If you look up the word equity in the dictionary you will see two distinct definitions.  One meaning of equity means ownership in a company. The other meaning of equity means the quality of being fair and impartial.

It’s ironic that the actual meaning of equity outside of business means simple fairness. That’s how I generally have lived my life and how I treat people. I would expect others to act the same way. But they don’t always. In fact people often have hidden agendas and are not straight forward like me.

What I have found over the past year is generally speaking most people are not fair and equitable.  They take more than their share in life if they can, if you let them.  So the answer is to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.  This means having a contract in place or a specific arrangement that makes sense to both parties.  But even then people will not live up to these contracts and violate them because they just feel like it.

I can’t speak for others, but one of the lessons of being involved in any start-up business venture for me is start from the position of fairness and don’t change that. Don’t listen to outside advisers that don’t have your best interest at heart. Basically if you listen to your lawyer on everything, you won’t have a business eventually. Lawyers don’t give a crap about fairness, they are out to overly and aggressively protect interests, even if it means going out of business.

So this is how I approach everything. And when there is a dispute and people need to come to a resolution, the answer is to find a way to get along and resolve things, not to make accusations that are not true or can’t be substantiated. You need to know when something is fair and when it is not fair.  You also need to stay clear of all parties involved with their own agendas and find a way to not let your emotions or illogical thinking take over.

Also, it is very important to step back and know who is looking out for you. If you don’t have this in place, you are in bigger trouble than you will ever understand until it is too late.  So the lesson here is get all contracts in writing and make sure the people around you are not bozos with hidden agendas, who are ready to toss you to the lions just to get an additional 1% of equity for themselves.