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What is the best way to divide up ownership in a startup?

[Below is my answer to the question What is the best way to divide up ownership in a startup? on Quora.]

When considering this issue, many people will focus on incentivizing the founders as well as issues of equality and equity. I would recommend a deep understanding how roles and responsibilities will be divided prior to discussing the equity split.

You need to tackle:

Responsibility Decision Making Vesting Schedule Negotiation

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Robert Scoble’s Severed Head, Truthiness, and the Surrender Chicken

[This article is cross-posted from The Quora Review.]

our new policy on self-promoting "social media experts" is to just kill them all, and let God sort it out. - Quora User (name redacted)

I was quite admittedly flattered when I was invited to join the closed Quora Review group on Facebook but confused. Why would the elite from Quora invite me to join? Why do they need a Facebook group? What's the group for? And why couldn't someone have invited me to the Quora party instead? (Sounds way more fun.)

Now I'm pretty sure I don't belong.

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Why is Cyber Squatter a Bad Word? The Value of Entrepreneurship

startupSQUARE attracted (and still attracts) a lot of interesting exchanges. In my habit of responding to as many as possible I often say stupid things. Whether it's on-line or in person, it's a habit.

(Btw: Never ask a woman if she is your friend's mother. Even if you're right, you just told her she looks old.)

One exchange recently caught me by surprise. I was approached by someone (as usual, name redacted) who called themselves a "domainer." Not being familiar with the term (I've been out of the country for a while) I asked,

"What is a domainer?"

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Corporate Structure Explained

Piercing the Corporate Veil – Sweat Equity Consulting

As I mentioned Tuesday, since shutting down startupSQUARE.com, I've received a number of job offers. Some have been as co-founder, most have been as a consultant with the possibility of becoming an paid employee, "as soon as we close our funding round."

This has been very generous and flattering. But much like becoming a co-founder, getting paid sweat equity is essentially becoming an investor in the company. Instead of putting in money, you're putting in time. As such, you should make sure to think of the proposals as an investor and get a reasonable term sheet.

Here are some of my favorite things to avoid.

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Things to Avoid When Recruiting Co-founders

Don't be this guy

Since shutting down startupSQUARE.com, I've found myself for the first time on the other side of the co-founder equation, getting recruited. While all of those offers have been very kind and very flattering, some have tended towards the bizarre.

Here are just a few tips of things to avoid when trying to pitch someone. (Names redacted.)

Don't Bullshit Me

I know about the famous "reality distortion field." Unless your name is Mesmero the Magnificent, it's probably not going to work on me.

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Four Startups in Four Weeks Roundup – Startup Three

TooManyNinjas.com is admittedly a pet project. I really enjoyed startupSQUARE.com and I wanted to make a simpler, easier to maintain site so that I could keep up those connections and provide a valuable service.

Instead of just trying to replicate the parts of startupSQUARE that were successful, I decided to target one specific behavior which seems prevalent both on and off-line:

People need advice

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