Brad Feld

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Do I Practice What I Preach?

Jul 04, 2006

At dinner I was pondering the answer I gave on the post How An Entrepreneur Can Protect Himself Post-Funding.  Something was bothering me about it and I thought to myself “do I practice what I preach?” (Amy suggested that I should be bothered by my title of the post, which should have been “… Can Protect Himself or Herself …”)

My first reaction was that I had never had an employment agreement with any company that I’ve worked for.  As I thought about it a little harder, I realized that I’ve had a few employment agreements, but they never gave me much protection – in each case they protected the company I was working for more than they protected me.  In addition, these agreements were either tied to a non-compete associated with an acquisition or as part of my role in a public company.

In the one case where I could have enforced the employment agreement, I simply ignored it and told the person I was working for to do whatever he thought was fair (he did, and it was.)  In another case, I voluntarily gave up the consideration I was getting when the company I was involved was struggling financially.  Neither of these were cases of “altruism” – rather, I simply did what I thought was the right thing at the time.

There is a difference between an employment agreement associated with an entrepreneur in an early stage company and one associated with senior management post an acquisition (almost always when a non-compete is involved.)  My comments in How An Entrepreneur Can Protect Himself Post-Funding pertain to an entrepreneur in an early stage company; Jason and I covered some thoughts about the acquisition situation it our Letter of Intent series under the topic Employee Matters. 

My conclusion – after chewing on this more – is that I’m comfortable with my answer in the context of an early stage company.  And – yes – I think I practice what I preach – most of the time.