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Equity: Making The Most of Your Other Paycheck

If you're planning on joining a startup, start smart.

Venture financing in tech is at a fever pitch -- 3,700 companies received financing in 2011 alone, and all of them were issuers of stock options. This begs the question, what are stock options really worth?

Surprisingly, many startup employees do not understand the value of their options, which represent a significant part of their compensation and a vital part of their net worth. Time to smarten up! In the stock options game, it’s heads you win, tails you don't necessarily lose; either way, every employee should know the facts to make informed decisions. Understanding the basic economics of stock options can save you thousands, or even millions, in the long run. How’s that for incentive?

In this session, Bill Harris, CEO of online wealth manager Personal Capital (former CEO of PayPal and Intuit) will discuss the value of stock options to startup employees and offer tips to maximize their upside potential on your wallet.


  1. What five stock options questions should employees ask before joining a startup or negotiating an options agreement?
  2. How can employees simply and accurately calculate the value of their stock options?
  3. What factors should employees consider in determining when it is most profitable to exercise their options?
  4. What are the potential tax implications for stock options grants, and how can tax losses be avoided?
  5. What can be done to improve the communication between employers and employees regarding the true value of company stock options?



Sarah Steele, PR Professional, LaunchSquad

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