Negotiating for Dummies

I once worked for a B2B startup, and we were in the midst of being acquired by a publicly traded company – haggling over terms and price, but very committed.

The President of the startup was getting ready to make a speech to all 25 of us to let us know what was going on (though because of my role, I knew.) I walked into his office to let him know everybody was ready in the conference room. In the middle of his desk, no kidding, was a copy of Negotiating for Dummies. “Let’s just put this into one of your drawers, okay?”

After the acquisition I was working for the acquiring company and my new cube had some binders left in it. As I was cleaning them out, I noticed one was an internal valuation of our company prepared by the M&A team prior to the acquisition. I quickly turned to the Summary & Recommendations section. The author surmised our startup was worth 3X the final price we’d accepted.

I guess the Dummies book didn’t work. But that’s life in a startup for you!


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