"Working in a startup prepares you better to start on your own" is such a myth

Microsoft start ups
Oct 11 31 Comments

Working in a big company teaches you discipline, skills, build a better network etc. Aren't these exactly what are needed to start up on your own?

Why is there a general myth of "Go work at a startup to learn how to start up"?

Edit: I specifically mean under 5 yoe situations, not management positions.

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TOP 31 Comments
  • New
    caj

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    cajmore
    Because at a large company. You’re not able to see and experience what it takes to build and launch something from scratch. Distribution of product is another aspect. Pretty much you will do a lot of roles to make things work.
    Oct 11 4
    • Although can’t learn anything by looking at amateurs handling the distribution
      Oct 11
    • New / Eng
      Psynaptic

      New Eng

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      Neuralink
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      Working on Brain Machine Interfaces
      Psynapticmore
      Are you dense? You can learn from other's mistakes.
      Oct 11
    • Lmao wait what is psynaptic, second, of course you can, but I would rather learn the right things, than the wrong things. There’s a million ways to make mistakes in a startup, no one has time to explore all of them, but a few right ways. I would rather spend my time learning the right thing from the right people. But everyone has their opinion and that’s ok. So I won’t call you dense.
      Oct 11
    • New / Eng
      Psynaptic

      New Eng

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      Psynapticmore
      Psynaptic is my username.... What....?

      Nah, you just don't see the value of learning from other people's mistakes. There is no right way, economic and social variables change too much for there to be a constant right way. And also, if someone did discover a universal right way, you can bet by the laws of arbitrage it won't work anymore, it's overexploitated. No, only learning what to avoid while coming up with a unique path forwards on top of that works.
      Oct 11
  • Agree, if anything I learnt how not to create a company (when I was at a startup)! Learning much better at Uber.
    Oct 11 4
    • Although a good startup (which is rare) could be better.
      Oct 11
    • New / Eng
      Psynaptic

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      Psynapticmore
      Knowing what not to do when you do your own startup is super useful though....
      Oct 11
    • True
      Oct 11
    • Airbnb avEI33
      Silicon Valley over-celebrates mistakes. You know what not to do in your startup but still don't know what to actually DO RIGHT.
      Oct 11
  • OpenTable Meliodas
    Big company doesn’t teach you how to get it done with out infrastructure and support staff. Neither would you get the legal and financial experience at a big company while working on products.

    But, I’ve only worked at multiple Fortune 500’s and started four companies, what do I know.
    Oct 11 1
  • Oracle numbaz
    At a large company you're insulated to your role. You may briefly speak with people in other departments and collaborate, but you'll never truly need to execute in the same breadth of roles.
    Oct 11 0
  • Apple HJLm53
    Working at startups taught me that I don’t ever want to do my own startup.
    Oct 12 6
    • Apple HJLm53
      It takes a special kind of person who can believe in and get others to believe in something that seems impossible. And also not have it actually be impossible. You also need to find the sweet spot where the technology isn’t too far ahead of the market, and vice versa. Also it is a lot of work.
      Oct 12
    • New pLBk50
      Well I have a similar story. Huge fundings, brilliant and hardworking team members and a game changer idea. What we didn’t had was a ‘real customer’
      Oct 12
    • New
      caj

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      cajmore
      And you don’t think you can do that ?
      Oct 12
    • Apple HJLm53
      Maybe, but I don’t really want to do that. I don’t have the ambition and the need to prove something that is necessary for this endeavor.
      Oct 12
    • IEEE / IT olokomuyo
      @pLBk50 I'll be willing to talk more about the idea if it's possible to move it to a different market.
      Oct 13
  • Amazon vhLi28
    Big companies don't teach you anything apart from how to get along in a corporate.

    You are exposed to a tiny niche of a problem and will spend most of your time fixing crap created by others.

    In contrast a startup offers you full exposure to almost anything. You will know the CEO personally and have way more impact on the overall business than in a big company.

    A compromise is medium sized startup that has already steady customers and found its purpose niche. In such a setup you might get best of both worlds.
    Oct 13 0
  • In fact, the buzz word scalability is important these days. Demonstrating taking a seed company to 100M will make you very marketable
    Oct 11 0
  • Easy to market, sell, and manage something already established. What would you do when you start selling something new to the market? That kind of experience is highly marketable
    Oct 11 0
  • PayPal kefir
    I’ve been at a startup for a long time, joined when we were very small. I learned how to solve all sorts of practical problems and now I get a sense for many possible blockers when working on a project. This is useful when I need to plan and estimate. I believe they’re both very valuable skills to acquire, and it’s much harder to do so at a big company.
    Oct 11 0
  • New
    caj

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    cajmore
    I would argue that working for a series A startup is much safer than working for a newly minted company(unless you’re the founder). Series A companies are post product market fit, offer good salaries, plenty of growth opportunities, impact is noticeable, and still close to the founders. Working closely with founders is a good way to get close to their own investors for future network opportunities when you start your own.
    Oct 11 3
    • New pLBk50
      Not true. We had $17 million of series A. The TC wasn’t high either. We were promised millions and we took home $0 after 2 years of delusions.
      Oct 12
    • New
      caj

      New

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      cajmore
      Salary from the startup ? I wasn’t thinking about cashing out on equity. I’m talking about the experience you get and the network you build in a startup.
      Oct 12
    • New pLBk50
      Yup, prediction is to eventually make more than what you may had saved in FAANG. Yes, the learning curve is high along with experience wearing several hats. Infant, everyone is HIGH.
      Oct 12
  • Google / Eng 🍑☁️
    I dunno, is the big co Google? Most of the stuff that I learn would be totally inapplicable to a small company
    Oct 11 0
  • Uber fistulum
    Working at a large company teaches you how to work at a large company, which is more useful than knowing how to start a startup IMO.
    Oct 11 0
  • New
    caj

    New

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    cajmore
    One thing to also think about is you will have to learn how to convince potential customers, future team members and as well as investors(bootstrap is fine too) to believe in you and the product you’re building.
    Oct 11 0

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