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Sorry The Stock Options For Your API Startup Do Me More Harm Than Good

I’m really honored that some of my partners are kind enough to offer me a piece of the action in their companies, in exchange for what I do. I really am. However, going forward I’m going to have to decline any stock options in exchange for work, or advising, because it really doesn’t pencil out for me. I know it is the currency you are working with, getting investment in exchange for options, and trying to get knowledge, talent, and other forms of investment in exchange as well. I trust it will work out in your favor, but from my vantage point, there really is no upside in the game.

I regularly receive accusations of having and agenda because of real or perceived interest in companies, so with this hit on my brand, and the lack of return from the historic stock options I’ve had historically, it just doesn’t work out. My last advisor options netted me $319, for about 60 hours of work on, and travel costs out of my own pocket. I’m sure if I had more capital investment, and a bigger piece of the action, I’d fare better, but for the stake I get thrown–it just doesn’t do it for me. Plus, I have a manila folder in the filing cabinet of more significant shares that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, so stock options really doesn’t float my boat in the first place.

Please don’t let this hurt your feelings. I know you are heavily invested in the value of your options, but I’m just not there. I’m happy to find other arrangements to make things happen, but with the way that stock options get wielded against me, and used to potentially discredit what I’m doing, it just isn’t worth anymore. As it stands today I only have stake in a single company–Skylight Digital (5%). I have NO stake in any API related company, and I am going to keep it that way. I’m not 100% against an equity stake, but the risk of low stake investments, and the high risk of damage to my brand leaves me extremely critical about any conversation in this area.

It is another fascinating area of the startup game in my view, where people like punching down, instead of up when it comes to questioning the ethics and credibility folks in the API space. People be all questioning my ethics, but afraid to ever go after startups, or investors, because it might hurt their chances to be invited into the club some day! It’s a crazy financing reality in the API space, where up is down, and down is up, and I’m just beating that API Evangelist drum. #onward

Note: If my writing is a little dark this week, here is a little explainer–don’t worry, things will back to normal at API Evangelist soon.