[linux-elitists] Re: H1-B

Alan DuBoff aland@SoftOrchestra.com
Wed Feb 19 11:35:12 PST 2003

On Wednesday 19 February 2003 09:12, Marc MERLIN wrote:
> I was thinking about the people who joined before, or a short while
> after me.

Are you sure? I was at VA before you, even though I was a consultant also, 
but the people that joined even after I was there didn't seem to make out 
very well on their stock options. Yes, people that were there before and had 
been there for a while did make out, and most deserved it, but those people 
were few and far between.

I started working for VA when they were in Mountain View on Pear, just before 
they moved to Sunnyvale.

> You're quite mistaken. I didn't get the green card from VA. It's because
> I chose to forgo getting my options in time that I was still working for
> Taos and I was at VA as a contractor through them.

Well, you got the green card because VA kept you working while you were at 
Taos. Maybe you would have gone somewhere else and worked for another company 
and got your green card anyway, but VA did offer you the opportunity to 
continue working there with Linux and be able to get your green card.

And for the record, you could have gotten stock options being a consultant 
for them, while I didn't, I know there was at least one other consultant that 
was smart enough to work that out with them...my hat is off to him! I wasn't 
smart enough either, so don't feel bad!

> In other words, I had to lose out on the options in order to get my
> green card and be able to keep working here.
> Mind you, I don't regret my decision: I might not have gotten my green
> card in time would I have started over with VA, and (sadly) the green
> card is more valuable than a potential $500k, which really is less once
> you remove tax, but still.

My understanding is that very few people made that much money on their stock, 
unless they had a LOT of it or were very early employees that had vested by 
the time the IPO happened. By the time most of them were vested and could 
sell, it wasn't worth too much.

I must admit that when I left VA I was a bit let down that I hadn't obtained 
any stock, because I learned after that it would have been possible to get 
more stock from them, being a consultant, but I wasn't privy enough to do 
that type of deal when I was there. So I went to Kerbango and got some stock 
there which turned into 3Com stock...for better or worse, it's still worth 
something, granted not as much as it was worth.

The dot-bomb era was a great time in Silicon Valley, and that won't happen 
for a long, long time. For those that pulled $$$s out of their stock options, 
my hat is off to you all! For those that didn't, maybe next time. There was a 
euphoria in the Valley, and it made all the companies want to offer the best 
swag, the best offsites, the most options, it was a great time! We're feeling 
the outcome now though...they say what goes up must come down.

> I could introduce you to people on both sides who will tell you
> differently.
> Not that I much regret not having bought a:
> - boxter (S)
> - camaro SS
> - Z3M
> - M3
> - S2K

Well, you did get a Miata, arguably the second most popular dot-bomb 
VA-mobile. Many people bought Z3s thinking they had tons of $$$s, only to 
relinquish the lease and turn them back in...you still have your Miata!

> but I could have put the money in savings and helped pay for my house.

But this was something I was leading up to all along. Had you bought a home 5 
years ago and rode through the dot-bomb era, you might had made $500k for 
yourself. Real Estate is the one area that people made a lot of $$$s during 
the dot-bomb era, and those that had it made it. The dot-bomb era allowed 
people to be bidding on homes, prices escalating, and people flipping homes 
and making a lot of $$$s. There just isn't enough real estate in the Valley, 
and so far it's holding up pretty well.

> But yes, I did get screwed by the imigration requirements, and didn't
> get the opportunities that US citizens and residents had.

A lot of non-citizens made boat loads on the real estate market.

> I don't. I don't regret having worked there at all (except maybe the
> last year, or year and half, which wasn't really worth my time).

You were there longer than me, so I don't know what it was like after I left, 
although they went through many shake-outs. I enjoyed working there and I 
thought it was a fun place to work, and my hat is off to Larry, for as good 
or bad as people make him out to be he holds the record on Wall Street. Who 
would have thought a Linux company would hold that title today! OTOH, who 
would have thought that company wouldn't be a Linux company today?<g>

People will be talking about VA Linux Systems for many years to come, and my 
guess is that the stock market will not do that again for a long, long 
time...but it could happen, just not tomorrow.


Alan DuBoff
Software Orchestration, Inc.
GPG: 1024D/B7A9EBEE 5E00 57CD 5336 5E0B 288B 4126 0D49 0D99 B7A9 EBEE

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