How bad are bad fundraising terms?


Suppose you took a job at Square in November 2014. A stock option package you valued at $500k then would have become worthless a year later, when they IPOed at less than half their previous valuation. Yet it seems like Square did quite well in 2015. What’s going on? I go over the startling findings of a new research paper that explains this and lots of other venture capital mysteries.

Startup options are much better than they look


People often make several complaints about how employment works at startups:

  1. They don’t pay well. They claim to make up the difference with stock options, but the options are worthless and you can earn more by working for a big stable company.

  2. They prey on starry-eyed, young, naive people …

Surviving lots of travel


I travel a lot for work. Wave is a distributed company, and we have week-long company retreats once every two months, often in Africa. On top of that, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the ground in Ethiopia. I actually flew enough last year to qualify for …

Stock options are really complicated


Most employees at startups get some of their pay in stock options. This is often framed to the employee as “you get x percentage of equity in the company.” Unfortunately, stock options are a lot more complex than true equity.

Don’t run code at import time


In many dynamic programming languages, there’s no distinction between loading a module and executing a script. I argue that this has more unfortunate consequences than people realize.

Reading lately


More books I’ve been reading recently.

Where I’m giving and why, 2016


I’ve decided where (and how much) to donate for 2016! Here’s how I came to that decision.

[administrivia] Site migration


I finally decided to drop my aging and probably vulnerability-riddled Django 1.4 app and use a static site generator instead.

Don’t claw back employee options


Scott Kupor of Andreessen Horowitz recently suggested an alternative structure for employee stock options. I disagree with it strongly.

I apparently got 50% better at my job last month


…by spending 50% more time on the important parts instead of Slack/email/busywork/things I do when I’m unfocused. I actually didn’t even notice until I checked a monthly time tracking report–at which point I realized I had gotten an extra 40 hours of engineering work in September compared to August.

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