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Just to play devil's advocate - as a founder, I've both made money and lost money. Some of my ventures were self-funded to failure and I had to write off hundreds of thousands of dollars. I repeatedly remind my family that my worst case is not a year of unemployment with zero income but rather a year of business failure with a painful amount of red ink. One or two experiences like that and you become very aware of the line between people willing to risk their time and money vs. people only willing to risk their time. If you really want to make the leap from employee to co-founder, you can probably do it - but need to bring money to the table or at least offer to work for much less than market (or even zero) in salary, which good founders will typically respect and overvalue since it reflects extreme personal commitment to them and/or the business.



> line between people willing to risk their time and money vs. people only willing to risk their time

But when people take equity instead of compensation at BigCo, they are quite literally risking money + time.


If I'm not being paid market rate, I am being given equity, and I'm expected to work the typical startup bullshit hours, then there is absolutely no way you can say I'm not risking both money and time.


Exactly that. Your additional time is money invested in the company.


Interestingly, one person's time can be worth more than another person's money. For founders, this is sometimes factored in, but usually not for employees, even when they take a reduced salary. At best, if you are taking a 100k job for 50k, you are, in the eyes of most founders, only investing 50k in the company. But if you are putting in beyond 2k hours that year, anything beyond that is an investment and can be worth far more than the extra time put in by founders themselves. Such invested time is usually completely unrewarded, it's assumed to be "factored in".


> But if you are putting in beyond 2k hours that year, anything beyond that is an investment and can be worth far more than the extra time put in by founders themselves

It's not just the time, but the experience and skill of one person can be immensely more valuable than someone else's experience and skill.


> Such invested time is usually completely unrewarded, it's assumed to be "factored in".

i.e. "completely ignored".




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