Giving some basic armchair analysis, I'd assume that the mathematician gets a lot of kudos for his 'genius' inventions, and the programmer is treated like a second-rate code monkey who's just there the aid the oh-so-godly mathematician. If this is the case, then it's obviously not worth joining, but make sure to find out why the other programmer left.
Also ask the company "why did he leave?" Then see how it matches his perspective.
Alternatively, if the company also perceived the problem as an issue that needed solving, but were -- for whatever reason -- incapable of doing so, then they might be worth a shot. Just don't join and then expect them to change the way they do business in order to suit your needs.
First decide that. Then decide what you need to be what you prefer. Then ask for it.
Nice thing about being a PIG here is that you can be reincarnated.
Personally, I'd prefer of posts/articles all explained their metaphors and acronyms before using them. This is Hacker News, not Enterprise IT News. For example, the article tosses out USP and CI which I don't believe are very common terms either. They should be spelled out.
There's lots of technologists on HN and lots of business types, and only a subset of each understand the other's lingo. People should try and explain their lingo when they use it, for the benefit of the other camp :)
My take is that I've never seen a chicken or a pig program a computer, so if you need code produced, you'd better not get either. But then, talking about project management really brings out my inner asshole.
Assuming you do prefer to join them, you need to figure out what your price is. You seem to be afraid to make unreasonable demands, as you are in a position of power here. I would suggest that you take the approach of calculating what you believe your value is in terms of money per time unit (monthly, hourly, whatever). The difference between that number and what they can pay you should then be considered investment into the company and you should get compensated for that somehow. Most likely through equity.
Calculating your value is a much more objective task and therefore less fraught with tactics, feelings and whatnot. Just remember to calculate your value for the company in the current situation. In this case, your value is clearly very high, so it would only be fair to factor it in.
I guess you really mean "hourly rate", because salary means being employed.
> i have my own two-man company
> They offered shares and assured immediate budget for another developer
This sounds like an aquihire. So calculate what your own company is worth, add how much you earn within one year by staying your own boss, and round up to a lumped sum. Ask for this money in cash, and not in stocks, ask for same in stocks in addition, and add a good salary.
Their alternative is to continue paying you a hourly rate. But its your decission if you give up your freedom to become a wage slave again.
I think such an "aquihire" ist not currently possible. They would certainly need to either sell a couple of systems or get VC.
But hey, didn't i just write that i should stop thinking for them, too? I may take this into account talk it through.
It doesn't matter if that's i get everything and you get nothing in your opinion, because you are giving the company a the choice to decide whether your offer is worthwhile or whether they have to go for their next best alternative.
Basically if I told you "I am from the future, this company is going to change its industry in a fundamental way, all the early people from here are rich and influential in the industry. Many have gone on to found new companies of their own and become richer and more famous."
You might take your existing practice, wrap it up, and jump in with both feet knowing that the "future" is assured.
If I say, "Hi I'm from the future and this company doesn't exist in that time, it tried really hard, floundered around and kept missing opportunity after opportunity. Eventually it ran out of money and everyone was laid off with no severance."
Now you say, you know I'll just stay a consultant as long as the checks don't bounce.
I've got really sad news for you, you can't.
The outcome is controlled by things that may contributed to by your negotiation, but probably won't directly depend on that negotiation. The absolutely best you can hope for is to learn something from the experience and to have fun doing it. Everything else is up to things you cannot control.
So sit down and decide if you want to work on this project full time, to commit to it and making it a success. Figure out if you will learn enough and get enough experience to make it worth while. There are obvious things you do like verify they folks are not crooks, and that they are telling you the truth. Ask questions about the future the company, its funding etc.
Since you are starting from a position of keeping your existing clients serviced, it sounds like you'd rather be a consultant than a full time employee. Listen to that if it is where your passion lies.
What I've learned: Don't ignore the signs, I never got to know why the previous developer dropped out. Ensure that you have a voice in every decision. Work with them, get to know them through rough times. Go over their metrics, are the clients really happy, is there any structural issue? Startups bullshit all the time.
Don't take any decision under pressure. If you have too, make them sign a contract that would protect you and you're current assets, that's what you're bringing into this enterprise.
In your specific case i wonder:
- Would this be a project that you would want to work on for next couple of years even if it doesn't take off immediately ?
- why did the other programmer leave if the company seems to be so well off ?
- how good is the salary really ? If they had money, wouldn't they find good people in Hamburg quite easily ?
Second: my feeling is that there was nothing bad going on and the reason that he left is that he had to travel 2h twice every day. But i certainly will check that.
Third: I don't like to compare salaries but i think it is beyond avarage in this town. The problem is, that Hamburg is not quite the tech city, it is really hard to find good devs here.
I suppose one could make the argument that I'm going to miss out on a huge pay-day if I'm not that sort of committed. I am balancing the likelihood of that occurring + the likelihood they'd expect unreasonable overtime from me versus the likelihood that I'd find that my own way and the likelihood I'd be fine working overtime for myself. Freelancing is the only way I know how to maintain my work-life balance.
wow, that's some self confidence.