Followup: Don’t Start a Company

I usually blog by value, but now, I’m blogging by reference.

With that bad piece of geek humor out of the way, I want to thank Dharmesh Shah for graciously publishing my article on his OnStartups blog.

The comment stream was very interesting.  I’m going to experiment and reply in bulk to the major themes, using one comment for each theme:

After 5 years at this company you may have a lot more responsibilities that will make harder time leaving to start your company, like a mortgage and a family.   (Don Tarinelli)

While it is easier to put in 80+ hour weeks as a young, single entrepreneur, most entrepreneurs start several companies during their career.  Plus, a few years first at another startup doesn’t put most people into mortgage and family territory.

I think many recent graduates treat their first startup like college:  “if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it”.  That’s a mistake:  startups aren’t like college — many entrepreneurs will do 3-6 over their career.

“There’s just nothing like learning on the job, in context, from those with more experience than you. ”  (then hire them)

(John Hadings)

My blog post is really about learning, and it’s very, very hard for young, inexperienced entrepreneurs to hire more senior, more experienced managers.  Most people want a boss they can learn from, and it’s a hard sell when your prospective boss has no experience. It can happen (e.g. Facebook), but it’s extremely rare and it almost always follows a business traction breakthrough.

If you wait to start your business you will probably never start it. Rarely have I heard of somebody that gained experience in someone else’s business to learn how to start their own and actually did it.   (Bob)

My experience is the exact opposite:  most startups I see are by entrepreneurs coming out of another company, striking out on their own for the first time.  This is practically the venture capital investment recipe in CA:  investing in entrepreneurs with early stage experience in other startups (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc.)

recent grads are better off jumping right in as a CEO of a startup rather than getting pegged as a low-level lackey in an existing company. Warren G. Lewis

This is the mindset that gets many young entrepreneurs into trouble.  Sometimes people get more focused on “being CEO” than building the experience for success.  The CEO job is the toughest there is, and very few are successful jumping in with no prior experience.

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