TechHub Meetup Insights: Startup life - the employee perspective

This is the "after" article. If you couldn't make it to last night's meetup, you missed a lively, inspiring discussion about what it means to work in a startup. We can tell you that our guests engaged in an active conversation about their personal experiences - fiery passion in their eyes - and left us with more than enough to think about.

Let's see what their key learnings were:

About working in a startup * By doing a lot of things in a startup you can manage to find what you like the most. * If you join a startup in the beginning, expect total anarchy. * Technology startups are the place to work in in this day and age. It's the right time for them. * If you�re in a startup, you sometimes have to do other things than your own speciality, but that can help you expand your abilities. * When you're an employee in a startup, it feels like building your own company with someone else�s money. * In a startup, the team around you is like a small army, very motivated, devoted and doing the thing they love. * Your ideas matter in a startup. In a team of 5 to 20 people you can launch and implement your ideas immediately. * But a startup is also kind of a shark tank: you need to move at the pace of those around you. * Also, in a tech startup you can build your own career path, even though you've helped build a company. * Startups don�t offer jobs, they offer career paths. * Working for a startup is very rewarding, but it can also be a lottery. You don't know if you're going to strike gold or strike out. * The best part is that you always win a lot of experience, life lessons and personal development you wouldn't otherwise. * As a startup employee, you don�t have too much too loose (you�re not an investor or a founder, so there are no financial risks). No jobs are safe nowadays, so you couldn't rely on job safety as a decision criteria in your choice. * You have the opportunity to learn from smart people, and if they fail, you can move on to the next startup. * Even if the startup you work for fails, the growth you acquired is still there. * Projection: startups will absorb smart people in the next few years. * Bucharest doesn�t have an ecosystem for startups, so it�s difficult to find the right, talented people. But startup invest heavily in helping them learn and grow.

Choosing the startup to work for

Be careful which startups you choose. Here are some criteria to help you, suggested by Madalina Uceanu, our moderator:
* Team * Whether they make money already or not * Whether someone else has invested in them already. This provides validation for their future prospect. * Do you like their product?

What kind of people are startups looking for? * Really smart, get things done, eyes on the prize go getters.
* High social skills * Rockstars � above average in everything kind of people * people with the ability to take something from beginning to finish, * people who fit the culture (understand how the startup works, and why it works like that) * people who want to learn, who enjoy change and can handle it. If you really want to get in touch with someone in a startup, you have a guaranteed reply. Just write them an email, a Facebook message, a Tweet or anything that might get their attention.

What happens when a startup gets bought? * When a startup gets bought, everyone is trying to figure out what the guys from the other company are doing.
* Jobs are kept in an acquisition, because the team is one of the most valuable assets of a startupt. * When a startup gets bought it�s like being adopted by a bigger family, with more money. (this is a philosophy that both Andrei Ismail, Lead Developer @ uberVU, and Bogdan Sandulescu, CTO @ uberVU share)

Mistakes to avoid when hiring for your startup * See what the applicant�s motivation is * Don�t hire people who don�t fit the culture * Don�t get the wrong guy for the wrong task.

How to get the best people * Generate positive buzz around your company, build an ecosystem around your company * Give back to the community (come speaker at TechHub Meetups :) )

How keep the best people in your startup * give freedom (creative freedom, implementation freedom, etc.) * offer perks (meals, game rooms, personal development options, etc.) * flat structure * break barriers: let people work on anything they want to, other than their usual job * hire people that are smarter than you are * discourage politics and get rid of it as soon as it happens to manifest * flexibility on working hours.

So, given this context and information, would you work for a startup?