On Those Employee Stock Claims, Pincus Says He Was Being Fair

By Whitney Phaneuf , written on July 19, 2012

From The News Desk

Mark Pincus says he may have been "selfish to company and users," but never stingy with stock. At PandoMonthly tonight, he defended his much-maligned decision to reduce employees' equity as a form of demotion.

“If I wanted people to stay at the company, why would I ever take back stock from people? There were a handful of people that we had ‘grown past’ and they couldn’t stay in the positions they were in. Rather than terminating them, we offered them a lesser role in the company with a lesser form of compensation," he said.

"That may be a taboo of some sort in the valley," he added. But it wasn't a problem for everyone--two of the four employees from that incident remain at the company.

Pincus said he was always fair with equity, not subscribing to the belief that early employees deserved more than later hires. “I’ve been criticized by the amount of stock that we give out," he added.

It's all part of his misunderstood reputation, which he says isn't helped by the fact that he's not out at industry events making friends or talking to the media, but focused on creating a better product. He spends more than half of his time working on the product and personally trains many employees at his 3000-person company.

"I think that my story over the years has been told more by competitors and ex-employees because I've been selfish to my company and my users... We live in a time where people don’t have the time to find out what the truth is.”