Become a Startup Employee from a Big Company


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Become a Startup Employee from a Big Company

  1. 1. TALK: ! Becoming a STARTUP EMPLOYEE! ! Transitioning from BigCo!Speaker! Bryan Starbuck! Bryan <at>! CEO & Co-Founder –!! - Former CEO of TalentSpring (Acquired 2010)! We are an online learning and rewards system gives teens - Former Engineering Manager! opportunities to earn extra spending money from parents for Linked-In:! doing regular chores and accomplishing learning goal.! ! Video on:!
  2. 2. Visualize a Common “Early Stage” Startup! This visualizes the common roles in an early stage startup.! 3 Person Startup! 4 Person Startup! 1 CEO! 1 CEO! 2 Developers (Maybe one is a designer)! 2 Developers (Maybe one is a designer)! 1 Designer or another developer! ! ! Contactors: Graphic Design, Accounting, Legal! Contactors: Accounting, Legal! 5 Person Startup! 6 Person Startup! 1 CEO! 1 CEO! 2 Developers (Maybe one is a designer)! 3 Developers (Maybe one is a designer)! 1 Designer or another developer! 1 Designer or sales or biz dev! 1 Marketing person! 1 Marketing person! Normally few or no “Program Managers”. !Slide 2! Confidential 2012!
  3. 3. Software Developers!Slide 3! Confidential 2012!
  4. 4. Developers! ! Make a huge decision for your career:! ! .NET vs Open Stack! ! Envision the stack you want to be using in 8 years from now. Invest towards that stack! ! Open Stack is still important for .NET developers! ! The “WebApp” may be .NET, but it will often be surrounded by open stack components! ! Example: WordPress for blog, Drupal for marketing site, GIT for revision control, SOLR for full text search on the site, vTiger for CRM internally, AWS, MemCache, jQuery for UI, etc.! ! The learning involved is significant – but great for your career and the success of your company! ! I’d recommend focusing your career to focus on a WebApp language and mobile language.! ! Ruby on Rails & iPhone, or .NET and Android, or Python! ! You can probably hop from company to company based on the language they use, for the first several years!Slide 4! Confidential 2012!
  5. 5. iOS or Android Developers! ! Breaking into a startup job may be harder than you imagine! ! There currently is a huge demand for iOS and Android Developers! ! A great strategy is to learn iOS OR Android! ! This gives you a big advantage to get into a company! ! Don’t learn both iOS AND Android in the beginning. It is better to be great at one plus one WebApp language (Ruby, Python, Node, etc.)! ! The company will want an iOS developer who also knows their WebApp language. The iOS developer will end up coding on the WebApp (which includes the backend) in order to deliver data to the iOS app!Slide 5! Confidential 2012!
  6. 6. .NET vs other WebApp Languages! ! .NET/C# can be a fine language to plan your career around for the WebApp Language! ! The below stats are in the Bay Area startups (Y-Combinator specifically)! ! Seattle .NET/C# Startups are more common than in the Bay Area!Slide 6! Confidential 2012!
  7. 7. Program Managers! ~= “Product Manager” in Startups!Slide 7! Confidential 2012!
  8. 8. Program Manager vs “Product Manger”! ! They are not exactly the same thing! ! At Microsoft, a “Product Manager” is in marketing. These kinds of marketing positions are called “Product Marketing” outside of Microsoft! ! Startups often reach 15+ employees before they hire a product manager! ! Seattle has some companies that clone Microsoft. They have Microsoft style program managers: Expedia, Zillow, Redfin, etc.! Microsoft
 Product Manager! Program Manager! ! Work heavily with the sales team! Common! ! Be on sales calls! ! Product Specs! ! Create slide decks for sales teams! ! Cross product-line ! Work on closing big sales! coordination! ! Often UX designing! ! Big company coordination! ! Work with engineers! ! Need to diagnose problems on why sales are not closing! ! Can hire entry level positions! ! Manage up to management team! ! Work more heavily with marketing teams! ! Think strategically! ! Often create Product Marketing deliverables! ! Often hire very few per company 
 and only VERY SENIOR people!Slide 8! Confidential 2012!
  9. 9. Transitioning for Program Managers! ! Considering adjusting to one of these focused areas can open up many more opportunities! ! For example: UX Designers are exceptionally hard to find. They can be a great way to get into startups! Product Managers! Often at B2B Startups! UX Designer! and Graphic Design could be 
 out-sourced off-shore! Microsoft! Program Manager! “Hustler”! Early stage person for business tasks, which often includes getting sales or biz dev deals closed! Online Marketing! This is a very specific part of marketing that 
 is critical for growing B2C startups!Slide 9! Confidential 2012!
  10. 10. Other Job Types!Slide 10! Confidential 2012!
  11. 11. Software Test Engineers! ! Medium sized companies can hire people for a testing department. Very rare in less than 10 person companies! ! Testing is far more automated. Startups have to automate. ! ! Open source testing automation tools are amazing! ! Selenium, Jmeter, Waitr, Load UI, Cucumber, Concordion, Fitnesse, Sahi, Cruise Control, Hudson, etc.! ! Big startups or medium sized companies often can hire Software Test Engineers! ! New Open Stack development frameworks build the tests next to the product code. ! ! So often product software engineers write tests! ! Otherwise the test engineer is often writing test code in the same product source tree! ! Software Test Engineers may also want to look at these professions when increasing the range of opportunities:! ! “DevOps” (cross between coding and SysAdmin), Technical Online Marketing!Slide 11! Confidential 2012!
  12. 12. DevOps: Development Operations! ! This is a new position! ! It is becoming popular because of cloud computing! ! Cloud computing means most IT jobs are going away in a company to support the product! ! Companies now want a “DevOps” person instead of an IT person. ! ! ! IT people spent too much time managing hardware. Hardware is now in the cloud! ! DevOps need to be:! ! Handling all code issues between the product and the Cloud platform! ! The software engineers want to offload the work! ! They don’t want an IT person. They want the DevOps person who can code!Slide 12! Confidential 2012!
  13. 13. B2C Online Marketing! ! Online marketing is a hard to find skill! ! It is also VERY technical and can be a place to thrive for technical people! ! It is not like old-school “Mad men” marketing! Traditional Marketing! B2C Online Marketing! ! SEO algorithms! ! Arbitrage PPC keyword buys! ! Science of measuring conversion rate & metrics! ! Creative ads for TV! ! Work towards 100% measurable! ! Can’t measure ROI! ! Buying 100,000 keywords and optimize with ! Try creative ideas. Results often unknown and not tools and automation scripts! fully measured! ! Viral marketing equation!Slide 13! Confidential 2012!
  14. 14. Getting a 
 Startup Job!Slide 14! Confidential 2012!
  15. 15. Getting a Startup Job! ! Do you want an “Early Stage” startup (near founding stage) or a stable mature startup?! ! This is an important decision! ! ! For All Startups:! ! Apply to company job openings! ! Enter resume into Monster and CareerBuilder! ! Make a great Linked-In profile! ! Network at Seattle networking events:! ! For Early Stage Startups:! ! Go to and similar match-up services! ! Network at Seattle Networking events!Slide 15! Confidential 2012!
  16. 16. Salary! ! VC funded companies and profitable companies tend to give “Market Rate” salaries! ! Market Rate is for startup companies, it doesn’t mean it matches BigCo salaries! ! You need to find value in the stock ! ! VC funded software engineers are often $80k to $120k, and sometimes $140k! ! Early Stage:! ! Lower salary than VC funded companies! ! You need to find value in the stock! ! Software Engineer salaries stay high for startups because they are critical and rare! ! All other job titles have more pressure for lower salaries!Slide 16! Confidential 2012!
  17. 17. Microsoft level 68 Salaries! ! Microsoft offers incredible salaries for level ~68! ! These salaries are unique and almost never occur outside of Microsoft! ! Staying at Microsoft and often be 
 the best solution! ! Startups (Early-stage or late stage) 
 almost never can match the salary!Slide 17! Confidential 2012!
  18. 18. Don’t ask for 150% of the company in Stock! The following scenario happens with some BigCo employees:! “My salary at BigCo is $190k per year. At a $80k salary for 3 years, I need it made up in stock.! ! That is $110k per year.”! “The company at the very early days is valued at $500k”! “That means you own 66% of the company”. And I’m going to hire 3 people like you.! “I need to guarantee I make money, even given the company is sold only for $10 million. I need to make sure I get my cash back from my reduction in BigCo salary”! “I need to ensure that, even with only a 5% chance the company is acquired.! “Given that we need to raise capital ($1.5m at $2.5m pre and then $5m at 7m pre), means you own 240% of the company’s non-investor shares”. And I need to hire 3 people like you!Slide 18! Confidential 2012!
  19. 19. Stock Ownership! ! Focus on only joining a startup that can reach $300 million in revenue or higher! ! This is why Google, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay and other employees are well off! ! Here is a SECRET:! ! Startup employees make less ON AVERAGE than BigCo employees who are great savers and 401k investors! ! Startup founders make less ON AVERAGE than BigCo employees who are great savers and 401k investors! ! You MUST join a startup for the love of the freedom to create companies from the ground up. And for removing the friction that comes in big companies.! ! Join for the LOVE of the work. And only join startups that can reach a HUGE market size! ! Do the stock calculations because your business model can reach $300 million in revenue. Don’t join startups that aren’t going after a $300 million+ market opportunity.!Slide 19! Confidential 2012!
  20. 20. Questions on Stock Options! ! How many TOTAL outstanding shares are there?! ! If they won’t answer this, then worry.! ! I think there are integrity problems if they won’t answer. ! ! It often means they hire people who don’t understand. Your ownership is then approaching 0%.! ! If people VEST, do they keep their shares when they leave the company! ! Almost always yes (if I pay off the strike price)! ! A few companies take them back!Slide 20! Confidential 2012!
  21. 21. The Startup Mentality! The mentality at a startup is radically different than BigCo:! BigCo! Startup! Strengths and Focus:! Strengths and Focus:! ! Organizing big groups – for an advantage! ! Very focused -- Solve one problem very well! ! People specialize by job title! ! Very little overhead & politics! ! Huge support staff (finance, HR, admins, etc.)! ! Employees have to span several job titles! ! Have profitable existing products to fund new products! ! Little to no support! ! Time deadlines are artificial! ! Deadlines and results are do-or-die! ! Failure results in a “re-org”! ! Raising capital is needed! ! Career holdback is politics and visibility! ! Long-hours, incredible dedication, risk taking and no bureaucracy are a weapon against BigCo competitors! ! Successfully growing revenue equals survival!Slide 21! Confidential 2012!
  22. 22. Next Steps (1 of 2)! ! Get involved in the Seattle Startup Community:! ! Network Events:! ! Tip: Attend each event once. Then you will meet people across Seattle! ! The Eastside Incubator is great: (Across from MSFT main campus)! ! Attend at least 60% of events in SEATTLE instead of the Eastside! ! Too many people on the Eastside never plug into the main seattle startup community! ! Join Bryan Starbuck’s mailing list for “Learning and transitioning between Microsoft & Startups”:! ! Join STS mailing list:!Slide 22! Confidential 2012!
  23. 23. Next Steps (2 of 2)! ! Always be Learning:! ! Also focus on making sure to learn the best cutting edge techniques from Silicon Valley. Blogs are great for this.! ! Hacker News is a MUST READ every day:! ! Build a great list of blogs for learning! ! The Founders Institute is a great organization in Seattle. There is no reason NOT to join, if you are creating your own company!Slide 23! Confidential 2012!
  24. 24. Learning More!Slide 24! Confidential 2012!
  25. 25. More talks on MSFTees to Startups! Other available talks online:! Deciding on the Creating your own Startup! Development Stack! Video:! Video:! Slidedeck:! Slidedeck:!Slide 25! Confidential 2012!
  26. 26. Next Steps for Learning (1 of 3)! People often ask how to learn more. Here is the best way:! ABSOLUTE Must Read! Strategic Thinking or Execution! Venture Deals On Amazon! Innovator’s Dilemma On Amazon! By: Brad Feld! By: Clayton Christensen! ! ! ! Crossing the Chasm On Amazon! Art of the Start On Amazon! By: Geoffrey Moore! By: Guy Kawasaki! ! ! Blue Ocean Strategy On Amazon! ! By: W. Kim! ! ! The Lean Startup On Amazon! ! By: Eric Ries! Good to Great On Amazon! ! By: Jim Collins! ! Maverick On Amazon! Other! By: Ricardo Semier! ! ! The Ten-Day MBA On Amazon! The Four Steps to the Epiphany On Amazon! By: Steven Silbiger! By: Steven Blank! ! ! Founders at Work On Amazon! Inspiring Excellence On Amazon! By: Jessica Livingston! By: Michael Schutzler! ! ! ! ABSOLUTE Must Read!Slide 26! Confidential 2012!
  27. 27. Next Steps for Learning (2 of 3)! People often ask how to learn more. Here is the best way:! Marketing! Other! The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding On Amazon! Founders at Work On Amazon! By: Al Ries! By: Jessica Livingston! ! ! ! ! Full Frontal PR On Amazon! Startup Weekend On Amazon! By: Richard Laermer! By: Marc Nager! ! ! ! Positioning: The Battle for your Mind On Amazon! Don’t Make Me Think On Amazon! By: Jack Trout! By: Steve Krug! ! ! The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing On Amazon! ! By: John Hogan! ! ! Purple Cow On Amazon! By: Seth Godin! ! ! ABSOLUTE Must Read!Slide 27! Confidential 2012!
  28. 28. More Learning (3 of 3)! ! (My) Bryan Starbuck’s Blog on Company Building:! !! ! Dave McClure – Marketing Model for Startups: ! !! !! !! !! ! More from Dave McClure:! !! !! ! Presenting to Investors:! !! ! Strategic economics of SaaS! ! Startup Marketing:! ! 57 Things I’ve Learned Founding 3 Tech Startups:! ABSOLUTE Must Read!Slide 28! Confidential 2012!
  29. 29. THE END! Thanks for Listening!Slide 29! Confidential 2012!