A friend of mine pointed me to the sad story of Reggie Brown, who was frozen out of SnapChat by his co-founders and fraternity brothers. Or, was Brown a hard-partying bro who didn’t add much value, in comparison to his co-founders (a hacker and designer)?
It’s a tough call, given that various witnesses and actual records show that the other founders credited Brown with coming up with the “million-dollar idea” behind SnapChat because he wanted something that would help him be more discrete while sexting.
In the end, the truth, or some semblance thereof will be up to the courts.
But there is a broader lesson here that, sadly, entrepreneurs always seem to need to learn for themselves: GET IT IN WRITING.
Over the years, I have told numerous entrepreneurs to get everything in writing, because once people smell money, the ugly side of human nature comes out.
“People are capable of rationalizing almost any action if it enriches them. I’ve seen family members sell each other out and lifelong friends come to blows over this. I personally have two close friends who lost millions over broken promises because they trusted their partner’s word rather than insisting on a contract.”
It’s been nearly three years since that post, and sadly, the number of friends who lost money because they failed to “paper things up” has only grown.
Don’t rely on friendship, good faith, honesty, or anything else that won’t hold up in a court of law. Get it in writing. Not only will this keep you from losing your money, by removing temptation, it might also keep you from losing your friendships.