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The most interesting people are the ones who get in early and stick with it, growing along with the company

It’s pretty rare for this to actually happen in my experience. Generally an early engineer will grow and be ready to take up the role of VP Engineering or even CTO and instead the VC’s will parachute in one of their cronies once the hard work has already been done.

Completely agree. The issue I see is that at that higher levels, opex is more important for success than familiarity with the specific science. So the people who "grew-up" with the company, who would have detailed understanding of the science, would not necessarily have opex skills commensurate with the requirements the larger organization now requires.

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