Have you been waiting a Very Long Time for Airbnb to go public? Did you get all excited back in September of last year when Airbnb announced that it would go public in 2020? Are you beginning to wonder if it will ever happen? All that lovely stock, all those beautiful RSUs, all those tempting stock options…when will they turn into MONEY?!
You’ve got gobs of stock or options in Airbnb. Or Palantir. Or some other valuable but private company. The money is So Close. You can almost feel it. And yet, you can’t. ‘Cause your company is private. Oh, the torture.
Should I exercise my options? When should I exercise my options?
If you work in a private company, I’m betting these questions go through your head with annoying frequency. And they’re hard questions to answer! Will the company succeed? Will the stock be worth anything? A lot? It’s all crystal-ball territory and therefore there are very few obvious or knowable answers.
A curious thing is happening when big tech companies, like Lyft and Uber, go IPO nowadays. I mean, aside from the fact that their stock immediately starts losing value…although that figures into my point, which is:
When you get a job offer, or a raise, or a bonus, you’re probably simply told that you’ll be receiving more restricted stock units or more stock options as part of that compensation package. But on occasion folks are given the choice: Do you want RSUs or stock options?
Congratulations! It might seem like all tech companies go IPO, but that’s not true. In going IPO, your company is in rarified company. And now visions of sugarplums, I mean, wealth are dancing in your head.
Working in tech, you likely have had to make this decision at some point. Or you will soon. The answer is not obvious! Nor is it the same for you as it is for someone else.