Four Pillars Sale: Another Perspective

by Mr. Cheap

After Mike’s post announcing the sale of 4P, there was some confusion in the comments. After we got an e-mail recently asking Mike how life is “san Mr. Cheap” (which I thought was ice cold, I’m not DEAD! ;-) I figured it might be worth taking another stab at explaining what happened. Keep in mind, this is my perspective on things. Mike’s may differ, although I hope he’ll put any clarifications in the comments (in his version I’m probably less muscular and don’t save him and his family from a mugger using nothing but Kung-Fu and the power of my brain).

When we originally joined forces, Mike was far more enthusiastic about monetizing the blog than I was, so I was happy to let him handle that element of the site. After a year (and reading all the comments about what a good deal I was getting) Mike got to the point where he wasn’t enjoying posting & promoting enough to justify splitting the revenue with a partner (while doing all the promotion). The blog was under-monetized, but understandably it wasn’t appealing to do 100% of the work for 50% of the benefit.

We discussed a few options how to equalized things, but in the end figured that having one of us buy the other out made the most sense. After tossing around a few ideas, we eventually settled on a “Shotgun offer“, where Mike would determine a price, and I would decide whether I wanted to buy it for that, or sell it for that. This is kind of like when Mom makes one sibling cut a piece of cake in half, and the other pick which half they want: its a built in way of making sure a fair price is determined (since the person setting the price doesn’t know if they’re buying for that or selling for that). We had discussed this in the past and decided this would be what we’d do if one of us wanted to leave in the future.

Mike named a price (he’d prefer to keep that part private), and I decided I’d rather have the cash and lose half the blog instead of paying the cash and getting the whole thing. The cash went straight into GE stock (Mike told me not to spend it all in one place, which I did unfortunately :-). We had previously discussed what would happen after the deal, and Mike had offered to pay me to keep writing for the blog (at $20 / post, which is less than I make programming or TAing, but is a fair price for something I enjoy doing – so I’m making a cool $20 bill writing this up!). We’ve agreed that if he gets sick of me, he can fire me, and if I want to leave at some point, that’s ok too. Plus, I now have to call Mike “boss”, as in “Sure thing, boss!”  He calls me “kid” now too.

As Mike mentioned, there will be some layout changes as he tweaks the monetization (which shouldn’t affect RSS readers), and his posting has dropped off a bit (he’s not going to try to maintain the 2.5 post / week rate unless he’s in the mood to write).

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