Self-Driving startup vs FANG

New DbuS07
Sep 5, 2019 40 Comments

I have offers from self-driving startup and a big tech company.
On one side I really like self-driving vehicles, and position is very nice. That's very close to what I was looking for.
On the other side big company name will look much better on my resume, but there is risk the project won't be so exciting.

As for the money - startup offer is very good and TC is much higher, but stocks cost $0 at the moment and big tech offer is about $100k higher in real dollars.

What do you think?


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TOP 40 Comments
  • New Gned33
    The start up TC is more speculative than the FANG money. And it would be insane to walk away from an additional $100K per year, or $400K extra (before stock appreciation, refreshes, promotions, ESPP profits, 401k matching).

    Odds are, most startups won't pay off as much as your offer.

    Build up your wealth through FANG.

    Once you have a net worth of $2M, go do a start up.
    Sep 5, 2019 10
    • Cruise Automation qiruelqnz
      “Cameras like your eyes” oh god I hope you aren’t on perception at Tesla but if you were, it would explain a lot
      Sep 10, 2019
    • Cruise Automation qiruelqnz
      and sometimes their eyes confuse concrete highway dividers for something that should be followed at 80 mph
      Sep 10, 2019
  • Neato Robotics / R&D fahl54
    $100k real value
    Sep 5, 2019 2
    • Ford gOfF28
      You don't get wealthy renting out your time. Gotta take risk with big potential upside.
      Sep 6, 2019
    • Neato Robotics / R&D fahl54
      Take the money and invest, duuh
      Sep 6, 2019
  • New


    I was in similar situation 2 weeks ago.

    I had Amazon, WeWork and a well known pre-ipo startup offer.

    Startup is an old company that has big potential to go ipo in few years, valued at 3 billion. They already make money.

    WeWork offer was great, 30k more on base, 75k more signon first year. It was giving good amount of RSU.

    Amazon 180k plus classical Amazon signon and RSU. It was averaging to 295k per year.

    Startup 200k, sign on, great cash benefits, even FB does not give. In addition stock options which I hope valued something if it goes for ipo.

    I selected startup. This is the second time I reject FANG offer. Fang usually does not offer best projects to new comers. That is the downside in my case.

    I also want to add, self driving cars sounds exciting, but it is very hard problem. The risk profile is a lot higher than my option.

    Blind people want to be on safe side. Do things they do not enjoy much, jump between fang to increase salary etc.. Reaching 4m can take significant amount of time, you will miss many trends. Probably more than 10 years.

    Go for it if you believe in startup, not only mission but feasibility of the product. Hope it gives some perspective.
    Sep 5, 2019 0
  • Dematic / Eng Larry Cook
    Okay in real world, FANG makes more sense if you aren’t financially independent. Hit 2M atleast, and according to a few 4M net worth in Bay Area and then move to startups etc or chill at the beach. Life isn’t about working, it’s about living . Money matters. FAANG companies offer real money and have insane benefits and work life balance (choose teams wisely) and even if you don’t, you can switch internally. If I were in your place I would go with FAANG, build decent wealth and have that on my resume. Then I would think about everything else.

    On the other hand, if you don’t care about money and a luxurious life, then you could go with the startups. Although it also adds up to the stress due to job security etc.
    Sep 5, 2019 4
    • New DbuS07
      I have some ML background. It's not enough to get into R&D at FANG (recruiter told me they cannot even consider me to a such role based on my resume) and I can get only infrastructure role for that kind of projects.
      But it's enough to get interview and offer from perception team in self-driving area.
      Main concern is that I really want to move my career in that direction, but compensation is much better at FANG.
      Sep 5, 2019
    • Dematic / Eng Larry Cook
      Understood. Seems like you want to learn and money isn’t a priority at the moment. That’s okay too. Go ahead and join the startup. I’m sure you can get a job at FANG anytime you want. Also, some companies still have your offer for a year after you reject them. So you could join the startup.. see what it is like and reach out to the recruiter later. Check with the recruiter first
      Sep 5, 2019
  • Roku cruella
    Depends on which startup.

    Also depends on what the offer is. Just a difference of 100k means nothing.

    What if one is offering 0 and the other 100k? On the other extreme one is offering 900k and other 1mil, then the difference is minuscule
    Sep 5, 2019 2
    • New DbuS07
      It's well funded startup. both numbers around 300k
      Sep 5, 2019
    • Roku cruella
      Which startup?

      I know aurora has very talented engineers.

      Some startups in this space are amazing. Others not so much.
      Sep 5, 2019
  • Cruise Automation ZeDg67
    If it's Cruise, I would pass. Not a great culture.
    Sep 6, 2019 6
    • Cruise Automation Hr34sd
      Infra is not an exception.
      Sep 9, 2019
    • New SpRJ26
      What do you think of the management team? Especially the CEO and CTO.
      Sep 11, 2019
  • NIO / Eng

    NIO Eng

    Western Digital
    I was in the exact same situation 2 weeks ago. I have 5+ YOE in a non FAANG but pretty well known company and then <1 YOE in self driving at NIO. 2 weeks ago I got offer at Apple (non self driving) and Zoox for self driving relates position. Similarly like you, Zoox TC beat Apple over all, but Apple TC beat Zoox in-terms of solid cash. After a lot of thoughts I accepted Apple because of mainly 2 reasons. In 6 YOE, I haven’t had too much cash racked up and also my resume is pretty simple. I thought joining a FAANG, will get me some stable cash in the next 5 years and also nothing beats having a FAANG in my resume. In the case of a recession nearing us, would be good to be under an umbrella of a FAANG vs in startups that can suddenly run out of cash. That being said, fast forward 5 more years, where I would have total 10 YOE with 5 of them in a FAANG, I would totally go with a startup. As a matter of fact, couple of people in my team are like that, they have 10+ YOE in FAANGs and now they are just startup hopping. As usual, these are my circumstances and may not apply to you, but just wanted to put it out there 🙂
    Sep 6, 2019 1
    • Zoox abcd21
      Solid decision
      Sep 6, 2019
  • New FlXq26
    What role, what's your yoe?
    Sep 5, 2019 1
    • New DbuS07
      Senior both. 9 yoe
      Sep 5, 2019
  • New SpRJ26
    Most startups that IPO now or have IPOed recently will not make you money. That’s the economic cycle we are in. It’s 1999 back all over again. Look at Lyft or Uber or even Slack. Cash is king.
    Sep 5, 2019 2
    • New DbuS07
      What happened to guys at Lyft and Uber?
      Sep 5, 2019
    • New SpRJ26
      Check out the trend of their stock price after ipo.
      Sep 5, 2019
  • Tesla / R&D ujOi24
    Hard to advise without knowing the startup.. the space is crowded with vaporware and investor demos and false promises. Some startups are accepting the reality and following a nice concrete plan for a long term success, others just beating around the bush .
    Regardless, the space is fun and extremely challenging. If you like the space and want to see the space up close, doesn't hurt choosing the startup (provided the team is amazing) and then jump back once you lose confidence in the space
    Sep 6, 2019 0


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