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Another point that should be brought up is to not overvalue yourself. I remember asking Justin (from JTV/exec/socialcam) in 2011 for some advice - I was working in the corporate world and was ready to make the jump to a startup. At the time I was an IT consultant and was looking for PM roles at Dropbox/Foursquare/insert hot startup here.

He gave some much needed but harsh feedback, essentially asking "Why should they hire you? <hot startup of the month> has their pick of the litter, why would they gamble on someone unproven?" I've never really been told to aim lower, but it made me think -- if you really want to work at a startup, you'll start somewhere and prove yourself. Justin used the example of Aram, who started out as an office manager for JustinTV and ended up founding ZeroCater. I now work in BD and haven't looked back.

Justin ended up writing a guest post for TechCrunch (I'd like to think partially inspired by me) here - http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/28/how-to-get-a-job-at-a-start...

Equally important is to not undervalue yourself. For a skilled engineer, moving from a publicly traded company to an early-stage startup is often a huge step backwards in many respects. If you want to take the plunge, great, but remember that proof of legitimacy goes both ways.

Isn't a reasonable answer to his question along the lines of "I am proven; I worked for X years on these Y projects". I'm not sure why so many startup people seem to think that non-startup experience is worthless. It limits the points of view and types of problem-solving experience you have available in your company if you're only willing to hire people who fit into a limited bucket like that.

Very good point - I should probably add in my story - I ended up not wanting to take an APM or AM role that would pay me 30%+ less and was a perceived gigantic step back in my career, so I was on the verge of taking a director of systems engineering role along the lines of what I was doing at the time but at the last minute a really awesome BD opportunity opened up at a friend's company and I took it.

My main point was just to be realistic about your opportunities

Similar logic when looking for a technical cofounder. Do you have a vision grand enough that you emanate that someone is willing to give up $150k to join you on your dream?

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