I Claw My Share Back
My patience paid off. Finally, on 11 May 2005, we signed a new agreement which returned my ownership. *
Our original verbal agreement was for a 50/50 partnership. But the earlier attempt to cheat me left a bad taste in my mouth. I was pessimistic about our future working relationship. Plus I had a hunch that his wife was still unhappy behind the scenes. As I didn't want to fight with his new life partner I told myself;
"Never mind, let them have the bigger share, just get back to your music".
So I came up with a plan to reduce and taper down my involvement. I proposed that;
That way if we found someone very soon to run the servers, I'd have a 22% lifetime stake in the business. But if I had to stay another whole year my share would increase to 33.3%. Instead of what should have effectively been a 50% share within a co-executive role, I would have a lesser 22-33% lifetime share in a more distant role as a technical consultant and overseer.
That seemed a fair compromise. After all, I built the site in 2002. Our verbal partnership agreement was in September 2003. So I had already given them two years of my time and work - pretty much for free.
I guess my tendency to compromise is pretty typical of musicians. When you're a member of a band you're in it for the long term and can't afford to create a bad vibe over short-term victories. If you drop the ball, your bandmate picks it up and passes it back to you. We all share the ball and pass it around. The best groups stick together for years and loyalty is important. In this environment, short-term gains at the cost of the long-term relationship don't work. So I hoped my compromise would be seen as a nice gesture of goodwill to put Standen's wife at ease and create a better working relationship.
But later in the story, it would become clear that even this compromise wasn't enough for the pair. For apparently out there in the "real world" of cut and thrust corporate business, short-term gains are seized upon by the unscrupulous.
You drop the ball. Your teammate smiles pleasantly at you and grabs it. Then they run away.
This promise of a long-term share was the only reason I put my music on hold. I didn't do it to work for less than minimum wage and less than I made touring. Each year spent on GS meant another year sacrificed from my real career. I hoped we would soon be able to hire someone to do the day-to-day work of running the servers. Then as we had originally agreed, I would be free to tour.
* Note: The signed version of the agreement which was attached to the 11 May 2005 email would eventually go missing. Jules had a key to my flat. I often left him alone in it while I went out. He was the only person who knew where it was kept. I only discovered it was gone after he seized the business.