This is great! This was a super important consideration for me before starting at Triplebyte, which I clarified before accepting the job, only to learn that I wasn't the only person here with a profitable side project :)
The reality is that engineers who are capable of building and launching things independently have valuable, relevant business skills that go beyond normal engineering work, and those ought to be valued by employers -- not crushed!
I'm curious to know if this is more regional, as I definitely felt more pushback in Boston. Now in the Bay Area, it doesn't seem too unusual.
Yeah, that would be interesting to map out. The place I interviewed at was located in Maryland. My current employer is in New York City.
There is one consideration. I actually think the whole trying-to-own-people thing is less of a concern within the software industry itself. That godawful interview took place at a biotech company in Rockville MD. I think they may have a more strict view of intellectual property, given that it's way harder to spin off and do a biotech startup on your own. So maybe the culture just hasn't adjusted to an audience of people who can.
But I really don't know. I'm just idly speculating here.
Considering where the biotech field is today, it is highly likely that they are ultra paranoid about IP. (Consider the GMO seeds which produces an enhanced-yield crop which is only viable for 1 generation... forcing farmers to buy seeds each year.) Biotech is undergoing ridiculously accelerated growth right now, so they may be betting a lot on IP developed right now.
I do consider it an industry-related difference. They probably aren't used to hiring iOS developers who have the ability to just up and launch a product at the drop of a hat.
Still, this guy in particular was a real dick about it. I've made a lot of changes over the past year to push myself towards an earlier retirement (saving an even greater percentage of what I earn), and I attribute most of it to the feeling I got after leaving that interview.
I'm in a better spot now, but every time I stash away an extra thousand dollars, I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing people like that have even less power over me.
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