That's ~25K/year so if you would've worked a regular 40 hour week, 20 hours of contract work at anything more than $35/hour would have put you ahead. And you would've still had weekends, nights and vacation.
"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite." which seems to be attributed (without any sources) to John Kenneth Galbraith:
I've also seen it as "Under capitalism, man exploits man - under communism it's the other way around." I always assumed it was a translated Russian proverb, along the lines of: "No truth in the news and no news in the truth" (Major Soviet papers were "Pravda" (the truth) and "Izvestia" (the news).
superqd mentioned he would have made $300K more (i.e. in addition to the fixed salary he was earning) if he had bought the options. I assume that after paying for taxes, he would have still made $200K. Since he worked for 8 years, this is indeed $25K of additional income for every year. If he worked for $35/hour for 40 hours/week for say 50 weeks in a year, his total income would have been 35 * 40 * 50 = 70K. How is this better than his original job which was probably paying him say $80K or greater than $80K as fixed salary every month? It sounds like it would have put him behind by at least $10K. What am I missing?
There are many good reasons to join a startup but if the financial motivation is the main one then it's probably not the best route.
(1)Other than a feeling that I'd joined the Witness Protection Program when I fled after an engineering walkout.
(2)Offset by literally years of damaged self-esteem. Pedigree is heavily overrated - with one exception, all the famous people were pretty awful.