Perfect is the enemy of good

Johanna RobinsonLegal, Marketing

“Perfect is the enemy of good” Voltaire I’ve heard my brother (a Google engineer) say this so often that I thought it was a Google adage. Turns out, the French writer and public activist Voltaire quoted an Italian proverb in one of his poems. Reflecting on my most recent Tech School talk, I was thinking about this idea in the … Read More

Three Powerful Resources to Help with Your Billboard Slide

Johanna RobinsonLeadership, Legal, Marketing

Fōkcus used to host a weekly program called “City Highlights” at Apple stores in San Diego and Los Angeles to help startups on a variety of topics including pitch decks. Each week, a different founder would pitch to a group of 8 to 10 mentors, and then get feedback from the mentors. A significant portion of the feedback would be … Read More

Beware of services in exchange for equity

Johanna RobinsonFinance, Legal

It seems like a great idea, and we have heard many many stories of people who have tested this model. But it usually does not end well. First, let’s clarify. It’s a great idea to have a technical co-founder and equity should be allocated equitably. But it’s not a great idea to give equity to people who are providing one-time … Read More

Four reasons to formalize your consulting arrangement

Johanna RobinsonLegal

On our most recent episode of Tech School, I talked about basic legal concepts for startup founders. One of the things we covered was consulting agreements. Here are four things you’ll want to make sure you give special attention to, and a few reasons why. (Obligatory disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.) 1. Scope … Read More

What’s the deal with confidentiality agreements?

Johanna RobinsonFinance, Legal, Product

On our most recent episode of Tech School, I spoke about legal basics for startup founders, and we touched briefly on confidentiality agreements. On the list of most-common-questions-we-get-asked are questions about confidentiality. Here’s our take on two aspects. 1. Should you worry about someone stealing your idea? No, you should not. 99.9999999% of people have better things to do than … Read More

Free legal templates for startups

Johanna RobinsonLegal

Did you know that many top tier law firms have groups that focus on the legal aspects specific to startups? They put a lot of effort into creating resources to engage the startup community. You’ll often see law firms presenting at and/or sponsoring local startup events, like our very own Startup San Diego. Here are three resources we love: Cooley … Read More

Did you know that oral agreements are enforceable?

Johanna RobinsonLegal

Oral agreements are generally valid and legally binding as long as they are reasonable, equitable, conscionable, and made in good faith. A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to participate in Noam Wasserman’s Founders Bootcamp. The story he told about the oral agreement between the founders of Zipcar made a huge impression on me. On … Read More

How I learned to read contracts

Johanna RobinsonLegal, Project Management

When I was a baby project manager, I was fortunate to work for a hypergrowth biotech startup. In the time that I was there, we grew to over 3,000 employees. In a hypergrowth startup, the usual startup problems to be solved are compounded by urgency and scale. But there are some benefits too. Suddenly there are funds available for many … Read More