Top things that startup colleagues have said or done:
1. "Move fast break things"
2. "I wake up at 4am and read a book"
3. Writing down a list of things to do that day... "It's called habit building bro, Jeff Bezos does it"
4. "Go on r/startups dude, everything you need to know is on there."
5. "<critical feature> is missing, we can add it on later!!"
6. "Elon musk is my saviour"
7. "Guys we need another focus group"
8. "Once we get VC money then we'll do X"
9. "Ha fuck those corporate drones. Haha we'll make more money than them" - from a guy who is just another employee with no percentage shareholding.
10. Ceo handing us another one of his shitty 90's era design change.
11. "We're in stealth mode we can't discuss this with anyone". We're building yet another retail app.
12. "Uh yeah sorry but we can't offer you equity at this stage as we're too busy". *Continues to design another shitty logo for the whole day*
13. "I'm a rockstar coder, coding is easy" - from a person who has never had a job as a professional programmer nor wanted to become a coder. His code is utter shit too.
14. *Has meetings about meetings*
15. *New investor comes on board*. Instant finance director status. *New tech wizard employee from Google comes on board*.. "Yeah sorry but just work on this app pls thanks, then you might get 0.005%"
16. "Move fast break things"
Fucking startups man. I'm off to BigCo, fed up of this shit.
Top things that startup colleagues have said or done:
- Uber ohnononomoreIf you dislike meetings about meetings, I have some sad news for you about the corporate world
- New BaesianBlrI left a very large software company for a startup. I spent a much time in meetings on any Tuesday at the old job as I did all last month at my new gig. 100 percent literally.
Plenty of tough trades moving to a startup, but the motivation level is so much higher than larger companies. At least among startups building real products.
- New / Eng ladkaThe execs at startups tend to be the most delusional personalities you'd see in your working career. They are the second coming of God who know everything about everything and the employees they hire are just lucky to be part of the windfall that these execs are creating with their magical wand. Jeff Bezos has even told an employee that he needs to pay him to work at Amazon. That is the level of delusion I'm talking about.
- Micro Focus / Eng broteinI always got the impression that startup folks are Tim Ferris wannabe’s who feel the need to drown their bodies in nootropics and wake up at 4am to meditate and run marathons in order to totally disrupt the tech industry bro
- Remember each big co was a startup once :-). You just need to pick the right one ( hard to know at seed stage) or wait enough to figure it out. Do not join a startup where CEO behaves already like Steve Jobs and executive team is far away from reality. In short avoid startups on Kool-aid.
- I'd imagine most start ups are like that tho.
I might be wrong, but my best guess is good start ups wouldn't just hire openly like big companies. They would just hire people they know very well and trust their next million dollars with them. It'd be pretty hard to join them, not to mention evaluate their competence.
Hiring openly is bad because start ups can't pay top dollars, and the only people that would go there are people that can't get top dollars offer at the moment. The kind of people that says "we aren't doing rocket science here. We don't need the hiring bar to be so selective". You don't want to be around those people.
- I agree for the most part . The problem is that with ridiculously high TC right now. It is very hard to hire people who are extremely good in what they do , even in your network. People do not want to loose their relatively relaxed life with shit load of money to work for a startup which might have a fraction of a percent chance to take off. This is especially true for first time founders. On the contrary repeat founders ( stars) can attract team from top notch places mainly because a) is it gives them credibility b) Paying market rate is easier as they are able to raise larger seed rounds without product c) they are able to use FOMO with prospective employees. Imagine , Kevin ( Instagram) announcing a new startup , people with million dollar salaries would jump to join him just because they will have a fear of missing out on next Instagram :-). Many unicorns of today had hard time attracting star talent in the early days. I attended a talk by Ben ( Pinterest) and he reached out to Yash because the other engineer he wanted to talk to worked for FB and Ben knew he could not get him to Pinterest. Yash in the other hand was a fresh Grad from SJSU , was working in an average company , but still asked very intriguing questions in a Meetup which Ben attended . I personally know a person , a really awesome SW developer, who one told me ( and I trust him) that has an offer to join AirBnB as first 5 employees but he was not impressed, he was happy with his role and $$ at top 3 SW companies of the time with high guaranteed TC.
- This is so true. My experience with start ups and mid sized companies were filled with tier 1 rejects. They didn't go there by choice. Most of them are there only because they couldn't get anything better. Some used it as a stepping stone for better opportunities.
Underperformers were usually able to stick around as long as they knew the right people, sounded sophisticated, and pretended to know what they were doing. It worked because no one in their chain of command knew how good engineering looks like. The more incompetent the people were, the more office politics I saw. People needed politics to cover their stupidity.
I'd only ever work for a start up a again if I know the people very well, they have a very solid profitable business plan, and they are willing to fire underperformers ruthlessly.
- Reddit y34basMy experience has been that in startups you find the extremes, the really shitty people that can’t get a job anywhere else and the really great people, those that can get a job anywhere and can afford taking a bet.
Depending on luck, timing and the good to bad people ratio the startup might be successful. This results in the common Silicon Valley phenomenon of completely useless people, becoming millionaires by accident. Everyone who has worked in the Bay Area long enough knows at least a couple of “Bigheads”.
- Agree for the most part. There were definitely a few very exceptional people in my start up experience. Usually they are there because they don't care much for money, and are just there to enjoy the moment.
No idiots I know have become millionaires by accident yet tho.
- I know some one in a startup who was trying to find a job but was unable to find one . He was rejected in most phone screens ( I think he was trying for senior roles) and could not clear bar for a couple of tier 1 companies he was called onsite. Long story short, startup was acquired , he made few single digit millions. Now he is an exec in another startup. Many smart people left the startup within a year or two and did not make as much. Life my friend :-)Jan 13 0
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- Right if the goal is to maximize expected compensation over the lifetime, large corporations are the way to go. However , if there is interest in being above the mean, startups are a right choice , but again the probability of making it big drops significantly as you move away from the mean. Vinod Khosla had a great interview with Sam Altman recently. He suggested being liberal with equity for early employees. He talks about zero billion dollar company and zero million dollar company, worth the time for those interested in startups