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Showing posts from November, 2012

Startup vs. Big Company: What's "Freedom"?

I was talking with a talented young PhD student today about his career ambitions, and the conversation turned to whether it would be better to do a startup after finishing school rather than joining a big company, like Google, to get some "real world" experience first. I asked him what was so appealing about doing a startup, and he said that it would mean having tremendous freedom to choose what to work on and how you pursue problems. That is true, in a sense, but I question how much "freedom" you really have when starting a new company. Doing a startup is also highly constraining, there are real advantages to being at a larger company where you have more resources and a broader set of problems you can work on.

(Caveat emptor: Note that the last time I tried to talk someone out of doing a startup, it was Mark Zuckerberg, and we all know how that turned out -- so perhaps this post should be taken with a grain of salt.)

It seems to me that many startups these days a…