Tits & Ass
One evening in early March 2013, I was sitting in the office watching a live feed of a maths grind on my laptop which was being streamed from our studio next door. I liked to do this. If I saw that the feed was coming smoothly to my computer, I could assume that it was also running smoothly on the laptops of all 6 or 7 viewers across the country (out of a potential 55,000 approx.), who were tuned in that evening.
I always loved being in the OnlineGrinds office in the evening, as there were life drawing sessions taking place in the Trinity Arts Workshop (TAW) just across the road. The window of the TAW was boarded up so that innocent passers-by wouldn’t be greeted with images of tits and ass (sometimes saggy, other times hairy) as they were walking through Pearse Street. But there was an area at the top of the window that had no boarding. They obviously couldn’t reach that high from the inside. But why would they need to? There were no black NBA players in Dublin and all the offices across the road would be empty in the evening time when the models would bare all. So they thought :).
It was through this gap we could get a bird’s eye view of the models. The trajectory from my chair to the podium was no less than perfect. Pity what we saw wasn’t always as perfect, however. The naked beasts were also in an eyeshot of the teachers as they were presenting to camera. We ended up having to put curtains on the studio window so our male teachers wouldn’t become distracted (and erect) during the grind. We left the office window clear though.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I remind you that if you have an issue with any of the content I am posting, you are more than welcome to follow the complaints procedure which can be found in the Preface section of this blog.
“I QUIT” says BS
So, there I was sitting watching the live feed of Pythagoras theorem on the laptop and the live feed of boobies and balls across the road (in equal measure might I add), when I got a ping on the laptop. It was an email from BS.
It was not unusual to receive an email from BS around this time. It would be incredibly unusual (to the point that I’d fall off the chair I was already sitting on the edge of, lest a tech issue arose) to receive a phone call from him, but not an email. In fact, BS was quite gifted in the art of email writing. I am pretty sure he must have had some form of qualification in the discipline, particularly when it came to punctuation and CAPITALISATION of words. In any case, the email went as follows (click on text to increase size):
So, BS ‘wanted out’ in terms of his capacity as a director, but still wanted to remain a third owner of the business. For all intents and purposes, this did not make a blind bit of difference in practical terms, as he was perpetually absent from the office in any case. But in terms of my motivation levels??? …… Nah, no difference there either. In fact, the feeling of non-description I experienced when I received this email would make me wonder why I am writing about it at all. However, the truth is that there is a very good reason why I am mentioning it here, and this will all become apparent in a later chapter.
Even More Money, Even More Money, Even More Money
We went through the €10k at the same speed it would take a school of piranhas to go through the carcass of a horse. In fact, not a horse, more like a Shetland pony, or a pygmy goat; an animal of that kind of magnitude. Having launched the site officially in mid Jan, it was now March and we had savaged our way through a whopping €50k. So, what was I going to do? There was only one option; I had to go back to Mommy and Daddy (Sean), looking for more bread.
This time I was a little more sheepish, but hey presto, after a lot of persuasive coaxing and genuflection, I got another €30,000. It took a considerable length of time to physically get this cash, however. There were detailed heads of terms sheets (that I didn’t understand at all – it was as if they were written in some obscure dialect of Swahili) which required careful and cautious study. It also meant a dilution in our shareholding at the time, and an increase in Sean’s.
At this point BS had resigned as a dick, I mean, director, and had no desire to continue doing any work for the company free gratis. He wanted to remain a third owner with no more input from his end. Why should he? The slopes of Chamonix and Val d’Isere were of far greater importance to him than a company set to democratise the grinds industry. He had no interest in improving the site, creating any new pages, adding any new logic which would allow us to capture more information on our customers for re-marketing, the list goes on. For example, we asked him to put a live chat widget on the site and he made up some story about how long this would take and how difficult a task it would be. It was obviously never done (SL). The guy who developed my new www.FrenchGrinds.com site was able to put a live chat widget on the homepage within the space of 10-15 minutes. No exaggeration.
The long and the short of it is that BS treated the company as if he were a contractor, rather than an owner, and this pissed me off to the point of wanting to torture him slowly. I didn’t want to throw him to a pack of lions or tigers with razor sharp canines who would rip him to pieces violently and quickly, I wanted to throw him to a flock of man eating sheep or goats with blunt teeth who would gnaw away at him slowly and painfully.
So, realising that BS was not acting like an owner, but more like a contractor (in other words being a complete asshole), Sean recommended that his shareholding be diluted more than mine. I was company founder and I was acting as such. Despite the fact that BS and Sean each had 1/3 of the company, I still owned 1/3. At no point did I ever put a line under my commitment, or even enter a date into the shareholder’s agreement stating when my time was up. This kind of behaviour didn’t enter my thoughts. Why? I’ll tell you why:
OnlineGrinds.ie was mine; I was going to work on it tirelessly until it became a success.
So, when Sean devised a proposed new shareholding structure, meaning BS would have less equity than me, BS hit the roof. World War III had graced the OnlineGrinds.ie offices. Only momentarily however, as BS’s visits lasted a duration of approximately 15-20, every couple of months. The rest of the war was conducted via the medium of email. As I said before, perhaps if BS spent as much time working on the project as he did writing emails, we would have gone somewhere. Then again, no, you can only go places if you are actually a good developer (SL).
Below is an extract from an email where our investor Sean proposed that BS’ shareholding be diluted more than mine on receipt of the further €30k. Sean’s wording is in blue, BS’ is in black:
A close friend of mine said to me yesterday that he wretches every time he reads BS’ emails. Do you wretch too?
Sean eventually backed down (which I was little put out by, if I am being honest) and our shareholding was diluted evenly. I’ll never forget the number of conditions that were set by BS at that point. He was going to do x number of hours on this and y number of hours on that but by no means go over z number of hours on the other. Again, he was supposed to be an owner of this business. What an absolute loser (SL).
Published tomorrow – Chapter 10: New Ideas and a Possible Deal with UPC