Category Archives: Startups

Farm boy sensibilities and the importance of contracts

I like to say that I was raised to have “Farm boy sensibilities“. For me this is a positive statement and talks to how my father and grandfather stressed axioms like “a man is only as good as his word“, “treat others the way you want to be treated” and no matter what “when you say you will do something come hell or high water you better do it.

As a security practitioner this is a little bit of a dichotomy in that the above exposes you to risk when you assume others live by the same rules as you do. Thats why I like the phrase “trust but verify” as I think it more accurately capture what “the modern farm boys” mantra should be.

I bring this up because I was just reminded through a personal experience that not everyone approaches their lives in the same way. This is why (amongst other reasons) having contracts or at a minimum memorandums of understanding that accurately represent not only the mutual understanding but how issues will be handled in the event of a dispute are so important in business.

It is easy to find yourself in a situation where you feel like both parties will respect each others position and “do what is right” and think its not necessary to spend the time to do these documents justice or to create them at all but in practice this only works if both parties play by the same rules which unfortunately is not always the case.

Though often times there is no substitute for proper legal council thankfully there are a few resources available to you online that can make things a little easier when creating  agreements, some of which include:

These can provide good templates for you to work from. When drafting any document you will use yourself though you want to make sure you think about all of the things that could go wrong. This is a lot like what a security practitioner does when they asking themselves where the weak links are in the design of a system they are reviewing.

In any event its important to keep in mind not everyone plays by the same rules and contracts play an important part in ensuring you don’t end up on the wrong end of a good deal.