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on September 7, 2012
I found Slicing Pie after reading an introduction about the book and realizing that the partnership dispute scenario that I just went through is unfortunately all too common. Like many, my business partner and I split equity too early during the formation of the company. Things were great until my partner abandoned the company without cause and this left us in an unfortunate battle for how to move forward. I wanted to buy him out, but he demanded a ridiculous amount of money even though the business had almost no revenue yet. This put an immense amount of stress on the business.

I read the entire book in one sitting. Everything resonated with me as I reminisced over the past 7 businesses that I've been part of over the years. Even though the most recent business is the only one where I had a serious partnership dispute, all the past partnerships could have been handled better and more fairly if we had the kind of moral and pie slicing agreements that this book discusses.

I really like the fact that the book distills the most common partnership scenarios down to basic formulas for determining everyone's slice of the pie. I see myself using Slicing Pie as the moral operating agreement for future ventures. It really covers a lot of scenarios in a much more simple way than any other business structure advice that I've heard before.
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on February 25, 2013
How many companies are screwed from the beginning because of their cap table and giving away equity too easily based on optimistic hopes of the future?

If you're doing a startup, then equity is one of the most important decisions you'll make. It's the lifeblood of startups (from your own personal financial outcome if you're successful to your ability to hire employees). Equity is also a direct reflection of you as a manager. If a VC is trying to get to know you (and what kind of manager you are) after only a couple meetings to decide whether or not to invest in your company and they see how careless you were with doling out stock in your company, their mind is going to immediately jump to thinking how careless are you going to be when you have millions of their investment dollars at your disposal.

The fact of the matter is that 1 in 4 Y Combinator founders in the last batch (S2012) had a breakup. If the most successful accelerator in the world is going through founder breakups at that rate, then there's just as high (25%) of a chance of you going through a founder breakup (and most likely the odds are higher).

That is where Slicing Pie comes in. Mike lays out a framework for a dynamic equity split where stock is automatically adjusted on a sliding scale based on contributors of all the 'grunts'. You may make up your own principles or adjust some of the numbers in his proposed framework, but this is by far the best guide I've come across to systematically divide equity fairly.

Seriously, this book will pay for itself many times over if it just prevents just one squabble over equity or co-founder renegotiation. It should be mandatory reading for anyone even remotely thinking about doing a startup.
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on July 9, 2016
I could be better about giving out praise. Ask anyone in my life, whether friend, family, or coworker, and they tell you that I keep almost all of those positive thoughts I have for those around me tucked way down.

And so when I write a gushing review, you know that it's 5*.

Simply put: I don't want to do business with anyone who doesn't see the merit in the model this book lays down. The relationships I have, in and out of business, are all built on fairness and trust. This exemplifies that and for me sets a standard of how we should all behave and treat each other.

Hopping off the soapbox and getting back to praising the book, Mike has very cleverly wrapped a model around trust, respect, and fairness. This book outlines that very well and help you put a fair plan in place for building a company. It doesn't demystify the whole valuation of a company, it simply fixes the problem that startups face.

It establishes ground rules and a model on how a business should be built around trust, respect, and fairness. It gets all of the other nonsense out of the way so you can get down to being a 'trep and rocking the world.

Moreover, the book is very well written. Mike gives the right amount of detail and back stories to explain the model. But he also does an excellent job of summarizing it so you can go back to the information for memory joggers. There are also helpful downloads that you can easily reference.

In summary, buy now, change your life, business, community, and hopefully world.
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on April 13, 2017
I may have already posted a review; but may I just say: this book is essential for anyone starting a business with others. You will find yourself slapping your head many times and saying, "Yes, that's it!" Many new businesses involve people from various backgrounds and educational levels; thus some people end up getting screwed, or end up thinking that they got screwed. The best part about the Grunt Fund is that expectations are set from day one. And honestly, any author who states, flat out, "Don't be an a-hole.", sympathizes with all of the 100s of 1000s of people who have been screwed. Mike understands that many people have been treated unfairly in various business deals throughout history and he is on a mission to replace this phenomenon with one of fairness.

Oh, the best part: he spent over 30 minutes on a telephone conference with me explaining how to overcome founder hesitation.
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on March 19, 2017
I cut my professional teeth on an employee-owned company where people were compensated in line with their contribution. The practice was unheard of at the time but it was highly, highly successful. For the 25 years since then I have worked at a number of corporations and start ups where nobody got it right. Slicing pie presents a way to get it right. It has good instructions and easy to follow examples that make it so anyone who wants to build a company where the contributors are treated fairly has the tools to do so. Kudos Mr. Moyer.
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on February 2, 2013
As a startup entrepreneur living in Israel, I was poking around the internet for some helpful resources in starting up a business. Primarily, I wanted to study the various model of equity distribution. As a young and idealistic entrepreneur, surrounded by the good graces of many other likeminded and talented professionals, I needed an approach to moving forward with a powerful idea that I truly believed would resonate with a core group of potential partners.

Mikes book was such a breath of fresh relief. This is a book written by an expert. Though in his humility Mike would probably refute that, nonetheless he has time tested experience in forming start up entities. Moreover, he is a sensitive man filled with integrity- at least all signs point to that in reading his book- and truly wanted to write a book that could prevent the host of tense problems that can innocuously arise in such undertakings.

I am looking forward to applying Mikes Slicing Pie methodology, and in the coming months I look forward to following up with a positive review of the teachings applied.

Thanks Mike

Judean Hills
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on November 4, 2016
We've been using Slicing Pie for about a year with our start-up. There are a lot of things that I really like about it, but some things are getting a bit complicated. I don't think it's really intended for long-term use and at a year it is getting a bit stale. The issue I have is that not every start up is the same, obviously, and the book seems most geared towards a company creating a gadget or an app with the goal of selling the company for millions and distributing profit in that manner. Without going into a ton of detail, we are creating something you can think of as a series. One thing is released, then a few months later, another. Our intention is not to sell the company, that's not even really a thing in the industry we are in. The issue we are faced with as we are approaching some funding deals is that we have members who have helped us, and deserve to be rewarded, but they won't be helping on all of the releases. Do they receive 5% equity forever on everything the company does? We also have people who played a small (all be it important) role in getting things going, but once we are awarding salaries would be paid more as consultants. These are small nuances that don't apply to all companies, or even most, but we are struggling with some of these things right now.

I found the book after reading Founder's Dilemmas, and I can say that I really like the idea of dynamic equity. We are trying really hard to do it right, but there are a lot of challenges. We have been asked in meetings with very large investors about how we are dividing ownership and equity. Needless to say they were a little freaked out by our explanation. Biggest hurdle is that we have a bunch of people who have contributed some time here and there, are integral to getting us into these meetings in the first place, but our pie is getting crazy with so many slices.
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on December 20, 2015
Mike did an incredible job outlining the process of "slicing pie" with some hands on real world examples here that are backed up by facts and data. In the world of business, I believe as Charlie Munger says, "never underestimate the power of incentives." Slicing Pie addresses incentives and reward for those who work hard within a company to get it started and do whatever it takes to ensure it is started. Are you one of those people? If you're one of those people, who will do any thing to ensure your company is successful, and others are inspired by your tenacity, that is a good thing. I believe you should be rewarded for your hard work, even if you have a perfect partnership team you trust. Incentives and reward will make you as a leader feel valued, by perhaps having a few extra bites of the "pie." Worried you started your business already without this model? Well, Mike addresses this too, it might take a few extra minutes to address, but it's worth it in the end. Nip it in the bud now, and pick up a copy of this book and make sure all your partners are on board and read it too.
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on April 26, 2015
I'll start with an echo from a few of the reviews, "I wish I had access to this rather moral method years ago." I'm an indie filmmaker, and am now also creating two media based tech startups. In one film from a few years ago, my two partners would justify their producer credit by bringing in an actor or two and enough cash to at least pay the actors the SAG minimum, having "industry" connections, and filling out the Screen Actor's Guild paperwork. This was enough in their mind to justify their 2/3 stake.

My tasks were, on spec no less: write the script (several drafts), find and audition actors and crew, schedule a complicated shoot, secure favors for equipment and locations, build sets, order and pay for props on eBay, corral actors and crew on set, direct and DP, and make sure no one got hurt or worse, killed as there were horses in the story. Then, I sat in a dark room for months editing by myself as my other producers couldn't find the cash to pay an assistant, and it was below them to offer assistance themselves as they were producers.

Then as I tried to assert the original budget for my work and withheld the master for the film, they took it upon themselves to release a rough cut from a screener DVD. I've yet to see any royalties or any of the line items in the budget for tasks I performed.

Now I'm not saying "Slicing Pie" would have been a workable solution with them. However I would have found out a lot sooner that they weren't good people as they probably wouldn't have been open to utilizing the pie anyway.
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on May 23, 2015
Mike's logical approach to dynamic equity splits is a very welcome alternative to the traditional fixed split structure. This book goes into detail about the process and gives several great examples for various scenarios an entrepreneur is likely to encounter.

My one recommendation on the book is that more time should be spent explaining alternatives to putting 100% of the company into the grunt pool and discussing why you might choose to use less in certain scenarios.
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