I'm a graduating college senior, and I've accepted a job at a very big company in the tech industry. Right now, it makes the most financial sense for me to join a big company and pay off my debt quickly, but at some point in the future I'd love to scratch that entrepreneurial itch and apply to YC.
How do I maximize my time at a big company to gain relevant skills to keep the possibility of a startup open in the future?
Also don't get sucked into living an expensive lifestyle when you get that high-paying job--this has killed many people's once-promising futures.
To me cooking your own food seems like a penny-wise, pound foolish thing. Of course eating out healthily multiple times a day gets insanely expensive, so that's not really an option either. That's why I'm a big advocate of soylent.
My wife and I spend maybe 3-4 hours/week on cooking, but the key is that it's usually all batched up on Sunday (and maybe Wednesday) nights, so it doesn't interfere with work during the week. On weekdays, it takes 2 minutes to pop a tupperware into the microwave and dump it onto a plate. That's actually a lot faster than ordering Munchery or preparing Blue Apron.
I don't remember the conclusion, but after I reminded him that female attention would likely drop off in proportion to bad breath, he decided against testing the idea.
Seriously man, it's food. We all have to eat, what is so important that you can't give up a couple hours a week towards cooking good food and leisurely eating it. Your entire life doesn't have to revolve around the almighty Opportunity Cost.
However, for someone in the tech industry the opportunity cost of not investing
in themselves (i.e. coding, reading about code, meeting people, etc)
for the same amount of time they are cooking (grocery shopping, food prep, cooking,
cleaning, etc) usually isn't worth it.
One pleasant side effect of the "blandness" is that it has made me really enjoy the meals that I do eat. I've noticed that the flavors pop a lot more. So now I have the best of both worlds.
Car second: if you get an old car then the repairs + depreciation can be ~$500 / yr.
Services third: look at your most expensive purchases (Are there things that could be bought cheaper?) and your monthly bills (Do I need Netflix and Comcast cable? Do I need Costco and Amazon Prime? Do I need that EC2 instance? Do I need the deluxe laundry service?).
Food fourth: budget $5-$20 / day, leverage free food from your employer if possible.
If you have very low interest student loans, pay them off at the minimum rate and save the cash - you will need it to launch the startup. And if then your startup makes you poor, you can usually do income adjusted deferment on remaining loans.
Four years later, I'm incredibly glad I didn't do it. I'm convinced I would have made bad technical decisions and doomed the company. I'm not a perfect software engineer now, but I'm worlds better than I was. Writing and deploying software on someone else's dime has given me invaluable experience, and I'm certain it's prepared me to be successful in my own company some day soon.
While at a big company, I'd still encourage you to work on side projects and see where they go. Doing that will give you even more experience in building an MVP.