Re: Time to go? (Working for startups)

Subject: Re: Time to go? (Working for startups)
From: Matthew Stern <MAStern -at- PLATSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 18 Sep 1996 09:40:00 -0700

LaVonna Funkhouser asked:

>The stories I'm reading here about working for software
>startup companies sounds a lot like the story of the
>Quicken software. The employees in that story were for
>a while working for no pay--only stock options. They are
>now rich, but what percentage of startups end up as
>successes like Quicken?

Very few, actually. I've worked for a couple of software companies in
the San Fernando Valley that failed. One of them promised fabulous stock
options once they went public, but it ran out of money before it did.

I'd be leary about companies that offer little or no pay with the
promise of large stock options. For starters, this is an indication that
the company's in a difficult cash position, and it could become
insolvent at any time. Even if the company became profitable, there is
no guarantee that investors would push up the stock price enough to
compensate for the loss of salary. Even a small startup company should
be able to offer you a reasonably competitive wage and benefits package.

However, if you're just starting out in the technical writing field and
have some money to live on, such a company might be a good place to get
experience and move ahead in the industry. I value the experience I had
working for those small startup companies, but I wouldn't task such
risky ventures again unless I was adequately paid -- with cash.

Matthew Stern
Sr. Technical Writer
Platinum Software Corporation
mastern -at- platsoft -dot- com

The opinions expressed here are solely my own, as usual...


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