On the face of it, research and high-tech startups should be similar worlds, driven by solutions to new problems or better solutions to existing ones. Yet, there are fundamental differences in their perspectives and culture.

Almost a year ago, I quit my job as a researcher (at Microsoft Research) to start a company (Intentionet). I figured it’ll be fun to take a moment to reflect on some of the differences in the two worlds.

Disclaimer: The observations below are anecdotal, likely biased by the nature of my research community (computer systems and networking) and my startup (enterprise software).

Solving a problem vs. solving someone’s problem

Researchers want…

Ratul Mahajan

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