Big Fish vs Small Fish
You might already know this but there is a big difference between a large company and small startup. Ok, I know, big companies have large budgets, lots of people and are usually slow moving while startups are lean, move fast and have huge potential to make a big splash.
I want to shine some light on the engineering section in terms of software startups since I’ve had the chance to work for a larger type company, not too crazy but fairly large, and small startups.
Startups usually cut corners; they have to. It’s impossible to get the amount of work done, in the time that it needs to get done with fewer resources and win. Larger companies, if smart, can out spend, hire and build you. So to move quickly startups often have to cut corners to make ends meet.
You may have to come to terms with this if you’re into write great code. Yes, I know there are some rockstars out there that can pound out thousands of lines of sweet code, all while creating the next generation of open source projects but for the majority of programmers out there, startups mean just “getting it to work”.
It’s not until the company grows up and actually has some legs that you can focus on quality. Now, if you’re into bringing quality products to customers but you sell your startup by the time you reach that phase, you might want to think about joining a bigger company.
Now there are occasions where you can build a startup that focuses on quality, moves quickly and can really compete but they need to be well funded, have an excellent model to recruit top talent and have good plan to out smart those bigger fish companies that will as some point, try to eat you.
I think it’s important before joining a company to not only understand their value system, but make sure that value system aligns with you and their industry. Sometimes you and the company have the same great values but are destined for failure because everyone is on a pirate ship, sailing into a sea full of navy ships, waiting for your arrival.