Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Should a Teenage Entrepreneur Sell Out To Facebook?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the why-confine-the-question-by-age? dept.

Businesses 358

colinneagle writes "Andrew Mayhall is 19 years old and is running a server company, called Evtron, whose product has reportedly set the world record for data density (4.6 petabytes per server rack) and has begun attracting attention from investors. One of those interested parties is reportedly Facebook, with whom the young CEO claims to have had casual discussions about a potential acquisition/hire agreement (Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on the talks). He says the opportunity to speak with Facebook was simply one he couldn't pass up, and seems more impassioned by entrepreneurship. He speaks often of building his company into an EMC or NetApp, and could very well compete with them soon. But if an offer from Facebook ever comes, should he accept, or try to build something on his own?"

cancel ×

358 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Retire at 20 (5, Insightful)

smprather (941570) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895453)

Sell for $5mil and be done with earning a living. Relax and enjoy the rest of your life.

Re:Retire at 20 (2, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895609)

Five million bucks won't keep you for life unless your very prudent.

Re:Retire at 20 (5, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895697)

What planet you living on? Most people don't even make half that through their whole lives.

Re:Retire at 20 (3, Insightful)

js33 (1077193) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895829)

What planet you living on? Most people don't even make half that through their whole lives.

You still have to be very prudent with it if it's going to last you your whole life. Most people who win the lottery and take a lump sum are not prudent with it, and they end up broke in a few years. Just like some of the high-paid sports stars when they enter middle age.

Re:Retire at 20 (5, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895917)

Yeah...we call them stupid.

Get $5Million clear....invest it in a non-agressive manner, which could still get you like %5 interest annually.

As long as you don't buy leer jets...you could live easily on about $250K a year pretty readily.....

I know I could.

Re:Retire at 20 (2, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896071)

As long as you don't buy leer jets....

Are those the ones with the bigger windows? Are they more expensive than Citations or Gulfstreams or... Learjets?

Re:Retire at 20 (1)

dtmos (447842) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896101)

Is this [modellversium.de] a leer jet? Is this [luxuryproperty.com] a Learjet?

Re:Retire at 20 (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895955)

It's really not that hard.

Put $5M in the bank earning 2%. Live reasonably well off the $100k/year for the rest of your life.

Or bonds earning 5%. Live very nicely off the $250k/year for the rest of your life.

Re:Retire at 20 (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896045)

You're eating into your principle doing that. Because there's a little thing called in-fla-tion. At 2% inflation, that 100k a year at the end of 50 years is worth only what about 37k a year is worth now. Not quite so much any more. And that's a very conservative estimate of inflation.

Re:Retire at 20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895703)

Most people don't make five million dollars in their entire life.

Re:Retire at 20 (4, Informative)

WilliamGeorge (816305) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895725)

Assuming you lost nearly half of that to taxes, 2.5 million invested at even a low 2% (in CDs, for example) return is $50k per year. I bet you could do much better than that if you invest wisely, and even if you didn't $50k is enough to live comfortably on if you don't have any debts. There would have been plenty in there to buy a home, nice car(s), etc - at that point simply living off the interest is certainly doable.

Re:Retire at 20 (-1, Flamebait)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895959)

"Assuming you lost nearly half of that to taxes,"

The sad thing is, this is expected normal for some reason.

Re:Retire at 20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41896095)

Name a first world country where that wouldn't happen.

Re:Retire at 20 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41896059)

Living on $50k/year... you must be in middle America. Sorry but that won't even feed us for a year. Not to mention buying shit, travel, etc. Get real.

Re:Retire at 20 (2, Informative)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895769)

77 years at $65,000/year. You can buy a house and a car in cash and avoid paying a huge chunk in interest. You may be able to avoid paying taxes on it since it's an asset changing hands, not sure, kind of doubt it (the business liquidating would work this way, but a CEO getting cash monies is going to pay income at around 30% just like everyone else). You could ask them to payroll you at and disburse a portion of the money into 401(k) at the maximum contribution per year until the account balance is enough for after you're retirement age, with the rest being a business transaction dispersal (not salary, so you don't pay things like social security)--that way you can later roll it into a private IRA, and when you're older and spending less you can take it from the IRA and pay in the lower tax bracket (pay less in taxes).

Re:Retire at 20 (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896057)

65k will be nothing in 77 years, at the rate of inflation it'll be below the poverty line in 77 years

Re:Retire at 20 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41896085)

I bet this young enterpreneuer is not black. Guaranteed.

Shit. If my great-great-great grandpappy knew things would turn out like this he would have picked his own cotton.

Re:Retire at 20 (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896029)

4% interest on 5 mil would be $200,000 a year. Ya I could live on that for awhile

Re:Retire at 20 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895637)

Every company is for sale. It is just a matter of how much. It ignores why you start a business which is to make money and maybe enjoy what you do. You are selling things. Why not sell your company?

Think about it this way. I could BUY Apple and take it private. It is just a matter of how much money do I have.

Re:Retire at 20 (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895779)

Especially considering they took VC funding, which certainly came with some sort of strings attached. No way is your investor going to sit on the sideline while Facebook waves a 2x valuation in front of yo; no matter how much you "want" to be the next EMC your VCs will have their say.

Re:Retire at 20 (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895673)

That's what I'd do. Calculate first to make sure that after taxes what I got was enough to live moderately comfortably for the rest of my life, with some margin for error, then sell for that if I could. Too much risk when building a business to assume it'll work, especially given the size of the players in the field. If you can't sell for enough, well then try to build the company up.

The fact that he has a server business at 19 says he is pretty motivated, though, which means he probably won't sell. He'll try to build it to get more money or a constant stream, motivated types usually do. Might work out, might not.

Take the money and run - not retire, though. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895785)

Sell for $5mil and be done with earning a living. Relax and enjoy the rest of your life.

That's too young to retire. For one he doesn't seem like the guy who wold sit back. He'll be in tech somehow until he dies.

the Evtron Cell uses a lot of the same components that Facebook uses for its current storage infrastructure, but, because of "a little design change," the Cell is four times as dense.

If it really is just a "little design change", then he should take the money and run because someone else will have something better in a matter of months (if not already) and will blow him out of the water. Really. with all this attention, I'm sure there are folks who have stumbled on the same solution or one like it and just didn't think it was worth anything - until now. I've seen it happen in the 90s. You wouldn't believe how I kept seeing the same inventions popping up here and there - like IRC - I swear to God, I saw at least 3 different people "invent it" only to have someone completely different make the millions on it because he saw (and had the contacts) the commercial value of it.

It's called serendipity.

Re:Take the money and run - not retire, though. (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895979)

That's too young to retire. For one he doesn't seem like the guy who wold sit back. He'll be in tech somehow until he dies.

I dunno...if he's smart, he'll realize that if he gets fiscally set up for life, where he no longer has to worry about spending any time the rest of his life 'earning a living'.....he can devote all his time to doing what he likes.

If that includes future tech creation and motivation, what better way to do that full time, than to NOT have to waste time earning a living...?

Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (2)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895459)

I asked my teenage daughter (the demographic that drives all technology spending) if she or her friends use Facebook anymore. She said almost never - they use Instagram to share pictures, and some other services I can't remember right this second. Is Facebook in danger of falling off the MySpace cliff?

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (3, Funny)

Doomstalk (629173) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895719)

Facebook owns Instagram, so it seems unlikely.

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (4, Insightful)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895781)

Facebook owns Instagram, so it seems unlikely.

Oh, I didn't know that. That's why I come here, to be told what an idiot I am. Very useful info.

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895905)

That's why I come here, to be told what an idiot I am.

You should talk with your daughter more often.

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895947)

Exactly!

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (2)

somersault (912633) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896043)

Your open ended questioning stuff makes you sound like a shill, too. Though Slashdot is already pretty anti-Facebook, and any remaining users that are also on Facebook will make up a tiny percentage of actual FB users. Plus, Slashdotters aren't exactly as easily led as your average internet user. So yeah, the whole idea of trying to imply Facebook is dying would be rather wasted here.

And to answer the open ended question - no Facebook isn't headed off a cliff quite yet, because there is nothing better yet which does all of what FB does. There are individual services which do some things better - but there always have been. And for whatever it's worth: I never got into MySpace at all, but I do use Facebook regularly.

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895757)

That is not the demographic that drives all technology spending. Your premise is incorrect.

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895795)

It was a joke.

Re:Is Facebook starting to lose ground? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41896077)

A joke is funny. Your post lacked funny. QED it was not a joke.

No (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895461)

Don't sell...license.

Perspective on licensing (5, Interesting)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895877)

>> Don't sell...license.

OK, some perspective from the "buyer" side. When I encounter a company with technology I want, I almost always attempt to LICENSE the technology, not buy the company. Why? Because I can usually get what I want out of the company cheaper and with less hassle than if I bought the company. (Think retaining/motivating employees, etc. too.) Plus, if I become a significant stream of revenue to that company, I can often dictate what the company does with the majority of its development resources if I'm needy enough; in effect, I can get that companies' other customers subsidize my desires.

Re:No (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896065)

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush... SELL!

He should sell out (3, Interesting)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895467)

And have plenty of beer money for when he goes to college.

Re:He should sell out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895971)

I say he should sell out right away! Especially at that young age! We need more stories of young hotshot kids getting royally and entirely screwed over by their own greed and desire for money, reduced to miserable shadows of their former optimism and happiness as large, soulless companies effortlessly use them for all they're worth and discard them on the side of the road like so many spent potato chip bags! I mean, clearly they're not going to listen to US when we warn them about this sort of thing, so the more horror stories from their own kind there are, the less likely the next kid will make the same mistakes!

A lot of assumptions there (4, Insightful)

multicoregeneral (2618207) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895469)

If one hypothetical things happens, should you do some other hypothetical thing? Sure. Why not.

way to make your negotiating power weakened (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895471)

Just by making this public you've hosed your leverage Andrew.

Re:way to make your negotiating power weakened (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896069)

Just by making this public you've hosed your leverage Andrew.

That was my thought too. It reads like a "Shoot Yourself in the Foot 101".
I would not be surprised if Facebook now walks away and disawovs any intents they might or might not have had.

So my recommendation is: Keep on dreaming.

Sellout and build rockets with Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895473)

What's cooler than outer space?

Re:Sellout and build rockets with Musk (1)

commodore73 (967172) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895531)

Absolute zero is cooler than outer space.

Re:Sellout and build rockets with Musk (0)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895659)

Absolute zero is cooler than outer space.

It's colder, too. {rim shot}

Re:Sellout and build rockets with Musk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895699)

Your wife?

         

Yes but moot point now. (3, Informative)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895497)

>> if an offer from Facebook ever comes, should he accept?

Yes, but...

>> One of those interested parties is reportedly Facebook, with whom the young CEO claims to have had casual discussions about a potential acquisition/hire agreement

...I wouldn't count on that now. Yeesh.

Re:Yes but moot point now. (2)

funkify (749441) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896017)

This. Some people have to go open their big fat mouths about everything.

Sell! (2)

DreadfulGrape (398188) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895507)

Sell, absolutely. Then take the money and build something even bigger.

Re:Sell! (4, Insightful)

bhlowe (1803290) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895601)

Yeah, companies go up and down quickly in tech. If you have an opportunity to get your technology into the hands of pros who will pay you big money.. its a no brainer.. With cash in the bank, you'll be able to start a new business, relax about meeting payroll, and take time off to finish college or travel abroad.

Re:Sell! (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895731)

Personally, I would put enough away to live on and use the free time that gives you to make something bigger.
Not turn around and spend all your earnings on a risky venture.

Re:Sell! (1)

wile_e8 (958263) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895773)

Yes. If this election season has taught us anything, it's the it is way easier to get rich if you start with a lot of money.

Re:Sell! (1)

ConfusedVorlon (657247) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896033)

there is an implicit assumption here that he can build something bigger.

Lots of people believe that they can be serial successes, but lots of people fail to do anything special after their first good idea.

Kinda like the many many one-hit-wonders in the music industry.

still - if he gets a good offer here, then selling sounds smart. It's probably easy enough for Facebook to just reproduce his work, open source it and maim his business.

Sell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895513)

If he's not confident enough with his skills or his product to instantly say "hell no" he's better of collecting (assuming he can collect big enough) and use the money to invest in himself as he builds something he is that confident in.

Then again, I'm unemployed college drop-out and my girlfriend supports me, so what do I know?

Save You Time Summary (1)

neonfrog (442362) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895525)

Yes. Money = food.

No. OSS = nirvana.

Yes. (4, Funny)

cpotoso (606303) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895527)

The answer is yes. There is nothing magical about putting off the shelf items densely packed. Once somebody sees it, it is not hard to reproduce. So, yes, sell.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895535)

n/t.

sell! sell! sell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895537)

If Instagram can get 1 billion, why not get a piece of that pie? Someone offers you more money than you can spend in 10 lifetimes, you take the deal.

One Sign Answer: $ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895559)

Easy: Sell. The big software companies often buy well overpriced, and with the money he makes from this he can easily start a new company, if he still likes to.

What kind of person is he? (2)

dmomo (256005) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895561)

If he's ambitious and hungry for innovation, could he not use the money from Facebook to bootstrap something bigger? If it's just dumb luck, perhaps if his product is of any real value, and he doesn't sell, the big players might just jump in and roll their own faster, cheaper solution. Competing with them will be a different sort of job. Moving forward on his own may involve more work with Lawyers than with Technology and Innovation. So, the answer depends what kind of person he is. Some people are driven by the business end of things. Others want to innovate. Rarely is someone good at both.

WTF ?!?!? You're asking us .. (4, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895567)

as to what the best business strategy should be between two 3rd party companies?
 
You might as well ask what I think your neighbor should give their kids for Christmas. Go ahead .. use that as a Slashdot poll.

Obviously we have not yet reached the bottom of the Slashdot story barrel.

YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895587)

It depends on the offer, but all tech has a shelf life so if Facebook wants to give you several million bucks for your idea and can retire before you are 20, why not? Without having to worry about money you can devote all your time to your next great idea.

Sort of depends, doesn't it? (1)

leplen (2469676) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895603)

Depends on the offer, doesn't it? Isn't it a little speculative to advise him whether or not to take a deal without knowing what it is? I mean, he already has 150k in funding according to the article, and presumably they wanted something in exchange for that money...

Yes (1)

VirtualSky (214986) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895605)

If he has a business plan that he and his investors feel confident in, he has the drive and determination, and he finds it fun, I say go for it. Of course, he could also sell and sink the cash into another venture, so he has less reliance on venture capital. Depends on how he feels about how far he can carry his technology versus come up with new ideas.

Personally, without having seen it, I think it's dangerous to turn down a boatload of cash for something that can get kicked out from underneath you pretty quickly. Of course, I'm not so brilliant Facebook is offering me millions, either.

SELL OUT NOW! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895621)

The entire goal of any business is money.

Even if you like what you do. You can do it alot better if you have a big pile of money to do it.
Sell out now. And start another company doing the same thing if you wish.

The people who say money can't buy happiness have plenty.... The rest of us would feel alot better with some.

Unless you HAVE money already. Then loudly tell facebook to fuck off and enjoy your business if that's your thing.

the way the market changes, SELL NOW! (1)

swschrad (312009) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895623)

so maybe you take down $5 or $10 million and you miss the magic second in which it could have been $50 million.

I can get through the weekend just fine on $5 million... and another 60 years.

the smart investor knows it's worse odds than a lightning strike to go for the last penny. even if you never have another good idea in your life, let alone one you can commercialize, have a deals lawyer in the room with you and work out a series of code taps under the table, and shake hands even if there's a little taste left on the table.

Slashdot and good advice... (4, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895633)

Let's say this is the best case scenario, that you actually figured out something in your garage, with little to no experience in other high density storage applications, that EMC, NetApp, and the other major players simply couldn't come up with despite having hundreds (thousands?) of very talented engineers. If you manage to get a patent on it (you don't have one yet... interesting) then just license the rights nonexclusively. But then again, hopefully you have at least one lawyer around to give you the same advice.

Worst case scenario, is you just "invented" something that is already patented (this is highly likely) and your visibility just isn't high enough to have the hellhounds attack yet. In this case, again, a lawyer is your friend.

Personally... (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895641)

I'd love to see a creative young genius like Mayhall become an independent force in the technology sector. But 21st-century capitalism just has no room for small independents. They can't get the money to grow. The capital markets like big names and known brands.

Go to local mall. Thirty years ago it would have been all mom+pop operations. Now it's all big-branded chains and franchises. It sucks, but that's the way it is. Sell out while you can!

At 19? Sell! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895663)

If he has come this far by 19 he will only continue to create amazing things. Sell, don't work for Facebook, invest the money in another venture.
http://TheFireSays.com - Ohio's Source of Tech and Startup News.

Sell, because you haven't done anything yet. (4, Informative)

mveloso (325617) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895675)

Building cool hardware is great. Selling cool hardware is totally different.

If someone wants to buy you at a point before you sell, do it. The summary says you'll compete with EMC or NetApp. You won't. You're able to do what you're doing because you have time to think about the product. Someone else in the field can look at what you're doing and figure it out quickly. Someone like the people at backblaze.

Can you offer 24x7 support? How is your manageability and maintenance? Recovery? How are you going to make the thing? Those are basic questions. Are you going to sell direct or via channels? blah blah blah.

OTOH, if you get eaten by facebook you get to help them design and build their systems, which is great if that's what you want to do. The thing is, your story is what's getting you the PR, not your product. Leverage off that PR as much as you can, since it's all you've got right now.

Re:Sell, because you haven't done anything yet. (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895853)

Can you offer 24x7 support? How is your manageability and maintenance? Recovery? How are you going to make the thing? Those are basic questions. Are you going to sell direct or via channels? blah blah blah.

This is the first thing I thought of, too. The only thing killing storage density today is serviceability. Everyone wants a box that offers per-disk replacement. This is a different model entirely; most likely they would just write off the failed disks and at some point as the chassis ages just throw the whole thing away. Going to work for Facebook to make this work in their model is a great path. Trying to do it on your own, to sell to the masses and put up with the constant headaches of support, is going to make you go nuts by the time you're 30.

Innovator or Venture Capitalist? (1)

kiehlster (844523) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895689)

If he wants to be an innovator then I'd say avoid selling out to a large corporation. If he doesn't sell out, but makes a deal to service Facebook, then his company could outlive them and he could gain income from servicing other companies. More businesses will benefit from his innovations and the world will be a better place. If he wants to be a venture capitalist entrepreneur, then sell out to Facebook, take the money and move onto different things. But keep in mind that when Facebook's end comes it will mean that his innovations in the hosting/storage realm will likely die with the company or be absorbed by some other company that is even less likely to share.

Hypothetical or did he just blow NDA? (2)

retroworks (652802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895691)

If Facebook was actually serious, he would have gotten a Non-Disclosure Agreement by now, as FB has way too much exposure to insider trading shenanigan penalties. I assume if he's seeking advice on slashdot, he has either already blown it or is prematurely bragging to a girlfriend.

The difference between an entrepreneur and owner.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895713)

In one of my many entrepreneurial classes in grad school I was asked this question, "Do you want to run the best company in your field or do you want to get rich starting companies in your field?"

Your own answer to this determines whether you are an entrepreneur or a business owner and there is no shame in either. Look to fellow tech icons for their actions and see which path suits your own personality best; Justin Frankel, Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, etc, etc, etc.

You can become fabulously wealthy starting, building and running your own company. You can also become fabulously wealthy by selling your company (and then you can focus on doing it again and differently!). Try to also learn from startups that had mixed results after a buyout was refused; Friendster turned down a $30 million buyout offer from Google in 2003, Google offered $5.75 billion to buy Groupon (now worth 2.52B)

Build your own (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895723)

Do you want to be a bitch to facebook, or do you want to own facebook.

Re:Build your own (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896003)

Do you want to be a bitch to facebook

It depends entirely on how many zeroes they put on that cheque.

For high anything over $50 mil ... I'd fuck Zuckerburg at the Super Bowl half time show. Anything over $100 mil, and he can bring a friend. ;-)

To paraphrase Steve Jobs... (1)

Y-Crate (540566) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895729)

Has he developed a service or a feature?

The former has growth potential, is more valuable in the long-term and easier to monetize. The latter is valuable from a licensing / R&D perspective. Given his probable lack of resources and experience, it would probably be easier to sell his work to the highest bidder than spend years and tons of money developing it into something else that might equal the buyout value after expenses.

Never sell out... (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895735)

...unless you know your product won't/can't become and isn't worth more than they're paying. 5 million now is not as good as 500 million later; interest rates are low (lol). Possible exceptions are when you just want to get out, or need cash now in order to start a bigger and better venture.

Re:Never sell out... (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895831)

...unless you know your product won't/can't become and isn't worth more than they're paying. 5 million now is not as good as 500 million later; interest rates are low (lol). Possible exceptions are when you just want to get out, or need cash now in order to start a bigger and better venture.

Conversely, unless you know your product will become worth more than they are paying, sell out.

If Netapp or EMC thinks there's money to be made in very high density storage systems, I'm sure they have an engineer or two that can figure out how to squeeze 120 disks into a 4U rack (or they have the money to hire someone [wikipedia.org] who can) - and it'll work with the rest of their software stack.

If you have to ask Slashdot, then yes. (2)

electrosoccertux (874415) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895737)

You should know the answer before you ask the question if you're really entrepreneur quality.

He's going to lose control anyway (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895745)

If he doesn't sell to Facebook, then he'll give up control to a VC firm.

If he really wants to compete in the enterprise storage market, he'll need lots of money, so he'll be giving large parts of his company to some VC (or multiple VCs).

Hardware storage density is only part of the answer, no one buys Netapp or EMC for the raw price per GB or how many disks they can fit into a rack shelf, they buy for the hardware resiliency and software stack that surrounds the disks. So he's got a lot of work ahead of him to prove that it really is a viable solution.

There's probably not a whole lot of overlap between people that need 5PB of storage in a rack, and people that are willing to use an underfunded 19 year old's product to store the data. He's going to need serious funding to make any inroads into the increasingly crowded dense storage space.

If I were him, I'd take whatever money FB is offering and retire.

A Bird in the Hand (1)

dubbayu_d_40 (622643) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895759)

Is worth two in the bush.

What is this a good thing? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895765)

So the storage is more densely packed, but you probably need twice the cooling to keep it from melting. So do you even save any space all things considered and do you use more power per byte because of this density?

Sell! (2)

axehind (518047) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895803)

A 19 year old doesnt know anything about running a business. Also it is likely someone will beat the density in the near future, so sell if you get a fair offer.

Re:Sell! (1)

realsilly (186931) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896041)

A 19 year old doesnt know anything about running a business. Also it is likely someone will beat the density in the near future, so sell if you get a fair offer.

This is very short-sighted of you. Don't discount this 19 year old's business sense. Hell, I'll be he's doing a heck of a lot better financially at 19 than most people 30 years older then him. I agree sell, but not because he's not capable, but because he will have the capital to move on to a bigger and better business.

In short: Yes, In Long: No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895851)

Developing a product and running a company are distinctly different, and running a company is not easy.

If you're not interested in setting up a company then develop the product and definitely sell to Facebook. One of the nice things about Facebook if you're interested is Zuckerberg is so full of himself that he'll ignore advice from his board and overpay for something he's interested in: see Instagram. But don't take Facebook stock like Instagram did, take cash and get a Financial Advisor to invest it.

If you're interested in entrepreneurship, then don't sell. Find a partner at a business school or educate yourself on how to run a business through books or classes. Then see where you can take it. If the technology/product is that good, Facebook is not the only guy out there. You can develop the technology, find some good Marketing people or learn to network yourself, and get an in with many of the major web companies and license your product to all of them. That way your technology is not limited to Facebook (they'll keep it for themselves), it instead spreads aroudn the world but you still maintain licensing control. Get a good lawyer to draft up a good licensing agreement so you maintain control and you're all set. All of this takes money, but not so much that you can fund it via Angel Investors or series A Venture Capital Fund; an Angel investor is typically able to provide funding of around $100k-$500k if they're big and good, whereas a Series A VC can provide funding up to about $2 million, which is plenty to get the right network and people in place to take your product and turn it into a business. There is likely a university near you with a business school, and many have an entrepreneurial center of some sort to help people get their business off the ground; that's a great place to start learning how to create a startup and find a network of people with the right skills and connections to get your company going.

Take the money ... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895857)

But if an offer from Facebook ever comes, should he accept, or try to build something on his own?"

He's 19 years old for crying out loud ... pick a giant magic number like $200 mil or so, and go to work for them ... he can always become a billionaire later. Think of it as startup capital. :-P

Whatever he does... (2)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895861)

... he shouldn't take business advice from Slashdot. It's filled with ankle-biters and mavens who are sure they've got all the answers despite not having ever been close to being in a similar predicament.

Re:Whatever he does... (1)

milesmatt (2629063) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896109)

Absolutely. Don't Listen to internet trolls, get a mentor and walk through your priorities so that there's no question left with the decision - and no regret later. Basically, be smart about it - which might be hard to do if he's at all like I was at 19.

Sell (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895901)

That's multiple lifetimes worth of money. SELL. Don't live to work, work to live.

Sell out and then you have capital for your next (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41895923)

idea. This guy is entrepreneurial, so why not?

me.ga (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895945)

Have a chat with Kim Dotcom.

Retire in New Zealand.

I know an advertorial when I see one (2)

broknstrngz (1616893) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895967)

And this is one.

Re:I know an advertorial when I see one (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895987)

Besides, who in their right mind would seek this level of counseling on Slashdot?

Re:I know an advertorial when I see one (1)

fm6 (162816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895999)

Yeah, it makes me want to run out and spend $50K on a high-density server.

Form of payment? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895969)

Would the payment be in cash or Facebook stock?

Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41896089)

We all know Facebook stock is worthless. If you take stock sell it fast.

Full disclosure, I was screwed by the Facebook IPO.

Absolutely the first thing to do.. (1)

dbc (135354) | about a year and a half ago | (#41895985)

...is ask a bunch of random slackers who have time to waste posting to Slashdot how to handle a multi-million dollar, life-changing decision.

Do they pay in stock or cash? (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896019)

If he's getting paid Facebook stock that he can't sell for two years, there's no telling how much it will be worth by the time he can sell it.

Take the money and run (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896025)

maximizing storage density isn't something that other competitors will have a hard time with, and they will have more experience with hardware design, and so will have lower production costs and longer MTBF.

Sell, but for different reasons (3, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year and a half ago | (#41896031)

He should consider selling but for different reasons than others have suggested.

1. I work for what was once a very successful start up that a Fortune 500 company acquired, so I am an employee of the Fortune 500 company. I was not hired by the start up until near the time that the acquisition happened, so I was not around in the early days. However, one of the things I saw from the early employees was this supreme arrogance that the company was successful only because they were all geniuses and that everything they did afterward could not possibly end in failure. I know that a few of the founders, all of whom left after the company was sold, have tried to start new businesses and none of them have yet taken off. One or two of them might, but the jury is out. My point is that it's actually hard to build a successful business, but everyone who does it fails to recognize that they beat the odds and they become convinced that they simply cannot ever fail. There are a few guys who really can turn every business they start into a success, but most can't repeat the success.
2. It's really hard to compete with bigger, older companies. Mayhall may truly have the best product, but he may be limited in sales because some clients may prefer to go with bigger, more established companies just in case. The start up I briefly worked for was sold because the owners had basically grown the business as far as they could on their own and they needed a larger partner with more and (truth be told) better sales people if it was going to grow. After the buyout of our company, our sales went through the roof and we grew at a rate we could never have achieved on our own.
3. The insight he had to offer more density may be patented (I don't know), but someone else will eventually come up with the same idea even if they never see his patent. They might make it just different enough to get their own patent on it. Or they may simply willingly infringe it, gambling that they can win a court battle or that Mayhall won't have the money to stick it out in a protracted fight.
4. There are companies that didn't sell when they could have and they lost market share over things they couldn't see happening when they were at the top. There's always a risk.
5. Mayhall may well have the arrogance that youth has (ie. Zuckerberg) that everybody older than him is an idiot and only young people have any idea what they are doing and he can beat his competition because they are old and stupid. That may actually end up being true, but it probably isn't going to. He could always prove incompetent as the head of a larger company and make a lot of bad decisions. Jim Balsillie was king of the world for a while and now he's just the guy who ran RIM into the ground. Jim wasn't as young as Mayhall, but he certainly had the same "I simply cannot fail" attitude.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>