Business for Geeks 301: All your base are belong to us

Sorry for bringing this meme up but I couldn't think of a better way to describe the idiocy of the situation around PromoterForce detailed in the post "The Dangers of Moonlighting".

"I was recently “let go” from my job of three years for violating my employee agreement for allegedy working on a side business and not properly disclosing this to my employer. In addition, I’m now fighting my employer’s claim that because I did some writing on my blog during work hours, my startup’s IP is their property."

I have to admit that at first glance, I thought this was odd. Sure, posting to a blog will get most people in hot water and has gotten a handful of people fired over the years, but this seemed a bit ridiculous. Then I read on and found the key quote to end them all:

About five months on, during which time I had spent no more than 1 to 2 hours per week working on PromoterForbce while at my day job, I was called into a meeting by my manager. Within minutes I was told my employment had been terminated. Without any formal warning, my job of three years was gone.

Ah, so now we get the rest of the story… you weren't just blogging, you were working on the product too! Well, that's a completely different situation and I've talked about "clean ownership" in this space in depth and was even observed one up close years ago. No sir, you weren't fired for moonlighting, you fired for fraud and theft or what is commonly known as "malfeasance". You misrepresented how your time was being used, you fraudulently billed this time to your job (yes, quite often salaried employees charge time against project/budgets), and you misappropriated corporate resources for your personal gain.

Personally, I hope his life is made quite difficult for quite a while. I hope this situation hammers it into every mISV's owners' head: You can't work on your personal stuff at your job or use their resources! No, stop. It really is that simple. And any time you stray from that line, you open yourself up to a world of hurt.

And a final word of caution. If you're going to ignore my advice, fine. If you're going to work on your project using their time and resources, fine. If you're going to put the livelihood of yourself and your family at risk for no good reason, fine. But never, never, never admit it in a public forum for the whole world to see:

The Dangers of Moonlighting

If I was a representative of his former employer, I would start the negotiations by printing this screen…