Microsoft did it and promised employees million-bucks every 4 years till 1990; Infoscians did it and even their drivers reaped million rupees; Google did it and made the rank-and-file multi-millionaires. Sharing wealth was never this beautiful in the tech world until the employee stock option incentive came out colorfully from the doors of Microsoft. It is said that the best thing that ever happened to ‘employee motivation’ is the introduction of ‘employee stock options’. ESOP (employee stock option plan), as an acronym, ruled the 90s and is holding the 2000s in a deadly charm—industry watchers argue that it is irreplaceable by any other incentive. It squeezed the best out of average, increased man-hours twofold, put many individuals on the pedestal and jettisoned some good companies on to the world’s podium. In short, it made the 90s the rock and roll era of the tech industry across the world.
India too has witnessed great employee millionaire stories—all under-cover and secret. This issue not only has a tryst with the gutsy guys who could spill some ESOPs beans, but also tell tales— or is it the tricks? —of growing rich. Surprisingly, in the most ethical and logical manner in which money was ever thought to be earned. Interestingly, all ESOPs did was to add some democracy into the proprietary business of ownership. It made employees owners; it aligned the goals of owners and employees.
Way before, way too before, the co-founder and Yahoo! chief Jerry Yang, CEO Terry Semel and a coterie could plan a secret trip to India in May 2006; there were a bunch of Yahoo! India employees planning to put in their papers.
Obliviously to one another, they all had a similar interest: Startup. While Jerry’s gang wanted to acquire some, these outgoing employees wanted to found one. Money wasn’t a hitch for either’s priorities. Yahoo, as it is, had the muscle and these young tech junkies had their stock options!
You might ask what is in a stock option? And wouldn’t believe that Rajesh Warrier, and Ruban Phukan, ex-yahooites and co-founders of the one-year-old RHR Networks, Bangalore, will depend on that stock money to sustain their livelihood for the next three years. “We are sustaining on the money we made and waiting to see how our new venture performs,” says Phukan, 27, the youngest of all. RHR currently earns its entire operating cost by the Google Adsense on its site.