Re: hot tech writing mkt -- don't focus on salary

Subject: Re: hot tech writing mkt -- don't focus on salary
From: Mary Anthony <mary -at- PERSISTENCE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 1996 11:45:41 -0700

At 10:48 AM 10/2/96 PDT, you wrote:

>If the pay is
>underwhelming, look for generous stock options in a company with a sane,
>level-headed founder/CEO. If you are able to get in early and build a
>top-notch writing team as the company grows, all the while hauling in
>hundreds of shares at $1 to $5 per share, down the road you could wake up
>one day with suddenly valuable shares in a publicly-traded company.

The operative word here is could. The IPO gamble is just that, a gamble. A
company could offer you 20,000 shares of stock and never go public and you
are left holding nothing. If it does go public you might not have 20,000
shares. It isn't uncommon for companies to do reverse-splits to drive up
the price of their stock before an IPO -- usually because they devalued it
by providing large stock incentives to employees. So, the 20,000 you are
offered when you sign could end up at 5,000 or less. A good question to ask
when you negotiate stock options is how many shares are outstanding. IMO
be leery of a company that offers over 6000 shares.

Remember that stock rarely vests immediately. You have to stay with the
company usually about 4 or 5 years before everything is vested. So, check
the vesting schedule and make sure you want to put in the time to make your

My experience has been that startups offer higher salaries because they
cannot offer the benefits of established firms. Most startups don't have
any matching funds for 401Ks or reduced medical benefits. These companies
compensate with salary, increased opportunities to learn, and more
advancement opportunity. Stock is just icing. However, YMMV.

Money is important. Make the most you can live with a company you can
enjoy. After all, you are going to be spending a lot of time there.


"What I read, I forget; what I see, I remember; what I do, I learn."
- Unknown Dressage Master
Mary Anthony mary -at- persistence -dot- com

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