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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

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