UPDATE: Well, the candidate decided for the big company. Oh well. Best to know now.
I was interviewing a candidate this past week, which had lots of big company background in her resume. Yet at the same time, her skillset is exactly what we need. That leaves for a lot of probing on the DNA front, but that's standard anyway. This person had a job offer and a start date at a more established, publicly traded company already. So we came in at the 11th hour. This person has to weigh the following:
Big company: security, established practices, principles, run rate revenue, predictible, well formatted, nice salary, little equity, 1 of perhaps hundreds or thousands of people
Startup: privately held, experimental, roller coaster, growing revenues but early stages, frequent changes, nimble, maverick, nice salary, nice equity, 1 of 20 people
The security of a big company comes at a price. That price can be borderline irrelevance. Sometimes it's easy to become a social security number. I was at Livingston as a big fish and when Lucent bought Livingston, I disappeared in the noise. There were 5 other people that had overlapping immediate responsibility as I. My time was spent on navigating the political landscape, as opposed to pure contribution and results. On the other hand, if you play that game you can climb the ladder.
Startups can be scary. They're held together by a few key leaders and believers. They can break at any time. They can also rise above faster and with more individual contribution than anyplace else. At Jangl, I realize that every single person is in the critical path. That makes for pure relevance for those individuals. No one can hide. My ultimate question for anyone considering this sort of thing...."Would you rather try for a home run or guarantee a base hit?"
We'll see what this candidate decides...