# Sunday, August 9, 2009

A year ago, I was surprised to find myself on a bus rolling toward Tennessee.  Although I had made it a habit of attending as many community events in the area as I could, Tennessee seemed too far to travel for a conference. So I originally balked at the idea of going all the way to Murfreesboro, TN for the DevLink conference.

Matt B But I found myself between jobs last August and I decided I needed to use this free time to network with others in the IT industry.  So, at the eleventh hour, I found an unused ticket; reserved a hotel room; and signed up for the community bus ride from Michigan to Tennessee.

For so many reasons, going to DevLink turned out to be the right decision.  I saw some very good sessions (Joe Wirtley's WPF presentation remains one of the best I've seen on the topic) and I got my first real taste of open spaces done well. But, more importantly, I met so many passionate people from the developer community. Looking back, it's startling to me how close I've become with some of them in just a few months.

This was one of the events that triggered for me an intense involvement in the developer community.  Since returning from DevLink, I've spoken at numerous user groups and conferences; I've become an officer for a local .Net user group; I've blogged with a vengeance; and I've become one of those loud opinionated guys you see on Twitter and at local events.

I won't say that DevLink is solely responsible for my community involvement over the past year. But I definitely found inspiration in the passion folks I saw there.

Carl F and Matt C This year, I'm planning a return trip to DevLink. The speaker lineup and the agenda look amazing; the event has expanded to three days and moved from Murfreesboro to Nashville; and the Open Spaces area promises to provide more stimulating discussion.

I spent most of my time at the 2008 DevLink in the Open Spaces area, but this time, I plan to attend more sessions. I'll also bring my still camera to capture the faces of the attendees and I'll bring my video camera to capture fresh ideas from passionate developers for my Technology and Friends show.

I hope to reconnect with many in the developer community and meet new people there. If you see me at DevLink - even if we haven't met before - please approach me and say "Hello". I'm looking forward to talking with you.

Monday, October 19, 2009 3:35:23 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
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Monday, May 13, 2013 7:34:08 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
I held out for 8% on my latest startup, but then again I am a seasoned entrepreneur, not just a regular first hire. I actually met with the Founder and investors beforehand and the investor had the nerve to say that if I wanted equity I should pony up money. This blew my mind, how is a massive salary cut (about $80k) not ponying up money? Yes, there is the fact that I have the option to bow out at any time, but I get exactly nothing if no shares have vested. Luckily the Founder saw my value and agreed to my terms. The problem with giving away equity is that too many people aren’t motivated by it. I am very motivated by equity, and the Founder knew this from my past ventures. The truth is that most developers just aren’t that motivated by equity. When I founded a company 7 years ago and raised $500k I gave my first developer 2% and a salary maybe 25% less than what he might command otherwise. But he was right out of school, and this was an incredibly opportunity for him to learn about startups and get some excellent experience on a variety of technologies. The equity didn’t motivate him though, and he eventually left to make more money. That is very often the case (I have several more examples), so I don’t think you can’t be too hard on founders that are stingy with options. If you want the options then you need to command them. If you don’t get what you are worth then it isn’t the right choice.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 7:28:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Having founded a start-up, raised money, hired, let’s just be clear. Your first employees are pretty much working as hard as the founders. Additionally, the founders may bring nothing but a raw demo that can be put together in very little time and some hustle to show it to/talk to the right people. Their great idea, like the million+ other ideas kicking around, are worthless without execution.I’ve been on both side of the equation, and the current standards for equity for early employees are disproportional to the investment those companies want you to make. When you are the first employee, it’s often the case that you’re freeing up one of the founders from doing the job you will be doing. If you take that tact, then that first employee is providing the same value the founder was until the founder hired themselves into another role.I’m not saying a first employee is taking the same risk as the founders, but to give them a significantly below-market-rate salary on top of a tiny (1%) bit of equity for putting that much skin in the game early on is a bit insulting.

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