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I think it is a poor idea to put stock options in a startup at a high priority when job hunting because startup success is a long shot. It is a different situation for Facebook and other well established pre-IPO companies or older companies that have an established value to their stock (I stayed at SAIC for a long time because of stock bonuses, options, and the expectation that the value would continue to increase).

For small startups, it seems like you have founders who have taken a real risk vs. employees/consultants who are getting a salary and perhaps some equity. If you are working for hire, better really enjoy the work and/or the immediate compensation.

I have a childhood friend (actually, I also used to baby sit him when he was really young) who started 3 companies over a 20 year period, finally getting $300+ million when selling a large interest in his last company. My friend (and people like him) who take risks get most of the rewards - a fair system.

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