Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm a former Miso engineer and the founders screwed me out of 10k

UPDATE 2:


There's a few things I want to clear up here about certain assumptions made about what exactly happened.


Prior to the database incident I had already given my intent to resign for a different opportunity. I stuck around for a month to complete a product that was assigned to me before the fact. I could have just left, and let the rest of the team pick up my shit. I didn't do that, because I wanted to do right by them and finish what I had started, and I wanted to have adequate time. Sometime during the development of that project is when I nuked the DB. 


Those that are calling the Miso engineering team incompetent. STOP. These guys are easily some of the best I've ever had to pleasure to work with. Chances are you've never worked with a 5 person team of this caliber. But shit happens. It happens to the best of us. (I blew away the database in exactly this manner) It's the way engineering is sometimes. When you're in a small start up where resources are scarce and deadlines are tight, it's hard not to be a little sloppy. I fucked up. I was sloppy, and I suffered the consequences.


Contrary to what some have said, I did not leave Miso on bad terms. I was not fired for this incident, and I did not quit out of shame or something ridiculous. It's unfortunate the timing of all these events could imply that. I left for a better opportunity that was more aligned with my passions and interests. It was as simple as that.


Lastly. I did this knowing fully well what the extent of the consequences could be. Hiring managers skipping over my resume, notoriety in the start up scene blah blah. Some called me brave and courageous, but I am just as stupid. I'm stupid about standing up for my ideals even if it'd be smarter to just let this go. If this behavior is going to be shunned by some of you. Fuck it. Say whatever you will. I'm doing what I think is right, and none of you can take that away from me.


UPDATE: 


First of all. Thank you. I made this post with hopes that someone out there can learn something from this. Needless to say I got a lot more than what I was expecting. I'm humbled by the attention and support I've gotten from everyone. Strangers and friends alike. The 10k I'll be getting will be going to charity to celebrate the integrity, compassion and passion demonstrated by the community at large. 


I want to especially thank the Hacker News community for helping this get the attention I believe it deserved. The discussions it generated in the comments section was fruitful for everyone. Again, thank you all. None of this would've been possible without your help.


----------

I'm not writing this in hopes to have justice served, nor am I doing it out of revenge. I'm simply doing a service to the rest of the Silicon Valley startup community by telling you my story.


As recent as a month ago, I was an employee at Miso. I was there for a year before I left for a better opportunity. During that time I had a coworker who was a personal friend that I had referred. I was entitled to a $10k referral bonus offered by the CEO through internal emails. However, the payout was contingent on said employee staying for a minimum of a 6 month period at the position. Reasonable so far. This friend started early September of 2011, meaning 6 months later, March of 2012, I should be paid out of my referral bonus. I wasn't, but neither did I remember to claim it at the time. A month later I left the company. It was then I realized I had forgotten to claim my referral bonus. Oops. Oh well that's fine. I'll just email them about it and have them send me a check.


Hey Somrat,


I forgot to claim the 10k referral bonus for J. If it's more convenient for you just give a check to J. Thanks!


Simple enough right? I'm only claiming what should be mine. Nope. This is when things got ugly.


Josh, let me talk to Tim.

After you lost our data and caused our entire company to scramble for 3 days, I am hesitant.



Before I go further I should explain this a bit. During my last 2 weeks at Miso I accidentally blew away one of the production DBs for a service that was launched 2 weeks prior. No, we didn't have a backup. Long story short the engineering team scrambled for 48 hours trying to rectify the situation, and at the end we recovered 95% of the data back. Nevertheless, it was my fault, and I felt extremely bad to have caused grief. However, that's another story for another time.


So. Employee fucks up at work, instead of docking his performance bonus (makes sense, but Miso didn't give out those) let's screw him out of his REFERRAL bonus. Impeccable logic. I had to read this particular email several times to believe it. 


To put things in perspective, I was employee #7 at Miso. I worked hard for the company. If you look up anything Miso has to show for right now, I had a hand it in one way or another. To put it simply I was a quality employee that was a key contributor to the company's success thus far. I'm not asking for a trophy, but I believe it's fair that I deserve some respect on a professional level from the founders. Instead, I find that they are willing to burn this bridge over a measly 10k. Bewildered, I replied.


Somrat, I fail to see how the two should be related. If you are going to deny me of a referral bonus based on that incident I'm going to be very disappointed. 


To which the CTO replied.


Spoke with Somrat about this.  You're right that the trouble that you caused has nothing to do with a referral bonus.

However, we only pay bonuses to employees.  The bonuses are discretionary and not contractual.  You and Miso never signed a contract that mentions bonuses.

As a policy, referral bonuses are meant to help build a stronger team based on existing relationships.  Employees bringing on employees that they've worked with in the past builds a stronger team.  This bonus is not simply about hiring.  For example, we don't pay people outside of Miso when they refer us candidates that we hire.

Because you are no longer employed by Miso, you are not eligible for this bonus.

At this point. You might as well just tell me "fuck you. you didn't sign a contract. boohoo.". This "policy" he speaks of was never mentioned to me is any form. Though, if you remember when the 6 months was up I was STILL an employee at Miso. Therefore, I should have been paid under this policy anyway. I figured, I probably should point that out. Even though at this point I was starting to feel like they were determined to screw me.

What? This particular bonus should've been paid out to me by March of this year in accordance with the 6 month employment period. J joined early 09/2011. At the time, I was still an employee at Miso. I'm just claiming what should have been mine in the first place. 

I'm very disappointed you guys are willing to screw me out of 10k. You leave me no choice but to take this public.

No. I'm not proud of threatening, but I was pissed.

I'm sorry you feel that way.  Our bonuses have always been discretionary and a means to reward current employees.

Tim

Ok? Not sure if dodging or just didn't read my email. The rest of this chain of emails consists of me double checking if he understood what I was saying, and him giving me some more BS.

Look. I don't even know if I can take this to court. Through legally means, I'm probably not getting that 10k. Frankly, at this point it's beyond the money. This is unethical practice. Period. I don't know anyone else that needed to sign a piece of paper for referral bonuses. It's given out of good faith. While I took this good faith for granted, I've never heard of anyone else being denied a referral bonus.

I had a good time at Miso. In fact, I loved my coworkers there. It was high caliber team that got shit done and was fun to be around. I learned a lot there, and will always be thankful for the opportunity. Despite what happened in the last few days I would not take that experience back.

With that said. I debated taking this public. It's not in my comfort zone to speak negatively about someone on a public forum. Still, I feel that people should know. I worry for my former coworkers that are still there, and prospective hires. Paying their dues so maybe one day their stock options will pay off.

If founders of a company are willing to screw over a former employee out of a small sum of money during the early stages when they should be trying to build a reputation, what is going to happen when the company gets big and goes IPO? Pull a Zynga? Who knows? This incident poses a lot of questions about their integrity, moral values, and character. I for one, will never ever work with those guys again.

Somrat. Tim. Was this worth the 10k?

174 comments:

  1. This is anonymous because I know Somrat and Tim professionally. You are fully entitled to your bonus and you were a current employee when the time came to pay you. A great lawyer for this kind of startup employment law is Tanya Gomerman, http://www.tanyagomerman.com/ and see her Yelp reviews. I'm one of her clients and her work is terrific. I don't get any kind of payment or advantage by recommending her; I just like doing the right thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice try, Tanya Gomerman.

      Delete
    2. Even if it is tany gomerman. If she believes she can win this case and accepts a no cure no pay. I would try her out ;)

      Delete
    3. Yet another nice try, Tanya Gomerman!

      Delete
  2. what douche bags

    ReplyDelete
  3. Emails can be legally binding. Talk to a lawyer.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If there is anything written at all by the company promising, even generally, this referral bonus, that could constitute a contract under California Law, which is VERY broad when it comes to what constitutes a contract.... Find an employment rights attorney and get him to write a letter to Miso's counsel.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A contract only requires a meeting of the minds, not a document. It's likely your employee agreement has some sort of totality clause that they may use as a defense but courts, CA in particular, look pretty poorly on overly broad boilerplate defenses. If you have the original emails concerning the bonus, as well as these emails initially expressing that the bonus is denied as retribution and then later backpedaling, I think your chances in court would be good.

    Talk to a lawyer. You may be able to resolve things at the nasty letter stage of things as I imagine these folks don't wish future investors to be aware of their poor decision making regarding employee obligations and liabilities.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What Douche Bags! Thanks for sharing your experience with them. I will spread the word not to work for them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Having worked with the CEO before, this is not particularly surprising. Ethics and integrity seem to be the last thing that people really care about in this bublicious environment.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would sue and start the discovery process on their emails and chat logs.

    My guess is they settle rather than have to deal with it, especially if the situation played out the way you describe it. In particular, their email "Our bonuses have always been discretionary and a means to reward current employees" is basically open-and-shut if you were a current employee as of the 6mo anniversary date.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Personally, I don't really see what Miso did so wrong here. The guy should have remembered this bonus (a $10,000 bonus!) when it was due. After leaving he shouldn't be trying to claim employee benefits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're a troll or just plain dumb?

      Delete
    2. I hate to say, but agree with the just plain dumb troll. This was an unclaimed employee benefit, tough shit, next time remember the "measly" 10 grand you have waiting before you quit.

      Delete
    3. Obvious troll is obvious

      Delete
    4. Uh, no. This isn't gold panning. He didn't need to stake a claim at any specific point. Any lawyer would laugh at the contrived notion of "unclaimed benefits".

      You're an idiot.

      Delete
    5. Nice try Miso!

      Delete
  10. As someone that runs a business, and especially a startup at that, I let me present my view. You can jump on me later, but at least read what I have to say:

    Being founder of a startup, one handles so many things that are so different from each other. It is like juggling multiples balls, and also a baby or two in between. The problem is that we lose proportional value of each of the items in the air. A baby, a ball, all looks the same, since they all scream out with the same urgency. This results in value creep and there is a distorted application of values and he comes across as someone that rips people off.

    The point I am making is, fight for what is yours, but on the other end of perceived injustice is not always a villain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Employees at startups are busy too. Maybe that's why he didn't claim it until now.

      Delete
  11. You probably didn't do yourself a service by publicly voicing your concerns before speaking with a lawyer. If you made any mistakes in any part of this article, you might lose a lawsuit over this. I think there's a bit of a fault on this for you for forgetting about 10K dollars though - once you're out of the company, you lost any leverage that you had. For future reference, if you feel the need to vent about somebody, call your friend and go out for drinks and bitch about them, or write about them anonymously on sites like DirtyPhoneBook for example. But writing this publicly on a blog before speaking to a lawyer is probably a dumb idea. Consult a lawyer, see where you stand, you might have a case, though you will have to fight for it and lose some of the winnings to the lawyer. Additionally, you might have damaged your own future employment potential here with the admission of the mistake (not that mistakes don't happen, but employers shouldn't be able to find out about them).

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think you should have claimed the bonus before quitting. That's Quitting 101.

    I'm not sure about California Law, but I'd chalk this up as "shit, i forgot" and move on. This kind of post, where you publicly shame your former employer, posting names and exact copies of emails, will perhaps make it harder for you to get another job in the future.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1
      Why didn't you collect the money before you quit? 10k is a lot of money.

      I wouldn't even have asked for the money, you have a lot of balls. You quit! You quit the team, that's like the opposite of referring somebody.

      If I was your current employer I would think twice about keeping you around.

      I side with miso, I would not have giving you a dime.

      Delete
    2. But he's legally entitled to that money. Miso can't just 'decide' not to give him it.

      Delete
  13. I've got to say, I wouldn't pay you either. The sense of entitlement I'm getting from you would make me WANT to take you on in court.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'sense of entitlement' - yes he is entitled - you are correct. Company made a deal, now they do their end of the bargain.

      Delete
    2. I came here to say exactly this. This guy acts like they're thumbing their noses at him as they tear up a check with his name on it.

      You forgot, JZHWU. Deal with it.

      Delete
    3. The company has a written contract to pay referral bonuses, and no one violated that contract except the company. When you fulfill your end of a contract, you are, in fact, "entitled" to have the other side fulfill its end.

      Delete
    4. 1. He is entitled. Therefore, his sense of what he is owned is perfectly correct.

      2. If you owned a business and were tempted to enter legal disputes over such a meaningless emotional response (and an incorrect one, to boot), you will fail so fast and so hard that it will make your head spin. You are NOT cut out to run a business.

      Delete
  14. Guy above sounds like he has screwed many people over before.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This seems typical of the current generation to blog about something like this. Sheesh. This should be a private matter between you and your former employer.

    If the facts are as you've stated them above, you should receive the bonus. In California, a verbal agreement is binding, let alone agreements / suggestions in email. You do not need legalese on paper for an agreement to be a binding contract. That's a load of crap, and they are hoping you will not know any better and just go away.

    Hire a lawyer, and sue for the bonus plus legal fees. Stop talking about the issue in the public, or you may lose.

    Best wishes

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh wow, you're a pussy. "I didn't do that for revenge or getting that 10k." Yeah right, and in your high school years you did Her homework, because you are a good friend.
    And then you tell the public directly how much of a "quality employee" (that was a quote) you are. Man, do you have no self respect?
    In court you might even have a chance, after they give you wrong reasons for not paying you the bonus and even quite much admit that they gave this promise and you probably were employed when this promise was due to fullfilment. Well, I don't know US laws, but in Germany a spoken promise is as good a contract as a written one (just that the spoken one's existance is harder to prove). Good luck with that.
    But boy, was this post really worth it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For sure it was! People should be accountable!

      Delete
  17. you fucked up bra

    ReplyDelete
  18. Remember the wisdom of James Bond: before you seek revenge, dig two graves.
    (said by Roger Moore)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'm surprised that the balance of comments here is in your favour. You read like an arrogant person with a nastily over-developed sense of entitlement. Your former employers by comparison come across as reasonable and mature people.

    I don't know CA law. I don't know whether it's going to cost you more than ten bags to sue Miso for the money. I don't know if you will win. I do know that while all you and your cronies can see is the 'injustice' of them not retroactively paying out a discretionary bonus to a former employee, I see an unreliable man who stuck around for single lousy year, caused a major crisis then quit the team for greener pastures who is now trying to extort $10,000 with the threat of some publicity.

    Look, you're young (that much is obvious.) I'll help you out here: The best thing you can do now is to delete this blog and pray that no future prospective employer manages to find it at web.archive.org. I will tell you right now that any hiring manager or headhunter trawling blogs for talent is going to put you in the permanent round file as soon as they read this. Even discounting the story, the short-sightedness and stupidity you've demonstrated by posting this on Hacker News is enough to get you disqualified by any decent hiring manager.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a hiring manager and I disagree. If I google your name and find you have integrity and the balls to stick up for yourself you're someone I want to work with.

      Delete
    2. You're a fucking moron. You literally have NO idea what you're talking about.

      Delete
    3. I'm a seasoned Technical Recruiter, and I agree. Your information after reading this, would not get in the hands of my clients.

      Delete
    4. Yes my friend life is NOT about being right, life is about being smart.
      So if someone runs a red light you could cross the street and say it is my right of way, or you could be smart and realize that despite the fact that he is wrong you don't want to die.

      Delete
    5. As heroic as that sounds... you are wrong.

      There 2 types of people in this world... the slaves that think they are acting smart while in reality they are bowing down to tyrants and then there are freedom fighters who take dignity over life any day. You my friend are holed up in the latter, a nasty shithole to be in- but much of the world is in it too unfortunately.

      Delete
    6. Freedom fighters! You have to be fucking kidding me. You children hailing this idiot as some kind of role model have absolutely no idea what sacrifice and struggle is. Josh Wu is not some heroic crusader for human rights; based on this post he's an unreliable asshole with clumsy hands who jumps ship at the first sign of trouble, is too stupid to realise his boss owes him TEN FUCKING THOUSAND DOLLARS and then compounds the stupidity by sharing with the entire world the story of how he ran out on his company after causing a gigantic shitstorm on the production system. He's publicly extorted serious cash from an employer he left in the lurch. Make that 10k last, Josh: work will be hard to find.

      To the hiring manager above: have him. I certainly don't want him; I'll stick to hiring people with integrity to go with their technical chops. To the guy who called me a "fucking moron," thanks for your enlightening contribution.

      Look, the world doesn't owe you anything. You go out and make your way through the great MMORPG of life and level up in whatever way makes sense to you. You've won your ten thousand dollars: congratulations. Miso are playing the game, too, and while you think you've struck some great blow for fairness, all that's really happened is that Miso's management have decided that giving the screaming kid a lollipop is better than waiting out the tantrum.

      Josh: this is going to cost you more in the long run than the miserable $6k you're going to get after taxes. I'd have some sympathy with the trade you made if you were some WalMart guy on minimum wage, but you're a silicon valley techie who should have some comprehension of the bigger picture. Right now, you've made yourself look like a liability to people who own companies.

      Delete
    7. > Look, the world doesn't owe you anything.

      Miso. Miso owed him this money.

      Delete
  20. So many anonymous guys who don't care about the value of your own word...if they said they would pay they should.

    And I would hire the guy, the problem is not doing mistakes, is not learning from them. Hiding your mistakes speaks poorly of you, bad attitude, no lesson learned.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Typical silicon valley bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Dude. *You* are lower than a snakes belly. Work this out with Miso or in court. I'm amazed at what people will post these days.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Having worked with Somrat before this is not surprising.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Bring it to Judge Judy.

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a self indulgent, self deluded, self entitled twat. You blew shit up, you got fired and then you throw a screaming hissy fit in public about it? Why not just stamp your CV with DO NOT HIRE and be done with it? What an arse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't have a clue what you're talking about, numpty

      Delete
    2. You have to pay people their wages even if they screw up horribly while working. That's the law.

      (But in this case, he didn't screw up; the business screwed up for not prioritizing backups. If lightning hits you in the head it's not God's fault, it's your fault for being outside waving a golf club during a thunderstorm.)

      Delete
  26. They might be semi douches hard for me to decide, but burnning bridges is something one should never do when leaving a job.

    10k is very little comparison to ruining your future career.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. in other words: Submit to your overlords in all things, and do not defend your rights, lest that future masters may find you insolent and unwilling to exploit you themselves.

      Delete
    2. From experience, you can burn as many bridges as you like provided that you stay on top of your game. Just like companies act sociopathically, as in this case, so they possess a complete lack of integrity when it comes to who they hire. If your skillset will make a company money, they will be willing to bend.

      Delete
  27. The overt hostility to what is a simple breach of contract issue is both fascinating and appalling... this isn't about a "sense of entitlement".. it's about actual, contractually requried entitlement. He deserves his 10k. The company had a responsibility to fulfill it's part of the contract at the 6mo point without prompting, and has a responsibility to fulfill it now.

    This is a matter over $7500 (the limit in CA for small claims), so get a lawyer. He will start with a demand letter to Miso's corporate counsel, and move up from there... You will only probably get half to two-thirds (less if it goes to trial, tho a court might grant legal fees if Miso's behavior really pissed the judge off), but you won't get anything if you don't stand up for yourself in a forum with the authority to enforce (i.e. NOT a blog!).

    BTW, you want to avoid court as much as possible. There is no guarantee how a judge will react when it hits a hearing, so you always want to settle out of court if you can.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Anyone who has not worked with Somrat has no real understanding of this. I worked with the company in the beginning and jesus Somrat and Tim had no idea how to treat their employees and had even less of an idea how to pay people. The fact is Miso is a horrible idea at best and the only reason that they have gotten the funding they have is because Somrat came from a sales background and can sell anything to anyone regardless if they need it. I applaud you for speaking up man. Miso sucks and the founders are suspect all around. I hated working there every single day. Their actions don't shock me at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Worked at a similar company in Sydney - hated every day of it. They treated their employees poorly, didn't compensate them enough and were always selling BS - great salesman in there - constantly overpromising and putting pressure on the devs.

      Thankfully I'm no longer there, it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth as it was the first (and last) start-up I worked for.

      Delete
  29. I totally agree that you should have been paid. I can't believe people would see otherwise. THis is the total attitude my last company would have had, and I don't think they are going to make it very far. I honestly think it is on the company to remember to pay you if that was the advertised referral bonus. They messed up.

    I am a recruiter, and would fight for you to get that bonus, and would for sure still hire you.

    ReplyDelete
  30. 10k$ i A LOT. OMG....there are really some huge payments for a referral?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still a lot less than a headhunter.

      Delete
  31. Go after them. And help your friend get another job.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Miso MUST give this guy his 10K. Miso is not being wise by not giving this guy what is due him - that's right, what is due him. The 10K is a retroactive money; meaning, the 10K should have been awarded when it was due him.

    I understand where Miso is coming from, though.

    Posting this on public might be well within this guy's right, but I won't condone it.

    (If this goes to court, the 10K claim might fall under Small Claims Court in California.)

    I won't be surprised if Miso decides to take legal actions against this guy now that this goes public.

    The parties involved are all grown-up's, I assume.

    Their best action, if neither gives in, is to undergo a mediation process. Avoid the court at all cost.

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is one of the top reasons why me and my brother have built Compector. The next person will apply for a job there without knowing anything about them. They will tell him/her the same exact lies, they will act like the same way and they will get away with it. You are one of the brave guys who came out like this. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  34. So you made a human mistake and deleted their prod database, and they didn't have a backup - that's their fuck up, not yours. It's a CTO's job to plan for worst case scenarios, they failed at that.

    And then they were jerks about it too, wow. Go get 'em

    ReplyDelete
  35. Something very similar is happening to me, an ex-engineer #1. This sort of think is really infuriating

    ReplyDelete
  36. Will it be worth your time and effort to claim 10k in court? Chances are, overall, all this will probably cost more than 10k overall. Get past it, and just move on; chalk it up to lesson learned and next time you'll remember to ask. This is typical in any other company, where if you leave and ask later for the bonus, 75% of the time, you'll never get it, due to you no longer being employed there.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Without the IP addresses of all the anons in this post, I would venture that 99% of these are posted by the same, self-entitled twit who fucked up and didn't ask for his bonus before he quit.

    Grow up and move on kid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymity allows users to express their true opinion.

      Yes, I know it is easy to demonize people who don't think like you, but statistically I highly doubt 99% of the people posting here have ever been in the same position. I know I surely haven't.

      This is not a matter of experience, or self entitlement. The money owed to OP is retroactive and therefore is ethically corrupt for Miso to deny him his referral bonus. In fact, they should pay him interest for the time they "forgot" to pay him.

      Delete
  38. It's like if someone leaves a company and doesn't get paid for his last week's worth of work because "we only give paychecks to employees." Somrat and Tim know they owe you. Get what's yours.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Dont you think 48 hours of scrambling on multiple employees would cost more than 48 hours? Then on top of it you leave? Seems shameful that you would still ask for that money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *More than $10k

      Delete
    2. You have absolutely no point. How is it his responsibility to cover the salaries of other employees? You're a fucking moron.

      Delete
  40. ffs, you wiped their production db? and you are getting pissed of you are not getting get the bonus for referring someone else, on top after you left the company?

    let me write your name down somewhere so i know not to hire you in the future.

    you sir, are representing all i hate of the youth today; think that they can have the cake and eat it all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You sir have the worst spelling/grammar and sentence construction I have ever seen.

      Delete
    2. Da fuck? Fix yo grammer...

      Delete
  41. You forgot about a 10k bonus, fucked up the production database, and told the world about it. You are incredibly incompetent and stupid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're one of those "developers" that put an 8/10 on your java skills and can't even write a for loop aren't you .... database corruption happens a lot nub

      Delete
    2. +1. Google has now cached your stupidity. Good luck with that!

      Delete
  42. Lawyer here. Contracts need not be signed, nor even written (with exceptions). Get your money.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Typical Silicon Valley wankery in this thread... live to work, be an indentured slave, be happy for your meagre pittance, all bless the glorious enterprise. What bullshit.

    Running a company is the management's responsibility, not that of its employees. They promised a bonus, didn't pay it out when the time had come. And then when he reminds him of their deal, they pull a bullshit excuse.

    Good for you for standing up for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  44. How can you *forget* to claim your bonus????? It is like winning the lottery and not turning your ticket in...WTF????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it goes to show that he doesn't really care about the money.. i mean of course he cares a little, but that's not what you should take from this posting .. it's 10k man, in the bay area, that's like less than a month salary if you're any decent ... watevs

      Delete
    2. The real downside about naming shaming isn't that you've transgressed a wall of silence that employers need in sc place so that they can continue screwing others--although that is part of it. The biggest downside is that a hiring manager who hears a story about how you were taken advantage of will say to himself, "If these other savvy businessmen and women were able to screw this guy, then I'm an asshole if I cannot screw him also." But kudos for exposing the kinds of people--including hiring managers--that no one should do business with.

      Delete
  45. I was not planning on working for them, but as a user, I don't like how the company treated his employee. I will close my account and never use this service again.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Great. This is hacker-newsed. The company got what it deserves.

    ReplyDelete
  47. So you're telling me you fucked up at work and erased their entire database, was a mediocre employee at best, and then expected to be paid out a referral fee when you're no longer even employed with the company? LOL I'm sorry but referral fees are not meant to be severance packages, they are rewards for employees for bringing in new talent to keep the company growing. No, seriously, you really got a good case here for being a total douchebag. Grow up...they should warn your new employers about your incompetent ass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A referral fee that should have been automatically paid after the required time elapsed, when this guy was still an employee-- like every referral fee I have ever been awarded.

      It has nothing to do with severance. It has to do with the fact that he brought in new talent that survived the probationary period and can benefit the company. He deserves the money.

      Delete
    2. It never occurred to you that a CTO who admits in email to having no backup SCREWED UP. That's a major admission of liability. Your self-righteous LOL back atcha.

      Delete
    3. You're a huge dick, congratulations. He's owed the money and these guys over at Miso sound like unethical scumbags.

      Delete
    4. The company was free to set the amount of time necessary to ensure that the new hire was a net positive. They set it at 6 months. If that was a mistake, it was their mistake and they should make good.

      Delete
  48. Dude, you should be embarrassed. You're a screw up and Miso is exactly right - their policy helps build and strengthen teams. You on the other hand were a detriment.

    :|

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no idea how and why people can't see that the database issue and the referral bonus are unrelated, even the CTO admitted to that.. it's like:

      Some rat: hey man I gave him some really lame reason not to pay him
      Timbo: damn dude that doesn't make much sense, I can't sink that low... wait I found some other way to not pay him and sound a little better... let me bring in some corporate terms here to confuse him ... tee hee I'm evil ya?
      Some rat: oh man you da best
      timbo: nahhh, you da best
      Some rat: here let me scratch your back
      Timbo: now let me help you

      Delete
    2. Haha, they sound like a good pair of partners.

      Delete
  49. You were denied compensation for a service you provided--sounds like theft.

    I can classify the responses:

    1-You ruined your career.

    When you are looking for a job, you only need 1 company to hire you, not every company, so no, this is a straw man.

    2-You made an error with the database so you don't deserve to be paid.

    These people are showing that they are unable to think clearly and separate unrelated facts.

    3-You should not shame employers because it could hurt you in some way.

    The problem with this is that, if everyone acts this way, it provides the ideal environments for scumbags to flourish and expand their scumbaggery. After all, there will never even potentially be a consequence for them.

    What you are doing provides a valuable service to all of us, even if it costs you some limited amount of future opportunity, because now people know better than to trust miso--you have helped society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1 on #1... We're in the middle of the biggest dev hiring frenzy since the 90s.... he could have taken a shit on someone's desk and he'll still get an offer somewhere else..

      Delete
    2. you forgot 0 .... people just plain like being naysayers in anonymous public forums....

      Delete
    3. +1 ummmmm. You were to first person I saw to point out the straw man fallacy.

      Delete
  50. On the subject of the data loss. Were you employed in a senior capacity, responsible for strategy? If not, what idiot sent your new service live without a data retention strategy? If anything the idiot who did is the one who should be getting it in the neck.

    I've seen this sort of rubbish before. Chase your money. Don't let another bunch of Cs get away with this sort of crap.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Why isn't everyone stating the obvious: They both screwed up.

    One for forgetting to claim the bonus and going blogtastic instead of hiring a lawyer.
    And the other for being tightwads, too short-sighted to see that bad publicity isn't worth $10k.

    There are no winners in this story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes there is.... the rest of us... The valley rumor mill grinds both ways, among hiring managers and among developers. Miso will have to answer questions from prospective hires just as much as this guy will...

      Going public is the right thing to do, for the benefit of the rest of us and every potential whistle blower out there!

      Delete
    2. HIre a lawyer? Are you fucking retarded? Hire a lawyer, so he could pay him money for proving a case that the company has NO CHANCE IN HELL OF WINNING? Good strategy, Patton.

      Delete
    3. Anon @ 8:08 PM, the fired guy has admitted he screwed up. We don't need to state it.

      Delete
    4. I was fired? Wow I didn't know that.

      Delete
  52. Really? Obviously no one here knows the whole story, but neither side is going to benefit from public rants.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I agree with the company... you left w/o claiming bonus - opportunity lost.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Prospective employees are the ones who benefit from this story! Now we know which company NOT to work for...

    ReplyDelete
  55. it doesn't have to be a startup to screw you over... i got screwed over really hard by an 8+ year company.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Tough shit. Call me a troll or what ever other name you could think up to hide your ability to engage in a forum like discussion.

    You forgot about $10k? What a joke. If i employed someone who fked my production DB's up like you did i'd terminate your employment immediately along with your benefits.

    Ever owned a company? I didn't think so....

    ReplyDelete
  57. I'm CEO of Miso. Let me start by saying, this was our mistake and we apologize. We reached out to Joshua Wu and we are paying his referral bonus.

    Let me dig into this further. We have a policy in place where if a Miso employee refers a full-time hire to Miso, after the referred employee has worked at Miso for 6 full months, the referring Miso employee will receive a bonus. Pretty standard stuff. What we didn’t make clear is what the timing is and other requirements for receiving the referral bonus. We did not have a clear and complete policy and it was our responsibility to communicate fully with our employees. This is clearly our fault.

    Our referral program is still in place and we will continue to encourage our team to refer the best candidates to Miso. Moving forward, we have established the following clear criteria to explain how employees will be eligible for the $10K referral bonus:
    - The employee must provide a referral for a full-time hire.
    - The referred employee must work at Miso for 6 full months after hire date (excluding any leaves of absence)
    - The referring employee must be employed at Miso and not have given notice to depart the company prior to the date of the bonus payment.

    If the above has been met, the referring employee will be eligible to receive the referral bonus in the first full pay period following the 6-month anniversary of the referred employee.

    We are human and we make mistakes. We’ve learned something from this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you.. and +1 for public shaming: humanity's most ancient form of justice...

      Delete
    2. Looks like someone learned about contractually binding emails!

      Delete
    3. Somrat. 10k is nothing. Don't be an a994ole because of 10k. Screwing ppl makes it difficult to hire....

      Delete
    4. somrat it is really unnecessary for you to post your company policy here, nobody really cares ... at least according to the emails above, you had no intentions of paying this guy for reasons different than what you mentioned above ... the first and last sentence of your post would suffice as a sincere apology, we're all engineers here, no bs required .. +1 for your apology

      Delete
    5. You're a jerk and you got caught out trying to screw someone over.

      Delete
    6. I'm agreeing with the person above... This had nothing to do with your "company policy". It was clear in the 2nd email that you were trying to get away from paying $10k because your former employee dropped the database when there were no backups.

      If the unclear policy was the real reason, your email would have implied that.

      Delete
    7. Who gives a rats ass about your company policy ...
      in the end miso looks stupid.

      they thought they will keep the 10k. now they lose 10k ,and a whole load of goodwill along with it ...

      Delete
    8. You learned something, but sadly not enough.

      Delete
    9. This reply tells everyone that CYA is your sole problem solving skill.

      Delete
    10. Somrat, Tim: your mistake was not that you were unclear about your policy. Your mistake was failing to follow your policies and agreements in the first place and then trying to apply new policies after the fact. This isn't unclear, it's unethical.

      Delete
    11. What did you learn? To close loopholes more carefully? Sounds like your new policy would have excluded payment to this employee and it sounds like even the old policy, in spirit, was not meant to pay this guy. I'm saying you were or weren't acting badly by not paying him. I'm just saying it isn't clear you learned anything (or that you should, except to be careful).

      Delete
    12. Somrat Niyogi is a little bitch.

      Delete
    13. Somrat, If I were you, I might be feeling a little piled-on here. You apologized, but some commentators here still seem to think you are weasely.

      I think I understand why.

      The original response email from you to Josh was not about some sort of policy confusion. It was an ethical lapse in which you tried to not pay Josh some money you owed him. That feeling that you do not owe Josh anything was later explained as a policy misunderstanding, but that explanation isn't very believable given the content of your first response to Josh, which was not about policy, but about your feelings.

      I think you would get the usual sympathy that startups get when they fuck up if you admitted that you didn't just have a policy misunderstanding - you also tried to deny you obvious moral responsibility because you don't like Josh anymore. If you apologized not just for unclarity, but also for your unethical behavior, then you would get some traction here.

      But without addressing that elephant in the room, you seem slimy.

      Would YOU be interested in working at a company that treats its employees like that?

      Do you think this story would have gotten ANY play on Hacker News if you had instead said to Josh "This benefit only applied to current employees"?

      Do you plan do deny this benefit to employees who earn it, but ask for it only after you're two months overdue?

      Delete
    14. You're only paying him because of the consequences of your public image after he took this public. You had no intention of paying had he just kept bothering you for the money via email. For shame.

      Delete
    15. Congratulations, you won the lottery!

      Oh what's that? You want your payment now? Sorry, it's too late. Didn't we say that your window to claim your prize is (n-1) days and you're clearly on the nth day?

      Delete
    16. Somrat. I understand you are here to do damage control (but I wouldn't do it here). There's a mob after you and a good reason for it.

      You were trying to sneak your way out of paying someone with a rightful claim to his money.

      While it may be tempting to snub an ex-employee, because after all, they are an ex-employee, this just isn't the right thing to do.

      I hope you realize the error in your ways, learn to be better from it, and don't blame "company policy".

      It takes a brave person to apologize. It takes even more bravery to accept responsibility.

      Delete
    17. " The referring employee must be employed at Miso and not have given notice to depart the company prior to the date of the bonus payment."

      What bullshit. The date of the bonus payment is up to the company, and in this case the company dragged ass and didn't pay the bonus on time (when the employee still worked there).

      If you were sincere, you and your policy would say, " The referring employee must be employed at Miso and not have given notice to depart the company prior to the end of the referred employee's first six months." In other words, the bonus payment's DUE DATE.

      Weasel indeed.

      Delete
    18. Congratulations on passing the first day of Business Law 101!

      Next step in your evolution as a professional: learn how to take responsibility for your mistakes.

      Delete
    19. @Niyogi, what you fail to realize are two things: the first time I ever heard of you, your company or your products is when you were singled out for trying to weasel your way out of a legally binding obligation.

      That I have this piece of info about you handed to me doesn't mean much. If I ever became your user, I'd have not brought you $10k over user lifetime.

      But what you lost is something more important: face and recognition. Because you can be sure that when my tech colleagues and I sit down for a beer and some gossip after hours, we'll be talking about the sleazy characters running Miso which refused stand behind their word.

      When you go raising your next round, I hope that somebody prints out this entire thread of discusion and makes you wipe your bloody tears with it, ya cheap prick.

      Delete
    20. You forgot to add this to your new policy:

      - bonus is void if employee makes a mistake at any point in their employment
      - employee is responsible for claiming the bonus after 6 months. employer will not pay otherwise (and actually hopes employee forgets about it)
      - after 6 months employee is only *ELIGIBLE* to receive the bonus, not guaranteed (oops, you actually said that!)
      - this policy can change at any point up to and including when bonus is due.

      Delete
    21. So in this case, you would prefer your employee wait until he or she collected the bonus before quitting without notice, versus giving notice. At least, this is the incentive structure you've created.

      Delete
    22. This reply makes sense coming from Som-rat

      Delete
  58. I have to agree with the above comment! Ironic thing is I looked at apply to Miso last week but fuck those plans after this bullshit.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I was also looking at applying to Miso but def changed my mind after this post. It's not the 10K that matters it seems like the founders are still very immature

    ReplyDelete
  60. This is one of those rare cases where both the engineer and company end up looking bad IMO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. screw who looks good/bad. It's a matter of principle. It's not cool to be spineless and retreat because it was the "good" thing to do.

      Delete
  61. I was thinking of hiring jwu but eff that. That guy's a liability fo sho.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Weak sauce. Sounds like jwu might be the only person willing to call out on some obvious bullshit. Most of the time, that's an asset instead of a liability... but whatever, maybe you and the Miso management have a similar style when it comes to HR?

      Delete
    2. Hiring him for what? To help clear your room so your mom will let you go play Xbox at Jimmy's house until dinner?

      Delete
    3. So you won't hire someone who whistleblew illegal behavior? that's good to know. Please reply with your and your company name so we can know who never to apply to nor to ever work for.

      Delete
  62. If you are an engineer or interaction/visual designer working at Miso and want a career reboot I will pay you a $20,000 signing bonus 6 months after you start if we hire you. You can email me at henryjunior @ googles famous email service .com. NOT A JOKE AND I WILL NOT SLIME OUT LIKE SOMRAT! We're a mobile company based in San Francisco and we are doing work that will make you proud. Nobody should work for someone unethical, life is too short.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...and seeing you try poach a competitors team makes me feel like you're ethical because ... ?

      Delete
    2. dude, its fine.

      Delete
    3. "Competitor's team" - excuse me? People are owned now?

      Delete
  63. Hi Joshua, you did the right thing. My former employer, another San Francisco startup, also tried to screw me over some measly sum of money when I chose to leave. I didn't speak publicly about it, but I did warn my friends over joining the startup. For friends who are still in the company I told them what happened to me so that they got better treatment. In summary, the action they took to deny me what should be my money didn't go unnoticed.

    Please leave the blog post up so that the rest of the startup community takes note.

    ReplyDelete
  64. i think you caused 10k loss when screwed up the database. So status quo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They dont have much users anyway, I would say ....just $50 loss

      Delete
    2. No backup db? None whatsoever? Yet they managed to get 95% of the database back? Kudos for that, that's some funky undeleting.

      Yet the concept of a production database with no backup is mindblowing, and shows shocking lack of management foresight. I know companies that backup their staging and dev databases, much more their production one. If you wiped the production DB early on, you probably did the company a favour.

      PS: This "Anonymous" fellow has major split personality disorder. Oh wait, it's me...

      Delete
    3. Really? Sure, he made a mistake, but would it make sense to fine him $10,000 for that mistake in the absence of a referral bonus? Why should the mistake and the referral bonus be tied together?

      Delete
  65. Tim is a china thief, I know him personally. Every one of you should stay away from Miso.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Joshua, you did the right thing - irrespective of what anyone says. the DB fkup aint a big deal - as you mentioned, it does happen to everyone - at some point in their lives. Sometime ago (5+ years) I used to work as a track engineer (NASCAR and F1), and Ive seen things go wrong - like screwed up 100k$ in a couple of hours due to human error - but that's why you work in a team - share responsibility. Somrat is just as ahole. Real cheap tactics for 10k. Lesson: Stay away from Miso, Somrat and Tim.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I'm sorry, but I have to give it to your employers.

    You lost your right to claim that bonus the minute you step out of the company.
    OK, they didn't pay you after the 6 months gone by, and that's their fault. But you didn't remember to claim it either, and that's your fault.
    And also, you have some nerve claiming a bonus after you're not in the company anymore and also 2 weeks before you leave you fucked up a production DB that definitely cost the company a lot of money to bring it back up.

    You shouldn't be complaining about this in public.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. should you have to remember to claim your paycheck every 2 weeks? and if you don't, do you forfeit it as well?

      Delete
    2. And if you make a mistake at work, maybe the next paycheck will be smaller? Is that really how you want to be treated?

      Delete
    3. I'm sorry, but you're a fucking moron Dieguin.

      You shouldn't be allowed on the internet

      Delete
  68. I worked on a company which provided free lunch for employees. I used this maybe 50% of times, for several years. Can I now go and eat there to get my unclaimed benefits?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Somrat, nice try

      Delete
  69. 1st world problems. There are people on this planet that don't have food or shelter.

    Rage more.

    ReplyDelete
  70. To everyone in this thread raving about how unethical Miso is... think about this scenario using this analogy:

    What would happen if you owed a carwash $50 for cleaning the interior of your car and when your car came out of it, they had dented and scratched up your car on the exterior - causing far more damage than the $50 you owed them? And to make the analogy more complete, they did a great job cleaning the interior.

    They don't offer to compensate you for the damage and instead ask for the $50 which is unrelated to it. Would you be hesitant about paying them the $50 you clearly owe? Or would you be so angry at the gall of them to ask for money after causing you so much damage?

    Be honest.

    That the guy is so flippant in his post about blowing away their production db without making backups, during his 2 weeks notice period... it just makes it all the more obvious to me that there is more to this story than a CEO risking bad PR for a measly $10k.

    I don't condone this behavior by another CEO and I would never have withheld the bonus, but I can certainly *understand* it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "understand" it?? it sounds like you're just the kind of person that tries to reason with yourself to fuck someone over ... and please stop with the analogies, yours is retarded .. how can you even put those two together ..

      Delete
    2. Look. If you think there's more to the story then ask away. I've already put myself in the public spotlight, you think I'd care for hiding petty details at this point? I wasn't afraid to answer questions yesterday, and I certain am not today.

      Delete
  71. While I thought your original post was ill advised, I am really impressed with the way you've handled the attention and criticism. Kudos for donating the bonus to charity.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Read your second update. Josh, don't worry. You'll be fine. I wrote a supportive comment on HN which has received a lot of support (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3957897 - 135 upvotes and counting, and that in a community that matters) - which by extension, means you will receive a lot of support. You did the right thing. The best of us know that you did the right thing.

    As I said in that comment, you showed some spine in a world that's gone largely spineless. Of course there are worms who will try to convince you you did wrong. Don't listen to them, and don't worry about recruiters. I for one would hire you in a heartbeat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man. Appreciate the support and the comment. I'm glad there are people the likes of you out there.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete