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The grandparent comment gives my definition of the difference between a startup and a company:

Startup: "...pre-revenue cash burning startup."

Business/company: "...solid profits, plenty of users..."

By this definition, most YC companies would be startups while 37signals/Fog Creek/Google would be companies. Incidentally, Facebook is still a startup by this definition, despite its size.

So like you say, the startup has to do whatever possible, because as I say, they're on borrowed time. They onus is on them to demonstrate that their idea and execution is accepted by the market ("Make something people want"). In a business with customers, profits, etc, they've done that and it's just a matter or managing what has been created. When you get to that point (especially when hiring non-founders), you have room to be flexible.

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