|I have the opposite opinion of pretty much everyone I know. Could it be that I’m right and everyone else is wrong? Probably not. What am I missing?|
I’m 30. I’m an engineer who has solid hardware design and low-level software skills. I’ve dabbled in higher level stuff (ML, FV, distributed systems) in my spare time, but I don’t have real expertise in those areas and I’ve never touched mobile or web. I don’t manage and don’t want to.
In order of importance, my priorities are having smart and curious co-workers, working on interesting problems, and having a good work/life balance (for me, that means working roughly 40 hours a week). I’d also like to be able to retire at some point.
Problem-wise, a higher proportion of startups have interesting work, but, I only need one job, so that’s a wash.
People at most startups work very long hours. In my experience, when doing creative work (and I wouldn’t want to do any other kind), working longer hours is counterproductive. Big companies 1, startups 0.
My total compensation is currently ~$165k in an area with a low cost of living. CNN’s COL calc says that’s ~$290k in startup-land (SF). Big companies offer me what I’m making + 20% or so. Virtually every startup I’ve talked to won’t go above $120k-$140k, and a typical equity offer is .1%. 1% is unusually high.
For a lower bound, say I’m foregoing $100k/yr in compensation by going to a startup. With .1% equity, no dilution, and assuming the salary differential wouldn’t increase, breakeven is $100M/yr. More realistically, with 5x dilution, that’s $500M a year. What are the odds of getting an exist like that? Surely < 50%. Big companies 2, startups 0.
The equation drastically if I’m doing my own startup, but that’s not the question I’m asking here.
Sorry for the clipped diction; max length = 2k chars and my original was ~3k, so I cut a lot of the $ calculation, among other things.