Guy Kawasaki has a blog post entitled The Top Sixteen Lies of CEOs which has the following item on the list

2. “It’s like a startup around here.” This could mean that the place lacks adult supervision; capital is running out; the product is behind schedule; investors have given up, and employees are paid below market rates. Sure, it could alternatively mean that the company is energized, entrepreneurial, making meaning, and kicking butt, but just be sure to double check.

One thing that amuses me at work is that every once in a while I see some internal team on a recruitment drive and one of the selling points is that "working for us is like working at a startup". The seems pretty amusing on the face of it given that most of the characteristics one associates with working at a startup are negative as Guy suggests. Paul Graham pointed out in his essay How to Make Wealth that the main attraction of working at a startup is that you can get really rich working at it. That makes getting underpaid, overworked and in constant fear of your competitors worth it at the end.

Unless your team can guarantee folks a huge chunk of change if your product is successful then working there is not like working at a startup. There are lots of ways to describe how cool your workplace is without resorting to the flawed comparison to working at a startup.   

Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006 4:41:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Thanks for just saying this. The similarities between life at Microsoft and at a startup are very superficial, but apparently most folks here have never been part of a startup and don't know that.
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