New Grads: Midstage Startups Are Your Best First Job in Tech
Why my advice from 2014 is even more true now
Ahh, spring! When new grads leave their campuses and enter the workplace for the first time. Or I guess, leave their online zoom classrooms and enter their work zooms. Gulp!
So I wanted to revisit some advice that I give new grads about where in tech to start their career and I’ll make the case that the absolute best place to be is a high quality midstage startup. You can read why in the post below but revisiting this 2014 explanation also helps counter one of the objections I’ve heard regarding this advice. Namely that it’s really difficult to know what a great midstage startup looks like. Well, not really. I mean look below, I gave four suggestions seven years ago about Series B/C companies that new grads should consider joining: Stripe, Airbnb, Twilio, Warby Parker. Two of these are now incredibly successful public companies. Stripe is a $100B private company. And Warby has performed solidly, also rumored to be going public shortly. So yeah, I think it’s actually not that hard to pick a great company — now you just need to convince them to hire you :)
[Originally Published in March 2014]
If you’re graduating this spring and starting a career in tech, I’ve got one piece of advice: go work at a midstage startup (I’ll define that as B/C rounds of financing — eg Twilio, Stripe, Airbnb, Warby). Here’s why:
1. Your Work Will Matter: Past the point of product market fit, but before large company ossification. At a brand new startup you spend all your time trying to get the world to care about your product and fighting a lack of infrastructure. At a more mature technology company you’re protecting and extending your business model. Between the two is a hypergrowth stage where your initial product has great traction but there’s still urgency and risk in execution. You have the resources to build and launch, which means your work will see the light of day. Instead of just concept mocks and ideas for marketing programs, you can get real data and feedback on your team’s efforts. The skills you learn are likely generally transferable because the company isn’t so far down the path of only doing things “their way.”