I have been following these emails and have found them interesting and
I think Elijah's comments below are very well reasoned.
I'm an old guy and have been around the bush and have made mistakes and have
been cheated a few times. I'm a businessman and entrepreneur, not a
developer - I signed up for this group because I own a ten year old business
that sells a product online and part of our system is in Rails.
I have heard stories of people getting screwed by companies that had given
stock and then demanded it back before they went public. I even heard that
the Skype board fired its managers before the Microsoft purchase so they
could save big bonuses (not claiming that is true, but I was told that). So,
people are right to be cautious. On the other hand, Instagram was in
business for 19 months and then Facebook bought them and 13 employees shared
$100 million (I wish I was one of them).
Elijah is right - everyone needs to be cautious about working for potential
ownership in a start-up company. On the other hand, SOME of you may want to
see opportunities and people have gotten rich by investing "sweat equity" in
start-ups. And there is often room for negotiation. And sometimes people
don't explain things in the best way. Actually, sometimes the "deals" that
aren't presented well might be an opportunity because fewer people follow up
on them. However, as many people have said, I would be reluctant to sign a
NDA without having an idea of what is going to be discussed.
Perhaps the difference is viewpoint is somewhat explained by the fact that
some people want to be paid by the hour and don't want to take a risk, but
other people are more willing to (or able to) take a risk. I think sharing
thoughts and experiences and advice is a good purpose for a group like this.
Pointing out pitfalls that people in the group should watch out for can be
From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of elijah
Sent: Saturday, June 23,[masked]:32 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: [ruby-110] startup founder balance - biz/ideas <-> tech
On Sat, Jun 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM, Andy Matthews <[address removed]>
> Attacking a user who has a business idea because he didn't "approach"
> you the right way is a terrible way to build community and the tech
> scene in Nashville. I hope you can appreciate how it makes the people
> on this list look when they're seriously considering a topic on how to
> instruct potential employers on the proper way to approach an almighty
> Rails developer (sarcasm mine).
I think the discussion has moved beyond the original poster, now, to a place
where it's good to talk about people's experiences with business structure.
From my point of view - once you've been exploited by someone who "has a
business idea" - you NEVER forget. And I mean *never*. And that can be
transitive to all future engagements, to be honest. You get super-wary, and
suspicious, and think of yourself as having been
hopelessly naive about your insight into "people". Some people
encourage having an attorney friend read all contracts, NDAs, whatever, to
look for ways you can get screwed - I'm not sure that's really necessary,
but it doesn't hurt. And the extra caution is certainly something that you
learn as a survival skill.
Both sides of the community need education - folks in the business world
*need* help figuring out how to engage with this community - it's actually
very difficult, if they're nontechnical, given the light-speed pace that
things change - and this community has to pay attention to how it markets
itself to the rest of the world. There is certainly a gulf, and few people
are good at bridging it.
I don't *think* that the vast majority of the Rails community has an ego
problem - rather, this is one of the nicer, most pleasant,
enjoyably-engaging groups of folks around.
> I'd like to remind you that while we are indeed the doers, and
> developers, we're nothing without an idea to implement. Entrepreneurs,
> marketers, and business people deserve a place at the table as much as we
And vis versa - which is why folks take it as mildly offensive to be offered
equity-as-pay and then have it suggested that you'll be welcome to leave as
soon as it's funded.
I feel bad about how the original poster got treated, so I'm going to reach
out to him and see what can be done to help.
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