… doesn’t take four years to “vest”.  A bird in the hand is an actual asset, not a promise to let you gain an asset later at a locked in price!

I’m not big on stock options.  Here’s why.

Companies use them as carrots.  They are an incentive dangled in front of you, helping ensure you don’t leave for greener pastures.  They are an attempt to keep you motivated, and essentially a way of bribing you into caring about your work.  Dunno about you, but when I accept a position somewhere, and choose to stick around, it’s not because of any carrot.  The people, culture, even the work I’m doing, are what keep me motivated, interested, and invested.  Carrots are cheap, and I’m not a horse.

Vesting periods and cliffs are far too long.  The web industry, like no other, is rampant with retention issues.  Standard vesting periods are for three or four years.  Look at your resume and tell me how many times you’ve been at the same company for that long.  If you have, congratulations, you’re a special snowflake!   It simply doesn’t happen too often.  A lot of stuff can happen to you both personally, professionally, or even to the company, over a course of three or four years.  Statistics aren’t in your favor here.

Unless you are on the board, you’re in the dark.

As a developer, you probably aren’t sitting on the board of this company offering you options.  Nor will you ever be.  Aside from quarterly or yearly update meetings about the company, or maybe some gossip you pick up around, it’s likely you won’t even know what financial dealings are going on.  Those options for shares you were offered?  Well sorry, but unless you matched the investment in our latest round of two million, you’re going to be washed out.  That carrot just leapt a lot further away!

* My advice is to avoid taking stock options as part of a compensation package.

Unless you know something I don’t!  Which you don’t.  Believe me.  I know.