No one — with the possible exception of finance experts — looks at their equity package and thinks, “Yep, makes sense.”
To help clarify, we’ve put together a short glossary of terms you’re likely to see in your offer, along with literal — and more practical — definitions.
You thought you were getting that fat 0.1% equity stake the moment you signed? Think again, friend. You’re going to receive it piecemeal, on a regular schedule referred to as a “vesting schedule.” Think of it as your company’s layaway plan for paying out your equity grant.
Literal Definition: You will receive a fraction of your equity package each month, and if you’re still working there in four years, you will have your entire package. …
One of Angela Byron’s first pieces of code, typed on a VIC-20, was a BASIC program that turned a red box blue. From that color-changing square, she would go onto to become a Google–O’Reilly Open Source Award recipient, the first woman ever featured on the cover of Linux Journal, a core contributor to Drupal, and the co-author of an O’Reilly book. She would not, however, get there via the most traditional path.
As a teenager, Byron wasn’t taking college CS courses or studying math textbooks for fun. She was hanging out on a message board run by Chainsaw Records, a Queercore record label from Portland. Byron taught herself Perl, PHP, and MySQL hacking together new features for the community. After graduating high school, she forewent pursuing a CS degree to move to Canada with her girlfriend, where Byron worked a series of jobs, including a stint running IT for multiple Canadian provincial governments. …
In 2014, mobile security startup Good Technology was valued at $1.1 billion. Employees thought their equity packages were winning lottery tickets. They were wrong.
One year later, Good sold for $425 million. Employee share prices tumbled from $4.32 a share to $0.44. While executives made millions, employees — some of whom paid $100,000+ in taxes on their equity — made next to nothing.
Good Technology’s situation isn’t uncommon. Like so many startups, it had investors and board members whose equity was protected by high liquidation preference — a guarantee that they get paid first and at least a certain amount when the company sells. …
It feels like the rise of remote works has been a top conversation in tech for years, but despite the enthusiasm and attention it receives, we’ve yet to turn the corner on making remote work a norm.
AngelList Founder Naval Ravikant, however, says he thinks remote work’s time is coming. “It is probably going to be the single most important new category in hiring,” he says.
When pressed further, he offered the following thoughts:
“Nothing is going to replace in-person, human warmth and communication. When two humans are in a room next to each other, they communicate at a much higher bandwidth through all kinds of subtle, physical signals than they do over video. And even that’s much greater than over audio. …
The beginning of your career is one of the hardest parts to navigate. By default, you’re at a disadvantage. You probably have little-to-no professional experience, you don’t know how to evaluate which company will be best for your career, and you likely don’t have much of a network to lean on.
At the same time, your first job — especially in tech — can have an outsized impact on the rest of your career.
“I’m reminded of a famous example with Facebook. Adam D’Angelo was CTO,” says AngelList Founder Naval Ravikant. “Here you have (someone in their early 20s) managing 30-year-old engineers. Some of that is accredited to Zuck for just recognising genius and promoting him up. And some of this is, it’s just like that at startups. …
In 2018, there were roughly 30% more full-stack engineering roles posted to AngelList than there were front-end or back-end positions. To many in the engineering community, this is a bad thing.
Over the last 10 years, think piece after think piece has been published questioning the legitimacy of full-stack engineering roles. The criticism can be bucketed into two claims:
One of the most universal experiences among engineers, it seems, is stepping into your first job and thinking, “I have no idea how to do this.”
For how rigorous and challenging computer science programs are, there will always be bits and pieces (and sometimes entire skillsets) of real-world software engineering that school doesn’t teach you. Whether your first job offers the training and mentorship to help you fill in the gaps, or you have to teach yourself on nights and weekends, the panic and hustle to catch up is real.
Because commiserating can sometimes be fun and informative, we interviewed a handful of engineers with CS degrees about what school didn’t prepare them for. …
Evaluating a startup is inherently difficult.
You’re trying to evaluate the company while still impressing your interviewers, and that balance can be tricky. At the same time, candidates have a tendency to make this process harder than it needs to be by being uncertain of what they actually want out of a company.
Understanding what you want out of a new job is prerequisite to joining the right startup. Before you apply for any new jobs, you need to figure out what your top priority in a new role is. For most candidates, this will be one of three things:
Engineering take-home tests are a controversial thing. While some employers swear by them, just as many engineers believe they are disrespectful, lazy, and flat out refuse to proceed with interviews that include them.
The truth is: Take-home interviews are awesome, but they’re really easy for startups to get disastrously wrong.
A good take-home offers several advantages over other testing methods:
Unfortunately, hiring managers often give out take-home projects that take days to complete, have no relation to the work an engineer will be doing at the company, and stress a potential engineer more than an algorithmic interview would. …
“Were you aware of the open-source software program at Facebook?”
That was the question James Pearce, former head of Facebook’s open source program, asked engineers when studying why they joined the company. According to Pearce’s presentation at O’Reilly’s Open Source Convention, not only were two-thirds of Facebook’s engineers aware of the open-source program before they joined the company, but half of the engineers said it “positively contributed to their decision to work for” Facebook.
Facebook isn’t alone in this arena. Open sourcing code, regardless of company size, is one of the best ways to recruit top engineers. We analyzed the 30 most-applied-to U.S. …