Am I A Startup Guy?

This time last year I was considering leaving Accenture to join a startup. A friend of mine was an early employee and felt I would be a good fit. Their mentality was hiring smart people vs. experienced in the field, a mentality I agree with. They had a functioning product, paying clients and just raised a couple million in capital.

I felt a lot of emotions during this time. The startup life was so appealing but so was a stable, well paying job. So I did what any self-respecting Type A would do and started a OneNote. I listed out the my questions that needed answers , listed how I saw myself fitting in and wrote other aspects of my decision before making this leap of faith. That’s essentially what joining a startup is – a leap of faith.

Everyday for a month I spoke with my girlfriend and my parents about this decision and even confided in a coworker who was leaving for a smaller firm to understand her process. In the end I decided to stay with my current company. A lack of follow through on the startup’s part planted enough doubt for me to stay the consulting course AKA get promoted and then reevaluate.

I’ve continued to follow the progress of the company out curiosity and a general “what if”. They’re doing well and have grown a lot and are poised to make a nice exit, whenever they choose to do so. I still feel my choice to stay has proven fruitful.

Below is a fairly direct copy from my OneNote. I’ve done very little editing to it and hope it helps you in making a similar decision. I still plan on starting my own company and I believe I will someday but for now I’ll gladly make you a PowerPoint deck explaining why.


I purposely named them Reassurances and Doubts in my OneNote because Pros and Cons didn’t frame the question right for me. I wasn’t comparing an iPhone vs. a Moto X, I was deciding what kind of person I wanted to be. Am I a startup guy or not?



Do it while you’re young

Benefits not as good (health insurance, etc.)

Build something from the bottom up

Fear of failure

Mold and shape a business

Too many what-ifs

Do something truly unique

Leave stable job with stable income growth

Fulfill a dream

Do I have enough experience?

Cash potential with equity and company goes IPO or purchased


Might not have this chance ever again


Unstructured learning

Unstructured learning

Building the best product possible

Outside comfort zone

Avoid corporate drama and bureaucracy

Might not be able to come back to consulting

Leap of faith (kind of fun)

Putting trust in the business’ success

I’ve always wanted to build a business

Could change career trajectory

2.5 years of internship experience translated well to the working world

Am I a startup guy?

People developer

How will this make my resume look?

Now’s the time!



What will my friends/colleagues think?

Likely hurt my chances of returning to a big consulting firm

Questions To Be Answered

I received quality answers to the following questions. They are very sensitive answers so I did not include them.

  1. How many current paying clients?
  2. Current monthly revenue and profits (if any)?
  3. Cash on hand and current monthly burn rate (how long can they last)?
  4. What was the primary purpose for the Series A funding?  (increase sales team, more development, marketing, infrastructure?)
  5. What is the desired exit strategy (IPO, sale, merger, etc.) and what is the desired timeframe for this event?
  6. How are they selling service (direct sales team (how big), partners, affiliates, online, etc.) and what CRM do they use if any?

Where I Fit In

Not knowing for sure where they saw me fitting in, I made my own list. I wanted to see their thoughts about my fit before sharing them with my list. If there was no overlap then maybe this wouldn’t be a good fit for me.

  • Lead the implementation of the product for new clients
  • Develop/expand training materials
  • Develop/grow customer service self portal tool
  • Be the Product guru/expert
  • Assist in bug fixes and enhancements
  • Grow the data set (ex: EDI)
  • Assist in major business decisions
  • Feel like an owner in the business
  • Lead employee development program
  • Act as product/program manager
  • Ensure timely and relatively bug free releases
  • Understand what customers need and how that fits into the company’s vision
  • Apply Lean Startup methodologies

What Do I Bring To The Table

I felt unsure about what value I would actually bring to the company so I created a short list.

  • Salesforce experience/cloud – as the company looks to outgrow Desk I have the cloud admin/customization experience needed to build a new product out (aka
  • Level-headedness
  • Passion
  • Customer support – Customer support is always first and foremost in my mind
  • Experience with project lifecycle and what bumps occur along the way
    • Accenture project was very hectic
    • Worked under fast and hard deadlines
  • Desire to build and grow
  • Passion for developing people
    • I enjoy helping people grow and learn
    • I’m patient enough to listen and manage people effectively
  • Organized

Blog Posts

I read a lot at the time, mostly on Quora, about people’s experience leaving consulting jobs to join startups. It was good knowing I wasn’t alone in this decision. Here’s a good two part blog post on someone else’s experience: Part 1 and Part 2.

In addition to all these general items, I compiled a list of ways to grow the company’s revenue and customer base. I did my own research on current competitors and potential local clients. I wanted prove that I was serious in an interview and that I could get stuff done. Once I decided to stay put I sent over my notes to my friend in case there was some unique ideas they hadn’t thought of yet.

I really enjoyed the process, however agonizing the decision really was. It took my mind off the 60 hour weeks I was working in Provo, UT.

Who do you want to give 60 hours a week to: some big company or some little company? For me, I want to give my 60 hours to my company.

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