Founder Control

I will start this post by stating that I am very much in the “one share one vote” camp.

That said, I have supported founder control provisions, like the one that Mark Pincus put in place when he took Zynga public back in 2011.

Mark wanted to put those provisions into the Series A deal when we co-led the first venture round at Zynga.

I was not a fan of the idea then, but when the Company got ready to head into the public markets, Mark made a convincing argument that a founder would have the long-term interests of the company at heart, whereas the public investors would not. And so Mark has controlled 70% of the voting stock at Zynga for the last seven years while his actual ownership is now around 10%.

I am telling you all of this because yesterday Mark did something that many thought he would never do.

He converted all of his super-voting shares into common stock and returned Zynga to “one share one vote.”

Mark explained his thinking on that decision here.

I am certain many will read more into this move than is actually there.

What I see in this move is a founder who still cares deeply about the company he started deciding that he doesn’t need to control it anymore.

And so he set it free.

Such a beautiful gesture.

Like I said in my tweet about this yesterday, it is a bold move by one of the boldest founders I know.