Someone, who claims this to be a cofounder of your business even once, is not your friend! Don't support their claims, don't pity them. They try to exploit you.
This kind of person is really good at keeping you emotionally hooked, and therefore even let you find excuses for their behaviour. Think for yourself: Would you claim ownership over their pet project like that? Probably not.
So be strict with yourself and let that person go. The earlier the better. They won't change. Your interpretation is not wrong. It's not your fault. And most importantly: You have earned and will find true friends that support you. And with them together you will make lots of money if you have that in you.
The guy he is calling out is alleged to have put zero time or money in — he just grabbed what he could.
This is kind of like Warren Buffett taking over Berkshire Hathaway.
But now Musk is definitely the face and head of the company same as Buffett. That is what counts for most people after everything is said and done.
As an example, there are tons of startups where not everyone who was there on day 0 is called "founder".
Btw putting in work to earn one's place is something completely different from letting someone else work and simply claim the success. At least from my perspective.
We're really good at justifying our actions. Really, really good. I'd imagine Keith is on the other side of that, and correct or not, has talked himself into believing he's the good guy. But one of them has to be wrong, so the advice that "your interpretation is not wrong" is often wrong.
Similar example: what Jobs did to Kottke in refusing to give him any stock, for valid reasons to Steve, certainly, doesn't mean Steve wasn't wrong. Would rather not say these things because it's not going to win friends, but you are encouraging destructive behavior yourself. There's no easy rule.
E.g. "started hanging out at my house and meetups" is a curious characterisation when Mike's house was literally the shared offices for both for quite a while.
Mike at least once described Techcrunch to me as growing out of the work done to do research for Edgeio, and Archimedes Labs as a partnership between the two. Though it is possible for both that and Mike's version now to be true, my impression as someone who was there was always that both companies (Techcrunch and Edgeio) were shared projects, and Mike did nothing to dissuade that impression though it was clear Techcrunch was more Mike's baby than Keith's.
Of course I was never privy to whatever discussions the two of them had behind closed doors.
EDIT: Here  is an archive.org link from 2005, that lists Mike and Keith equally, on a post posted by the web designer who also did a lot of early work on Edgeio, describing them both as editors and Techcrunch as part of the "Archimedes Ventures" family. It was hard from that kind of presentation at the time to not see it as something they co-founded. I don't want to go into it further, as that'd be speculation on my side too (and of course what Mike let someone put on the site does not have to reflect what he thought about it in private) - I looked this up to see if there was anything to change my recollection:
Well it's been a while (long time no speak, too) and 12+ years are known to change memory and bits, but I remember those times. I remember the tension between Techcrunch and Edgeio because I lived it, and I'll say that the resurfacing of these this subject is not surprising.
Because I know I would be biased and I have fond memories of those times, I don't think it would be fair to put my version of events forward. I will say this: despite his flaws, I have to give Mike a ton of credit for sticking with Techcrunch - he put a ton of energy into making it what it eventually became, even if that meant less energy spent on other projects.
I absolutely agree it's clear that Mike deserves a lot of credit for sticking to it, whatever one thinks about what else went down and who is right or not about specific details.
What he told me and what went on behind closed doors may very well be very different and I'd rather not jump to conclusions about it, but at least to me it seems like a very different situation in that he himself presented it differently at the time.
Just in case anyone thinks this was perhaps written without Arrington's knowledge, his blog post would suggest otherwise. 
EDIT: Removed ambiguity regarding whose research.
I wonder why they don't seem to show up in the search now?
As someone who's also been an early employee, I totally see why Heather does NOT claim to be a co-founder. When you work your ass off alongside the founders, you learn two things:
1. Building a company is incredibly hard.
2. Nobody takes it harder than the founders.
Yes, I have worked hard. In the last six years, I always worked parts of my weekend if not my vacations (which were few and far in between early on). I pulled off all nighters as well as a last minute trip straight from work to close a customer. I fell asleep on my laptop answering support questions. There were many nights of dry tears and waking up in cold sweat from nightmares that were all too real.
But what I went through is a fraction of what the real founders went through. And I saw their ups and downs up close.
Startups are hard. Incredibly hard, especially for those who has to lead the ship from Day One. Early, dedicated employees see this first hand, thinking to themselves, "Man, I thought I had a good/bad day, but they are probably having it better/worse". That's why we never claim to be the "founders".
1. 20-hour days are not actually worked, not even by slave labor.
2. Sacrificing your personal life for your employer is pathological, not heroic.
This isn't an article about heroism. Keith Teare claims he co-founded TechCrunch. Arrington says "no" and then details why.
One part of the "why" is about value-adding output. Arrington "could never get [Teare] to write anything, or help pay any bills." Co-founders add value; Keith didn't do that.
The second part of the "why" is about input. Output requires input. But it's fair to highlight both, in part to block claims of unappreciated work. In highlighting Heather's "20 hour days" and "sacrificing [of] her personal life," Arrington draws into contrast the difference between someone he considers a co-founder and someone he doesn't.
> 20-hour days are not actually worked
Founded a company. Worked twenty-hour days. Deceptively easy to do if you're chasing a short-term deliverable across multiple time zones. (Short-term because this tactic is obviously unsustainable.)
I've pulled my share of all-nighters too, but (from the comment) the implication was it was a regular thing.
Far in the weeds here, I guess if I had RTFA maybe I wouldn't have bothered to comment. :-)
Then you've never been there. Yes, they are. Have done it many times.
If you're regularly working 20-hour days, as opposed to the occasional all-nighter, then you're not doing anyone any favors -- not your company, not your friends/spouses/children, not yourself.
But anyway I was alluding to the tendency to boast about how little one sleeps...
I'm definitely dead inside by the weekend, and noticeably affected after the first day. The logistics of what I do probably really does make it somewhat of a necessity, but I wish there was at least provisions for comp time afterwards or at least some kind of bonus pay.
o/t but I'm surprised this random comment touched a nerve here...
I agree that almost nobody could actually sustain working 20-hr days every single day.
That said, the point OP was making is that in a startup origin story, there's a significant perception gap between those who actually moved the needle and those who claim to have done so. Those who actually drove the bus and those who rode it. Time and again, I've seen the latter people take advantage of the relative reticence of the former.
It's probably more like, "relative to this guy who tried to kill my company early on and later claimed undue credit for its founding, this dedicated early employee surely seemed like she worked 20+ hour days and sacrificed everything for me."
It takes a fair bit of experience with long days to know that the feeling of doing work and doing 'stuff' pales in comparison with the productivity of doing that work well while rested and focused...
Overtime creates 'undertime', cleaning up tired mistakes takes longer than doing them, and when it comes to coding nothing is worse than wasting 15+ hours implementing something you didn't think clearly enough about to start with, and realizing it was all wasted/could have been done in 1.
> this dedicated early employee surely seemed like she worked 20+ hour days
I feel the discussion of this line is perhaps conflating "worked 20 hour days [on the rare occasion something crazy was happening]", vs "worked 20 hour days [from 0400 hours to midnight every day]". Just because someone worked some 20 hour days does not mean they worked 20 hours every day :)
When I was in startup-land, if we had a big deliverable we'd work until we couldn't work, which usually was about noon to 8am. Then everyone would go home and sleep it off, and the next day we'd try to not do that again... sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
Now that I have a "normal" job, I still occasionally do a big coding sprint of 20 hours or more, but I don't do it day after day.
In startup land, when the CEO came in at 7am and saw us frenetically coding away in the Nerd Loft, I sure hope he told everyone we all worked 20-hour days. :-)
(a) If you did even 75% of what you just described you did more than many founders do.
(b) just because one is a founder one doesn't have magically more energy than other humans.
(c) just because one is a founder doesn't magically mean one earns a bigger share of the success. An early employee shares most of the cost (time spent, fears, real danger of having no money next month, possible conflicts with the law) but doesn't get that much of a share when getting rich. Idolizing this economically unreasonable situation doesn't make it better.
(d) I'd say the best enterpreneurs enjoy the thrill. So they actually go through a lot less negative stress than their employees.
Did he edit that recently?
Maybe this is one of those edge cases. But claiming somebody who owns 10% of the company had literally nothing to do with the company is an extraordinary claim that I'd say requires extraordinary evidence. This blog post to me doesn't seem like extraordinary evidence.
But really the conclusion of this saga is pretty irrelevant. If somebody is investing in any type of business because an advisor to that business may or may not have co-founded a tech blog 12 years ago... well they have bigger problems.
And even if the law says you're technically a "cofounder", it's pathetic to call yourself that for a decade and use that false reputation for your personal gains if you didn't really do anything for the company.
As for the co-founder title, my point is if you are investing in some business because an advisor is either a real co-founder or a fake co-founder of Techcrunch, you are making a stupid investment. And that goes for this guy or Arrington himself.
And yes, it is pathetic if somebody is claiming a bunch of credit for something they didn't do. But it is also pathetic to give 10% of your business to somebody who did nothing (assuming the blog post is accurate). As a neutral observer I'm inclined to believe Arrington, but at the same time I don't think he made a very strong case and presented basically no impartial evidence. Frankly I think this blog post makes them both look bad.
This happens very frequently and that's why there are systems like vesting.
So you can't say it's "pathetic" to give away 10% to someone who didn't do any work. It's more of a system failure, or you suffering due to lack of experience or manipulation.
To give a specific example, there are tons of near-scam-artists who go around telling naive founders just out of college that they will introduce them to some investor, and in exchange they will get like 10% of the equity. Trust me this happens very frequently and not because the founders who fall for it are idiots, but because they're just inexperienced at that point in life. In this case, it should suck to be in that founder's shoes, but it's really harsh to call her/him pathetic because you have no idea what happened behind the scenes. But what clearly is pathetic is the older guy who know exactly what he's doing who is using his experience to scam the younger founder into believing that it's OK to give 10% of the company he hasn't even incorporated yet, all just for a single intro.
I'm not saying this is what happened in this case, but I'm just pointing out a founder giving away 10% (or even more) happens all the time, especially if you're not surrounded by the right people. This doesn't make them idiots, it's just that they were in an unfortunate situation. But someone who knows exactly what he's doing and is claiming to be what he isn't IS pathetic.
Maybe it is more pitiful than pathetic for the older and wiser businessman to (allegedly) take advantage of a younger and more naive person. But it is most certainly pathetic for somebody to give up 10% of their company for nothing, whether it is by being tricked or by being bullied or whatever.
That isn't a judgement on how common or uncommon this situation is, nor how intelligent either party is, nor on their value as a person. And perhaps we interpret the meaning of the word differently, but to me it means simply evoking pity.
The irony that this post itself might be interpreted as pathetic is not lost on me, but I think it is far more pedantic than pathetic so at least I have that going for me.
Depending on the agreements in place at Edgeio, sounds like it could just be an IP deal rather an an acknowledgement of increased involvement?
Kind of amusing because that's what that guy seems to be doing on a Twitter thread https://twitter.com/kteare/status/965488545187147776
But just do a google search and you'll see that the guy has been really capitalizing on the "TechCrunch Cofounder" brand for almost a decade now.
In fairness to the author, he does point this out.
If this individual really did do as is claimed and really did nothing other than try to stop TechCrunch's existence, it may seem to some a strange thing to continue to associate with such an individual.
To have provided a link to the website of archimedes ventures  on the about page  where the author is listed alongside this individual as one of two "general partners" seems like a slightly surprising omission when covering the "real history."
It seems that had archimedes ventures been more successful than TechCrunch has been, the author could have been able to have claimed to be a greater part of that than this article would suggest.
I think Arrington did a great job of showing both sides of the story. Keith clearly was vaguely involved, and Arrington admitted he didn't care until it started being used to scam people. I think that's a fair line to put your foot down and write a blog post.
Maybe other times he played his involvement up more, and maybe other times Arrington played it up more (as have been noted in these comments) but literally the only time Keith ever mentioned TC in my presence is completely consistent with what Arrington says in this blog entry "is what really happened".
Another reason to do your due diligence when investing in ICOs.
Teare may be intending to over-emphasize his role; Arrington may be resentful that Teare is touting his involvement this way. But for a long time, the TechCrunch site itself was happy to describe Teare as a "co-founder".
So whatever the cause of the Arrington-Teare spat, it's not outlandish for Teare to be making the same claim in 2018 as appeared repeatedly at TechCrunch itself, since at least 2011 (<https://techcrunch.com/2011/12/12/archimedes-labs-launches-a...).
Lot of big projects where you will see one of the executives or managers attached, the real work - including vision - is many times done by that engineer working away in his/her weekends. I know of at least two Ted talks (one from Google exec) where the real person having the idea and doing the work never ever gets even mentioned.
Very recently this is exactly what happened my current job. I hate the guy who is nakedly and blatantly taking all the credit of my work. There is nothing I can do because he is favorite in the upper management chain. I don't even get to present my own work because he has convinced the upper management that I'm just an engineer and not good at executive-level presentations. Unlike Arrington, there is nothing I can do except leave the job but when I try that I get grilled through stupid CS questions. Meanwhile my manager was ironically featured in TechCrunch for all the work I did.
The credit stealing by managers in tech world is huge huge huge problem.
We as a industry should improve our processes and not let some MBA guys screw engineers over. It is probably happening elsewhere too, especially the creative jobs (advertising etc).
They don't even mention all the ones I know about, like Planet Labs, or Blue Origin, or places like JPL.
What is your alternative here? Keep getting exploited and keep being frustrated? You need to consider yourself in, say, 20 years. Consider you decided to stay, how do you feel in 20 years? Consider you decided to try something else, how do you feel in 20 years now?
This is unfortunate, but not what happened here. Better analogy: you do something interesting; your roommate takes credit to hock junk securities.
He basically said he wanted to start N number of startups under the umbrella of Archimedes Labs. This meant that when Arrington accepted to become "co-founder" as minority shareholder, he implicitly accepted that whatever he does can be accounted as building new startup under Archimedes Labs. Keith then tries to get credit of all work done by him even though he had no contribution whatsoever. The difference is that Arrington can threaten legal action unlike usual employees. However things could have easily gone other way around. Arrington might have yielded in face of litigation and giving Keith 50% share, making him bonafide co-founder.
One of the tactics people like Keith exploit is this: if you ever talked to him about what you are doing, his responses would be counted as "contribution" - even if they are complete nuance. For example, if Keith would have said "I don't think this would be successful, but do it anyway" then it gets counted as participating in vision exercise.
I co-founded TechCrunch through my friendship and business partnership with Michael Arrington. We started edgeio and TechCrunch simultaneously whilst cooperating through Archimedes Ventures LLC. I can't claim a lot of credit for TechCrunch ... I'm the one who advised him not to do it :-). I hope I helped Mike get to the point where he wanted to do it, and was able to help him be successful.
Note that I don't mean that you should forget enough to end up in this situation again ... or go back to work for him for some reason. Just enough to let you go on with your life without obsessing over the past.
It feels like some people prefer to mythologize their roots but I think deprecation is safer.
This Keith guy never blogged, and this guy is no programmer.
The best he can claim to be is an "investor", but you really have to be shameless to call yourself a "cofounder" when you really did nothing, and use that reputation everywhere you go, especially in this case to promote scam ICOs.
Whether he deserves the 10% or not doesn't really matter. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. But you're not a "cofounder" if you did no work.
> However Keith claims on his LinkedIn profile that he advised Arlington and helped him to be successful even initially he did not believed in TC.
I've personally been present when Keith gave Mike advice about Techcrunch on more than one occasion (and I was only over about 1 week every 6 or so, so it'd be odd if I caught their only discussions), so while whether or not he did enough to justify calling himself co-founder is something I don't want to wade into as I simply don't know (and is trying to keep my personal opinions out of this when I don't have first hand knowledge), I for one was an eye witness to Keith advising Mike more than once (whether or not Mike took on that advice, or whether or not it was good advice, I don't want to try to assess).
We're not even in legal territory here. It's about ethics. Can you see yourself calling yourself a "Techcrunch Co-founder" if you were in his shoes? If I were him, no matter how much advice I gave him I would NEVER call myself a founder if I didn't do any work AND the entire world knows that I never wrote a single post for a business whose only purpose was to blog.
There's a huge difference, especially when he's using that fake reputation to deceive naive people to invest in some scam ICOs.
Situation like these do not make someone a real co-founder.
I know and have done business with Mike.
That said the above sounds like Mike may have been using resources  of Edgeio and so essentially to avoid litigation Mike had to give Keith a cut of the action. So as a stretch Keith could claim that w/o those resources (pay, reimbursement, guidance and so on) Mike would never have been able to start Techcrunch. That doesn't make Keith a founder for sure. But then again (taking Keith's side of this not that I have any reason to do so at all) it doesn't seem entirely unjust that he got 10% of Techcrunch. He could probably rework the 'techcrunch' connection creatively to reflect this.
Also nobody gives up 10% of a company in this circumstance (remember Arrington went to law school) unless they feel the other party has a leg to stand on and they stand to loose more. Generally of course.
 "He asked me to work with him on Edgeio and possibly other companies he was to start.
I agreed and began working with him.".."At the time I was working with Keith Teare on another project called Edgeio, a company that he founded"
I’ve seen maybe a half dozen first hand examples of companies here in Colorado bootstrapping, getting some real funding, going through a big pivot and then having their history effectively rewritten. CEO and maybe a CTO are named “founders” and neither was involved in any capacity for the first 12-18 months. After a pivot and some branding, about the only original equipment is the name of the corporation and some legal paperwork, perhaps a couple employees. Engineers do this too, surely we’ve all witnessed a little “title inflation” on LinkedIn, I think it’s almost a disease with dissolved startups, I just assume someone gave themselves a bump when reading a resume with details from a completely nonexistent startup.
“Founder” is funnier though, it’s one thing if you got payed, but it’s not like you’re claiming engineering experience. Seemed like a few years back at defcon and black hat, folks were getting twisted about “credit,” like Apple and MS, etc.. were going to give “Solar Ninja” credit for finding a security flaw they fixed in a service pack.
Ethics matter, truth is real, I’m not justifying any sort of dishonesty but the difference between a real Co-founder that signed some articles of incorporation or something and an early employee that you gave 10% of the company to is kind of academic. If you have to make spurious claims to get your ico off the ground some investors will sniff it out, others won’t, that’s business. People “round up” on their resumes, it’s a known open secret, right?