Startups are highly attractive workplaces for some of us, but according to Dharmesh Shah, there is much more to ask when considering joining one:
Nowhere else will you get the diverse set of experiences and visibility that you can get in an early-stage startup (whether your own or someone else’s). If you’re not going to be benefit from this (or are not passionate about it), you’re missing out on one of the biggest components of value.
I have worked with small companies before, and in many of those I could point to the founders as the source of the spirit of the company: values, dedication, limits, ethical behavior etc. And, not surprisingly, the quality of the experience was related to those values and practices, not to the originality of the idea or market dominance of the product.
Nowadays, although working for a startup continues to be a goal, I have a set of questions to ask, and a more critical attitude towards the human component: leadership is going to be exerted by all of us, and we all are going to be responsible for whatever hits the streets and markets.
This is one of these ancient economy ideas, rediscovered once again (as Fortune sees them):
“How do you think about building shareholder value when a lot of people are really just going to hold the share for the moment?” says Jim Collins, a former Stanford Business School professor and the author of “Good to Great” and “Built to Last.” “The idea of maximizing shareholder value is a strange idea when [many shareholders] are really share flippers. That’s a real change. That does make the notion of building a great company more difficult.”
Of all these rules, the one that I would consider the most important is admire my soul, the acknowledgement that there exists a corporate ethics and mission towards the society at large, and that all these diseconomies must be incorporated into the examination of everyday policy and business planning. It is not enough to hope for “not being evil”, but it is necessary to examine behavior when the company collaborates with a totalitarian regime in order to reap some material benefits.
We come full circle, and become aware, one more, that the product or service we sell is a reflection on our values and attitudes.