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From your post, it sounds like you value:

1) Safety and predictability in compensation

2) Ownership over your company’s strategy (e.g. mobile) only if you’re paid highly for doing it (not a bad thing, but many other people exist who would willingly take a pay cut for the ability to have an actual impact on company strategy)

3) A highly organized and logical hiring process and qualification evaluation

4) Custom negotiated options contract outside of industry norms OR BigCo stock that has value today

5) 5 weeks of paid vacation

It definitely sounds like you made the correct decision by choosing BigCo over startup.




I think the point is more that startups are really overestimating what they're offering, or hoping their employees are too stupid to realize the disparity. So far as I can tell the only thing most startups offer anymore is ownership, lack of large company culture/bureaucracy, and more opportunities to switch roles.

Equity is basically always monopoly, you generally can't even evaluate its value because no one will show you the cap table. Highly profitable startups still regularly manage to deliver a pittance to early employees on exit. Even if the exit does deliver oftentimes the yearly compensations disparity is so large that if they'd just stayed at BigCo and invested the bulk of their earnings they would have earned as much or more. This is all while working significantly more hours per year.

The list of upsides is really small relative to the risk. If startups want talent the industry norms are going to have to change.


I've always thought that the shitty startup practices when it comes to equity is due to insufficient competition for talent. Looks like this is about to change, since startups now obviously struggle to get the best people.

Not showing the relevant details of the cap table is ridiculous, companies that do this are banking on a pool of candidates that are either morons or don't care what they're paid.

Imagine the following situation: You're in a foreign market, and a vendor tries to sell you a fancy-looking machine. You know he's legally bound not to lie, so you ask what the machine is worth. He says "it's worth 2 billion Magic Moneys!!" but refuses to give you any information that would help you suss out whether that's 20 cents or 20 million dollars.


From your comment, it sounds like maybe you're one of the founders I was talking about.

1) Fair compensation, yes.

2) It's unfair to ask someone to have the responsibility for the success of a huge part of your business without making sure they have significant upside if they succeed.

3) Yes, I want a logical hiring process. The horror.

4) Fair. Not "custom negotiated", just fair. The fact that the industry norm is to fuck over your employees should fill you with shame, not be an excuse you hide behind to do the same thing.

5) I doubt I'll take that much, but I like that the company understands that they'll get the best work from employees who are taking care of themselves and their families.

If you're representative of a typical NYC founder, then yes, I'm glad I didn't join a startup.


> 4) Custom negotiated options contract outside of industry norms OR BigCo stock that has value today

The norm is changing. Good startups today generally offer 5-10y exercise windows. [1] This is something Triplebyte started, and they have a guide for how to implement it. [2]

[1] https://github.com/holman/extended-exercise-windows

[2] https://triplebyte.com/blog/extending-stock-option-exercise-...


> Custom negotiated options contract outside of industry norms

I think you mean the GP wants options within industry norms, which are outside of a failing startup's shoestring budget. On a separate note, what are your thoughts on the glassdoor ratings of Localize?

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Localize-Reviews-E1427641....


So your startup's hiring pool is people who hate safety, vacation, favorable contract terms, and logical processes, but love taking on extra responsibility for no pay? Seems like a small pool, and explains why hiring is so hard these days.




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