Is it a mistake for a new grad to join a promising early stage startup with 10-20 employees?

Uber 4x intern
Oct 21, 2018 29 Comments

Solid founding team, solid VCs, competitive base salary (125k in Bay Area), product is in my domain of interest.

Alternatives are Uber and Rubrik. Money isn’t super relevant since new grad tc is mostly uniform and 20k isn’t life changing.

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TOP 29 Comments
  • Google / Eng sXLt25
    If you already have some brand name on your resume (company or school) I’d say go for it. Otherwise I’d be more careful but might be the right thing anyway.
    Oct 21, 2018 6
    • Indeed B3a7R152
      No
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      Thanks, @B3a7R152. This is a helpful dose of reality
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Yext qVTh07
      Uber is brand name :P
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      Internships don’t seem to count for much
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Google / Eng BiggusD
      They definitely do, especially if you had a returning offer. Just make sure to work it into conversations in the future.
      Oct 21, 2018
  • Microsoft UMbR31
    "How to build a working, scalable, performant web service that thousands of real customers use, working alongside dozens of highly experienced individuals" (or whatever is the equivalent in your field) is something I'd assume is important when you start your career. FANG, Microsoft, etc give you that experience. Your startup may or may not. Startups regularly do short cuts and quick fixes, it's good to know them, but I'd wonder if it's the foundation you want to build.

    Don't ask this question on Blind, ask someone 40+ or older that you deeply respect. Could be your favorite CS Prof.
    Oct 21, 2018 2
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      Thank you, this seems like a strong argument against the startup.
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Microsoft / Eng Travelson
      You got it all the other way around men. Big tech does all the shitty fixes and everything is so abstracted that you don't learn shit. It's like you are a coding factory worker.
      Startups on the other hand, will show you the whole picture and throw you big problems. I've never seen so crappy code until I joined FAANG
      Oct 21, 2018
  • Facebook public
    Mistake no, ideal yes.
    Oct 21, 2018 2
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      Can you clarify?
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Facebook public
      Start ups are ideal for new grads, best learning opportunity, career accelerator, and small chance but finacial upside.
      Oct 21, 2018
  • Two Sigma / Eng
    TwvJ62

    Two Sigma Eng

    PRE
    Google
    TwvJ62more
    I’m more in favor of a good large Corp for 1-2 years after school. It gives you a good idea of how engineering is done at scale and best practices. Start ups often aren’t operating at scale and don’t have time for best practices all the way through.
    Oct 21, 2018 0
  • New Amazeun
    Don’t. Learn good habits from large well established companies. Later in your life, if you join startups your learning will help you make better choices at work. I see a big difference in quality of work from people who have worked in startups vs well established companies in early years.
    Oct 22, 2018 0
  • New FlRs27
    Yes it is, you won't be able to rely on as many experienced employees compared to a bigger company so you'll stunt your growth
    Oct 21, 2018 3
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      Majority of employees are experienced engineers from G/Fb, if it makes a difference
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Microsoft UMbR31
      Mate, that right there is your answer. Why not be that be that experienced engineer from F/G that you rely on.
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      Well, I’m concerned about growing a lot now in my early career. I wouldn’t get locked out of G/Fb forever if I join a no-name startup out of college, right?

      I actually have an offer from Google, but I’m not considering it because I hate the product area I matched to.
      Oct 21, 2018
  • Facebook / Eng
    gaanduf

    Facebook Eng

    PRE
    Amazon
    gaandufmore
    if you already have uber on your resume, sure why not. sounds like that’s where your gut intuition is leaning anyway
    Oct 21, 2018 1
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      Yeah, it’s a very unique opportunity. I’m hesitant because people around here seem to think that internships don’t have resume value after graduating college. Concerned that in the worst case scenario, it might be harder to jump to a good opportunity after this.
      Oct 21, 2018
  • Rubrik blindedog
    Most startups fail. You will reap the rewards if you are lucky enough. Unfortunately solid founding team means zilch in determining whether it will pass or fail.

    Make sure you are compensated for that risk accordingly. I’m taking about equity.
    Oct 21, 2018 0
  • Amazon 2Hot
    Sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders unlike some of these kids who are only looking at TC. TC will come if you’re a good engineer. I would say go with the one that gives you the opportunity to make a difference and there’s someone to mentor you. These were 2 keys to starting my career off right. You don’t always find this in big companies.
    Oct 21, 2018 0
  • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
    What's the startup's funding situation? This is a super important question. If it doesn't have at least 2 years of funding without increasing burn, forget about it.
    Oct 21, 2018 2
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      They have ~6 years of funding at current burn rate, or 3 years if it doubled tomorrow
      Oct 21, 2018
    • Bloomberg / Eng iVX372
      Sounds pretty solid. Find out at what rate their burn is increasing. If they are B2C, find out their CAC and LTV. If those figures are unknown, years of remaining funding is difficult to estimate
      Oct 21, 2018
  • Microsoft gfba68
    $20k At your first job is a bigger deal than you think because future TC will be influenced negatively because of it. Lot's of studies back ing this up
    Oct 21, 2018 1
    • Uber 4x intern
      OP
      The difference mostly comes from me valuing the equity at 0, and no annual cash bonus. No other offers have a higher base
      Oct 21, 2018
  • Facebook Bladyblahb
    I started at a startup with 10-20 employees and am now at fb. I wouldn't have gotten into a big name high-comp company straight out of school though.

    If it's what you want to do and you're excited about it, go for it. It is a sacrifice/risk and may not optimize for total lifetime comp, but there is more to life than tc and startups can be fun when you're young.
    Oct 21, 2018 0