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At an early startup (definitely anything pre-Series A, but arguably including many Series A startups), any pushback on changing these kinds of terms would be a major red flag to me regarding the founders. If you're early on the team and not asking for anything outrageous or subject to terms they've already agreed to with their investors, I'd see it as a sign that the founder would choose to put their own interests at odds with their employees when given the chance to choose to align them.

Changing the employee stock agreement after the A round for an individual hire probably requires a board meeting about that hire.

Don't take a job whose comp terms are incompatible with your goals; of course not. But again: be careful imputing intentionality. It's not a "red flag".

Once again I agree with the first part of what you said and disagree with the rest. Yes, changes in some of the clauses do require board approval, and no, I absolutely do impute intentionality to abusive contracts. It’s not like the company lawyers (and therefore founders) don’t know the details of the contracts: founders themselves sign some corrected variant of it. Therefore they do not get to use malice/incompetence platitudes in their own defense. I do now consider the presence of certain clauses in an option contract a _major_, deal breaking red flag.

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