Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Life by Sam Huleatt

Startups as a Career

risk strategy game

I’ve been reading a lot of opinions that there are “too many” startups right now. To many investors. I tend to agree.

That said, I was thinking the other night about a contrarian view point.

Facts:

  • Every smart person I know wants to start a company (be an entrepreneur)
  • There is already an (over)abundance of seed funds and angels
  • Everyone I know who has exited a company wants to start a venture/seed fund (more funds coming!) Many feel startups are a safer bet than than the stock market.
  • The traditional business model of working for a big cooperation/job security is finished
  • Private companies are getting liquidity on secondary markets

So I ask — is it possible that the number of new startups and early stage investors is just the beginning? A paradigm shift? Introducing startups as a career.

What if the new normal is that in lieu of steady salaries, most skilled, educated people instead opt for starting and/or joining startups as a career? These startups will/are funded by an ever increasing number of angels/investors/corporate vcs. The norm becomes to forsake the ‘steady pay check’ of our parents generation and instead bounce around opportunity to opportunity with the expectation that you will eventually hit a pay day that makes up the difference.

As startups become more transparent publishing their traction and numbers and as secondary market transactions become more normal, it might become a “safer” bet that breakout startups will be acquired, find liquidity, or merge with the more successful (‘unicorn’ startups). In the future people maybe can purchase salary insurance so that if they never hit that big payday they still have some retirement. Perhaps health insurance will move to the cloud so that it is moveable as folks bounce between opportunities.

The consensus view is that the number of startups is unsustainable and it’s probably accurate.

But part of me believes it could be the beginning of a new era in employment/careers.