Some Thoughts On Equity Compensation

A hallmark of startup companies, the tech sector more broadly, and certainly our portfolio companies, is that they include equity in their compensation packages for their employees, often all employees. If you work for a tech company, chances are good that you will get options as part of your compensation package. I have written extensively on this topic over the years and even published a framework for issuing equity to employees on this blog. That framework is now out of date as the market has moved (up in case you were wondering) and I need to update it. It’s a project and we are working on it at USV but I can’t promise it any time soon. A few years ago I met with a very successful entrepreneur who built his company outside of the tech sector. When I asked him about equity compensation he said to me “You people
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CS Education Week In NYC

All over the city this week, students in NYC’s public schools have been celebrating CS Education Week by doing events and hackathons to showcase their coding skills. Through NYC’s CS4All program, over 1000 teachers have been trained to teach CS classes in their schools. That is over 500 schools to date. Over the course of the ten-year CS4All program, over 5,000 teachers will get this training so that all 1700 school buildings in NYC will have at least one CS teacher and many will have two, or three, or even four. Most of these 500 schools, and many others around NYC, participated in CS Education this week. I was out in the schools along with my colleagues at the Department of Education, CSNYC, and the companies that support us, including Google, Accenture, and Alexandria Real Estate. I met this eighth grader up in the Bronx at In-Tech Academy, a
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The Great Firewall

We arrived in Shanghai late Monday night after a long four-airport three-flight day and all I wanted to do was crash. The Gotham Gal wanted to check her email so she logged onto the hotel WiFi and attempted to do that. As I was falling asleep I heard her call down to the front desk and complain that the Internet wasn’t working. I told her we could deal with it in the morning. So when we got up, we grabbed our laptops and went downstairs to have breakfast and fix things. I set up VPN software on both laptops and the Gotham Gal’s iPhone. For some reason that I don’t entirely understand, my Pixel with a TMobile SIM card seemed to be able to bypass the great firewall and access Google and Twitter without need for a VPN. But even with firewall software on our devices, accessing western Internet services
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Advanced Human Technologies is now part of marketing, innovation and ventures group Rh7thm

The Advanced Human Technologies Group of companies has been integrated into the newly launched marketing, innovation and ventures group Rh7thm. For background please read the post on my personal blog, Phase transition: I am launching a new group of companies. Please visit the Rh7thm website to find out about the new group. Get in touch with Rh7thm if you are interested in any of the services or activities that were previously part of Advanced Human Technologies.

But Why?

Being an investor and board member means that you are close to the companies you invest in but not “in them.”. This near and dear relationship creates some interesting challenges for both the management and the investors. One of them is understanding the difference between information/reporting and a real understanding of what is going on in the business. I often find myself saying “but why?” at board meetings:
  • “Revenues are soft this quarter” – but why?
  • “MAUs are up 150% over last quarter” – but why?
  • “We are going to miss our ship dates” – but why?
  • “We expect to decrease our hosting costs by 50% next quarter” – but why?
  • “We can’t seem to get any interest in the next round” – but why?
  • “We are getting a lot of inbound interest from investors” – but why?
  • “We have a lot of turnover in our engineering organization”
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