, Reflexivity Research, to DeFi Technologies earlier this year in February. Founded with young bitcoin investor Will Clemente, Reflexivity Research is a well-known provider of Bitcoin, crypto, DeFi, and economic analysis.

Earlier in 2024, he also co-founded the financial news and research newsletter and podcast, Opening Bell Daily, with former Business Insider reporter Phil Rosen. With former TechCrunch reporter Jacquelyn Melinek, he launched Token Relations, a firm that helps blockchain and crypto projects form direct relationships with their communities, developers, and token holders.

Always the Entrepreneur

Pompliano was perhaps trained since childhood for business. The oldest of five boys, his father is the founder of the data and information technology services company Anexio, and his parents always encouraged their children to be entrepreneurial. Pompliano and his brothers took that encouragement literally and were always scheming up ways to make money.

“We’d find stuff around the house and say our parents don’t need this anymore and would go try to sell it,” he said. “Or a friend would be selling something, and we would buy it and try to flip it,” he remembers.

While Pompliano can be surprisingly modest when talking about his own abilities — and to this day says he’s not sure why Facebook hired him, setting him on this career path — during a 2017 episode of the Breaking into Startups podcast, he shared some insights. By that time, he’d already left Facebook and was in a rebound phase with his career.

In thinking over the 150 people he himself had interviewed for roles at Facebook, he’d learned that there were two attributes that were harbingers of success in tech: people who can adapt to new info thrown at them and still calmly make strong decisions, and people whose instincts were to work with others to solve problems.

Pompliano says the second attribute has become “a life principle. Nobody does anything by themselves. It doesn’t mean that you need 100 people,” he told TechCrunch. “A lot of life is about getting along with other people, being likable, being able to collaborate. Success in business is less about what you get out of it, and it’s more about what value you deliver to somebody else — how do you solve their problem?”

Those who know Pompliano say both of those traits are his superpowers. He is “uniquely articulate in his ability to communicate with people,” said Andrew Spellman, founder and managing partner at Fifth Down Capital. Spellman invested in and is on the board of Inflection Points. He gave the example of how Pomp can always field questions that come at him, even on a TV spot when defending Bitcoin during the crypto winter.

“He takes what is, to many, including myself, a complicated asset class, or something that people don’t understand as well, and really simplifies it,” Spellman said, referring to crypto. “I find that to be a really, really unique skill set.”

Facebook, Snapchat, and Morgan Creek

Morgan Creek’s Yusko jokingly told TechCrunch that he “discovered” Pompliano by hearing him talk on a podcast, a comment Pompliano didn’t dismiss.

“That’s a fair characterization. Mark is a pretty special guy in that he has now almost 30 years investing,” Pompliano said in response. “I credit Mark with a lot.”

He was 27 then and at a crossroads. During his time at Facebook, his cachet had risen internally until he landed a spot on a small team directly working on Mark Zuckerberg’s and Sheryl Sandberg’s social presence.

“That’s a pretty incredible opportunity for a 25- or 26-year-old to get exposure in meetings with those two individuals to see how they operate,” Pompliano recalled.

And then it looked like his tech career could have been over, just two years after it had begun.

He had jumped from Facebook to Snapchat (now Snap) in 2015 to do growth hacking there and was terminated within three weeks, according to a lawsuit he filed against Snapchat at the start of 2017. He alleged in the suit that Snapchat ended his job when he questioned Snapchat’s user numbers, a charge that the company has always denied. (It’s worth noting that in 2020, Snap entered into a $187.5 million settlement with shareholders over a lawsuit from them that made similar allegations.) Pompliano had to abandon the lawsuit when a judge ruled he was obligated to settle it in private arbitration.

After leaving Snapchat, Pompliano went to work at Brighten Labs, where he was also fired after a few months. He sued them in 2016 for wrongful termination and fraud. Pompliano declined to comment on any of the litigation, but this was a painful time in his life. He opted to get out of big tech and go back to his home state of North Carolina, far away from Silicon Valley.

“I wouldn’t have had the career, success or network had I not lived in Silicon Valley,” Pompliano said, looking back. “It’s a very special place, the heartbeat of innovation. But I also felt it was somewhat of an echo chamber, and I wanted to have relationships, connectivity and knowledge outside of it. I also

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