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Looking for a cool job? Forget job boards, talk to angel investors (shazow.posterous.com)
88 points by shazow on July 21, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments



Yep. I've invested in 40 or so companies and many are hiring. Job boards are hard for early startups because the early employees are so formative that it really is about hiring exceptional people rather than filling headcount.


If they are "desperately hiring," why aren't they promoting the positions? Even mentioning them on their own websites? Putting the word out to recruitment agents etc. Just seems strange, that's all.


They do. Many institutional angel investors have their own job boards, especially since they hold dozens of companies in their portfolios:

http://www.ventureloop.com/foundersfund/ http://www.felicisvc.com/jobs.aspx

Smaller individual angel investors have more ad-hoc operations and haven't bothered with streamlining hiring for their investments. This may change.


Interesting links, thanks. Start-ups interest me, but given where I live, the development work is nearly always from new media agencies.


Like how angel investors prefer referrals; they may also prefer referring folks they know in their network.


I find a decent number of the companies that I cover (I write about companies that are hiring) by following investors. Their job is to be up on what's next. The only quibble that I have is that it may be tough to get an angel investor's attention. That doesn't mean that you can't follow them on Twitter, read their blog, and stalk them in myriad other ways.


If you're looking for a challenging engineering job, the Contagion Health team is truly awesome. They think big, and with Andrey you will learn a lot.


Aww shucks. Thanks shykes.


Out of curiosity, how did you pick the name? The word "contagion" gives me the chills and I imagine boils on my skin. Although now, imagining this, I'm motivated to exercise to keep myself in good health =)


Second this. Most of the VC backed and Seed funded startup CEO's I know are desperate for good engineers/developers/designers.

It's a good time now if you are in the job market.


I would say the only startup worth working on is your own.

Working at someone else's startup is a recipe for getting exploited - overworked and underpaid. And the worst thing about it is that it's all couched in an atmosphere of guilt trips and taking-it-for-the-team.

I'm sure there are exceptions. I just haven't seen any.

I'd rather work for The Man in my day job in a cold corporate environment where everything is explicit from the get-go, get well paid for it and crank out code for my own startup in my free time.


Here we go...

Most of the people I have seen writing (and upvoting) these kinds of comments have never worked for a startup, and they are bitter (for one reason or another). Or they have worked for a startup and it's failed.

Are you really trying to look out for the best interests of all those poor, mis-guided people working for all those cruel and single-minded startups, or are you trying to convince yourself that your own life decision to work "for The Man in [your] day job in a cold corporate environment" was the right one.

I spend A LOT of time with former startup employees. They are happy with their decisions. I say former because many of them have been a part of an exit, and are now working on their own companies...with some cash in their pockets, an impressive rolodex (of investors), and a good reputation because they were part of a winning team.

Most of the employees of early stage and recently funded companies that I know are happy to be where they are. They work late because they are passionate and enthusiastic and they like to win.

Keep putting them (and the startups that employ them) down. You're cause is really noble.


Isn't it a pretty big caveat to exclude people who've "worked for a startup and it's failed", given how large a proportion of startups fail? I mean, sure, if you only consider employees of startups that ended up with large exits, things look a lot rosier than if you look at the whole set of startup employees.


Yes, sorry.

I should have said: people who have never worked for a startup that has succeeded, or for a startup that has failed, but has provided a valuable enough experience to justify working there.


You're still selecting for those with favorable startup employment experiences, so the problem still stands: excluding them does not give an accurate picture of the typical result if bad experience is what's typical.


Now the question is: when a startup fails, how often does it turn out to be a valuable experience anyway?


The most valuable experiences out of it are a bit of humility and growing your personal network. That's why this kind of employment IMO only worth it in the beginning of your career.


i think the hands-on, general experience at a startup far outweighs the silo'd, specialized experience at a big company anyday


You're deep in tautology land. Of course people that had a good experience with startups had a good experience with startups.


I've read this complaint many times on HN, but my real world experience just doesn't match. All the employees from startups in our YC round, that I've met at parties, meetups and other events seem to be pretty amped about what they're working on.

Our engineers are free to work however many hours they choose; all I care about is that we get stuff done. My co-founder and I certainly put in long weeks, but I would be deeply concerned in any of our engineers put in as many hours as we do. In fact, I am constantly reminding our engineers that they need to maintain work/life balance because I don't want them to burn out. To put in another way, they volunteer to work long hours and I tell them to work less.

It doesn't makes sense to overwork engineers. Talent is hard to acquire in Silicon Valley, so I (and most other startup founders I've met) put effort into retaining it.

(By the way, we're hiring Ruby hackers, learn more at http://seeinginteractive.com/company/jobs/software-engineers...)


Completely agree. I totally think this is the right way to do it, and I really hope we can sustain that model. At the very least, it'll be awesome while it lasts. :)


No exploitation is necessary if it just so happens you have a common interest. There's a lot of people who want to do a startup but don't know how: How do you make deals? How do you raise money? How do you hire?

One way to learn is to go off and do it. The other is to join an early-enough startup that is still learning all these things and learn with them without the risks. When you're ready, go off and do your own thing.

The people you want to surround yourself with are the ones more interested in helping each other than exploiting each other. I honestly don't have much belief in the taking-it-for-the-team guilt trip approach. If the job is not in everyone's interest then it's time to re-work the incentives (equity?).


You won't necessarily be involved in that stuff though - you'll be off in a corner coding. You'll learn things, for sure, but things like raising money and doing deals will be 2nd hand. You might well be involved with hiring other people.


Demand they explain to you what your nominal value to the company is and also what your home-run value is. Then structure the base pay at the nominal and find an incentive scheme to scale up to the home run. Ask them to propose the structure, then ask questions about everything you don't understand. It things get testy, that's probably a bad sign. Finally, if you're not confident what they're saying is valid, take a couple of days and get good advice.


Wow, you're catching some flak for saying that. As someone who's actually worked for several startups, and was hire #3 (and now senior employee) at the one I work at now, I'd have to say I agree with you on this one, especially the first sentance. A lot of it is down to the - shall we say, "quirky" personalities and decision making process of the entrepeneurs running the place. A small, fast moving outfit like a startup is disproportionately affected by the actions of it's founders. If they decide that they're going to shoot from the hip and make it up as they go along - and invariably, they do - then as the person who actually has to make the product, you're going to be in for some serious misery. Larger companies, as much as they suck, tend to smooth out that kind of noise through sheer bulk alone.

Wether that is a good thing or not is largely a matter of taste, I suppose. But having worked for several startups now, I have to say I wouldn't do it again if I had a real choice


Paypal is a positive example of what can happen. The founders/execs became angels/VCs, and many of the 'exploited' employees got funded.


A person has to start somewhere though don't they? And why not begin your career at a start-up instead of a large corporation?




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