What job should I look for if I want to work at a startup?

During our coaching session, you said I should be working at a startup. But I don’t know what sort of position I should be looking to apply for. So the question is: What sort of position should I be looking for in a startup? What sort of position is ideal for me? Will just any position do?

9 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Take any position at a startup. You can do whatever you set your mind to do, so getting the job done won’t be a problem (not writing code – anything but that). But once you get the job, look around all day long for problems that are interesting for you to solve. Then bring the CEO a solution to a problem and ask if you can solve it — in addition to the work you have. The CEO will say yes and that’s how you get on the path to creating a fun job for yourself at a startup.


  2. Stacey
    Stacey says:

    This will sound stupid, but where do you even find a start up? Where do you look? If you’re in traditional business or government and you want to break out, where are these opportunities?

  3. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    If you’re looking for a startup, try a simple google search for [city] startups. Try searching meetup for startup groups and asking people there. There’s Tech Crunch, Angel List, Crunchbase, Pando Daily and others like that.

  4. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Ashley has good advice. The two things you need to remember is
    1. The startup world has it’s own rules and language. You don’t learn them by going to school or getting taught. You learn them by being really curious and reading and talking to people.
    2.Each city has a startup community that is very tight – the smaller the city, the tighter the community. But there’s always room for someone who will work very hard for very little money and is smart. And that’s pretty much how everyone gets into the startup world.


  5. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I forgot a big one: Startup Digest. Not only do they announce events but they have great articles that’ll help introduce you to the startup world. Hacker News has some more technical links but also great articles about startups as well.

  6. Anna
    Anna says:

    Having worked at a startup right after college, I totally agree with Penelope’s advice. I answered an ad on craigslist, for what it’s worth. Started in customer service, then after a few months moved on to other tasks.

    Penelope, I’m amused that you don’t recommending writing code. Why is that?

  7. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Anna, that’s a really good question. Anyone who will be good at writing code is a problem solver who is good at solving right-now problems but probably not so good at long-term problems. Which means that anyone who SHOULD be writing code would already be doing it instead of reading this thread.


  8. Jen
    Jen says:

    As a recovering developer I’ll second the notion of not being a developer at a start-up. Better money and a stronger foundation for anyone starting out can be found in the established sector. BUT if you are ready to advance into a lead or architect role joining a start-up can often get you valuable experience to move your career forward. And living through the difference in development models between a start-up and a Fortune 100 company is a great lesson for anyone who wants to eventually cross over to the “non-IT” side of business.

  9. Nur Costa
    Nur Costa says:

    Maybe you can start a startup about a map for all the startups in EEUU. There’s one in Spain that already does that:

    That’s how I find the Start ups companies in Barcelona and look for interesting ones to apply for. It’d be a great idea to develop in countries that this method is not developed yet.

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