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Start-up vs Corporate

Response to Dave's thoughts on the Creating Passionate User's blog entry.....

One of you must be a zealot. :)

I have been reading that blog for a bit now.

Boy oh boy. Where do I start? First, obviously these are extremes of the continuum. I have worked for tiny startups, and I have worked for medium sized corp companies. I have always wanted to stay away from major corps, mostly because I felt like I would not be in direct contact with the customer, or that I would be such a small part of the company that I wouldn't be able to impact how it is run, and what it does. That is an ego thing, but thats what makes me happy, so there. I used the same strategy to pick which college I went to, and that worked out just fine.

I think some of these line items are ridiculous. I know alot of startups today are using OSS stuff to get off the ground. I don't think that is becuase it is better, I think it is mostly due to the backlash against VC companies. With OSS they can get farther with their angel investment by leveraging the effort of others. I doubt that the use of Macs or Tablets are a defining characteristic of startups.

The goal of each type of organization is completely different. One is in a growth mode (sometimes something new), the other is for stability and dependibility. I don't care how you want your company to be, once you get past 30-40 people you can't help but stop being so much of a start up. Now there are exceptions. Although there are signs of Google losing it's luster, it has managed to keep the startup mindset longer than most because of the field of Camelot surrounding them.

I think it is mostly a maturity model of the organization. I don't think either is worse than the other. I think, as an employee, it's a personal preference. I know that it will be years before I can do a startup again. It takes A LOT of emotional investment (not including money).

The only true defining factor between the two is where the money comes from. Startups receive their money form investors in exchange for a piece of the future of the company. Corps receive their money from paying customers. Therein lies the reason for the maturation of the organization. The trick is knowing when to stop. Some companies can grow, and do only because they can. Sometimes there is wisdom in choosing not to grow. I have done that with my shop that past two quarters. I would rather strengthen and solidify what I have than expand it and water down the culture and quality of our ass kicking. When I feel it is solid, we will add more people.



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