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I started my career at SAP. Although I feel like I'm behind the "startup curve" because I spent 4 years there, the lessons I learned about managing teams and understanding complexities in a large company are absolutely priceless. I don't believe it was a mistake whatsoever. You and I are probably being too pedantic, but I agree, it was a poor choice of words.

Lately, I've noticed a meme from investors about discerning founders who can start companies and those that can grow beyond 250+ employees. The generally consensus is that there are very few entrepreneurs (Zuck for example being one of them) who possess the capability to scale. I'm not talking about scaling servers, I'm talking about scaling organizations as quickly as their revenues grow. Looking at it through the lens of an external person, this may seem trivial at first, but having been in the professional world for 8+ years now, there are some key challenges all companies hit when they hit certain growth (for example, hitting 50 and 250 employee milestones). Working for a big company can (notice I didn't say will) prepare you for that.




By and large, I suspect the only Internet companies that would ever need to exceed Dunbar's number[1] are those that have to implement advertising and sales functions. What is the largest subscription-based or one-time-purchase site?

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number


> have to implement sales functions

So, pretty much any business? There are so few companies out there, especially venture backed ones, that the employee headcount hasn't scaled with the growth. We just hear of the Instagram/WhatsApp acquisitions with low head count so often here in the echo chamber that we assume it's norm. To take that further, how many companies are at FB/SalesForce/WorkDay/Twitter-level that don't have over 500 employees (much less 1,000s)? I can only think of very few - 37signals, Valve, etc?

My larger point - VCs in SV want to fund billion dollar businesses and founders who can create billion dollar businesses. These billion dollar businesses need large amounts of headcount and a CEO who can take them there.


Don't you.. just hire experienced folks in for specific roles to help scale? Mark hired Sheryl Sandberg. Perhaps the best skill is knowing how to delegate.




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