Dec 31

Even Facebook Needs OH Communication

First, let me explain that OH Communication is Open Hearted Communication–it means communicating our truth.  More on that a future blog post.

The lead article in the business section of today’s New York Times is about twin brothers suing Facebook.  The twins say that Mark Zukerberg stole their idea to start Facebook and they received a settlement in 2004.  Now they are suing again and say that their current disagreement is about principle–that the Facebook lawyers were not fully honest in revealing the value of Facebook shares at the time of their original settlement.  Based on this lack of Open Hearted Communication, the twins would like more shares of FB stock.

There are a lot of interesting discussions around this situation.  Whether the current value of the twins stock, $140 million, should be enough for anyone to be satisfied and walk away.  Or whether the original idea needed protecting, and where to draw the line between ideas and execution in the success of an enterprise, etc.

All that aside, the main point I want to bring up is how different this situation could look if the conversations had been Open Hearted.  What if:

  • When starting Facebook Mr. Zukerberg had been open and honest with the twins, had included them in the new company, or agreed to recognize their input and compensate them from the outset.
  • When crafting the original settlement, Facebook had been honest about the valuation of the shares.  The twins would have received about 5 million shares, rather than the 1.25 million shares. The difference is 1.1% of the current shares outstanding today.  This is not an insignificant percentage, but is it worth the heartache of the negative news coverage and the distraction from the important business of running a large enterprise, and the effects on the 1700+ employees who rely on Facebook for their livelihood?

What do you think?  What other OH Communications could have prevented this wasted time, money, effort, and emotional energy?

About the author

Lisa Hamaker

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