"So, I have some advice for you about building a company," he said. I nodded. "When distributing equity, I recommend you and your co-founder take the lion's share. Then a few early employees get maybe ten percent, then later employees get one percent if anything."
"What's your reasoning?" I asked.
"Well, it's obvious really. You and your co-founder are taking the most risk. Very early stage employees also take on some risk, but not as much as you. And then later stage employees really don't take on much risk. They join once they know the going's good."
I wrote this blog post earlier. It's similar. I feel like I just need a whole series criticizing awful corporations.
We need to call a spade a spade.
What he said translates to: "I have the privilege and resources to be able to start a company, and early stage employees also have the privilege and resources to be able to join me. Employees with families they need to support, without much savings, who aren't in my immediate social network, who are working three jobs now, who need a steady paycheck-- anyone who isn't already well off and in my social network-- doesn't deserve money. They deserve to stay at the bottom where they are."
Any time you hear, "taking the most risk" replace it with "have the most privilege and resources." Works well.
Same goes for things like unpaid internships.
I'll never have this equity policy at my company. I'll never tell someone that they deserve a less comfortable life because they already have a less comfortable life.
I'll work hard not to perpetuate social injustice while dressing it up in more acceptable words.
That means paying juniors very well, paying late stage employees well and fairly. It means treating people as humans.
It means understanding that a paycheck is not a simple reward for merit but a way to live life in a comfortable manner and grow in the future.
If we give underprivileged people money, we will improve communities.
Please, cut the crap.