When starting a business these days, it may be wise to document the role played by everyone who helped you get it off the ground. Should your company become a raging success, chances are some of those folks will try to seize a piece of your fortune in court.
Perhaps Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg wishes he’d done this. Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss sued him, resulting in a 2008 settlement costing him $20 million in cash and $45 million in Facebook stock. Recently, the twins tried but failed to back out of the settlement, claiming they were duped about the valuation of Facebook. (Read “Winklevoss Twins Can’t Back Out of Deal on Facebook, Judge Says.”)
And on Monday, an amended complaint was filed against Mark Zuckerberg from a New York man who last year said he was entitled to a large stake of Facebook. The complaint includes excerpts of emails between the plaintiff Paul Ceglia and Mr. Zuckerberg. (Read “Ceglia Presses Facebook Case, Adds Emails.”
Of course, keeping track of the relationships you have with friends, family, classmates or anyone else who may be willing to lend you a hand while you build a business would likely be difficult. Entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates, plus copious recordkeeping could prevent those relationships from being of much value.
But given the potential consequences, being able to prove you were truly the brains behind what may one day become a booming enterprise could end up worthwhile.
Readers, should entrepreneurs document their relationships with the people that help them get their companies off the ground? Or is their time and energy better spent just on growing their businesses?
Source: Wal Street Journal