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Joining a Startup

Working for a startup is the most exhilarating, rewarding and potentially profitable experience available in the modern business world. But remember, there are no sure bets and you should choose your bet wisely.

Qualify the opportunity

  • Understand that compensation structures for startups are different than established companies. Don’t go in with unreasonable expectations.
  • You need to truly value equity. Stock options are generally a big part of an entrepreneurial compensation package. If you don’t believe in the value of those options, it is generally not the right opportunity for you.
  • Focus on startups that are tackling an acute problem in a huge industry and are well capitalized with great investors who have built or operated businesses before.
  • Don’t waste your time on a startup that is unlikely to survive.

Embrace ambiguity

  • Starting a company, building an industry and changing the world is not for the feint of heart. You’ll be making fresh tracks every day.
  • Avoid analysis paralysis. There is only so much you can know – we got to the moon by launching in the right direction and mid-course correcting all along the way.
  • Learn from your mistakes and don’t ever be afraid to keep trying.

Choose to work with good people

  • Find colleagues who share your passion and energy. Growing a company is hard enough without getting in each other’s way.
  • Work for someone you respect and admire and from whom you can learn – not someone you think you will quickly eclipse.

Prepare to work hard and learn a lot

  • Be prepared to work really hard—startups are about lots of work, long hours and unpredictable schedules.
  • There’s no work substitute for having worked at a startup that was successful – you’ll learn a ton, have a blast and have built your resume by leaps and bounds regardless of your level.