Startup Law 101 Series – Tips From a Business Lawyer on Becoming a Founder


Why become a founder? What are some things you can do to become a successful founder?

Having worked extensively with founders as a startup business lawyer in Silicon Valley for many years now, and having built my own business as well, I have a few tips to share on these points.

Tips on Why You Should Become a Founder

Why become a founder?

1. If you succeed as a founder, you will make far more than you would as an employee. Obvious, but worth repeating.

Founders want the large upside that will come from a successful venture. The goal is very hard to achieve but the rewards can be great.

2. If you succeed as a founder, you keep more of what you earn.

As an employee, you will get hit with ever-increasing taxes on your compensation.

Forget about the rich. It is the average employee who gets soaked. You pay, say, up to a third of what you earn for federal, state, and local income taxes. Add another nearly 10% for payroll taxes. Now assume that inflation bumps you into higher tax brackets. Rates are then raised for those brackets. Then payroll tax rates go up. And the social security cap lifted. And new taxes added to fund future health benefits. You will be left with an ever-diminishing net amount from your pay. Welcome to being the employee of the future.

As a founder, however, your largest reward by far will come not from salary but from a liquidity event at which you cash in your chips. At that point, you pay a one-time capital gains tax for the vast part of the economic reward you derive from your venture. You pay less income tax because the capital-gains rate is lower. And you pay no employment taxes at all. With capital gains, you also control timing somewhat and this can further help minimize what you pay.

It all comes from the same effort. You sweat for what you earn. You can take your reward as ordinary income or, as a founder, convert a big part of it into far more advantageous equity gains. With success, you not only earn more but you keep more as well.

3. Being a founder can be not only financially but also psychologically rewarding.

When you venture out, you get the chance to realize a vision for your company and to benefit not only yourself but also your co-founders, your investors, your employees, your customers and the public generally. You get to watch your enterprise grow and prosper. You get to watch it have an impact on others for good.

The satisfaction you can derive from success is a great intangible reward.

4. Finally, being a founder gives you the independence of being your own boss. You will rise or fall by your own merits. This is a great opportunity and a great challenge. This is the one advantage that most entrepreneurs will ultimately say they value most.

Tips for Becoming a Successful Founder

What does it take to be successful as a founder? Here are a few thoughts.

1. Above all else, build from strength.

Be prepared before you venture out. Get a strong education. Work with the best to get excellent training in your field. Master your craft. Build relationships. Take what you do best and improve upon it. That is the key to innovation. And this is the best path for most founders.

Or you might build on the strength of exceptional entrepreneurial talent alone. Or a specialized skill that lets you team with others who supply what you might lack. Nothing formulaic here. But you do need to build on some form of strength.

This also means that you do not venture out based on a bare idea. Try this one from the bubble era: “I have worked one year in manufacturing and know how to revolutionize that field through an idea I have for a website.” Sorry, but abstract ideas get you nowhere.

It also means you do not do something just because you are tired of something else. Think twice about that romantic little tea shop. That is, unless you know about the business of tea shops. Others do, and they will make you pay. Know what you are doing before you step into something.

No one will carry you when you go out on your own. Therefore, be ready to build on something you do exceptionally well. That is your primary key to success as a founder.

2. Count the cost before you venture out.

You need the right temperament to go into business for yourself. If you crave security and certainty, being a founder is not for you.

Don’t romanticize the process either. Business is tough. You will lose the certainty of a regular paycheck. You will have bills to pay, whether or not you are making money. You will face a non-stop array of challenges, everything from people issues to financial pressures to competitor challenges to legal disputes to huge psychological pressures to all manner of other obstacles. When you get past all of this, or at least most it, you will have built “good will” — that is, a going concern value for your venture. Good will is really nothing more than the advantages you gain from the blood you have spilled. It is a huge plus that makes your business better than others. But you will have to spill blood over it. Understand this up front and be prepared to pay the necessary costs.

It follows, of course, that if you are not ready to pay the costs you should stick with the steady job.

3. When you launch, try to do so with a multi-talented team.

There is no fixed rule here. Experience confirms, though, that a team will be far more likely to succeed than will a sole founder. This may be just another way of saying that, if something is truly good, others will be drawn to it. More likely, it is another way of saying that launching and building a successful venture is hard to do and you need a multi-talented team to make it happen. Where you cannot supply everything, others will supply what you lack.

4. Make sure you have a sound business model.

Technical innovations are great but, in themselves, cannot normally sustain a venture. Sometimes, they can be sold or licensed to a large company. Nothing wrong with that. In most cases, though technology will not be enough.

With or without key technology, if a venture is to be successful, it must have a sound business model that allows it to build and sustain a meaningful competitive advantage that makes it consistently profitable.

Without that, you will go nowhere, no matter how innovative this or that element of your venture may be.

5. Watch your expenses.

Wasteful spending is perhaps the single biggest fault of early-stage companies.

Small business entrepreneurs have far less difficulty with this than do startup founders. Why? Because they usually are dealing with their own money. If you know what it took to earn it in the first place, the odds of your being profligate with it are greatly reduced.

One aspect of wasteful spending is simply extravagance. You get funded and you go out and get the best that money can buy. Expensive offices. Extravagant salaries. Lavish parties. And on and on. In early-stage companies, you will regret such spending when you hit the bumps in the road where you wish you had that cash. Inevitably, you will hit such bumps. Plan accordingly.

Another side to wasteful spending, though, comes from not focusing your efforts properly in the early stages. You have ten great things you want to do as a company. You don’t make good judgments about which of these to focus on. You spend on all of them. In short order, your funds are dissipated before you can build a reasonable revenue stream.

Use good judgment about where you can best use your limited funds and use them wisely.

6. Plan your legal roll-out carefully.

Don’t front-load unnecessary legal expenses. When you are ready for a meaningful launch, though, do your setup properly.

If you have a founding team, make sure you give serious thought to using restricted stock as opposed to outright stock grants when making grants to founders. In other words, keep strings on the stock until it is earned unless there is some exceptional reason not to. Use cheap stock to avoid tax problems. Get the IP into the company. Get employment and consulting agreements in place, making sure all IP from such arrangements goes to the company. Review your trademark issues in connection with any branding you will do. File provisional patents as applicable. When you are ready to bring on a broader team, set up an equity incentive plan.

Work closely with a good business lawyer to do the legal steps right.

7. Fund your company incrementally where possible.

The worst trap an early-stage company can fall into is one where it gets over-extended. Plan intelligently to avoid this trap.

Work with early-stage investors or have a reserve of your own funds to carry you through the phases before you have meaningful revenues.

Don’t put yourself in a position where you are out of options except for shopping your opportunity to VCs. You will either not get funded (the most likely outcome) or you will get slaughtered in the terms of the funding.


Think carefully before venturing forth as a founder. The rewards can be great but you need to be ready to deal with the challenges. If you believe you are, a big, open world of opportunity awaits you.

Motorcycle Suspension: – A Troubleshooting Guide

Trouble Shooting Suspension Problems.

Adjustment locations: Forks

Rebound adjustment (if applicable) is located near the top of the fork. Compression adjustment (if applicable) is located near the bottom of the fork. Spring preload adjustment (if applicable) is generally hex style and located at the top of the fork.

Lack of Rebound


o Forks are plush, but increasing speed causes loss of control and traction

o The motorcycle wallows and tends to run wide exiting the turn causing fading traction and loss of control.

o When taking a corner a speed, you experience front-end chatter, loss of traction and control.

o Aggressive input at speed lessons control and chassis attitude suffers.

o Front end fails to recover after aggressive input over bumpy surfaces.

Solution: Insufficient rebound. Increase rebound “gradually” until control and traction are optimized and chatter is gone.

Too Much Rebound


o Front end feels locked up resulting in harsh ride.

o Suspension tucks in and fails to return, giving a harsh ride. Typically after the first bump, the bike will skip over subsequent bumps and want to tuck the front.

o With acceleration, the front end will tank slap or shake violently due to lack of front wheel tire contact.

Solution: Too much rebound. Decrease rebound “gradually” until control and traction are optimized.

Lack of Compression


o Front-end dives severely, sometimes bottoming out over heavy bumps or during aggressive breaking.

o Front feels soft or vague similar to lack of rebound.

o When bottoming, a clunk is heard. This is due to reaching the bottom of fork travel.

Solution: Insufficient compression. Increase “gradually” until control and traction are optimized.

Too Much Compression


o Front end rides high through the corners, causing the bike to steer wide. It should maintain the pre-determined sag, which will allow the steering geometry to remain constant.

Solution: Decrease compression “gradually” until bike neither bottoms nor rides high.


o Front end chatters or shakes entering turns. This is due to incorrect oil height and/or too much low speed compression damping.

Solution: First, verify that oil height is correct. If correct, then decrease compression “gradually” until chattering and shaking ceases.


o Bumps and ripples are felt directly in the triple clamps and through the chassis. This causes the front wheel to bounce over bumps.

Solution: Decrease compression “gradually” until control is regained.


o Ride is generally hard, and gets even harder when braking or entering turns.

Solution: Decrease compression “gradually” until control is regained.

Adjustment Locations: Rear Shock

Rebound adjustment (if applicable) is located at the bottom of the shock. Compression adjustment (if applicable) is located on the reservoir. Spring prelude is located at the top of the shock.

Shock: Lack of Rebound


o The ride will feel soft or vague and as speed increases, the rear end will want to wallow and/or weave over bumpy surfaces and traction suffers.

o Loss of traction will cause rear end to pogo or chatter due to shock returning too fast on exiting a corner.

Solution: Insufficient rebound – Increase rebound until wallowing and weaving disappears and control and traction are optimized.

Shock: Too Much Rebound


o Ride is harsh, suspension control is limited and traction is lost.

o Rear end will pack in, forcing the bike wide in corners, due to rear squat. It will slow steering because front end is riding high.

o When rear end packs in, tires generally will overheat and will skip over bumps.

o When chopping throttle, rear end will tend to skip or hop on entries.

Solution: Too much rebound. Decrease rebound “gradually” until harsh ride is gone and traction is regained. Decrease rebound to keep rear end from packing.

Shock: Lack of Compression


o The bike will not turn in entering a turn.

o With bottoming, control and traction are lost.

o With excessive rear end squat, when accelerating out of corners, the bike will tend to steer wide.

Solution: Insufficient compression. Increase compression “gradually until traction and control is optimized and/or excessive rear end squat is gone.

Shock: Too Much Compression


o Ride is harsh, but not as bad as too much rebound. As speed increases, so does harshness.

o There is very little rear end squat. This will cause loss of traction/sliding. Tire will overheat.

o Rear end will want to kick when going over medium to large bumps.

Solution: Decrease compression until harshness is gone. Decrease compression until sliding stops and traction is regained.

Modern Wall Art Paintings: Brief Introduction to Contemporary Art

As you live in the modern era, you need to keep pace with the modern art. One of the best ways to revamp your house, clubs or office is to decorate their walls with variety of wall art paintings. Modern wall art painting could enliven your space and inject a spark that otherwise was not there. The beauty of these art paintings can be gauged from the fact that their sale has reported a sharp increase in recent times.

With urbanization kicking in, people are fast shifting basic settlements to elite houses and mansions. Even the furniture has gone through a sea change in the current decade. So, to match these new settings and the new style of decor, it becomes imperative to hang some contemporary art works in your living room and bedroom.

Modern wall art painting is not an un-heard form of art, despite the fact that its origin is fairly new. Keeping in tune with the changed lifestyle and decor, this art has been developed to breathe freshness to contemporary homes. It won’t be wrong to cite that it has its roots in old forms of arts and is obliged heavily to its more archaic ancestors.

Having said that, one must acknowledge that it has maintained its own stead, and has always been accepted as a distinct form of contemporary art! The texture is finer and the detailing can be a lot nuanced. These paintings may emulate the past or take inspiration from some other forms of art, but they never fail to manifest their originality.

Though, wall paintings can be hung in all sorts of houses, they are more suited to urban houses where the decor and furniture are rather contemporary. However, if you have a classic decor, then you can still scour the internet or art stores to find some kind of typical abstract paintings that will fit into your homes and their furnishings amazingly.

These paintings also fit into offices where the general tendency is to create a milieu that can evoke inspiration, productivity and creativity. Such paintings can warm up the heart and refresh memory, thereby evoking high productivity and keeping stupor and monotony at bay.

Professionals these days are putting a lot of effort into making paintings which can suit the varied needs of people. With times, art has evolved and so have the artists. At times, an unknown amateur can produce a masterpiece. Aided by technology, the young artists of today are finding a platform for their creation.