One privately-held company where I worked granted me options to purchase stock. After anxiously, waiting for some of these options to vest, I inquired as to the cost and even though the strike price of $0.83 was higher than the current value of the stock at $0.75, I decided to exercise one option, yes, just one. I prepared an envelope, filled out the form, and dropped in 83 pennies. I added a note so that the finance department would know I wasn’t joking.
You see for me it was symbolic to go from an option holder, to a share holder and part owner of the company. I “knew” that this didn’t significantly change my relationship with the company. Well about a year later, we got bought. Suddenly, because I was one of 7 shareholders, they needed to apprise me of the merger, and they needed my signature right alongside the other 6 shareholders, all of whom owned significantly more stock than I did. You see, with my one share I had the power to hold the merger up by months, as I could have insisted on an outside audit to ensure that we were getting a fair price.
Additionally, when they presented new employee agreements to everyone, they made certain to give me mine in advance so I could consult with my advisers. Finally, they agreed to every change I asked them to make in the agreement and also gave me other considerations. I don’t know that they would have been so accommodating without that one share.
Never underestimate the Power of a single share!