mannerisms

Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Screwing Engineers

The propensity of managers to screw engineers is as old as the hills.

In his great book Accidental Empires, Bob Cringely recalls how Aldus, the pioneer of desktop publishing got started when a manger and five engineers split out of a company to found a start up.

When the five engineers and the manager were to sign the incorporation documents the engineers found that the manager was getting a million shares while they were getting 27,000 shares each.

The manager was taking 90% of the company; the engineers 1% each.

The engineers refused to sign until the manager doubled their holdings.

One of the engineers recalled: “We came to see Paul (Paul Brainerd – the manager) as the demanding father who could never be pleased. Years later you wonder how you let yourself get so jerked around over what, in retrospect, seems to be so unimportant. Why did I care so much?”

Tags: Accidental Empires, incorporation documents, pioneer, propensity, retrospect

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 05, 2012 12:09

    I was expecting to read about Edison & Tesla.
    But there you go.

  2. Temporary old cynic...
    November 04, 2012 19:19

    > Why did I care so much?
    Ummm… because you’d be a walk-over forever being expected to bend-over and think of England if you didn’t?
    Start-ups pull this stunt all the time, which is why I avoid them now when they come knocking. Usually they tell you first how completely key and indispensible you’d be to the overall success… then instantly demolish that claim by making some derisory pay-cut-for-an-80-hour-week offer and equity 1/100th of each of the founders if you’re “lucky”.
    (Name changed to protect the guilty)

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