A few quick things to keep in mind for those who only worked at big companies and are now joining a startup:
- Do your homework: Do lots of research on how to successfully transition from bigcos to a startup, especially from a cultural point of view.
- Be an ultimate optimist: Don’t bring up all the reasons why xyz won’t work. That might have been a useful intellectual skill in big companies with a huge investment on the line. But at startups, before you bring up yet another reason why xyz won’t work, everyone already knows a million different reasons why it won’t work. It’s certainly helpful and even necessary to be a devil’s advocate and poke holes, but bring solutions, not just the problems. Don’t be a consultant.
- Don’t fight for internal resources: At big companies, you were likely fighting against next departments/teams to get more resources (people, budget, etc), because often more resources meant more results. But big companies have ~unlimited resources. Startups don’t. Don’t be territorial. Remember it’s One Company and everyone’s on the same side. When your parents are broke, you don’t fight against siblings to get more bread. Everyone goes out there and helps win more bread.
- Don’t complain about the lack of process; make and propose one. Don’t be that person who just arrived at a makeshift house that the pioneers risked their life to build, and immediately complain there’s no running hot water. Again, chances are everyone already knows there needs to be a better process for xyz, there’s just not enough time. If you think through and build a rock solid process for xyz, everyone will appreciate it.
- Don’t talk about the perks you had back in the day: a/ No one cares about your gold stapler; b/ Talking about those perks makes you look like you still haven’t shed the big company baggage and are low key missing the old days.