Why Startup Experience Trumps Corporate Experience
“1. Size is the opposite of impact
The first thing we must realize about large companies is that they are just that–extremely large. … With so many employees, it’s impossible to have an impact on the business, unless you’re in the upper echelon of the executive team. And even then, I’d argue that much of the work that has been done is more political than tactical. Depending on how broken the company is, you can succeed by sucking up to the right people, giving the impression of productivity, and so on.
But that doesn’t work with startups. There is no boss to trick, no shortcuts to deploy. Each and every person is vital. At a startup, there’s nowhere to hide if you don’t perform.
2. Momentum makes everything easier
… In a large company, there’s a lot of existing momentum. As a member of a large company, if you pull back or become inefficient, the train will continue to move down the tracks, metaphorically speaking. There’s so much built-up momentum behind the brand that momentum carries it, regardless.
At a startup, there is no momentum. Every day, you’re required to create your own. If you don’t, the company will slow. And in the event you do generate momentum, it quickly depletes if not continued. This pressure is placed squarely on the shoulder of every startup employee, every single day.
3. Failure breeds knowledge
With limited people and many things that need to be done, a startup is a the ultimate venue for failure, and therefore, learning. In a large company, nearly everything that an employee does requires approval or another set of eyes. There’s a fear of failure, an unwillingness to allow employees to try new things. This fear builds with the size of the company.
At a startup, no one has the answer. The only way to find an answer is to try new things and adapt based on the results. Startup employees are battle-tested. Each day is a volatile string of highs and lows, with a heavy emphasis on the latter. Stuff breaks. Things go wrong. With that kind of experience, these people are more able to deal with the ebbs and flows of any business.”