Startup, Salaries, Risk, Entrepreneurship, Payoffs

No, those aren't tags for the post, but the cluster of words that should go together, but often do not.

Entrepreneurship implies risk and the possibility of a payoff.
A startup, as we know it, is one for of entrepreneurship.

In this context, the concept of market salaries has no meaning at all!

More and more and more startups I see, hear, read about are trying to behave like larger, more structured organizations. The worst part is that they model "compensation" (oh, how I hate that word - its what accident victims get, not motivated people working towards a dream) and other "HR practices" on how-its-done-at-big-co-X. Where is the innovation there, people ?

Here's some ideas and thoughts that are worth remembering/attempting
  • Market salaries : this is an absurd phrase for anyone in even a partly decision-making position in a startup.
  • You need empowerment, ownership, flexibility way more than you need processes
  • Try this : Keep a very small 'retainer' component, and then a percentage of profits, not equity stake etc. Sure, do that as well for the early ones, but since you're small and all, nothing like direct participation in profits, and nothing quite like that to keep folks 'real' and focused on the bottomline. It'll build a business like nobody's business :)
Don't ape the last big company you work at. You never know whats going to work, so at the least give it a shot! And just because you need people, do not "attract" those who're in it just because ots cool to be seen as 'taking risk' without actually wanting to take any.

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