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Differences in equity often make little difference in terms of control, e.g. in an YC like 8/46/46 split all three have equal control when push comes to shove. Even in Shapiro's three way example, control is equally distributed.

Even with a Shapiro type 55/45 split, once the firm takes significant outside investment (or provides employees meaningful equity); the balance of control will shift to where the founders have to work together as equals. An advantage of the Spolsky approach is that the company operates that way from day one, and outside investment might be less likely to disrupt the decision making process.

Another way to look at your point is that once you get outside investment, "control" between the founders is irrelevant, so you should reward the founders up-front based on merit (as Shapiro's article suggests) instead of based on some soon-obsolete notion of who controls the company.

In real life, I would have no problem with your suggesting Shapiro's model for initial unequal equity split - so long as you wind up with the least shares. And that's the issue - it makes initial equity split more likely to be competitive or contentious when the stakes are likely to be very low or zero.

My point exactly, two people who don't even know each other find it easy to argue about unequal stake splitting. Actually, this is Joel's point. I merely recapitulate. :)

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