generate barcode in asp.net using c# Livingston: Didn t you also insult them by describing publicly what it was like in Font

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Livingston: Didn t you also insult them by describing publicly what it was like
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to have VCs run your company
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Greenspun: Only after they sued me. I said it was like watching a kindergarten
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class get into a Boeing 747 and flip all the switches and try to figure out why it won t take off. That was before I got my pilot s license. Now I know how apt it was. So I talked to my friend Doug, a great lawyer. He said, You need to talk to my friend Sam Mawn-Mahlau at Edwards and Angell and figure out what to do. Sam looked at all the deal documents and said, You own this company. You are a majority shareholder. I said, But these guys told me that I have no power because they control the board, three to two, and it doesn t matter what anyone else says. He said, Yes, but the shareholders elect the board. Just have a shareholders meeting and elect yourself and your cofounders (or whoever else you want) to the board, and these guys will be back to their two board seats, which is what they bargained for. They have a minority investment. They bargained
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Philip Greenspun 335
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for two board seats and veto power over certain transactions from those board seats, but that s all they re entitled to. I asked if there was any risk in doing this. He said, There s some risk that they would sue you in the Delaware Chancery Court. But VCs hate to spend their own money, so I don t think they d do it. Litigation is very expensive, and, if they can t find a way to stick it to their limited partners, then they are not going to sue you. Basically, whenever VCs do an investment, they make the startup company pay their legal expenses. Remember, the investments come from the limited partners, the pension funds, etc. So they get their 2 percent annual management fee, but a lot of their costs, like their legal expenses, are also actually being paid by the limited partners. For example, a company is supposed to get a $700,000 investment, but right away they return $50,000 to pay the legal fees of the venture capitalists, so the limited partners actually only get $650,000 of their capital working in that business. If they can t come up with a scheme like that, they aren t going to sue you because they are not going to want to spend their own money that they could be spending on business jets and vacations and other things that are delightful to VCs. So I said, Great. My cofounders and I, who were shareholders, had a meeting and said, Who wants to vote for Philip Greenspun to be CEO and on the board We had to change the corporate bylaws also because the default corporate bylaws in Massachusetts are that the shareholders elect officers like the CEO. The bylaws of the company, for whatever reason, said that the board elected the CEO, so we said, Well, let s just change it back. We re the shareholders, so we ll change this bylaw so now it s back to the Massachusetts default. It was a perfectly legitimate bylaw that the shareholders in a small corporation would elect the CEO. So we changed the bylaws and elected me as CEO, which, under some other bylaws, gave me an automatic board seat, and then we elected a couple of our founders to the board. So now we had a threeto-two board majority.
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Livingston: Where did you physically do this Greenspun: We did it by letter actually. We did it in the lawyers office down-
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town at Edwards and Angell. I knew that they wouldn t like this, and I wanted to keep things as orderly as possible, so I called up the old CEO whom I think we had elected COO, so we had demoted him to chief operating officer and kicked him of the board and I said, Let s face it; you re just not qualified to run this company. You re losing money. But we don t want to have any disruption, and you are a good manager and maybe someday you can learn enough to be CEO, but that s not today. We tried to make it conciliatory We re not going to change anything, we re not going to go on a mass firing spree, but we have to get this company back into being cash-flow positive because, whether you know it or not, you ve lost a lot of money. They still didn t know it, because their accounting was all so inaccurate; they had no idea. They hadn t been audited yet. Their accounting
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