Should you join a startup or start your own?

Lehrübung Kampf

Should you join a startup or start your own? This is a very interesting question that Weileen and I had a long discussion. So I decided to bring this out and shared with everyone my opinion. There is also a very good post on this topic on Quora – How do I decide between joining a startup or starting my own? One of the popular answer talks about the Start-up Drag Coefficients, the more points you have, the more you should join a startup rather than starting your own because of the opportunity cost involved.

Mark Suster also has his opinion on this, are you looking to learn or earn?

If you really want to earn you need to be in the top 3-4 in the company. Best to be a founder. Very few people can do this. It’s a rare skill. Be realistic about your skills, background and ideas. – Mark Suster

I never really work for a startup before, I started right out myself. Mudding here and banging there. Making mistakes and detours, the learning journey might be longer than joining a startup but the experience is priceless.

However, if I were to be given a choice and start all over again, I might chose to join a startup company first. But I would love be part of the first ten employees. ie early stage startups. Because in early stage, you get to experience the crunched time, and you would truly learn if you had join a good team. Chances are that you will get to see situations like the founder has to fired people, tell employees that they have no more cash in bank to pay you, etc etc I believe I would learn more in these type of companies.

For example. Billpin – a startup that deals with splitting bills. The founder is Darius Cheung, cofounder of tenCube that was sold to McAfee. They are in their early stage and is now building up their team. Darius is experienced, he been there done that (sold a company), I think joining him would likely shorten the learning journey about starting up. You can also learn how manage the team and the business, all these are important attributes that you might get to learn while begin part of an early stage startup.

Or likewise, you could also be joining companies like Evernote, Quora, Airbnb, they are startups too. But you may not be able to experienced the crunched time. Because the company culture is formed, the structure is up but you work and effort in the company would certainly affect the lives of many who are using the products. For example, if you make add a new feature into Evernote iOS app, imagine how many people will be using the feature and how proud you can be to say that the feature is created by you.

So my $0.02 says it would be good to join a startup first before starting up on your own. Of course, many will think otherwise and I love to hear your thoughts.

Here's an interview with Darius about his new found venture @billpinapp

Video Link

This interview is done up by the team from Thesmos Inc, a very big thank you to them for sharing with us this great video.

Photo Credit: augustinfotos

This article was written in the on PSDPY at the start of this year. I thought it would be nice to share with fellow readers, who are gunning to jump into the startup scene. I have a personalise newsletter that I write and share some my tech thoughts. Love to share with you here.