11 of the Most Popular FD:Discussions of 2015

Posted by Victoria Cabrera /December 23, 2015 / Advisors, Cofounder Advice, Entrepreneurial Advice, Hot Topics


 It’s been a great year filled with awesome and insightful FounderDating Discussions. Here is a closer look at some of the most interstsing and often hotly debated discussions from FD:Discuss in 2015

Hiring and Equity

1. Is it okay to call up references that weren’t listed?

Our favorite quote: “Not only is it Kosher, I think it’s mandatory.

The references someone gives you should be hand-picked to rave and thus are less useful. Find some blind references but be very careful not to ‘out’ them to their current employer. That’s a serious no-no and a likely cause of bad blood.”   Tweet this!

Oliver Roup, Founder and CEO of VigLink shared.

2. Is banning salary negotiations a good idea?

Our favorite quote: “This isn’t an issue we can ignore anymore and I am proud to see a company taking notice and taking action regardless of how logical to fix the issue. We can teach women to negotiate, but overall, I don’t think this alone will fix the problem” Clara Buchanan, CEO and Founder at Hypergrow.

3. How much equity do you give your CTO?

Our favorite quote: “The amount of equity that you give depends on him & you. How much do you value him? How much can he do that you can’t without him. You state that this isn’t a ‘co-founder’ role, but it is ‘ground floor.’ Tim Kilroy, CEO of Adchemix.

4. What is reasonable equity and dilution for an advisory board member?

Most helpful quote: “Advisors typically get about 0.5% of early stage equity. A little less if they are less involved/less impactful or a little more if they are rockstars. Of course that equity must be allowed to dilute.” Chris Saad, Cofounder Echo and Product Manager, Uber.


5. Is Freemium a must for SaaS application

Our favorite quote: “At Zoho, we have over 25 different products and all, but one of them, have a freemium version…freemium works very well for lead acquisition but I’d think about this in terms of your target market.” Rodrigo Vaca, Formerly VP Marketing, Zoho.

Untitled design (25)

6. How do you end a pitch meeting that has gone bad?

Our favorite quote: “Just because the feedback’s unpleasant doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If they’re negative / overly suggestive, flip the meeting around and listen to how they would go about repairing things. Write the feedback down, take it with you, and see if they have a point” Trish McDermott, Cofounder at Panic Media Training.

Culture & Productivity

7. Do you ask for agendas before a meeting?

Our favorite quote: “The more intentional you are the more likely you are to achieve the outcome you want. Agendas have the hidden benefit of helping you stay on track during the meeting and also gives the people a chance to gather their thoughts or materials and show up prepared.” Dave Kashen, Cofounder and CEO at WorkLife.

8. Early company culture on the cheap?

Our favorite quote: “It’s like in the real world: A culture is what you demonstrate to others and how you pass on what you think how to treat everybody in your ecosystem. I.e. how you treat your team and how you treat customers, vendors, partners, how you treat the cleaner when they run through the office to put away your garbage.” Axel Schultze, Founder & CEO of Society3 Accelerator. 

Startup Debates

9. Is Uber a social impact company?

Our favorite quote:

I’d say that intentionality of the company is one important measure, but so is effect. Uber didn’t set out to create these new jobs, but the fact that those jobs are created is arguably a positive.   Tweet this!

John Battelle, Founder Chair CEO, NewCo.

10. When to hand out NDAs?

Our favorite quote: “Insisting on NDAs can slow down your pursuit of important information including finding out if there have been other similar product attempts. If you have no strong technical IP edge and lawyers to back it up, then no amount of NDAs or IP will protect you from a larger company with better dev and marketing. Use discretion but give your idea away freely to people who might help you but don’t have the time/resources to try to build it themselves.” Andra Keay, Cofounder of Robot Garden. 

11. What Drives software engineers crazy?

Our favorite quote: “My top 3 pet peeve are when management 1. Makes them move on before they can ‘properly’ finish what they are doing 2. Does not allow any refactoring because they think it doesn’t add value 3. Lack of appreciation after a difficult sprint, doesn’t have to be verbal but giving developers a sane sprint after a very hectic one shows you care.” John Arroyo, Founder and CTO of Arroyo Labs.