The Best Way to Get an Unvested Co-Founder to Resign

On Quora, I was asked what the best way to get a co-founder who is uninterested and not pulling his weight to resign. The other co-founders are trying to structure an agreement where all parties are happy and are willing to give the guy some equity, even though they have very little in their bank accounts considering they do not pay themselves a salary.

This was my response:

Most people react poorly when they’re fired, especially when they put their heart into building something from scratch.  Oh, and he hasn’t been paid, which makes it worse.

Buy a cake.

Invite him out to a celebration.

Put the cake on the center of the table.  Next to it, put an equity agreement.  Under the equity agreement, place an envelope with some cash ($500-$1,000)

Once he enters the room, have you and your other partner say Congratulations.

We’re so glad to have taken this journey together with you.  I’m so happy that you decided to be a part of our company.  We wouldn’t be where we are today without the help and dedication that you placed into our mutual dream!

To celebrate our time together, I wanted you to be able to indulge in this cake.  Also, we have modified your equity agreement and provided some cash to you as a bonus.  Please enjoy a slice of cake, read over your new agreement, and enjoy the cash bonus we have set aside for you!

Thank you for being an essential part to our team.  We are and always will be forever grateful for your contributions.  We wouldn’t be where we are without you.

If you get a cake, 1-5% equity of a company that you did absolutely nothing for and a stack of cash… It’s really hard to be mad for parting ways, don’t you agree?

I mean, if I got a cake while I was being terminated, I would be so confused, that I would just focus on happiness the cake brought me.

Try to stay away from things like alcohol though.  People who get fired and are drunk become unpredictable.

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim is Managing Partner at InfluenceTree. At InfluenceTree, Leonard and his team teach you how to build your (personal or business) brand, get featured in publications and growth hack your social media following.

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