The idea: To create a K-8 charter school with robots, wind turbines, Apple technology and a Common Core spiraling curriculum.
The gem: The school was launched with everything I built it for!
The lemon: Someone I entrusted expressed to the board that I defrauded the school out of funds. The allegation came about whilst I was conveniently out of the country for almost 2 weeks. When I arrived back in the US, I was on the news, and was told never to step foot back on school property. I never had the opportunity to defend myself nor was an unbiased investigation rendered.
The result: Of course, it was established (via arbitration) that no such “fraud” occurred and I further left the proceedings net positive. Even though proof was evident, I was removed from management of the school and essentially “erased” as co-founder. It’s now rolling up on 2015 and this is one still troubles me: falsely accused, no opportunity to defend myself and a falsely tarnished reputation. It’s all good – no one can ever take from me the fact that I built something amazing for the babies!
Lesson learned: Invest in a legal team that will establish a corporate structure to protect founding interests, deeply research the team you build with and create a solid culture. Be clear on revenue allocations, capital expenditures and always use the best fiduciary management practices.