Remember that $200 Walkman you bought back in 1985?
It was all the rage, and all the cool kids at your high school had one.
You would jam out to Bon Jovi while watching Back To The Future and drinking “New Coke” (which lasted for exactly 3 months). It was the perfect accent to your stone washed jeans and massively puffy shirt.
But what if you had invested that $200 in Best Buy stock instead of a Walkman?
You certainly wouldn’t have been as cool…but you would have $36,343 today.
[insert sound of thousands of Walkmans being smashed against walls]
And that $65 you dropped on a pair of “Air Jordan’s” in the late 1980’s? Worth around $10,000 today.
Maybe there is something to this whole buying stock thing – especially when it’s the stock of a young company.
But how can you get in early with a startup?
You could give some cash to your brother-in-law, Tony, who claims he’s inventing a new mobile device that’s going to make the iPhone look like a typewriter. But Tony probably isn’t the best choice. In 1985 he lost $40,000 in an elaborate pyramid scheme involving Amway, Michael Jackson, and Atari.
You could cold call someone in Silicon Valley.
You could use StockComp
StockComp is a new online platform aimed at individuals who want to receive stock-based compensation from a startup or small business.
What’s in it for potential employees? You own a stake in your employer and benefit from all the opportunities that arise as the employer grows. If you single-handedly generate $20 million in new business, you directly reap the reward for your hard work. The more you bust your butt, the greater the potential reward.
What’s in it for employers? Through stock-based compensation, they can preserve cash and attract the highest quality employees.
It’s a win-win situation.
Or as Michael Scott from The Office would say, “A win-win-win.”
StockComp is aiming at three specific groups:
- Millennials who are willing to forego a massive paycheck for the opportunity to work on challenging projects and actually make a difference in an organization. Of course, there’s always the possibility that the diving in piles of cash, Scrooge McDuck style, could come at a later date.
- Experienced professionals who want to make a career shift toward an entrepreneurial environment. These are the people who are sick of being just another cog in a giant corporate machine and want to be part of something smaller and leaner.
- Retirees with significant industry experience who want to work part-time or on a freelance basis. They are the ninjas and senseis who want to leverage their years of experience and significant contacts.
If you want to get in early with a startup, you could go with your brother-in-law, but there’s a good chance you’ll end up in trouble with the IRS or Interpol.
You could stumble around Silicon Valley, hoping you find another Zuckerberg or Jobs.
Or you could go with StockComp.
Stephen Altrogge is a freelance writer based in Tallahassee, Florida. He writes about tech, marketing, faith, and lots of other things. He’s married to Jen and has three young girls. Every day he consumes more coffee than the entire population of Colombia. He knows more about Star Wars than any respectable man should, and he runs more than any sane man would. He once attempted to eat a 2 pound hamburger in under an hour. He failed.
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