Iz tviter niza:
It was 2008 and Apple was interested in my startup. I was CEO of iLike, a once-hot music app that was under pressure from both the record labels and the Facebook platform on which our business had been built. Our dream and best hope was for Apple to acquire us. They were interested, and they invited us to Cupertino to pitch Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue.
Steve was friendly and welcoming. He greeted us and said he’d heard good things about us. At first, our pitch stumbled (we couldn’t do a demo because the executive suite WiFi was down lol). We recovered and shined.
Near the end, Steve said, “I like you guys. You make good arguments. You seem like you’d fit in here at Apple. We want to buy your company. I’ll let Eddy work out the details with you.” I wish I could preserve that beautiful moment. At this point, I impetuously asked, “before you go, can we discuss what range you’re considering?” This was a rookie move. I wish my mistakes had ended there. There was worse to come.
Steve focused his gaze on me and asked, “how much is your revenue?” And also, “what was your last financing valuation?” I replied that our last round had been two years earlier, pre-launch, at a $50M valuation. Since then, we’d amassed 50M+ active users. Steve said, “we’d probably acquire you for $50 million.”
My heart sank. I couldn’t imagine telling our team that their years of work had created no new value. I replied, “I don’t think our investors would accept this.” (We’d been hoping to raise new money at a $150M valuation, and had floated this to potential new investors. There’d been some interest, though no serious takers.) Steve said, “Don’t worry, we’ll make sure they accept it.” He added that Apple could easily build all our features if we didn’t want to sell.
I replied, “Steve, I think we’re worth at least three times that.” And then, my terrible mistake, a moment that I’ve regretted ever since: “Actually, I *know* we’re worth three times as much.” As soon as I blurted out that word, I knew it was a mistake. The distinction between “think” and “know” was a lie. Steve pounced on it instantly.
“Did you say you ‘know’ you’re worth more? You have another offer?” Steve Jobs's gaze pierced holes through me. “Bullsh**. You’re lying to me. You’re full of sh**. We’re done here.”
The deal didn’t fall apart until weeks later. Eddy did his best to keep the talks open, and we tried in vain to negotiate some lower number. At one point, on a later call, Steve told me point-blank, “you’re a liar and I don’t trust anything you say.” This wasn’t necessary. I’d already learned my lesson. The hard truth is, I can’t blame him: trust can be ruined with a single word, and it’s not easy to rebuild.
Soon after, Apple released the “iTunes Genius Sidebar,” a ripoff of our iLike Sidebar for iTunes. Then, Facebook copied our signature feature: the “iLike button.” (They were kind enough to call in advance to inform us.) Within a year, we sold our company for a loss.
Never overplay your hand when negotiating a major deal -- especially not against a stronger player. There are ways to be a strong negotiator without lying.