Matt Straz just wrote a short and succinct post on Mediapost's Online Spin, giving 6 reasons why you *shouldn't* join a startup. In short, the idea is that you should do it for the right reasons, as opposed to:
- You probably won't get rich
- The odds are against you
- You will work really hard
- Things could get ugly
- You may have to buy your own drinks
- Someone has to work at the big companies
One comment by Kurt Ohare adds 4 more:
- Don't join unless you are passionate about the product
- Don't expect a normal work-life
- (paraphrasing) if you're not a self-starter, then this isn't for you i.e. if you like delegation, micromanagement and being spoon fed like a good employee (I might have taken a few more liberties there)
- (paraphrasing) don't join unless you're prepared to put skin in the game...which can translate into reduction of salary, investment of time and/or $$$
Matt is a former agency guy. And he's also (according to his bio) someone who has recently exited a startup i.e. he's been around the block at least one time.
I love the article based on the fact there is no doubt a mixture of his own biases, preconceptions, wisdom, experience and perhaps even neuroses built into the perspective.
Madison Avenue agencies are going to continue to lose talent to Startup Nation...and where they are able to entice those on the other end of the coast to defect from the Valley to the Avenue, this will be shortlived.
I guess Matt is giving fair warning that the grass is not always greener on the other side, especially if reasoning, rationale and/or motivations are suspect.
Personally, Every single reason is exactly why I think people should join startups, led by these simple assertions:
With technology today, anything...and I mean, anything is possible.
Now is the time to dream it...and to do it (as Walt would have once said).
Innovation is no longer a nice-to-have, but a strategic imperative and necessity
We are living through unprecedented times, where economic, social, cultural and creative disruption and upheaval are fastly becoming the new normal...the new status quo.
As Bill Bernbach once said, safe advertising is the riskiest advertising of all and I think people are going to be faced with a multitude of push and pull drivers which will absolutely affect how they choose to spend - or invest their professional lives.
Here's what I would leave you with:
- What legacy will you leave behind?
- How are you making a difference?
- How will you change the world...for the better?
- How sure are you that your loyalty in your company will be rewarded with a gold Rolex versus a pink slip?
- There's a saying that goes, "No one ever said on their deathbed, I should have spent more time in the office." Says who?
Matt - thank you for writing your article. I think the spirit is captured in the first and last paragraphs:
- America is a startup nation
- A startup is an incredible opportunity to make a significant contribution
...but it is not for everyone. And the last thing we need right now is for more "noise" versus "signal".
It's time to make America great again. And it's time to make the world great again. That's never going to happen sitting buried in a cubicle, thinking "If only...."