re: Start-up v Corporate, which do you prefer? VIEW POST

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It's more a scale or spectrum than an either/or proposition. Startups begin to take on more "corporate" characteristics as they grow. It's interesting to see exceptional cases like the French game developer Motion Twin, who have organized themselves along anarcho-syndicalist lines as a worker-owned cooperative and seem to be doing well by it. But the corporate system evolved symbiotically with the broader capitalist context they and we operate in so corporations that prioritize growth (and unchecked growth is the standard by which capitalists measure success) will have an easier time of it with the traditional approach.

From an individual perspective, I'd say it's most important to figure out what you like and don't like and calibrate accordingly. I like having day-to-day stability, health insurance, and considerable autonomy within a particular area of focus so I tend to gravitate towards small-but-not-tiny companies and maturing startups.

 

Thanks Dian, I hadn't heard of Motion Twin, sounds like a groundbreaking structure and corporate culture.

I agree that there is certainly some middle ground and it's not a matter of one v the other, but have found it interesting to see start-ups who are growing fast and are now ten years old trying to buck the corporate norms and keep the start-up culture.

My immediate team is small and has autonomy in our domain and our organisation is not so large that we are simply a cog in the machine which I like.

 

I was going to answer neither because I had bad experiences in both environments but this morning I read this tweet:

and read the linked article: Here's How (and Why) Entrepreneurs Are Getting Venture Investors Out of Their Companies

Basically some VC funded companies that were focusing only on growth (what VCs want, especially with the insane amount of money going around now) understood how that could kill them in the process.

This obviously reminds me of Basecamp and other similar companies that decided to aim for profitability from day one and sell a product to their customers.

I think it's important to ask ourselves from time to time, whom are skills are truly benefitting. It's not about "sticking it to the system" but to understand if we're truly creating software for a purpose or just to help someone aimlessly accrue capital.

The middle ground between "ACME corp" and "company whose purpose is to survive until sold to ACME corp" it's a good place to work :D

Another example:

A billion dollar company with no outside funding 100% owned by the cofounders. That's something!

Mailchimp's a really respectable company. As a user, it sometimes seems like they charge too much or could simplify things, but if it was so easy they wouldn't be so successful.

Also not afraid to be bold with their branding. The new design is a pretty radical departure, but really coool.

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