Not long ago, Wylie Aronow, one of the co-founders of Yuga Labs, announced that he would be taking a leave of absence from the company due to health reasons. In a tweet, Aronow, better known by the pseudonym Gordon Goner, said his doctor had diagnosed him with congestive heart failure. “Symptoms popped up last year and I put off getting help (like an idiot) so I could keep working. But after the test, my doctor called me and asked me to fundamentally change my life,” he wrote road.
In order to take care of his health, Aronow said he was resigning from Yuga. “I’ll be taking some time off to focus on my health,” he wrote. However, Aronow clarified that his time off won’t be all-encompassing. He will continue to serve in limited roles as a board member and strategic advisor, but he did not specify what responsibilities those roles would carry or how big of a role he would have in them.
“Our talented friend and co-founder has the full support of the entire Yuga family as Yuga embarks on his journey to recovery,” the company said in a tweet. nft has now reached out to Yuga Labs for more details on Aronow’s continued work at the company, but representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In his tweet, Aronow further clarified his decision to leave. He explained that he spent most of his 20s dying of chronic illness, and while at Yuga Labs, he pushed himself too hard. “I work 12-hour days, almost every day. I should be taking the advice of everyone around me and finding balance. My goal now is to get the best treatment I can and get well,” he said.
Ultimately, Yuga Labs — and by extension, Aronow — will emerge in early 2021. Aronow with co-founders Greg Solano (Gargamel), Zeshan (Sass) and Kerem (Ketchup) on April 23 of that year. The project has been a huge success. While the NFTs in the collection initially had a fair distribution price of 0.08 ETH per ape (around $190 at the time), these NFTs soon began selling for over $100,000 on secondary markets.
Things got heated in March 2022 when the team announced a $450 million funding round valuing Yuga Labs at $4 billion.This round of financing was led by Silicon Valley investor Andreessen Horowitz (known in the NFT field as a16z).
Since closing the funding, the Yuga Labs team has been hard at work…to put it mildly. In January 2023 they launched Dookey Dash, an interactive minting and gaming experience. They have been regularly updating Otherside, a metaverse project that is the largest expansion of the Bored Ape NFT universe we have seen. The Otherside project is ultimately an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) connected to the BAYC ecosystem.
The team notes that the game will blend the mechanics of an MMORPG and a Web3-enabled virtual world. Specifically, players own land in the world, NFTs can be transformed into playable characters, and more than 10,000 people can play at the same time.
Given the size and scale of the job, it’s no surprise that Arono’s health suffered as a result. Previous research by global consumer health company RB found that approximately 67% of startup leaders attribute personal health issues to their work lives. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said they worked more than 50 hours a week, and a quarter (28 percent) said they worked more than 60 hours a week.
This is an incident and has been updated.