June 15, 2006

Camping: Hyatt :: Startup: Big Company

Tony Davis has a great blog post comparing life at an established “large” company and being part of a small startup.

The best analogy that I can find is that being in an established company is like staying at the Hyatt while a startup is comparable to going camping....I am talking about backpacking in the wilderness with just your tent, food, utensils and a collection of some of your closest friends. And remember, you are camping not because you want to, but because you don’t have any real money to spend, otherwise you would be staying at the Hyatt!

...The universe of employable people who have been through a true startup experience is extremely small. I often meet individuals who insist that they understand startups because in their previous company, they operated a separate division or that that they were part of a small business unit or that they joined a company when there were only 40 employees. After a short period of time “camping”, they realize that they were in fact just part of a group who lived at the Hyatt.

...In a startup, you are competing with many other smart people, like yourself. All of you are in a race to get to market first, get the best publicity and be noticed by the major players. You cannot assume that you are smarter than anyone else or that you have the luxury of time. You are starting off from scratch, you have no credibility, you don’t work for the big company anymore, people don’t know who you are and you have to establish your name and gain credibility. It’s like meeting someone on the camping trail and saying that although you do live in a tent, a very nice tent, you used to always stay at the Hyatt. Sure.

Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence India, which tracks venture capital activity in India and Indian-founded companies worldwide. View sample issues of Venture Intelligence India newsletters and reports.