But landing a startup job requires relearning some things, especially if (like me) you logged years and years at Microgoogfaceforceazon.
Here are six things I wish I'd known:
Yes, if you join the perfect startup early enough, your equity may someday turn into a private island and 200 foot yacht. But, in the meantime, your take home pay is likely going to be a bit less than it is now.
Think about the metaphor for a second: You don't have to handcuff people to things they love.
But if optimizing for the most take home cash is your #1 priority, keep your job. Seriously… it’s ok. Startups are not for everyone.
Wrote apps for an unfamiliar platform? Started a nonprofit? Ran a successful Kickstarter campaign? All great.
To the external world, it was just 16 monolithic years at MSFT and everyone asked pointedly: why didn’t you leave sooner?
Those don’t matter on the outside, and just show that you're still deeply entrenched in the value system of the company you're leaving.
Working for @stevesi at MSFT, I learned an incredibly important lesson about leading inside of a large team: always say “we did this” not “I did this.” Perfect advice for that situation.
I find myself talking to megacorp candidates trying to understand what did *they* do? What specific designs did they draw… what code did they write… what ideas were theirs?
You didn’t “create the Windows 7 kernel” or “increase S3’s scalability 400%” yourself.
Specify *your* actual contribution to the product.
The best big company devs we’ve hired are the ones with natural, proven technical curiosity outside of their company’s native stack, shown by actual work.
Big companies are necessarily full of people whose primary job it is to carry information from one meeting to another, from one department to another. Middle managers and PMs, in particular, are often defined by this type of work.
It took me a year out of Microsoft to realize that so much of what I learned there was applicable in my new startup job—i just needed to learn to apply it in a different environment.
Enter into it for the right reasons, and you'll find joining a startup to be truly transformative for your career and rejuvenating for your soul.
Prepare for it the right way, and you too can join us! 🙌