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(Yahoo)   Just ahead of their IPO, Zynga CEO suddenly decides some of his employees are "under-performing" and have a choice of giving back their stock options or being fired. No word on whether they get an in-game tree as a consolation prize   (news.yahoo.com) divider line 90
    More: Sick, Zynga CEO, IPO, stock options, Toronto, Canada, Latin Grammy Awards, Volcanism on Mars, Wall Street Journal, CEO  
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3012 clicks; posted to Business » on 13 Nov 2011 at 10:32 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-11-13 07:29:19 PM
As the very successful company planned to go public, CEO Mark Pincus decided that some people had gotten too many shares so they asked for some of the back. "They began demanding that certain employees surrender some shares or be fired," Scheck and Raice write

i'm pretty sure that sort of thing is highly illegal.
 
2011-11-13 07:39:54 PM
Behold! The wonderful, perfect, free market at work! Why, if we didn't have regulations, this could happen in every company!
 
2011-11-13 08:04:06 PM
I don't play Farmville, so could someone inform me -- is there a guillotine you can buy in the game?
 
2011-11-13 08:17:50 PM

GAT_00: Behold! The wonderful, perfect, free market at work! Why, if we didn't have regulations, this could happen in every company!


i'm not entirely 100% sure so take this with a grain of salt...but I think this is a pretty clear violation of the regs. you give someone stock options you can't force them to give them back. Now i'm not sure if that's a civil penalty or a criminal one (hell, it could be both) but i'm pretty sure that the courts will be having some very harsh words for the CEO who tried to play calvinball with the rules on executive compensation.
 
2011-11-13 08:29:04 PM
Weaver95: i'm pretty sure that the courts will be having some very harsh words for the CEO who tried to play calvinball with the rules on executive compensation.

I'd wager the CEO has enough money to laugh that sort of thing out of court.
 
2011-11-13 08:35:49 PM

SilentStrider: Weaver95: i'm pretty sure that the courts will be having some very harsh words for the CEO who tried to play calvinball with the rules on executive compensation.

I'd wager the CEO has enough money to laugh that sort of thing out of court.


depends on the charges and the level of publicity. if it were a minimal amount of cash involved in an obscure start up company...yeah. the Fed might just give the guy a slap on the wrist. But steal a couple/few million while out in public as the OWS protesters are chanting in front of you? not a good idea to taunt that particular dynamite monkey.
 
2011-11-13 08:50:10 PM

Weaver95: GAT_00: Behold! The wonderful, perfect, free market at work! Why, if we didn't have regulations, this could happen in every company!

i'm not entirely 100% sure so take this with a grain of salt...but I think this is a pretty clear violation of the regs. you give someone stock options you can't force them to give them back. Now i'm not sure if that's a civil penalty or a criminal one (hell, it could be both) but i'm pretty sure that the courts will be having some very harsh words for the CEO who tried to play calvinball with the rules on executive compensation.


After their IPO, this would most likely run afoul of some SEC rules, and I don't think they could legally do this after they go public. As a private company, though, I imagine how they divvy up ownership is pretty much up to them. Doing it just ahead of their IPO is sketchy, to say the least, but I don't think it's illegal.

/IANAL
 
2011-11-13 08:50:39 PM
I'd take the firing, cash in the stock, and laugh all the way to the bank.
 
2011-11-13 08:54:45 PM

eddyatwork: I'd take the firing, cash in the stock, and laugh all the way to the bank.


Considering their outlook for growth? THIS

Sell Sell Sell
 
2011-11-13 09:07:08 PM

Weaver95: but I think this is a pretty clear violation of the regs. you give someone stock options you can't force them to give them back


And it wouldn't be if we let libertarians run things.

This is why I don't trust the lot of you.
 
2011-11-13 09:26:56 PM
Wouldn't the options be considered part of their compensation? Isn't this the equivalent of deciding you paid someone too high a wage and asking for some back?

I would take the firing and let my lawyers find out if it was legal.
 
2011-11-13 09:33:11 PM

GAT_00: Weaver95: but I think this is a pretty clear violation of the regs. you give someone stock options you can't force them to give them back

And it wouldn't be if we let libertarians run things.

This is why I don't trust the lot of you.


actually, every libertarian I know finds this sort of behavior repellent in the extreme. you make a deal with your employees, you don't screw them over. you stick to your contract. if that means you end up making a few secretaries instant millionares then so be it.
 
2011-11-13 09:37:38 PM

cmunic8r99: After their IPO, this would most likely run afoul of some SEC rules, and I don't think they could legally do this after they go public. As a private company, though, I imagine how they divvy up ownership is pretty much up to them. Doing it just ahead of their IPO is sketchy, to say the least, but I don't think it's illegal.


Uh, I think that if they've already given you the compensation, asking for pieces of ownership back from your employees is a bit more than sketchy, I think it's illegal.
 
2011-11-13 10:00:11 PM
three years ago, the CEO of zynga was laughing at his players because they were so desperate to accept his spyware from the links he put on his games.

Screw zynga and their IPO. I hope their stock tanks into toilet paper
 
2011-11-13 10:11:23 PM

eddyatwork: I'd take the firing, cash in the stock, and laugh all the way to the bank.


yup.
 
2011-11-13 10:22:45 PM

SphericalTime: cmunic8r99: After their IPO, this would most likely run afoul of some SEC rules, and I don't think they could legally do this after they go public. As a private company, though, I imagine how they divvy up ownership is pretty much up to them. Doing it just ahead of their IPO is sketchy, to say the least, but I don't think it's illegal.

Uh, I think that if they've already given you the compensation, asking for pieces of ownership back from your employees is a bit more than sketchy, I think it's illegal.


Also, California has some pretty worker-friendly employment laws.
 
2011-11-13 10:23:21 PM

eddyatwork: I'd take the firing, cash in the stock, and laugh all the way to the bank.


log_jammin: yup.


FTFA: Instead of firing under-performing employees, who would thus lose all of their options [...]
 
2011-11-13 10:32:30 PM

SphericalTime: cmunic8r99: After their IPO, this would most likely run afoul of some SEC rules, and I don't think they could legally do this after they go public. As a private company, though, I imagine how they divvy up ownership is pretty much up to them. Doing it just ahead of their IPO is sketchy, to say the least, but I don't think it's illegal.

Uh, I think that if they've already given you the compensation, asking for pieces of ownership back from your employees is a bit more than sketchy, I think it's illegal.


if the options haven't vested, they technically don't own those pieces of the company, though. Hence, losing them if they leave the job (or are fired).
 
2011-11-13 10:43:31 PM

Weaver95: GAT_00: Weaver95: but I think this is a pretty clear violation of the regs. you give someone stock options you can't force them to give them back

And it wouldn't be if we let libertarians run things.

This is why I don't trust the lot of you.

actually, every libertarian I know finds this sort of behavior repellent in the extreme. you make a deal with your employees, you don't screw them over. you stick to your contract. if that means you end up making a few secretaries instant millionares then so be it.


That's all well and good, but without a way to force others to play by those rules abuse would become even more rampant than it is now.
 
2011-11-13 10:44:28 PM
First Groupon, now Zynga, and coming soon Facebook.

Lets face it folks, times are starting to get better in the United States. IPOs are a good indicator of how our economy is doing.
 
2011-11-13 10:45:42 PM
Keep the stock options and let him fire you. There's no guarantee he won't fire your ass anyway after you give back the stock options.

/One more thing.......................FARK Zynga!
 
2011-11-13 10:48:44 PM

Weaver95: you make a deal with your employees, you don't screw them over. you stick to your contract.


And in a libertarian marketplace, there's nothing to actually make that happen. You just hope it happens because you think everyone will love each other.
 
2011-11-13 10:51:20 PM
I know a coder who works for them. They hired him right out of school and are paying him 90k a year with stock options. Given its all he does and he really doesn't have much free time.
 
2011-11-13 10:55:50 PM

cmunic8r99: if the options haven't vested, they technically don't own those pieces of the company, though. Hence, losing them if they leave the job (or are fired).


While this may be true, California has some pretty strict labor laws. One of the things that is very-much against the rules in California are things classified as rebates, which are usually something like forcing an employee to return their wages if they leave, or charging employees to attend mandatory training... things like that.

The intent of the employer is also a big deal.

I would say from the way this guy handled it, any labor ruling would go against him.

It's clear he used stock options as an incentive to compensate employees that were paid below market rates or to reward them for work performed. Now, if the employee was fired for cause, or something, they would lose the unvested options and no one would care. But, these employees aren't being fired for cause. they are being fired to reclaim options that the ceo would likely grant to himself.


In any labor hearing, I think the questions that would come up time and time again are:

"If this employee was underperforming, why didn't you terminate them?"

"If this employee was performing, why are you firing them? Are you firing them solely to reclaim their stock?"

"If stock options were granted to employees that didn't deserve it, what was your policy then for determining how much they should get, and what is your policy now for determining who should lose some?"

"Do you have a standard for determining performance?"

"Was this standard applied equally? Was the CEO's options-to-performance ratio ever determined?"

"Why were certain employees singled out to have their stock taken?"


Bottom line, if Zynga had done this in NV or AZ, they would probably be totally in the clear... but in CA, I think they are f*cked.
 
2011-11-13 11:09:37 PM
Those bastards.

Those farking rat bastards.


Zynga, you have my "unlike".
 
2011-11-13 11:11:40 PM

Relatively Obscure: eddyatwork: I'd take the firing, cash in the stock, and laugh all the way to the bank.

log_jammin: yup.

FTFA: Instead of firing under-performing employees, who would thus lose all of their options [...]


every time I don't RTFA I get burned like that. you'd think I'd learn by now.
 
2011-11-13 11:13:45 PM

log_jammin: every time I don't RTFA I get burned like that. you'd think I'd learn by now.


I thought maybe I was misunderstanding that. But.. happens to me ALL the time.
 
2011-11-13 11:15:42 PM

GAT_00: Weaver95: you make a deal with your employees, you don't screw them over. you stick to your contract.

And in a libertarian marketplace, there's nothing to actually make that happen. You just hope it happens because you think everyone will love each other.


don't stick to your deal, you never get another one ever again. problem solved.
 
2011-11-13 11:22:40 PM
1. Let them fire you.
2. Hostile takeover by ex employees.
3. Profit!
 
2011-11-13 11:25:30 PM

Weaver95: GAT_00: Weaver95: you make a deal with your employees, you don't screw them over. you stick to your contract.

And in a libertarian marketplace, there's nothing to actually make that happen. You just hope it happens because you think everyone will love each other.

don't stick to your deal, you never get another one ever again. problem solved.


And how does that fix people getting farked over? Or people making companies over and over again with the sole purpose of stealing from their workers and then cutting and running?

Face it, libertarianism absolutely collapses in the face of human nature. A big list of regulations are all that keep the market equal and good for everyone.
 
2011-11-13 11:27:09 PM
Ba-Zynga!
 
2011-11-13 11:30:24 PM

GAT_00: And how does that fix people getting farked over? Or people making companies over and over again with the sole purpose of stealing from their workers and then cutting and running?


if a greedy person knows that if they break their contract that they'll be bankrupt come dawn - and I mean know it down to their DNA - then they won't break their contract(s). that's the problem with wall street right now: the greedy bastards know they won't face any consequences for their actions. A libertarian system would make SURE that wall street would face instant karma for f*cking up.

Face it, libertarianism absolutely collapses in the face of human nature.

no, it doesn't. in fact - libertarianism DEPENDS on human nature in order to function.
 
2011-11-13 11:33:39 PM
I don't understand the big deal. If the majority share-holders wanted to they could just issue a few billion shares to themselves and essentially zero out the minority shareholders. Happens pretty regularly in IPOs. If you're ever working for a startup you have to be VERY careful about how your options are written.
 
2011-11-13 11:33:59 PM

Weaver95: GAT_00: And how does that fix people getting farked over? Or people making companies over and over again with the sole purpose of stealing from their workers and then cutting and running?

if a greedy person knows that if they break their contract that they'll be bankrupt come dawn - and I mean know it down to their DNA - then they won't break their contract(s). that's the problem with wall street right now: the greedy bastards know they won't face any consequences for their actions. A libertarian system would make SURE that wall street would face instant karma for f*cking up.

Face it, libertarianism absolutely collapses in the face of human nature.

no, it doesn't. in fact - libertarianism DEPENDS on human nature in order to function.


Human nature is reactionary and irrational. Laws are there to help cube our natural impulses.
 
2011-11-13 11:34:32 PM

Weaver95: if they break their contract that they'll be bankrupt come dawn


Except that doesn't happen at all and you know it. How many robber barons do I need to point out to prove that? And what part of libertarianism actually would make that happen? Your non-existent legislation would make it even EASIER to be a robber baron, not less.

Weaver95: A libertarian system would make SURE that wall street would face instant karma for f*cking up.


LOL

Weaver95: libertarianism DEPENDS on human nature in order to function.


Much in the same way communism would. Badly.
 
2011-11-13 11:34:46 PM
*curb

/damn autocorrect
 
2011-11-13 11:44:30 PM

Weaver95: i'm not entirely 100% sure so take this with a grain of salt...but I think this is a pretty clear violation of the regs. you give someone stock options you can't force them to give them back. Now i'm not sure if that's a civil penalty or a criminal one (hell, it could be both) but i'm pretty sure that the courts will be having some very harsh words for the CEO who tried to play calvinball with the rules on executive compensation.


The point is - they have to sign off to give you the options.
They control your paycheck.

They will make you eat any profit you might have made to fight them in court.

and yes, it should probably be illegal.

// sounds like their underwriter wants a bigger cut.
 
2011-11-13 11:45:31 PM

Funk Brothers: First Groupon, now Zynga, and coming soon Facebook.

Lets face it folks, times are starting to get better in the United States. IPOs are a good indicator of how our economy is doing.


Too bad it's going to end up as a repeat of the tech bubble.

/Groupon is going to be the first to fall.
 
2011-11-13 11:50:06 PM

GAT_00: Weaver95: libertarianism DEPENDS on human nature in order to function.

Much in the same way communism would. Badly.


This;

Libertarianism also isn't particularly 'small government' It's a change is stance, not a change in operations. It becomes a lot of damage control, lawsuits and crippled people, companies and towns trying to deal with the aftermath of bastardliness because making bastardliness ILLEGAL seems like a really really bad thing.

/don't get it.
/Monarchist social democrat, myself.
 
2011-11-13 11:50:09 PM
Bazynga!
 
2011-11-13 11:50:38 PM

Weaver95: GAT_00: And how does that fix people getting farked over? Or people making companies over and over again with the sole purpose of stealing from their workers and then cutting and running?

if a greedy person knows that if they break their contract that they'll be bankrupt come dawn - and I mean know it down to their DNA - then they won't break their contract(s). that's the problem with wall street right now: the greedy bastards know they won't face any consequences for their actions. A libertarian system would make SURE that wall street would face instant karma for f*cking up.

Face it, libertarianism absolutely collapses in the face of human nature.

no, it doesn't. in fact - libertarianism DEPENDS on human nature in order to function.


Are you on crack again, Weaver?
 
2011-11-13 11:56:24 PM

Fail in Human Form: *curb

/damn autocorrect


Square.
 
2011-11-14 12:03:25 AM

JasonOfOrillia: Fail in Human Form: *curb

/damn autocorrect

Square.


Tesseract. Bazyng!ga.
 
2011-11-14 12:26:20 AM

GAT_00: Face it, libertarianism absolutely collapses in the face of human nature. A big list of regulations are all that keep the market equal and good for everyone.


Have you read Bob Altemeyer's research on how libertarianism is related to right-wing authoritarianism? Fascinating stuff. It'll never convince a naive libertarian cultist like Weav, though.
 
2011-11-14 12:27:33 AM
How the hell is Zynga such a powerful and lucrative company? These are the same dildos who made Farmville, right? Do people really spend money on that crap?
 
2011-11-14 12:28:04 AM

GAT_00: And in a libertarian marketplace, there's nothing to actually make that happen. You just hope it happens because you think everyone will love each other.


So Libertarians are against government enforcing contracts? That's news to me.
 
2011-11-14 12:32:05 AM

lelio: GAT_00: And in a libertarian marketplace, there's nothing to actually make that happen. You just hope it happens because you think everyone will love each other.

So Libertarians are against government enforcing contracts? That's news to me.


THIS.

Neither GAT_00 nor Weaver95 know what Libertarianism is. It's not Anarchy.
 
2011-11-14 12:55:33 AM
Pincus is a monumental douchebag of colossal proportions. He makes Bill Gates look honest, Larry Ellison look meek and Steve Jobs look kind.

Exhibit A (new window)
 
2011-11-14 12:56:59 AM

GAT_00: Behold! The wonderful, perfect, free market at work! Why, if we didn't have regulations, this could happen in every company!


Say, "fewer and less-restrictive regulations" and liberals always hear, "no regulations". They really should consider a trip to the audiologist.
 
2011-11-14 01:03:31 AM

GAT_00: Weaver95: you make a deal with your employees, you don't screw them over. you stick to your contract.

And in a libertarian marketplace, there's nothing to actually make that happen. You just hope it happens because you think everyone will love each other.


The marketplace only works if there's a government and courts to enforce the contracts that underlie the marketplace. Believe it or not, libertarians do understand this. That's why their libertarians, and not anarchists. Most libertarians place a good deal of value on the liberty of contract. And like any other liberty right it isn't worth anything if there isn't a system in place to enforce it. Just like real property rights, intellectual property rights, etc.

But as usual, you don't actually know what those who are ideologically opposed to you actually believe. You just make up a straw man for their position and then tear into it. Hell, on Fark there's no reason to call that tactic a "straw man" any more. We can just refer to it as "GAT_ing."
 
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