Double your salary with this one simple trick

Salary Negotiations

  • πŸ“Š How Stock Works
  • πŸ’Έ Startup Fundraising

Matthew Gerstman

We Need to Talk About Salary

Why is this so important?


Negotiations are asymetrical

How you're looking at this negotation

  • πŸ€‘ That's a lot of money.
  • πŸ€” Am I really worth that much?
  • πŸ˜• What if they cancel the offer?
  • 🀐 That money has to come from somewhere.

How they're looking at this negotation

  • ✍️ I need to close this candidate.
  • πŸ₯ͺ I wonder what's for lunch today.
  • ✍️ I need to close this candidate.
  • πŸ’° I'm not spending my own money; I'm spending TechCompany's money.
  • ✍️ I need to close this candidate.

I'm going to tell you the first secret of negotiating

It's a lot more money to you than it is to them.

It's a lot more money to you than it is to them.

Let's talk about five grand

What you're thinking

  • 🏝 Damn, even after taxes that’s a whole vacation.
  • πŸ’° Five thousand dollars.
  • πŸ’Έ Seriously, Five thousand dollars.
  • 😰 It would be so greedy of me to ask for five whole thousand dollars.

What they're thinking

  • πŸ˜‚ That's it?
  • 🀣 I'm going to tell them I have to ask my boss.
  • πŸ™ƒ Because then it looks like I'm doing them a favor.

Appeal to Authority

Next Secret

Don’t talk money until they’re ready to give you an offer

Hard mode

Get them to say a number first.

Any number you say will be an immediate upper bound

any number they say will be a lower bound.

Let's wait to see if this is a good fit before we discuss comp.

Next Secret

Practice saying the biggest number you can with a straight face.


Their goal is to close you

anything that can prevent that is leverage.

Things you can do to get leverage

  • πŸ’° Have a counter offer
  • πŸ€” Express concern about anything intangible: Start date, team, etc.
  • πŸ’° Have a counter offer
  • 😎 Still be actively interviewing elsewere
  • πŸ’° Have a counter offer

Let's talk compensation

Total compensation

Base Salary

Stock Options

Stock options are the option to buy stock in the future for today's price


10,000 Options

Strike Price

The price you pay per share

Example Price: $0.10 per share

IPO day

Company is now worth $100 per share

Exercise your options

  • πŸ›’ This is the process of buying your shares
  • πŸ’΅ $0.10 οΈβœ– 10,000 = $1,000

🚨 Taxes

  • 😭 You're going to pay taxes on the $999,000.
  • 🧐 Make sure you can actually sell your options when you exercise them!


  • πŸ’° The process of getting your shares.
  • πŸ“… Standard deal is 1/4 of shares after 1 year.
  • ⏳ You join 01/01/2019, on 01/01/2020 you'll get 2,500 shares.
  • ⌚️ After that it vests on some regular schedule (usually quarterly).

Shares (RSUs)

  • πŸ’° These are worth something as soon as you get them!
  • 🏒 Hopefully the company is public and you can sell them.
  • ⏳ They usually vest the same way as options.


  • ✍️ Signing - One time bonus for joining.
  • πŸ“… Annual - Usually a percentage of your base salary.

Startup Funding

  • πŸ™…β€β™€οΈ Seed
  • πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Series A
  • πŸ’β€β™€οΈ Series B+

πŸ™…β€β™€οΈ Seed

πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Series A

πŸ’β€β™€οΈ Series B+

What are we optimizing for?

  • πŸ˜„ Happiness
  • πŸ€‘ Money !== πŸ˜„ Happiness
  • πŸ€‘ Money == πŸ™ƒ Comfort

What else is important?

  • πŸ‘©β€πŸ« How much are you going to learn?
  • πŸš΄β€β™€οΈWork Life/Balance
  • 🏝 PTO
  • πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦ Parental Leave
  • πŸ€• My kid is sick, can i work from home?
  • πŸšƒ Commute?
  • πŸ™ Do you want to live there?

Are there any moral quandaries with the work you're doing?

Matthew Gerstman