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Right, because it's better to be paid $X/year and have 0 stock options than it is to be paid $X/year and have Y stock options, and no sane person would prefer the latter or negotiate for a Y large enough to be worth something even if the startup doesn't "make it" but is sold for 5x less than they tell you the IPO is going to be. And a company that has already got $200M invested into it is just as likely to fail to grow in value as a 1-person startup operating from a dorm room - it's always a 1 in a million lottery ticket. Only after IPO do RSUs suddenly gain value from 0 to something.

Given loss aversion and human talent for rationalising their sunk cost, do you really think you'll be able to accurately value those options? Treating them as worth 0/ε is a good heuristic, it'll give you the right decision basically every time.

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