Published on July 10th, 2012 | by Danny Olinsky6
Why to Work for a Startup
Back in April, I represented the startup that I work for (Argyle Social) at Tech Jobs Under The Big Top in Bay 7 on the American Tobacco Campus. We figured it would be a great chance to change up the CEO pitch and tell the Argyle story from the perspective of an early employee. Ever since, I’ve been wanting to write this blog post on “Why recent grads should highly consider working for a startup.”
First, here’s my story in under 140 characters: Graduated UNC ‘10. Immersed myself in everything startups at LaunchBox Digital under Chris Heivly. Joined Argyle as 1st sales rep Jan ’11.
My top 4 reasons:
1. The People
By far, one of the number one reasons is to learn from the people around you. Unless you already have the exact vision of what you will be doing for the rest of your life, the best thing to do coming out of school is to be a sponge – and there’s no better place to do that than a startup. I joined Argyle knowing that my title was “Sales Associate,” but in reality, knew that I would also observe how to execute an email marketing campaign, how a development team should iterate on product, and how the CEO should make all of the parts of the machine actually work together. I can tell you that you will not learn these things by working for a Fortune 500 from Day 1.
I look forward to learning something new everyday from 20 incredibly smart people. Today’s example: 1 on 1 meeting with our CTO on how Argyle’s new Social Signals API can empower social insights across a company from sales/support to marketing.
2. The Challenge
After graduating, most larger companies will throw you into some type of training program where examples of the problems you will be facing are laid out along with potential ways to solve these problems. Not to say that working for a larger company isn’t challenging, but instead, that the path you’re on has been traveled before, creating deep footprints to follow.
Training is helpful to lay a foundation and it is necessary to an extent, but after a short training, I suggest a different route: learn by doing. I am confident in saying that every early startup employee takes this tagline to heart and quite frankly, it motivates us. You may have never demoed software as a service before, but you’ll figure it out. You may have never run a 1,000 person webinar (our Marketing Manager), but you’ll learn how to engage an audience and provide valuable content marketing to drive leads. You’ll make tons of mistakes along the way, but each time, you’ll get smarter…and that’s the fun part.
3. The Impact
Contrast the following two situations (sales related):
1. You work for ABC Company with 1,000 employees. You’re part of a team of 10 with a manager that occasionally asks the under-performers, “Why are you behind 50% on quota with a week left in the month?” But you’re smart, productive, and power through to exceed your target by 20%. You make a decent amount of money on your quarterly bonus and your manager buys you a steak dinner.
2. You work for Startupify with 10 employees. You’re part of a team of 3. One of your teammates needs a bit more help. You’re all in this together, so you share best practices in team meetings and your manager helps him to sharpen specific skills that he is having trouble with. Turns out that your team hits their numbers for 6 months straight, giving your CEO the firepower needed to land your Series A funding and hire 10 more employees.
Yes, this is a hypothetical situation. Yes, I am extremely biased. Yes, it’s definitely not all roses at a startup, but you get my point. What you do matters.
4. The Experience
Last, but not least is the experience. Whether you stay with the company, move to a new startup, or start your own, you’ll have created a personal toolkit, equipped with the necessary items to succeed wherever you choose.
So, if you’re a recent grad or graduating soon, I wholeheartedly encourage you to check out the local startups. There are some great ones right here in Durham.