Some insights from a great new blog I’ve recently come across. No real surprises here, but still useful to see this list collected in one place (and a signal you’re a good fit for a startup if you read the list and get really excited by most or all of these). I reposted #10 in its entirety because I think it’s potentially the most important and valuable reason to join one:
1. Responsibility, accountability, impact. At a startup it’s unavoidable to have lots of responsibility and accountability.
2. Risk. Working at a startup is riskier. A startup is risky because you’re building something from nothing. You’re doing something ridiculously hard because you believe in it and want nothing more than to see it succeed. You’re not failing even when all the odds are against you. You’re the underdog in many ways.
3. Opportunities for generalists. Generalists don’t do well at big companies. Although specialization is still important at most startups, there are far more opportunities at startups for generalists.
4. Ownership and leadership. At a big company you need to wait years and years to become a true leader with big ownership. Not at a startup.
5. Transparency. Startups usually have far more transparency than big companies.
6. Company Culture. You get to help define it.
7. Hiring. You’ll do a lot of interviews, and you’ll be part of the decision to hire or not hire someone.
8. Financial incentive. In general your salary will be lower than at a big company, but your equity, or ownership in the company, will be significantly bigger.
9. Politics. I’ve never heard of a company with more than 50 people that didn’t have politics. Small startups can have politics, too, but in the early days there’s generally too much camaraderie and too much daily work to worry about power or any other bullshit like that.
10. Be a part of something bigger than you. At a startup you’re a part of something much bigger than just what your job asks of you. Sure, you need to write code, publish blog posts, whatever, but you’re doing much more than that. You’re building a company. It’s hard to describe what that feeling is like, though. Being a part of a small company is somewhat like creating a community or finding new best friends. You’re making something from nothing, with people who are in it for the same reasons you are. You’re at the apex of what might become something big, something meaningful and different. And the excitement is amazingly powerful.