Jonah Manning
Feb 26, 2015 · 3 min read

7 Common Misconceptions About Working with Venture Backed Startups

If you are like me, you love working with, working for, or even launching your own startup. It is sort of a DNA thing…or at least it resonates with you on a different level then the thought (or act) of working for a major company.

Given we work almost exclusively at this point, with building teams for venture-backed startups I thought I would put this list together for those of you considering working for a startup.

Misconceptions:

  1. It’s risky: Well sure it’s dangerous, but have you checked the layoff reports lately? Those ivory towers are pretty dangerous too.

2. You get to wear whatever you want: For the most part this is not a misconception. However, the reason you get to wear whatever you want is not because the startup doesn’t care it’s because they are working on paramount shit, and they do not care that you are wearing board shorts… (they actually might care about really obnoxious attire and may fire you as soon as they can hire the HR person to do it for them.)

3. You need to be able to code: If you want to be an engineer then yes. However, most startups have lots of other roles that make up the team that do not require coding (although being able to also code will likely be a plus). This recent post http://calacanis.com/2015/07/04/the-most-important-piece-of-advice-for-folks-starting-their-careers/ by @Jason is an excellent overview of what is valuable to a startup.

4. You have to live in Silicon Valley: Have you seen the new building Jasper? (rentjasper.com), it’s ridiculous. Who wouldn’t want to live in the bay area. However, if you are like me and enjoy defying logic, there are lots of great startups outside of the bay area (or work remotely). Check Angel List (angel.co) for some good ones that are hiring near you.

5. It’s glamorous: (Laughing)…. yeah still laughing.

6. You get to work with smart people: It’s not really about how smart they are or what they did prior to joining the venture. It’s a combination of how good are they at building what your building and do they care about the problem the startup is trying to solve. If both of those components are there, do whatever you have to get that gig because that startup has the secret sauce to winning.

7. There is no work-life balance: I know plenty of people at uber corporate environments that are tethered to the office. If you are at a startup, you care about odds are you are building something great. Which means you want to create it. Which means you are going to do what it takes to make it. That doesn’t mean you are sleeping on a cot in the office. If you can execute then, you will be okay. If you can’t…working 70hrs a week won’t make a difference.

    Jonah Manning

    Written by

    I help other founders build companies. xGoogle, xApple, recovering angel investor, friend to a jewish carpenter. www.jonahmanning.net