Seems everyone is getting excited about what Facebook recently did after pursuing a TipJoy acquisition. Not up on this yet? You can read a TechCrunch article on it, but the gist is that Facebook was talking to TipJoy (micropayments startup) about an acquisition and reportedly offered around $5MM in stock for the company. TipJoy allegedly said no, so Facebook did the next best thing: they hired TipJoy’s co-founder and CTO, Ivan Kirigin.
At first I thought that was pretty sh$tty business by Facebook. If they can do that (and I’m still not sure how they legally did that), then this could start a very bad trend of big companies pretending to want to acquire a startup, even throwing a BS offer like this one, assessing the talent during the due diligence and just hiring the good people away.
But after thinking about this, I realized that TipJoy was never going to work anyway. You know why? Ivan isn’t an entrepreneur.
And that’s ok. Nothing wrong with not being an entrepreneur. Lots of smart and successful folks aren’t. But no entrepreneur would take this path. An entrepreneur doesn’t put their heart and soul into something and then at the 5 yard line decide to take the ball and walk off the field. So I’m not disappointed in Ivan’s decision, he isn’t and never will be an entrepreneur.
I am, however, disappointed in this guy’s morals. I don’t know him, he might be the nicest guy in the world, delivering packages to orphans on Christmas and walking old ladies across the street. But he had investors that backed him to this point, and to walk away from that is complete bullsh$t. As an entrepreneur AND an investor, that doesn’t sit well with me.
So I think the lesson here is, make sure when you’re investing in a company that you’re investing in the people as much as the idea or the market or whatever else you look at when you give someone a big pile of money. You better make damn sure that person is someone that has the fire in his/her belly and wants nothing other than to be an entrepreneur, to show the world that they can make it, that they can make a difference.
Because there are a ton of startup folks out there looking at this and thinking about the job they could take and the security that would come with that. Let’s hope they look inside and realize they aren’t going to sell out like this.