Should Have Been an Artist… (a Startup Lesson from David Choe’s Facebook IPO Payday)

February 15, 2012

I realize the impending Facebook IPO and the resulting soon-to-be-minted millionaires have been covered ad nauseum the past few weeks as we inch closer to their offering, but I still cannot get over David Choe’s potential $200 million payday once this all takes place.  By wisely taking Facebook stock over dollars in exchange for decorating the interior of Facebook’s office, David now stands to cash in on Facebook’s success in a very big way.  If only I had been around in Facebook’s early years to take on random odd-jobs and handy work … maybe I would be planning my first extravagant purchase too.

After snapping out of this momentary daydream and the ensuing depression knowing that I in no way stand to benefit from their success story, I came back down to earth and realized there are always lessons to be learned from these type of scenarios.

Now, I cannot put myself in David’s shoes and insinuate that I know what his thought process was at the time. Perhaps he did have a strong belief that Facebook was heading down the road to great things and wanted to take advantage of a rewarding offer. On the other hand, maybe he was already financially stable and could afford to take a flyer on a situation like this. Whatever the case may be, for someone looking at a new role/job with a compelling startup, there is plenty to be gleaned.

To begin with, I would hope that when taking a position with a startup one would do so because they believe in the company, its vision, its team, etc. Otherwise, what is the point of accepting? Therefore, if someone is going to accept an offer and going to help try to build something big, than why not bet on yourself and the company and seek that stock-based compensation if and when it is an option? It just another reason to push yourself everyday and make sure you are working hard to add value…something OpenView prides itself on and looks for in both its investments and its people.


Brian is a Partner at OpenView where he is responsible for identifying and evaluating investment opportunities for the firm. He particularly enjoys assessing new markets/technologies and connecting with passionate founders.