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Why Choose A Startup?

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What are the major differences between startups and established companies and why should you choose to work at one vs. the other. …

What are the major differences between startups and established companies and why should you choose to work at one vs. the other.

Rand Fishkin's presentation from CodeFellows Seattle, Jan. 16, 2013


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  • 1. Why Choose a Startup?(and tips for how to get in if you do) http://bit.ly/whychooseastartup Rand Fishkin | @randfish | moz.com/rand
  • 2. 4 Dangerous Myths About Startup Jobs
  • 3. #1: Startups Do Not Compress Your Wealth Horizon “If a fairly good hacker is worth $80,000 a year at a big company, then a smart hacker working very hard without any corporate bullshit to slow him down should be able to do work worth about $3 million a year.” “For example, one way to make a million dollars would be to work for the Post Office your whole life, and save every penny of your salary. Imagine the stress of working for the Post Office for fifty years. In a startup you compress all this stress into three or four years.”http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html
  • 4. #1: Startups Do Not Compress Your Wealth Horizon “If a fairly good hacker is worth $80,000 a year at a big company, then a smart hacker working very hard without any corporate bullshit to slow him down should be able to do work worth about $3 million a year.” “For example, one way to make a million dollars would be to work for the Post Office your whole life, and save every penny of your salary. Imagine the stress of working for the Post Office for fifty years. In a startup you compress all this stress into three or four years.”http://www.paulgraham.com/wealth.html
  • 5. #2: Startups Are Always 80+ Hour Weekshttp://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2007-05-19/
  • 6. #3: At Least You’ll Always Love What You Dohttp://poorlydrawnlines.com/comic/startup-ideas/
  • 7. #4: The Culture/Environment is Always Betterhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/8191317327/
  • 8. 3 Powerful Truths About Startup Jobs
  • 9. #1: Less Red Tape, Fewer Politics, More GSD
  • 10. #2: Your Career Can Leapfrog Intermediate Roles
  • 11. #3: The Impact of Your Efforts Will Be Far More Visiblehttp://themetapicture.com/if-my-thoughts-were-visible/
  • 12. Startups vs.Established Companies
  • 13. Structured vs. Unstructured At an established company, your At a startup, your tasks andwork/role is likely to fit a relatively responsibilities will change regularly, and stable pattern progress will feel more like a scatterplot
  • 14. Big Team vs. Small Teamhttp://37signals.com/svn/posts/995-if-youre-working-in-a-big-group-youre-fighting-human-nature
  • 15. Repeatable Model vs. Discoverable Model Startups find themselves with lots of falseEstablished companies usually have a “eureka” moments, followed by periods ofrepeatable model for income/growth fast change to find a repeatable model.
  • 16. Risk vs. Reward Established companies are often Startups are perceived to have perceived to have less risk. This is tremendous risk, but startup true in some areas, e.g. benefits, founders and high-skill-demandhigher comp, cash balance, etc, but employees (e.g. engineers, has some big holes, too, e.g. designers, marketers, product folks) obsolescence of skills, layoff risk, usually don’t have a difficult time negative associations, etc. finding new roles.
  • 17. 5 Tips forEarning a Startup Job
  • 18. #1: Research the Company, Product, & MarketFrom the SEOmoz Facebook page and Rand’s personal blog
  • 19. CAVEAT: Be Careful About External Sources Whole Bunches of Wrong Info
  • 20. #2: Show That You Are Metrics Driven http://followerwonk.comhttp://gmailmeter.com
  • 21. How Obsessed With Metrics? VERY!!
  • 22. #3: Be A Culture Fit BEFORE You Ever Interview Even if you don’t know people there, you know people who know them!http://linkedin.com
  • 23. #4: Creative Resumes & Messages WORKhttp://www.behance.net/gallery/Facebook-New-Look-Concept/6504647
  • 24. #5:Turned Down? Do The Work Anyway*. * Only do this if you’re confident that the culture/personality fit was excellent. Otherwise, it gets creepy and weird. No one likes creepy and weird.
  • 25. Why Choose a Startup? (and tips for how to get in if you do)http://bit.ly/whychooseastartup Rand Fishkin | @randfish | moz.com/rand